Bergen, Norway was wonderful and I hated to leave for a number of reasons. Very relaxing, friendly, good food, a nice little place called Cafe Opera, beautiful Yule lights at night, cold crisp air, great company and lots of sleep.
I went onto Oslo for two days and arrived when former US President Jimmy Carter was being given the Nobel Peace Prize. Oslo itslef I did not have a lot of time to explore but I was not happy at all about the accommodations. As I jokingly told one of my sisters, it was like Oslo Bates Hotel. I had a non-smoking room but the hall was filled with smoke and I could smell the man smoking next door. That same man has a tuberculosis-like cough that made my skin crawl all night and day. Late at night there were two men who kept walking and running up and down the hall talking in angry tones and furtive voices. The toilet and shower down the hall were not all that appealing….and I had paid for a double bed and TV in my room….for a single bed and no TV. And then, hilariously, when I opened my curtain I had a glorious view, two feet away, of a WALL. Needless to say I was mighty glad to board the train to Stockholm.
Now Stockholm was very nice…..the hostel had a SAUNA and hot showers, laundry facilities, and clean smokefree bedrooms. Met some cool people from Romania, Mexico and Australia. I did not see much of Stockholm, just some statues and then there was a massive dance party being DJed by The Ministry of Sound at a club.
Now I am in Copenhagen and enjoying it a lot. I have taken a tour around the city – which is not so big as the map makes it appear. I have seen several castles, the Hans Christian Anderson statue, The Little Mermaid statue, the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Slot(Castle), which is the winter residence of Queen Margrethe. People are being very nice to me because I am a young American woman traveling alone. Had some free drinks and met some nice people at breakfast at the hostel. Later I am going to the Tivoli Gardens. It is a sort of amusement park, garden, festival place, right in the center of Copenhagen. I am also visiting Roskilde outside the city to see the Viking ships museum; Fredericksborg Slot (Castle) which is what Hamlet is based upon; and the Karen Blixen Museum. Blixen is the author you may know as Isaak Dinesen of “Out of Africa” fame.
Much of what is here was built by King Christian IV, who apparently not only produced lots of building, but impregnated his wife and mistresses to the tune of 23 children.
Oh – and did I tell you I am staying around the corner from the “Exciting Sex Shop”? I have no idea where the boring one is, but I will take a photograph of this…..along with mementos from the Museum of Erotica they have here. Over 20 galleries of it…can you believe it? Danes seem delve into sex with relish and revel in it. I have seen a lot of very young single mothers around…one wonders about King Christian IV handing down his legacy!
Many people here wearing fur coats, men and women. You do not see this so much in the USA. I can also tell there is a distinct class issue happening with some. There are some very expensive stores here and the cost of living is high. They pay high taxes here too, but they also benefit from it in terms of social welfare (free schooling including university educations, medical care, unemployment, tax assistance …)
Well, going to find lunch……..