Welcome to my trip report of the 2014 Scandinavia Tour from Theme Park Review. This tour was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had, and am glad that I was able to be a part of it. Robb and Elissa have never failed to do an amazing job of putting together amazing trips. If you ever consider planning a trip similar to this of your own, I would bet that they may have some great tips and information to make the most of it, as they have shown an excellence in trip planning over the years.
Now for this trip, this was my first time leaving the North American Continent (other than a trip to Hawai'i in 1996, but that is just the Tropical U.S. if you will), and so being a former social studies teacher and a fan of many disciplines of social studies, I was really looking forward to this trip! I had intentionally added a couple days before the TPR Tour began and an extra day after to explore both Copenhagen and Helsinki a little bit more. So the first few updates will focus in large part on these cultural adventures that were had with my tour roommate, Jeff.
But like any other trip, you have to get there first, so let us start with the beginning:
Day Zero: Journey to Copenhagen
We first begin in a little place called Florida......
Got my bags all packed and ready to head to Orlando International!
The first flight will take us to Washington-Dulles airport....yeah new airport credit!!!
Ready to fly!
Were we are now.....
...and about half-way up the east coast is where we will go!
Time to say bye to Orlando! see you again in about three weeks!
How true that statement is for meat this time....but we have some time to kill here in Dulles so let's wonder.
First time in the Washington DC area in about 3 years, and I see that they have this...if only Dulles wasn't such a pain to get back to from the city, this would have been a nice way to kill the 6-hour layover.
These have got to be the most bizarre things I have ever seen to be used to transport people around an airport.
It's like they took subway cars and made monster trucks with them!
But what visit to Washington DC would be complete without a visit to a shop with presidential gifts?
I approve of this t-shirt!
Just so happened that as I was at the airport, so were members of the DC United soccer team on their way to a road match.
Walking through the international departures hall, you will find flags for many nations of the world, including one on this tour....Germany
I also found three more of the flags representing our tour destinations. Norway, Sweden and Denmark (unfortunately they did not have a flag for Finland).
And this is where we are going first!
But as the time draws near for this flight, it's time to say bye to my home nation for a while....so long America.
Back at the gate, and ready to go to Copenhagen! This would be the longest flight I have ever taken, but at 7.5 hours, it is only a bit more than my previous longest (Boston to Seattle in 6 hours).
The Scandinavian Airlines plane that will take us to Copenhagen.
And my seat for the duration of the journey. Glad I picked an aisle seat as I didn't really care to sit for long periods of time when I wasn't napping.
So here we are, about to take off from Dulles...
...and this is where we will be going.
Yep, that is our destination
And away we go! This was actually a really cool feature on the plane, where they had a camera on the bottom of the plane so you could see outside even without a window seat.
They also had a front camera as well, which really didn't show much of anything for most of the flight until the end as you will see later.
And here we have one last look at American Soil. Pretty soon it would just be clouds or water for a while on the bottom camera view.
So two hours into this flight, and still excited!!!!
....three hours, and starting to loose the excitement a bit...
....after four hours I started to get a little stir crazy......
....but five hours it comes back!!!!......Okay, so those were really a span of about a minute and a half after about two hours on the flight, but hey, you have to keep yourself entertained somehow, right? :)
And now, for the great intercontinental leap...A good time for a nap.
Couple hours of shut eye later, and we are almost across the Atlantic.
By this point already, I am sure this is further from home than I have been before.
A look as the sun begins to rise. I love these kinds of views from onboard a plane.
And now we are over land again....
Hello Scotland! I hope to come and see you sometime in the future!
And this is where the excitement really starts, as we are about to land and I can take my first steps on a new continent!
The view below the plane.
Hello Denmark! I can't wait to explore you!
Another view of a small Danish town.
And here we begin our final approach.
I sure hope the pilot doesn't cut it short! I didn't bring my swim shorts with me!
......and we made it!!
Pulling up to the terminal.....
and just like that, I can proclaim....."Holy S**t!!! I am in Europe!!"
And after a brief question and a stamp, I am legally granted access to Denmark!
Thank you Carlsberg for the greeting!!!
So I saw Carlsberg signs everywhere, which leads me to believe that Carlsberg is to Denmark what Budweiser is the United States, only Carlsberg isn't melted yellow snow.
