Recently, I spent a few short days in Copenhagen. I returned on August Bank Holiday Monday – which feels like months ago - when in fact it was only just over 2 weeks ago today. The main reason I visited the capital city of Denmark was to see Volbeat play a headline show in a stadium – but when booking I decided to hang around a little longer than the gig to take in a bit of the city. Before this trip, I’d never been to any of the Scandinavian countries – I had heard good things about Copenhagen but I was told I would need to take a fair bit of money with me as it was expensive. With that in mind, I flew out early on the Saturday morning but travelled to Gatwick Airport the night before. It was significantly cheaper to get a return train ticket and a hotel for the night than to get a return taxi which was nice and something I will consider doing again. I did have to trust Southern Rail which I was apprehensive about, given their poor press recently – but credit where it is due, it got me to the airport with barely any delay. I had thought about sitting down in the airport bar with a beer but going down there made me want to retreat to the relative comfort of my hotel room. Thoughts of sacking off the entire trip and just heading home the next morning entered my head but they went away fairly quickly – I write it off to just being nervous about travelling to a new part of the world by myself.
The first day of the trip was a long day. I woke up about 4.30 in the morning to make sure I got an early enough bus to get to the terminal to have a bite to eat and get through security. I find it amusing how some people still don’t understand the process of going through security. Anyway, after circling the post-security area of Gatwick until my gate was called, I was still feeling tired from my early start which I resolved to sleep off on my flight. Before getting on my flight however, the airline requested that barely anyone had paid to have checked luggage and if anyone wanted to check their hand luggage, they could free of charge. I decided against doing this as I wanted my bag on me, and how does an airline that charges for people to bring cases on board not see this coming? Sadly, sleep alluded me on the flight despite my best efforts (a complimentary copy of The Times did not put me to sleep, but rather kept me alert). The person next to me used my arm as a pillow at one point, as if to rub salt into the wound.
When I arrived at Copenhagen Airport, I remarked to myself how much it reminded me of Hamburg Airport. It was busy but well laid out, so I was able to get a metro ticket and get out fairly quickly. This however was my downfall as I had originally planned to eat lunch there before heading into Copenhagen proper. Within 30 minutes, I was stood outside the Forum venue wondering what exactly I was going to do for the next 2 hours and a bit before I could check into my hotel. I considered going there and asking to pay to check in early, but I dreaded how much it would cost (I would later learn that a late check out would have cost me about £10 an hour so this was probably a good call to not head there early). I went to find my hotel and walk around the local area before deciding a good way to kill some time would be to head to the gig venue. I wasn’t 100% certain where it was, which would help kill time – so off I set. I walked from the Forum metro station to Telia Parken – about a 40-minute walk. Despite dragging my case with me, I’m glad I used this spare time to do this as it meant when it was time to head to the venue later that evening, I could do so with confidence. When I got to the venue for the first time, I got to hear Volbeat sound checking a song, which was pretty ace.
By the time I got back to the Forum (my central point for anything), it was close enough to check in time so I headed to the hotel. There was a group of people checking into a couple of rooms as I arrived which worked out well for me as by the time they were done, it had gone 3pm which meant I could check in no problems. I got to my room to find a bunk bed and another single bed – not what I was expecting at all but would do for two nights of somewhere just going to be used to crash out. Almost as soon as I had checked in, I went out to a local supermarket as I hadn’t eaten at this point since my early breakfast at Gatwick and was pretty hungry. One staple of me being abroad (and sometimes even in England when I’m not paying attention) is managing to buy sparking water in place of still water. I did that again during this trip to the supermarket (and got charged a deposit fee for the bottle, I would later learn). I popped back to the hotel to freshen up before heading back to Telia Parken for the gig.
This time around, Telia Parken was positively heaving. I walked over to the merchandise truck I watched briefly being set up on my first visit which was displaying the event t-shirt. It wasn’t cheap, but I decided to buy it on the grounds it was my first time going to a gig in Copenhagen and as long as it lasts, it will be a nice reminder of the gig. I had all but worked out before heading to the stadium that I had managed to buy a top price seating ticket rather than an inner pitch standing ticket, which was a shame. Although when I took my seat, I felt really tired so maybe it was for the best I was seating for this one. The first thing I noted when I took my seat is that they closed the roof – which meant this would basically be a massive arena gig. I almost fell to sleep in my seat before the opening band came on. In fact, I think I may have actually drifted off and Amorphis woke me up. They were really good. At the time, I was thinking “I’ve seen this band a number of times now, but never listened to them properly, not sure why”. Turns out I’d only seen them once before – but I still haven’t checked them out properly. It is on the to-do list! The main support was Flogging Molly. I had seen them do about 40 minutes at Download and serve as main support for Frank Turner (where they were probably on stage for a similar length of time), but this would be the first time I’d see them play for an hour. They were superb. They are so much fun live and they have a great back catalogue to choose from. They are another band I need to go back and revisit. I think they won over a lot of people with their set, which is cool. However, the people (myself included) were there for one reason, and that reason was Volbeat. Their set was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’d have loved to see them play some older material but I understand why they didn’t. They did pretty much play all of my favourite songs of theirs though, which was nice. They also bought out a number of special guests including Barney from Napalm Death (he has appeared with them almost every time I’ve seen them, which is ace) and Danko Jones. The biggest surprise however was when they bought out Lars Ulrich from Metallica, who played drums for Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood before the band covered Enter Sandman which was just amazing. I’ve said it before, it pains me that Volbeat aren’t bigger in the UK – but after this show, I will have no gripes about travelling further afield to see them, as they delivered in a big way. After the show, I couldn’t sleep straight away when I got back to the hotel, meaning that when I eventually did get to sleep, I had been awake for about 21 hours – long day.
