Helsingor

One of the most visited town for tourists visiting CPH because it’s only a 45min train ride away. A return ticket cost around 90DKK x 2 = 180 DKK. However, if you are just making a day trip, Helsingor is within the 5 zones and you can buy a unlimited ride day pass which only cost 130 DKK. (Saves you about $20 CAD)

Train travel in Denmark is very comfortable and convenient. The lovely thing is that the train stations all look very unique. This is the Helsingor Train Station. Looks like a chateau!

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Helsingborg is a small city near the port. On clear sunny days, you can see Sweden from Helsingborg. The main attraction here is Krongborg Slot.

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But the town itself is very old and shouldn’t be missed. You can expect one of those tiny cozy towns with colorful houses dotting narrow cobblestone streets.

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Among the historical buildings, this cathedral stood out. The brick work is very interesting, the patterns are bold. The garden is well kept.

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The jewel of this cathedral is the courtyard. There’s something so captivating about a perfectly squared courtyard with a single tree in the middle. For whatever reason, it felt nostalgic like I’ve seen this before. But among my travels, I don’t recall ever seeing this.

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I wandered out to the docks. The weather was fantastic before, but the clouds moved in quickly.  Created the perfect sky backdrop for this shot.

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Selfie: No pole climbing here.

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Close to the docks you will see an interesting building. It’s a community centre/ public library. You can’t miss it when you go because it is one of the more modern looking structures. I love how Danes really focus on getting light into buildings. It’s dark most of the time in Denmark, so they use larger windows and a lot of glass to maxim light from the sun.

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Hi, would you mind taking a photo for me please?

One of the woes of traveling alone, is getting a photo for yourself. Normally it’s fine, I prefer to be behind the camera. But, there are moments where I wish someone would hold the camera for me. Today was one of those days. I visited Kronborg Slot today. Having studied Hamlet so intensely in school, it was one of those moments where I really wanted a GOOD photo of me with the castle.

So, I had to pull a touristy: “Hi, would you mind taking a photo for me please?”

I normally don’t like to give my camera to someone else. Handing over my most valued possession to a complete stranger just doesn’t sit well with me. But if I have to, there are 2 broad groups of people I target.

1. Couples
I normally target couples because there would be 2 of them. If they are tourists themselves, than the likelihood of them running away with my camera is lowered.

2. Fellow Camera User (Nikon users preferred)
Then there are those fellow camera users. I usually check what camera they are using. If they are using a half frame, then I normally set it to AP for them. If they are using a full frame, I normally set it on Manual mode with all the settings I already had -assuming that most full frame user uses manual mode. I assume that because they own their own camera and probably wouldn’t need to steal mine.

I also never hand my camera to someone that looks flimsy, high maintenance people who look like they can’t lift and hold steady my 10lb gear.

Anyways, I side tracked a bit, but for a good reason. Today I wanted a photo with Kornborg Slot. The first time, I asked these 2 nice looking middle aged ladies to help me take a photo. She doesn’t look like she’s ever held a DSLR before, but that’s fine. I switched it on live view, and changed all the settings to automatic for her. So I get into the shot, and she’s fiddling with the camera. Then she looked up from the camera and asked me how to adjust the zoom. I had my wide on for her, so she should be able to get the whole castle and me in it. But she wanted to adjust the zoom, so I showed her. And this was the result:

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This is the picture I took of the castle standing at the same spot as her. I set EVERYTHING up for her, so she can get the WHOLE CASTLE, and not just half of it. Argh. Thanks anyways nice lady.

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So, disappointed, but not defeated, I walked into the castle and it looked really cool. I was standing around, trying to take selfies. Then I saw target #2. Fellow DSLR user (NIKON = BONUS). He was using at D300s, super high end pro full frame. His wife was there too. I had high hopes. I set the settings properly into manual. I got into the shot. He came forward to frame, got down onto 1 knee for a better shot. All I could think of was: “Wow, fantastic!”. He’s framing, he’s getting it from a lower angle, the towers are going to be in frame too!

And here’s the shot:

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He framed it, but heck! WHY IS THE TOILET SIGN THERE! IT COVERED THE TOWER!! I was so upset. I didn’t want to ask him to do it again because I felt bad. And this was the shot he could have taken…

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Anyways, I gave up and did a selfie.

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Rain on my holiday. It’s fine with me.

Needless to describe how rainy the weather is in CPH. The wind was gusting up to 28km/hr. I road a bike I borrowed from Heidi for the first time, and boy was is scary. The wind was so strong, especially when it was blowing from sideways. I thought I was going to fall over on my bike. Either way, despite the rainy weather, I got up fairly early and left the apartment at 10am. I made my way to Torvehallerne again for breakfast.

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I decided to start with fresh juice. This time, I tried the carrot and ginger one. It was tasty, but I think tomorrow I will have the avocado one again. ūüôā I ordered a large this time, and it cost 60DKK (that’s a bit more than $10 CAD)

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I walked pass the smorrebord place again, and decided to pass for now because I will be having some with Heidi & Co. this weekend.