Next stop after customs was to pick up my Copenhagen Card, which included admission to several museums and attractions, as well as the use of their public transportation.
So now that we have arrived, it's time to hop on the train and head for Copenhagen Central. On the next update, we will catch up with Jeff and head over to Roskilde to visit the Viking Ship Museum!!
Since I still had some time today, I went ahead and got everything ready to do the next update, so here it is......
Day 1.1: Roskilde and the Viking Ship Museum
So one of my goals when signing up for this trip was that I wanted to make some additional cultural visits along with the wealth of awesome parks that would be a part of the tour. I spent a lot of time looking up different things to do in Copenhagen, and the Viking Ship Museum was one of the most anticipated cultural stops I wanted to make.
This museum was created back in the 1960's when scientists discovered that there were five ships that had been sunken in the Fjord near Roskilde, and upon their discovery they excavated them, preserved them and rebuilt them. What remains of them now sit in the museum building The ships are also believed to be almost 1000 years old, as they have dated them to the year 1050 AD! They also theorize that the Vikings sank these ships intentionally so that it would block enemy ships from approaching their capital, which sat in present day Roskilde.
There is also an outdoor section of the museum where they build replica Viking ships and, depending on the time of the year, will take passengers out into the Fjord on them. The rest of the town of Roskilde was very beautiful and quiet compared to that of Copenhagen. So let's take a look and see what Roskilde and the Viking Ship Museum have to offer!
After a train ride from the airport, we find ourselves in the middle of Copenhagen. The awesome thing about the first hotel of the tour was that it was literally down the street from Tivoli Gardens!
And here we meet Jeff! Jeff is leading us back to Copenhagen Central Station so that we can ride the train to Roskilde.
Already loving the site of these older buildings. There are only a few places in the U.S. where you will find buildings that are anywhere near the same age as these.
Upon arrival, it is always a good idea to see where to go.
Luckily for us, they have signs to tell you how to get to the Viking Ship Museum.
Roskilde, a nice little town!
Jeff meets one of the locals.
If I remember right, I believe this was the town hall.
A nice little courtyard with one of the churches of Roskilde
Walking through the neighborhood to get to the Fjord where the museum is found.
Along the way, we found this replica of Roskilde
A closer look.
And here is the building that houses the indoor portion of the Viking Ship Museum. Not the largest museum, but it was worth checking out!
Just before entering.
And here are the Viking ships!
More ships! The metal bands show the shape that the ship would have had if it was in perfect condition.
This picture shows how the ships were found, as they believe they were set up as a blockade of enemy ships.
Here you can see a picture from the excavation process. They drained the water from that middle section, and carefully removed the pieces of the ships.
A front piece of one of the ships
More ship pieces
The first ship is a trading ship.
The large width made it ideal for carrying different cargo from place to place. They would have planks on top of items that sat on the bottom so they could store more cargo on top.
Close-up of the trading ship.
Here is the second ship, which is a little long ship. I don't recall it's purpose, but longer and narrower ships typically were used for transportation of passengers.
Another side view
A look at the inside.
The third ship was another trade ship.
Side view of another trade ship.
The fourth ship was the longest ship. This was a warship used to transport soldiers.
A model of what the ship would have looked like back then
And here is the smallest ship.
How Viking warriors dressed.
This station demonstrated how the Vikings would make their sails, which I was fascinated to learn were made from wool.
More about the sail making process.
I cannot tell you how much I loved coming to this place! As a fan of history, this ranked right up there with going to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico.
Well, you know what they say...."When in Scandinavia, do as the Vikings do!"
I could totally pull of being a Viking!
One of the coolest refrigerator magnets I have seen!
Now that we have seen the real ships, let's check out the outdoor section and see the replicas being built and completed replicas in the harbor.
Here is one of the ships being worked on.
A look at how they build the ships.
These guys go for authenticity....no using power tools like a wussy, but rather hack away with an axe like a real Viking Man!!!
The ship they are working on.
In the harbor they had this little pool with miniature toy Viking ships
The kids enjoy playing with them.
"One day, I wanna grow up to be a real Viking ship!!!!"
Here is a replica of the warrior ship.
And here is her name.....no idea what it means.
