No BBQ, no camping, and no partying on the 4th of July weekend for us. Instead we headed to Copenhagen Denmark and Malmö Sweden - two countries in one weekend trip. Very exciting! Not a bad idea at all!!
We got into Copenhagen around 9 a.m. and got an early start to explore the downtown area. We passed the longest pedestrian shopping street. My favorite was the Royal Copenhagen porcelain store and it's museum on the top floors. When we saw an employee hand painting a couple of dishes, we then understood why they cost so much.
We had a little to eat at the Kongens Nytorv (New Royal Market) and hopped on a boat at the Nyhavn (New Harbor). We got our first view of the Amalienborg (Amalia's Castle), Borsen (old stock exchange), National Museum, Christiansborg Palace, little Mermaid, and Christiania (the famous Free Town) from the water. It was a very beautiful and hot boat tour. The weather was hot and we were glad to be in shorts, however the people from the Free Town were even bolder and just lounged naked on the decks. We spent the rest of the day walking around most of the city which we could not see from the water. We got so much sun and were tired from all the walking so we took a little nap before our big night out. We went to the number one tourist spot in Copenhagen - Tivoli Gardens for dinner and a Jazz concert afterwards. What a special 4th of July!
Josh had been missing riding his bike especially after seeing a "Biking with Mike" ad. Thus, we got up early, rented two bikes, and biked with Mike. Fortunately, Saturday morning was usually considered a slow day for bike rental and the bike tour, so there were only two of us riding with Mike... we had a private tour guide. The tour took us to some parts of town that no usual tourists would have gone. It was really nice. Not only was riding the bikes easy in the city but we also obtained a lot of information and history. We learned the famous Little Mermaid whose head had been cut off twice. The first time was many years ago. The people and the city council were so shocking that they replaced the head in three days. However, the head was never found until decades later. A famous controversial dying artist called the media saying that he had something to say before he stopped breathing. When the reporters arrived at the artist's bed side, the artist slowly pulled out the Little Mermaid's head from underneath his bed. The news was so shocking that it went world wide. The second time happened a few years ago. Three drunken kids sawed off the head but got caught right away. What a poor life that the Little Mermaid has.
We thought the bike tour was only one hour long but... after 3.5 hours biking, we were beat. We decided to hang out in the free town - Christiania which is probably the cheapest place to hang out in all the Scandinavia countries. I have to explain here why Christiania is called free town. The Christiania was a military base. After the military left, the alternative lifestyle hippies moved in and 'camped' never paying for rent. One thing I asked Mike was what exactly is their alternative lifestyle? You know... beside living there for free and the people don't need much and don't want much (obvious from what we could see from their houses). Mike answered that it's the 'share system' and no ownership outside of his/her own house. Interesting... Well, back to out trip. We picked a bar, found a shaded area and rested. Soon, we noticed some interesting and somewhat illegal activities going on - marijuana selling, buying, and of course smoking. We sat there watching the people come and go. Soon, we were surrounded by people and the smoke of joints. We received an informal education over our drinks on the art of smoking, which was demonstrated several different ways around us.
Sunday our last day of the trip, we decided to go to Malmö in Sweden since it was just a short train ride. We even got a great deal on the train tickets. Perfect, now I can say I have been to Sweden. There was not much to see in Malmö. After a boat tour, we had pretty much seen it all. A couple of things worthwhile to mention here are the second tallest building in Europe and the longest bridge in the world between Copenhagen and Malmö.