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I headed over to the other building for some fresh pastry. I ordered a croissant to see how it was compared to the ones in Paris.

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And the verdict was… very tasty. Comparable to the ones in Paris. The croissant was very crispy on the outside, and soft and slightly chewy on the inside. I can taste the butter flavour more in this croissant than the other ones. But I wouldn’t say that it’s more oily or anything a regular croissant.

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Being satisfied for now, I headed for the Stork Fountain. It’s an old street that’s pedestrian only, filled with all your brand name shops.

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I went right to Illums Bolighus. It is one of the largest design shop for home and furnishings, carrying works from major danish designers. Here are a few snaps of goodies I found.

Beautiful 3 piece mirror. I’ll take the sofa too.

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And what do you think of this Carl Hansen & Son piece called the Shell Chair.  Only 5k CAD. They deliver worldwide by the way!

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As for me, I would not be able to afford anything in this shop. Maybe these miniature ones.

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It was raining pretty hard and the wind was gusting like crazy when I was ready to leave. So I went inside another shopping mall, and browsed around. This one looked like the one in Paris.

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When the rain died down, I headed for nyhavn, got lost and ended up in Christianshavn.

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Coffee break from the cold weather. I have to say, good coffee is hard to come by in CPH. I’ve only had good coffee at The Coffee Collective. I’ve tried 3 different shops, and I’ve been disappointed 3 times. My latte taste worst than the ones from McDonald’s back home. It’s so watery, can’t taste the coffee, and the milk taste like water too.

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Anyways, I walked along the canal, to check out these new buildings. They were once old industrial building. Efforts were made to turn them into new office buildings. So here it goes, my first shot at architecture photography.

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Getting Lost

Whenever I visit a new city, I always make a point to get lost.  Instructions on how to get completely lost:
1. Throw away map.
2. Take off your watch or leave it at home.
3. When in doubt of directions. Just keep walking.

I watched how cyclists navigate through traffic.¬† Observing their hand signals, and how they go about crossing intersections.¬† I’ll be borrowing a bike from Heidi soon.

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Hands down to Danish brick work. It’s amazing. Interesting patterns combined with intricate work.

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And of course, dainty small shops line the streets.

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I stopped by a bakery that had their own stone oven. Heidi mentioned that they were famous for their bread. So I decided to have a prosciutto and cheese sandwich. The bread was made of various grains, nice and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The bakery was cozy, with a nice sitting area.

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After 4 hours of wandering, I ended up back in front of the apartment I’m staying in. Not too shabby for a first day of feeling out the city.

So Danish

After much tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep last night at 3am.¬† When I woke up it was already 12 noon.¬† I must have been super exhausted.¬† Realizing that I already lost the morning, I headed out for Torvehallerne.¬† It’s one of the biggest markets in Copenhagen featuring the best meat cuts, fresh fish, and small food stalls for people to eat in at the bars or take out.¬† The market looks very posh and so Danish.¬† The whole building is class to allow for ample amount of sunlight in and allows those outside to see all the happenings inside the market.

 

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There’s definitely something for everyone.¬† Cheese shop…

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Bottled juice goodness…

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Danish baked goodies filled the air, tempting all by-passers.

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An abundance of fresh vegetables. Perfectly arranged, grown in a nice shape. The Danes approve.

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Here, I also had my first Mikkeller beer. And let me tell you, it’s so good!! SO GOOD! They were recently featured in the NY Times.¬† I’m not a big beer drinker, but boy did the beer go down easily with a smoked salmon asparagus smorrebord.¬† I’m going to make sure I have a few more pints of Mikkeller before I go home.

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And if only I had more room in my tummy..

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I also tried an avocado, citrus, ginger juice from the juice bar. Their tag line? Look good naked! (So Danish) Great message, hits home, sticks with you. Bravo once again to the Danes.

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..and as for my juice? Delicious!! You can barely taste the avocado, but the consistency is there. You can taste the ginger, and citrus.

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And as always, there is a focus on relaxing, comfort and enjoying life. Like these girls..

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And this couple, stealing a kiss behind the lemon tree.

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“Welcome to the happiest nation in the world”

After a sleepy 12 hour journey from YYZ to CPH, with a short layover in FRA, I finally arrived.¬† Transportation was super simple, I hopped onto the Metro and within 20 mins I was in city entre Copenhagen.¬† Hassle and stress free!¬† “Welcome to the happiest nation in the world” – Carlsberg.

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I found my way to the Airbnb apartment fairly easily, showered and met up with Heidi.¬† It’s been a super long time since I’ve last met her, must have been either a few Christmases ago, or even way back when I went to Zurich for backpacking.¬† Either way, it’s always so wonderful to meet up with old friends.¬† We strolled through a very large cemetery that was very much like a park.¬† It would be a fantastic place to do morning runs.¬† Good things I packed my runners.¬† We met up with another friend and leisurely strolled around the neighborhood dotted with many specialty shops.