Jeff enjoying the Viking ship.
A closer look at the ship
Let's hop aboard shall we?
As you can see, the soldiers would have sat on the cross beams, and they would have used oars to paddle the boat in there was not enough wind to sail.
Another view of the long boat.
Here was one of the smaller boats
A view of the harbor heading towards the fjord
Two more replicas
A replica of the large trade ship.
Looking back at where they build the ships.
A look further down along the fjord
This was really cool to see out in the fjord....a giant message in a giant bottle.....I wonder what it said?
But now, was shall say bye to the Viking Ship Museum. I really enjoyed this place! If you are in Copenhagen, it is worth the ride over.
Heading back to the train station, we took a walk through the park, and it sure was nice. This was a rather neat water feature that created the creek that went all the way through the park.
More sights from the park
And here you could see the church near the central part of town.
This looked like an old stable.
More Roskilde buildings
And as we got back to town, we saw a few amusing things.
Frozen Yogurt Is.......?
Always like a good "Slut" sign.
Oh good, I am not sure if I would want bagels if they were not to eat.
This was a rather interesting way of cooking sausage as the hanging grill would actually swing around over the fire. It must help to cook everything more evenly.
And we arrive back to the train station, so let's go back to Copenhagen. Hope you all enjoyed the update! Next will be our exploration of Copenhagen!
I have to tell a story here. On the train ride from Roskilde back to Copenhagen, Gary and I accidentally sat in the "quiet" section of the train. As we were quietly talking, a man shushed us. Apparently in Denmark, "quiet" mean absolutely NO talking. I was happy to sit silently for the ride back, but after a minute of watching Gary bite his lip and look like he was about to explode with excitement, I asked "Do you want to switch to the talking section?" He quickly shook his head yes, we moved to a talking section, and Gary proceeded to talk for the entire rest of the two week trip! <3 you Gary!
^I think that was more like me falling over on my ass than taking a break, ha ha!
Today I am happy to bring another culture update to this trip report.....
Day 1.2: Wondering Around Copenhagen!
So in the last update, Jeff and I had just visited the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, and since we had a good bit of time left in the day, we decided to venture over towards Rosenborg Palace and to make a visit to the round tower. Rosenborg Palace will be the next update, which this one will be more about the tower and the walk over to the palace. So let's go see what Copenhagen has to offer!
After a 30 minute train ride we were back at Copenhagen Central Station, and ready to wonder over to see what the city has to offer.
As you exit one side of the station, Tivoli Gardens is right there to welcome you! We would be there in a couple days, so let's see what else there is here.
As a history fan, I absolutely loved seeing older buildings like this, especially with a very unique architecture compared to ours.
Fountain outside of the building.
VIKING BALL!!!!!!!!! (If I had more money I so would have bought this!)
Walking through a courtyard of Copenhagen
What was nice about this city was that there were some streets designated just for pedestrians to walk.
Gave you a chance to see buildings from the middle of the street.
Copenhagen also had its share of street performers. This guy was basically scaring the crap out of people as the walked by, and he had a squeaking device in his mouth so that he would have a squeaky voice when ever he spoke.
One of the churches of Copenhagen.
Again, I absolutely love the architecture of this city!
Down the street was Christiansborg Palace. This is the current home of the Danish Parliament and government offices. We checked it out the next day.
And here was the Round Tower. It is part of another church in Copenhagen.
Another look before we head in.
The information sign about the Round Tower
This tower was really neat in that the walkway up was a round spiraling hallway. Almost like a spiral staircase without stairs.
Old time latrine...I hope no one left any floaters!
A glimpse outside of the tower
Somehow I seem to find myself in uncomfortable situations from time to time.
And when you reach the top, you get some great views of the city!
Another church I believe?
Hello Tivoli! I see you!
A Stadium in the distance
Again, I absolutely loved the architecture of these buildings, and the sights of the city! But there is more to see, so let's head back down.
But before we leave, you could actually enter the bell loft of the church.
Some artifacts from the loft.
This was further in, but you had to look through a window.
In one of the little notches on the side was no ordinary emergency faucet...
This looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland....nice touch guys!
Again, this tower was really cool! This was one of Jeff's suggestions, and I am really glad that we did it!
More Copenhagen buildings, perhaps of the residential variety.
