Copenhagen: Wake me up when it's over

Trip Start Apr 11, 2007
Trip End Apr 25, 2008

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Flag of Denmark  ,
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Having survived through the most depressing Christmas we'd ever experienced, i.e. sprawled over the couch both dead sick with the flu watching non-stop TV and eating not much more than a raw carrot, we kinda knew from the off-start that our first winter northern hemisphere New Year celebration might not be as fun and exciting as we had originally hoped for. 
Not feeling any better on December 28th than I had on the 24th, I dragged myself out of bed to go to work to only last there for 45minutes before being taken home because I obviously wasn't feeling very well.  Ignoring the whole sharing of great Christmas Day stories in conversation probably gave it away.  I gave a mediocre attempt at convincing people I was fine but had barely any energy to sit up straight let alone win a debate so I didn't complain at being dropped off home and spending the day yet again dozing on the couch watching continuous Canada's Next Top Model episodes and finish packing during the ad breaks.
Rang up taxi in plenty of time to make it to the airport early - decided it'd be cheaper than driving and paying for airport parking.  Unfortunately the taxi didn't show up when we had wanted (needed) it to and as the time got closer and closer to critical point we ended up cancelling the taxi that was "stuck in traffic and couldn't give any estimate whatsoever of how long it would take" and drove the car to the airport.
John dropped me off at the check-in while he went to park the car and we were pretty proud of ourselves for averting the risk of taking the taxi and missing the time to check-in.  Went to check-in dreading the fact that I knew I would have to pay extra for the bag I decided I would take after our original booking only to find out that we weren't on the flight at all.  Didn't really sink in at first and even when she pointed out that my confirmation email said Saturday and not Friday (a piece of paper that I had looked at and checked more than several times) I thought there must be some sort of mistake.  Surely the universe could not be that cruel to me right now.
In blinding panic we rushed over to the customer service area to see if we could swap our tickets to get on the flight that was leaving in 45 minutes.  The salesperson wasn't very sympathetic and was convincing us that maybe we take a train or bus up to Dublin instead.  We considered it but realised we had no idea where the stations in Cork were let alone where to park the car while we were away and then if we were lucky to even get a train or bus ticket it would still take FOUR hours to actually get up to Dublin and since we had booked a hotel for that night and waking up at 4am the next morning we thought it was best to get there the sooner the better.
Not matter what the cost.
Unfortunately with Ryan Air it costs 350 euro to CHANGE flights it was a teensy tiny bit cheaper to spend 300 euro and just buy new tickets to get on that flight.  I couldn't get over the fact that I had mucked up booking the flights but at least the problem was solved and we would still make it to Copenhagen.  We'd just be significantly poorer.
Got to Dublin Airport where we had a free (and very convenient) transfer to our nearby hotel, had room service for dinner then had a bad night's sleep as woke up early from coughing and spluttering over the place and then I knew the wake-up call would be in any second so I couldn't fall back asleep.
Up at 4:30am we got to the airport in a complete daze.  I can't remember it at all. Found a place in the airport that had food so lined up to get the world's biggest omelette.  We shared it between ourselves and still didn't even come close to finishing it.  Had a really good smoothie as well which was worth the 20 minute wait (or however long it was).
Flight to Copenhagen was fine, I just wanted to sleep for the entire 2 hour flight but of course me sleeping at night in a comfortable bed is near impossible let alone a vertical ironing board known as airplane seats.  You think the one good thing about having the flu is that you'd be so drowsy you could just sleep all the time at any time of day.......doesn't happen when it comes to me unfortunately.....i just get more and more tired and therefore more grumpy and more of a constant feeling of crappiness.
Arrived in Copehagen early on Saturday, 29th December but absolutely feeling far too wrecked to even consider exploring the city which was our original plan.  After a much needed hot chocolate in the local Starbucks listening to christmas music and trying to work out the currency conversion from euros to danish krones, we decided to just make tracks to Lund in Sweden where we had accommodation for the first two nights.
The train system was easy to figure out and really good to use.  I love the trains in Europe.  We'll never have anything that even comes close to it in New Zealand so gotta enjoy it while we can. 
Went on a bridge that was over water and then all of a sudden we weren't in Denmark anymore Toto.  Was pretty strange it only took a couple of minutes to cross from one country to another.  Being a kiwi I guess it's a concept that takes a small while to grasp. ............... Ok. Think I've got it now though.
Arrived in Lund ready to just hit the ground and not move for days.  But no, had a rucksack to carry around which is always fun when you're sick.  Met up with Jiveen and the canadian couple Ariel-Ann and Adam who's place we'd be staying at.  Had another hot chocolate - a swedish one this time though - before trekking it off to their place.  Jiveen was nice enough to carry my rucksack for me, otherwise I might have taken a couple of days to eventually get there.