The day after, I woke up really early – probably about 5am UK time. After how long the day before was, this was a surprise and not a pleasant one. I got some more sleep but not much and decided to wake up and go and investigate the hotel breakfast. It worked out about £8 a day and was quite basic but I decided it was better than trying to find something whilst out for breakfast as I wouldn’t know where to start. After breakfast, I came back to my room to grab some things before heading out for an explore to notice that it was raining – not overly heavy but when packing, I was really smart and didn’t bring a jacket with me – so I didn’t fancy a walk in the rain. I started to read one of the complimentary newspapers I picked up Saturday morning and ended up having a nap for about an hour or so. When I woke up, the rain had stopped, so I went out for an explore.
I had no fixed plans as to what to do. I had thought I’d walk from my hotel to Nyhavn where I could go on a boat tour, but decided instead to get the metro to just round the corner. Nyhavn, if ever you are in this part of the world, is a must visit. It looks really nice, and was busy whenever I visited which was cool. I saw there were several options for boat tours, so I opted for the one I found on Google Maps first – Netto boat tours. This cost about £4.50/5 and was worth every penny. There is a lot of water around Copenhagen, so you get to see and learn an awful lot – much more than I would have discovered by walking around by myself. The boat went out to the Little Mermaid statue which we got to see from the back. It is world famous although I couldn’t tell you why. Sailing along Christianshavn was really nice. For context, when googling to find out if I had spelled that correctly, I discovered that Freetown which is around that area is where you go if you want to buy marijuana – that wasn’t mentioned on the tour! The guide we had was really good, he delivered the tour mainly in English and Danish but also bits in German. I must say, when people can just switch languages freely like the guide did, I’m always impressed. Not only that, but he had a cracking singing voice, demonstrated when we went under a long and low bridge when he belted out the first verse of Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds. I know I said it earlier, but this tour was worth every penny and I almost did it again the next day, but I had my suitcase with me and I could imagine that being an annoyance if the boat got busy.
After the boat tour, I went for a stroll around the general area. I went over to the Copenhagen Street Food hall for lunch which was great. There were so many stalls selling all sorts of food. I think almost everyone would be catered for, which is cool. I ended up eating a shredded duck burger which was delicious. I walked through the shopping area and back by some of the areas the boat tour took us (stopping at one point for a beer at a pop-up bar). Tiredness got the better of me though so I headed back to the hotel where I ended up falling to sleep again. When I woke up, I decided to head out for some food before calling it a night. Despite having two naps, I was really still quite tired. The conclusion of my day was spent watching comedy videos on YouTube – cheers free hotel Wi-Fi!
My final day started again with the hotel breakfast. I decided I would try not to eat after this until getting to the airport. I figured eating before that could lead to be being hungry right around the time I would be boarding my flight. I could eat when getting back to Gatwick, but that time I think I would just want to head home and hope that Southern Rail would play ball with getting me home. Anyhow, my plans somewhat changed when the hotel explained how they operated their left luggage room. I had thought a member of staff would take the bag and would look after it, but actually anyone could access the room if they had left a bag in there. This left me nervous because it opened up the possibility of someone being able to fiddle with my bag without my knowing about it. Had that happened, and I got to the airport – that would have been bad news for me! I checked out the hotel and made my way back to Nyhavn. I decided to kill some time and walk up to the Little Mermaid statue – I wasn’t impressed with it the day before but hell, maybe seeing it from the front would change my mind. It didn’t. Lots of people were there to see it though and it was a nice walk, so all was not lost. When I got back to Nyhavn, I walked around by the water for a bit before heading to Christianshavn one last time before getting the metro back to the airport. Seeing it from the boat was nice, but I wanted to walk along the water there – which I did.
I remembered the metro taking about 30 minutes from the airport to the Forum station, so even though I was a bit closer this time, I figured it would be something similar from Christianshavn back to the airport. The train got held up at a station due to a problem and we were still there in less than 20 minutes. I had got to the airport about 4 hours before my flight, which was slightly poor planning but it was fine. There was a welcome committee set up, awaiting the arrival of someone/some people who were famous. I wondered if it might be the Danish football team, as I noted they were due to have a home match at Telia Parken in the coming days when I was there. It turned out to be a badminton player. Not quite the same thing, but I doubt I would have known any of the Danish football team anyway, so no matter. I had some food in the airport Burger King. Two things of note happened here. One – I misread the menu and ended up with a soft drink with my food as opposed to a bottle of water. I haven’t had a cup of soda like that in about 5 years, so I decided to choose a zero option and went with Sprite – that was a bad call. The second thing was that after the Sprite, I went back to the counter and bought a beer. That was the first time I could’ve bought a beer from a Burger King so it had to be done. Going through security, I successfully managed to lose my hat (I have bad form for that in airports) and got to passport control a bit later than I would have liked due to exploring the post security area of the airport.
A similar situation as the flight out presented itself at the gate in that they asked for about 35 bags to go into the hold – I think they got about 5. I think if you have a cabin size bag, on a flight where initially you are charged if you want to bring a big suitcase on the flight, and you volunteer to put it in hold, they should give you some sort of incentive as some thanks. Anyway, that has nothing to do with Copenhagen, just my thoughts on budget airlines. My flight was painless and got back in on time. Going through security was pretty smooth as well – took no more than 10 minutes I’d say and I was back in Blighty – my small jaunt to Denmark was over. It was fun.