Have you thought about a cruise visit to the Baltics, territories that gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (from north to south). One of our clients offered this very interesting diary of a summer trip and we thought you might enjoy reading it.
We made a list of the places we want to see and this destination was in the top 5. Exploring this region, medieval towns, churches, history, fairy tales and towns where time has stopped would be surreal. Regent had a very special deal and here is the diary of a trip of a lifetime…Scandinavia / Russia and cruising the Baltic Sea.
Day 1- Thursday evening departure, arrive Copenhagen 2 p.m. Friday Afternoon
We flew on Scandinavian Air Service (SAS) from Chicago (10 p.m. departure, 1 p.m. arrival, 9-hour flight) non-stop to Copenhagen, arriving at an unusual airport with all-wood floors. It appeared to be Brazilian Teak throughout the entire airport. Copenhagen is s a very pretty port city. The economy here looks thriving (our driver confirmed there was virtually no unemployment) and the city is packed with natives and tourists. The streets are filled with small cars and twenty and thirty-somethings riding bicycles. We checked into Hotel D’Angeleterre, Kongens, Nytorv 34 in the middle of the downtown square. The hotel is more than likely on a historical register, lively and lovely, with gorgeous paintings, exquisite flowers (orchids & roses everywhere) Old World charm and plenty of unusual characters milling around on the street and in the hotel. The beds and pillows are heavenly and quite European. Electricity only works here in your room if you have your key card inserted, a nice way to conserve energy. Other guests here have included former USA presidents (Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower) and entertainers (Cher, Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi), plus many more.
After some rest and a shower, we had a late breakfast at the little café which is part of the hotel on the street. Absolutely delicious roast beef hash with Eggs Benedict. Now time to see Copenhagen! We took a historical harbor tour on a little tourist boat and it was lovely. Canals with sailboats, both old and new, apartments overlooking the canals and restaurants everywhere. Also, some historical sights including a red fort (used only once to protect the city) and the Little Mermaid, a famous harbor statue known to all citizens of Copenhagen. The mermaid’s creator was also a resident of the city – we saw Hans Christian Anderson’s residence for nine years of his life. And, since it was Friday night all of the restaurants are filled with fun, beer and people. The shops are packed, quaint stores everywhere in addition to LaPearla, LaCosta and the same high-end types form the USA. Charming narrow alleys filled with them and many shoppers and buyers.
It’s evening, and everyone has recommended we see the Tivoli Gardens, the carnival that inspired Walt Disney to make Disneyland. It’s a very unusual place, a massive garden ($20US) to get in. It is basically a flower field, well-cared for and hundreds of restaurants with a few carnival type of rides. The floating ponds and water lilies were the most beautiful. We left as it was far too crowded and commercial for us. We ended up at a bar / restaurant (élan) near our hotel and had an impressive red wine with pate’ and cheeses for dinner (though note that Copenhagen can be an expensive place to dine.)
Both our hotel concierge and taxi driver told us that if you had only one day in Copenhagen, the things to see were the Tivoli Garden and the harbor (cruise). In retrospect, we’d take the harbor cruise again in a heartbeat, but would pass on the Tivoli Garden.