Spent the rest of the day chatting away and also meeting another canadian Kate and her boyfriend Tony, who is originally from Cork but they're living in Germany.  It ended up being a right international mix with only Aontacht actually coming from his native country.  I skipped forward there - Katie, a kiwi, and her irish boyfriend arrived later on that night, I was already in bed fast asleep.
Hanging out in Lund was good, I felt like I hadn't sleep in weeks and my lungs had been replaced by a cactus, or maybe even cacti? But it was good to just blob out on the couch and chat with new and interesting people.  I crowned myself World's Most Annoying Guest for 2007 as not only did I show up to a person's house with the remnants of a bad flu but but I was in the middle of a strict health regime to clear up my sinuses (nasal polyps to be exact for those of you playing at home) so NO wheat, NO potatoes, NO tomatoes, NO cucumbers, NO peanuts, NO rhubarb and NO enjoyment from food whatsoever.  Ok I'm kidding about the last item because I could still eat chocolate but seriously, who would want me at their house? A sick, tired, extremely fussy eater who had completely forgotten that group meals may be ever so slightly difficult.  Considering I hadn't eaten a proper meal for a week I guess it was one of the last things on my mind.  Extremely fortunate for me Ariel-Ann and Adam were really accommodating and completely went out of their way for me.  I did consider just eating tomato pasta (and the pancakes for breakfast the next day......ahhhh that was torture) but I was almost halfway in my 8 week regime and considering it was for health reasons and I was sick with something else......probably wouldn't have been a good time for my body to handle it. 
They were so sweet and went out to get me a kebab but of course I had failed to mention that I never eat pork......been doing that since I was born so wasn't something I could really slide so John ate it instead and Adam ended up making me my very own omelette! Felt soooo spoilt! I hope they were serious when they said they enjoy cooking......otherwise I probably deserve all my bad luck for being such an absolute pain in the arse.
Went to bed around midnight because I could barely handle keeping my eyes open.  Let's just say the lights were on but no-one was home.  Had my ear plugs with me like I always do so even though the rest of the group stayed up drinking and chatting till 4:30am I'm pretty sure I was sound asleep and didn't wake up till everyone started getting up the next day which was to my shocking surprise close to 1pm!
After everyone had their morning showers and ate breakfast it was well after 4pm and already dark so it was a really short day.  We went out into Lund to feel like we were actually in a foreign country.  It was dead quiet and so dark (and pretty damn cold) but from what we saw it kinda reminded me of parts of Holland with the cobblestones, trees, roads and the very few people around cycling.
Jiveen, John and I were starving so took a detour to a restaurant while the others went elsewhere - there was barely anything open and we knew anywhere would be pricey so ended up settling for a chinese restaurant.  It wasn't great - I really was craving japanese instead - but it was food.  Weird to have eaten chinese in Sweden but hey when you eat japanese in Paris - anything goes.
On New Year's Eve Jiveen, John and I woke up early so that way we could train it to Copenhagen and explore the city that we came all this way to see.  It wasn't snowing the entire time we were in Scandinavia but that morning it was definitely icy and had to be careful walking around - especially with the packs on our backs.  Nice ride into Copenhagen, got off at a train station which ended up being exactly where we needed to be.  It was opposite Tivoli which I guess is kinda like a theme park but unfortunately it was closed.  We found our hotel which was close enough to the station but we couldn't check in till 2pm so getting up early ended up being a waste of time.  We were hungry so searched for a place serving food that was actually open. Found a restaurant which had a decent enough menu with a brunch item of basically containing every single piece of food we could possibly want.  Happily ordered it only to find out they were out of it as supplies were low during Christmas and New Years....settled for a cesar salad which wasn't good.  Pricey too.  As expected in Denmark.
We were then going to walk around Copenhagen but got the impression everything was shut and it was cold and we were absolutely wrecked but needed to save up any possible energy that we could for New Year Eve celebrations that night.  Went back to the hotel to check in and went straight to our beds to snooze for the afternoon. 
Had dinner booked at a restaurant in Copenhagen for New Years - the first booking had been a couple of hundred euros EACH for a set menu.  Have I mentioned that Scandinavia ain't cheap? But thankfully we managed to have dinner at this cool restaurant which was a buffet - but a GOOD buffet - with meditterannean type dishes mmmm the feta cheese, hummus, greek thingies dolomites?? And the falafels were possibly the best things I had tasted for a long time.  Ended up costing around 50 euro per person which is expensive in other countries but pretty damn good for New Years in Copenhagen.
As the evening went on I continued to feel more tired and generally like crap.  I was a long way away from full recovery.  I just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep but thought it'd be stupid to be sleeping at midnight on New Years after coming all this way. 
