Week in Review: Week 3
This week had the most down time of our trip so far, which gave us a chance to relax and recharge. We made our way to northern Germany - where we had the opportunity to see the Baltic Sea for the first time, experience our first house sit, and then we travelled to Denmark - where we spent some time in rural towns and Copenhagen.
We are now heading to Norway and have started writing this review on a ferry as we travel from Denmark to Sweden. In the background is the beautiful Kronborg Castle, which is famous for being the castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. We have a 4 hour drive ahead of us, so we opted to walk around the grounds before it opened, but the view from the ferry was quite nice!
These next few days will be busy travel days, so it was nice to reflect on our relatively calm week.
Highlight of the week
Sharleen: Egeskov Castle and Gardens. We stopped by this castle on our way to Copenhagen, and we really had no idea what to expect. I had just googled cool things to see along our route, and we pulled into the parking lot for Egeskov Castle. We knew as soon as we walked toward the ticket counter that this was going to be a fun place. The organization of the grounds, gardens, museums, and castle was the most impressive we have seen yet. The grounds were huge and they had something set up for people of all ages. They had numerous play spaces and playgrounds for children; acres of gardens that you could walk through for hours; multiple buildings displaying collections of bicycles, antique motorcycles, classic cars, horse drawn carriages, and a few airplanes/flying machines; an exhibit displaying fashion from the various centuries since the castle was built; and so many other cool exhibits before you even step foot in the castle! There were also a bunch of swans and peacocks roaming around the grounds. They added some amusement for sure!
We were completely impressed with the collections and exhibits located on the grounds, and the castle was equally fun to explore. It’s still a privately owned castle, and the family lives on the grounds which we hadn’t seen in previous castles we had visited. We were impressed that they open up so much of the area to the public to view and experience, it was really such a great way to spend an afternoon. Even though it was a popular tourist destination, I think it is still a relatively hidden gem not too many people know about, which allowed us to walk around without other tourist around or in our pictures.
Darrell: My favourite part of the week was the Laboe Naval Memorial just outside of Kiel in Northern Germany. There was a 236 foot monument that was built after World War I, which was to memorialize the lost mariners. It was pretty interesting that this memorial was used by the Third Reich as propaganda. Hitler was at the inauguration of the memorial, and standing in a place where Hitler stood just seemed kind of surreal. As part of the self guided tour you also get to go up to the top of the tower and see an amazing 360 view of the channel that goes from Kiel out into the Baltic Sea. There is also a museum at the bottom where an impressive display of model ships shows you the history of Germany’s navy from wood boats to battle cruisers.
For a small additional fee, you can cross the road and walk through a decommissioned German U-Boat. This was crazy neat! I’ve watched countless movies, tv shows, and documentaries on WWII and to physically tour a submarine from 1943 was immensely cool. Well worth the stop for sure!
Least favourite part of the week
Sharleen: Ticks. We were so excited to have our first house sit of the trip this last week. We are members of a housing website, where people can apply to be house sitters for other individuals who need someone to look after their house and animals while they are away. It was our first house sit, so we didn’t really know what to expect, but were excited for the opportunity and a chance to stay in Germany for a few nights for free. That is the main benefit - as house sitters, Darrell and I, get to stay for free in houses while we house sit! Everything about the sit worked out to be great - the couple was fantastic, their dogs were super cute and gentle, and the house was very nice as well. The only issue was that it was tick season, and because they were located on a large lot with trees and tall grass, we found 4 ticks on their pups. Being from Calgary, although there definitely are ticks around there, they are something we aren’t that used to. Anytime you are confronted with something you are not familiar with, it can make you feel uneasy. So for us, this was an unknown experience that had us feeling a little bit uncomfortable. We just made sure we’d watch the dogs and ourselves after spending time outside.