One thing I also thought was fascinating about Copenhagen was not just how bike-friendly the place was (Designated paths and traffic lights just for cyclists), but the fact that you would just leave your bike unlocked, and it would be perfectly fine. You would never see this in the U.S.
Before going to Rosenborg, we took a stroll though this garden that was in front of the palace.
A nice pathway that leads to a statue that tributes one of Copenhagen's most famous writers....
....one Hans Christian Andersen.
Yep, if you are sick and tired of hearing the song "Let It Go", then the blame begins with this guy as he wrote the Snow Queen, which Frozen was based off of. He was also the writer of the Little Mermaid as well.
And in the park was also one of the strangest statues I have ever seen. Plus if you get it at just the right angle......
......yep, it looks soooooo dirty!!!!!
But alas, we end this update with a preview of the next update.....A visit to Rosenborg Palace. Thanks for checking it out and I hope you enjoyed it!
"Imagine the Crystal Beach Cyclone with a Gerstlauer train!"
After taking some time to get a few other things handled, I had some time tonight to prepare some pictures of the on-going exploration of Copenhagen before the TPR Scandinavia Tour began, so let's go on with our next update:
Day 1.3: Rosenborg Palace
Rosenborg Palace was originally built in 1606 as a summertime home of Christian IV and came to it's present state in 1626. It was used as the royal residence until the year 1710, and was used only twice more for the royal family to reside. When visiting Rosenborg, there are two parts of the palace to visit. The top three floors which include many pieces of furniture, portraits and the thrones of the palace make up one part, and the basement/cellar with pieces of weaponry and the crowns of the royal family of the era make up the second part. So let's check it out!
The next stop of our exploration of Copenhagen would be Rosenborg Palace
Like Cinderella's Castle in Florida, this one also has a moat! Only there were likely never any swan boats that rode around it.
Let's head across and check it out!
Before going into the castle, you have to stop here to leave bags and pay for admission (included with our Copenhagen Cards)
As you can see, the Danish Military still places guard at this palace.
Upon entering, you find many of the rooms to be like this one with some nice open space and many portraits all over.
I believe if you push his head back, there is a red button that you can press to open a bookcase to go to the Batcave
This castle is bigger than the one at Disneyland, no?
And in here we will find....
....The royal toilet!
The different rooms also had many pieces of beautiful trip that appeared to be hand carved.
Very nice craftsmanship to be seen.
Another room. Each floor probably had around 3-5 large rooms and an additional 3-5 smaller rooms on the side.
More portraits, there were so many of them in the palace!
Spiral stairs to go up!
Many of the rooms had larger open space.
Couldn't you just see a group of guys watching a football game here? They even have individual tables for chips and dip :)
A better look at one of the portraits
Some additional artifacts. I thought the helmet here was rather neat.
When you go up to the third floor.....
...you come to where you will find the royal throne
These lion statues look as though they are there to protect the king and queen.
Another look at the royal throne.
As you can see to the other side, this room was rather large, and there was an additional throne on the other side.
I am not sure why there was only one here, but I thought that perhaps this may have been the throne if only the king or the queen was still alive.
And again, you see wonderful craftsmanship on the molding on the ceiling.
Such beautiful work
And of course, an occasional pair of boobs.....you just have to look :)
So after checking out the three floors above ground, we came back outside, and caught a changing of the guard at Rosenborg.
It was rather fascinating to see this, and it would not be the only one we would see.
When it was through, it was time to check out below ground.
"Shhh....be quiet so they don't catch us in here"
The basement featured items like swards.....
Jeff was more of a fan of the wine cellar.
The weaponry was neat to see, and I was really fascinated by this armour
Especially the elephant shoulder guards.
They even had a few cannons
As you go further down, you start getting into more valuable items. How can you tell?.....
.....Well, I assumed the vault door may be a clue. So what is in here?
Well, they have a royal staff....
...and several crowns.
A closer look at this crown.
And this update ends with another pair of crowns! The next update will end the first day of exploring Copenhagen as Jeff and I took a stroll around Nyhavn and visit the Little Mermaid Statue. Thanks for checking out the report, and I hope you all will come back for the next update!
"Imagine the Crystal Beach Cyclone with a Gerstlauer train!"
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