Watched the fireworks in the nearby square which was absolutely insane.  The noise was deafening and like a worldwide rice krispies explosion.  Every so often there'd be delayed bangs which sounded like a bomb going off. Locals let off fireworks in every which direction so had to be on ball to notice that someone standing next to you might just light off a firework next to your feet.  It was constant and just kept going on for what seemed like forever.  I only knew it was 2008 when John came over to wish me a Happy New Year - there was no countdown or anything.  After midnight I was ready to crash and had the patience and temperament of a tired 2 year old.  John walked me back to the hotel and we soon found out that fireworks didn't happen at any one particular place for New Years but anywhere there was a person with firecrackers, matches and some ground.  No wonder there were police officers walking around in practically full armour. 
Crashed back at the hotel and only woke up when John and Jiveen made it back around 7am because John wouldn't stop coughing and I was going to sum up enough energy to smother him with a pillow.  Woke up around 10am to shower, get ready and head down for breakfast at the hotel.  I still felt like absolute crap with the flu but was pretty smug at the fact I was one of the few people in the world up at 11am on New Years without a hangover. 
Breakfast was good. No bacon and eggs but for a wheat-free breakfast it was at least edible and tasty.  Went back to the room to muster up the lads for a day of sightseeing and actually exploring Copenhagen before we left the next day.  Jiveen was on the same wavelength and was feeling half-decent but John was dead to the world and wasn't even going to consider the idea of leaving his bed.  So Jiveen and I wrapped up to survive the cold outdoors and see what this whole Copenhagen was all about.
Not a lot really.  Going abroad for New Years isn't exactly the best idea in the world as it seems everything closes down and it just feels like a ghost town. 
New Zealanders complain they aren't up to "European Standards" with being available 365 days of the year but they're seriously mistaken.  It was near impossible to just find a place to get a hot chocolate.  We did find a place at Nyhavn - the canal in Copenhagen with colourful houses which seems to be the one of the few sights to see - so that way Jiveen could get a bite to eat and me with my daily fix of hot chocolate.  Unfortunately it didn't taste anything like a hot chocolate and I had to excuse myself to the bathroom thinking that I was going to throw up.  I couldn't finish the glass which NEVER happens to me but it really didn't taste right.  Made me feel queasy for the rest of the day which was just brilliant. 
Saw a few things while walking around like the queen's palace and the marble church and some canals and an outdoor ice-skating rink but since everywhere was deserted (and we weren't in the best of forms) there wasn't much to hold our excitement.  It started to drizzle so we made it back to the hotel to join in with John's bad movie watching on TV and general laziness.  Had to make a plan of attack about dinner and I was adamant I was going to have japanese before returning back to Ireland.  Found 2 possibilities in books but of course chances they were even open were slim.  Headed out to hopefully find japanese food to appear magically before us and not far from our hotel we noticed wagamama was open. WOOHOO problem solved.  Not exactly what we were craving but it was close enough.  Unfortunately during the meal I had to run to the bathroom really feeling like I was going to throw up this time.  Of course I didn't because I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than vomit (not literally) but I honestly thought I was going to.  Couldn't hang out in a place with food anymore and waited outside to get some fresh air before heading back to the hotel.
Left early the next morning to make our flight.  It was snowing while we were walking to the train station which was pretty cool - for the novelty of the whole thing - and we got to the airport incredibly easy.  I love transport by train! Had to queue for ages to check-in but eventually got there and we got on our flight with no worries at all.  Even bumped into Katie and Aontacht who were on the same flight back to Dublin.  Poor Katie was getting sick with the flu while I was recovering from it - I swear it wasn't my fault though! Loads of people were sick over Christmas and New Years....January is just a really depressing month over this side of the world. 
I was stressed out for half of the flight because we were delayed and we had to be in Dublin by a certain time in order to catch our flight to Cork.  I was definitely NOT going to fork out another 300 euro to fly home.  We got off the plane as quickly as we could and I ran through the passport control and baggage claim area leaving John to pick up our bags.  I found the check-in desk for Ryan Air and explained the situation to them - which was that the gate for the flight to Cork closed at 12:35 and our flight only landed at 12:10 and you can never know how long luggage will take.  Thankfully by some small miracle - maybe it was balance being restored from being shit out of luck for so long.  But we were out of the plane around 12:20 and John managed to get our bags and be up at the Ryan Air desk at 12:30.  I was texting him to leave the bags behind if need be because I really was going to get on that plane.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Thankfully, we boarded it on time and everything went smoothly from there on.  We got home tired and ready to presume our positions lying on the couch with our blankets and pillows watching TV dreading having to be at work the next day.  It wasn't the best New Years ever but at least it was a winter northern hemisphere experience and we'll never complain about New Years in NZ ever again! We normally alternate with crap and excellent New Years so for 2009 we'll be due a good one - as long as it's not freezing cold and I don't have the'll be all good.
Or so I hope. 
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