Darrell: Costs in Denmark. We knew coming on this trip that the first month and a half were going to be quite pricey, and likely the most expensive part of our adventure. Germany turned out to be roughly the same as prices back home - maybe even a little cheaper for things like beer, cheese, and local produce. But Denmark is a whole different story. We were quite shocked when we crossed the border to Denmark, their prices seem crazy expensive, to the point where they are almost double the price of what we pay at home. When converting their prices to CDN dollars, chocolate bars cost $4, diesel is over $2.10/L, a burger and fries at a restaurant (from a restaurant comparable to a Chili’s) is between $30-$40. Just crazy expensive. Groceries turned out to be close to what we would pay at home, so we made sure we planned for larger breakfasts and dinners, to try to limit our food costs during the day. We’ve just arrived in Sweden and diesel seems to be the same, if not slightly higher, and groceries are about the same. So we will definitely be cooking more and eating out less. Can you say “Top Ramen” for every meal?
Favourite city/town/village visited
Sharleen: The island of Ferhmarn. While we were staying in northern Germany, we took a 15 minute drive north to the island of Fehmarn and spent some time walking along the coast of the Baltic Sea, driving through tiny villages on small roads between canola fields. It was such a relaxing day, and I love when we can jump in our car and drive with no plans. We enjoyed a few hours making our way all around the island, stoping to walk around towns and the beach. It was a gorgeous day with deep blue skies and a warm sun, so it was great to be outside as well. We stopped at a local beach snack hut and tried currywurst for the first time - a menu item we have seen all over Germany. We slowly made our way to the cute town of Orth, on the south west side of the island. We enjoyed a cappuccino and cake on a patio near the boating dock, all while watching the sailboats come in and out of the harbour. The area reminded us of any small harbour town on Vancouver Island. We also learned a very important sign, “Bitte au tresen bestseller”, which means “please order at the counter”. However, we only found this out after waiting on the patio for quite a few minutes :)
Darrell: Copenhagen. This was our only major city this week, and it was such a cool place! It’s one of those cities that is photographed and filmed so often, so I was excited to see the modern architecture and canals. We bought a Copenhagen Card which gave us access to a bunch of exhibits, museums, tours, and sights. We started the day walking the streets of Copenhagen, near the main canals, before getting a canal boat tour. It was a great way to see the city and get an idea of what other places we’d like to visit. After the canal tour, we continued to stroll the walkways of central Copenhagen, which led us to the new Danish Architecture Centre. When I think of Denmark I think of innovative architecture and crazy designs, so it was awesome to visit DAC and see some of the history of housing in Denmark and Europe. After a quick bite to eat for lunch, we went to visit the Copenhagen Zoo. I’m a little on the fence with zoos in general, but every once in a while it is interesting to visit one and see animals we would otherwise have no way of ever seeing. Sharleen found this zoo particularly entertaining because there were so many baby animals! Maybe it’s because it’s spring time, but it seemed like there were babies in almost every exhibit. There were baby brown bears, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, ducks, lions, kangaroos, literally almost all of the animals! Another awesome part of the zoo was the rhino exhibit. Sharleen and I had never recalled seeing rhinos before, and the exhibit was done really well so we really enjoyed seeing these huge animals, especially the adorable baby rhino.
Sharleen and Darrell: Tacos at Hija de Sanchez. We know what you are thinking…Tacos in Europe? But these tacos were amazing, and something we were looking forward to trying since we decided to go to Copenhagen. We are fans of Netflix food documentaries (basic millennial thing), and maybe we even consider ourselves foodies. We recently watched Ugly Delicious, and they featured this restaurant as one of the best in Copenhagen, it’s even considered one of the best 50 restaurants in the world. The owner is Rosio Sanchez, and she has also worked as a pastry chef at Noma, which is the best restaurant in the world right now and also located in Copenhagen. So, needless to say, we had been excited to try these tacos. We ordered a combo of all three of their tacos - pork and pineapple, beef and salsa, and a zucchini and cheese. All three were amazing! Both of us scarfed them down so fast, and loved each of the very different flavours. After sitting in the sun for 15 minutes, enjoying our cold Mexican beers, we decided we needed to have more of these delicious foldable delights, so we each grabbed two more. They were so tasty! We highly recommend them to anyone who will be visiting Copenhagen. A combo (3 tacos) with a beer comes to just under $27 Canadian. That may seem pricey, but this was very reasonable compared to other menus we had seen in Copenhagen. Overall we were so happy with our experience, we even find ourselves reminiscing about how delicious they were! It made this week’s favourite meal an easy one to choose.