Very jet lagged and tired from traveling we made a stop at the Coffee Collective.¬† It’s one of the most popular coffee places in Copenhagen that prides itself in fair trade coffee.¬† I ordered an half espresso half milk.¬† It was delicious.¬† I almost wanted another cup, but I thought that I should hold back because I should try to sleep tonight.¬† All for a cost of 33 DKK, was very worth it.¬† I know where I’ll be spending my lazy days.

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After some quick catching up, we decided to head to the grocery store near by and pick up some take home dinner.  I decided to satisfy my fish craving and go with a smoked salmon salad and yogurt.  Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt, it taste very much like a greek yogurt.  Thick, creamy and not overly sweet.

 

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Going to take it easy for the reset of the night.¬† Unfortunately, the adapter I bought for this trip has a ground, and for some reason there are no plugs in this apartment that has a ground.¬† I’m going to need to borrow one from Heidi tomorrow, or see if the lady here has one I can use while I’m here.

 

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La Vinia

On Saturday night I was sweped away by an elaborate plan orchestrated by Ru and made possible by R.  I was taken to a surprise birthday dinner with a promise that the food will wow me.

We arrived at a small homey restaurant called La Vinia. ¬†The waiters and waitresses were pleasant. ¬†They were very helpful with the menu and gave some really good recommendations too. ¬†Everything looked so delicious, I’m pretty sure we ended up ordering half the menu.

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Gambas al Ajillo: Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic and Olive Oil.  The shrimp was very fresh. It came out in a cast iron pan that was still sizzling hot.  The shrimp was perfectly done.  I would imagine it would be slight under cooked before it was served, and as the food is being served it continues to cook so that when it arrives on my plate, it was perfect.  Very tasty and fresh.  The garlic does not over power the fresh shrimp flavour.

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Sweetbread:  Sweetbreads or ris are  the thymus  (also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) of the calf or lamb.  This was slightly gamey. The sauce was heaven.  It was creamy, with lots of spices, and a bit of carrots.  Perfect for dipping fresh bread with.

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Pimientos del Piquill: Piquilo Peppers Stuffed with a Seafood Mouse and an Anisete cream.  The pepper was cooked until it was soft and tender. The seafood mousse was a light cream, with a bit of a salty seafood taste to it.  There was pieces of crab meat in it as well.  This was added to another personal favourite.

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Calamares a la Plancha:  Grilled Calamari with Chilli oil.  The calamari had a slightly charred flavour to it.  It has that crispy savory taste to it.  It was served with a generous drizzle of chili oil which gave the squid a very aromatic flavour.  It was grilled perfectly, not to raw so that it was slimy  but not too cooked either to make it take like rubber.

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Pulpo a la Gallega: Poached Octopus Marinated in Olive Oil and Piment√≥n. The octopus was so soft, and so flavourful. ¬†We had to ask the waiter how it was prepared. The waiter said that the octopus was tenderized before being cooked by beating. ¬†Then it was poached for in broth. ¬†I’ve never tasted octopus so soft before. ¬†The chewy elastic texture is completely gone.

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Jam√≥n Ib√©rico: Spanish¬†Ib√©rico Ham.¬† I could seriously eat this all day.¬†¬†Ib√©rico is the Spanish’s version of prosciutto.¬† It was slightly salty, the a similar texture as prosciutto.¬† Excellent with wine and fresh bread. Writing about this post makes me want to go back from some more ib√©rico.

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Seafood: We also had this seafood dish which had scallop, mussles, shrimp served with a light tomato based sauce. The flavour was light, not over powering the seafood.  This dish compared to all the other ones was good, but not as outstanding.

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Fideu√°: Spanish Catalonia Style Spaghetti Pasta with Shrimp, Calamari, Scallops, Monkfish.¬† This is a pasta version of paellas.¬† We ordered it because we though the concept was very unique.¬† The flavouring used such as safforn, and other spice is like the traditional paella, except it is made with pasta and not rice.¬† The pasta was thick, perfectly al dante to my taste.¬† First bite, and this reminded me of chinese noodles. Haha.. I know it sounds weird, but it’s good noodle, with a nice broth and seafood.¬† Very tasty, and I’m glad we tried it.

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Paella de Marisco: Spanish Saffron Rice with Shrimp, Calamari, Mussels, Scallops, Monkfish and Clams.¬† Paella, the chef’s pride.¬† The paella was traditionally made with fine safforn spice, infused with flavours of the seafood.¬† The rice was soft, but not overly cooked.¬† The flavour was fantastic, with lots of seafood flavour from the shrimp, mussels and calamari. This has got to be the best paella I’ve had since Barcelona. A+++

An assortment of desserts to finish off the night.

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Mango cheese cake

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Lemon Sorbet

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Raspberry Sorbet

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Chocolate Tartufo

Where: La Vinia
Location: Toronto, Ontario
What: Almost half the menu. Too many dishes to list. See above.
Verdict: Highly recommended. Would definitely go back.
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