Jamie and Colin 2010

2010.02.14 Jamie and Colin

Last week Korea came to Sweden. Or at least a great part of what Korea was for us this last year. Jamie and Colin had planned a trip to see us here in Malmö and as it happened, our common friend Valerie had planned her own visit for the very same dates. Unfortunately she had to cancel a few days before her departure, as her son Kris fell ill and was taken to hospital with appendices issues. These issues became progressively more serious and Val decided to stay with Kris and Hannah in London. To our great relief Kris is now much better and back home again.

Colin and Jamie arrived a bit better prepared than our last visitor, Wilson. They came equipped with gloves, hats and warm coats. Colin had even left his kilt at home, so you know it was cold ! He has spent the last half year reminiscing about his kilt, so I was thoroughly surprised that he didn't arrive kilt-on-bum.

They arrived Thursday feb 4th while I was still at work, so Paula took them out on a short walk around town until I got back home. For those of you who do not know Jamie and Colin, I can tell you that these are just the nicest of people and they will never say anything which might upset you! And so their first comment as they saw me was that I was getting fat !!! I wish, I said .... (not that I am not trying - with all the cakes and good food at work!). J&C were still pretty jet lagged from their trip from Korea, so they turned in really early. Jamie was already closing her eyes at eight o'clock, but I am not so sure we can blame the jet lag, as this was to be no different any of the four days they were here!

Friday Paula took the visitors for a walk around town. They were able to make the complete tour with the Turning Torso at the West Harbour, The "castle", the Casino (which we were planning to visit one of the evenings but the "jet lag" got in the way), the walking street and the canals. I am surprised that they made it so far as it wasn't really a great day for sightseeing - for me at least. Maybe it is different for a Singaporean, a Scot and a Chilean ?!?

The girls showed particular interest in this sign ... dirty minds!!

Saturday we got up early, had a Scandinavian breakfast and headed out the door to go to Copenhagen. I had made plans for a pretty busy day in the capital, so it was imperative that we up and going early. But when you go to bed at 8 in the evening, getting ready for a 9am departure is a walk in the park! Our first stop was Christianshavn, an old Amsterdam-inspired part of town. Here we found my favorite view point - The Church of our Saviour with the spiraled tower is unfortunately only open in summer. Climbing to the top of this tower is one of the quieter thrills available in Copenhagen. The outer stairs become narrower and narrower as you climb and in the end it feels a bit like rappelling without the rope!

For now we had to imagine the thrill and continue on to Christiania, opting out of the Maritime Museum as it was closed this early in the morning. Christiania - the free city - looked a bit worn down in the winter landscape. Here and there we saw 50 gallon drums with open fires for the dark-clothed hooded individuals hanging out on the old Pusher street and the broken windows seemed a bit more in your face now with 5 below 0 than in summer. This was definitely not Jamie's thing, but it helped a bit when we continued on to the lake (literally on). I think this was Paula's first time crossing any substantial amount of frozen water and this was definitely not her thing! Very contradictory for such a winter-lover like her!

There are some pretty weird houses around the lake. people here are pretty much free to construct as they please without much concern for city plans etc. As Christiania is a place for the different-minded, the results are spectacular. Another spectacular building in the area is the new-ish Opera. This building was donated to the city of Copenhagen by Mr. Maersk himself and it is easy to see the maritime influence in the design. There is the stern of a cruise liner in the front of the building and a container on top!

Waiting for the water taxi with the Opera behind us.

There was a bit os waiting time, so we got ourselves a nice photo with Amalienborg and the Marble church behind us.

.... and my office - the big white building in the centre.

From the Opera we took the water-bus over to the royal embarkation area at Nordre Toldbod. From here it was a short but bitterly cold walk to the Little Mermaid. The windchill was unreal and as Paula and I had been there just two weeks ago in beautiful weather, we couldn't wait to get back in to the relative shelter of the city. Jamie and especially Colin weren't in such a hurry!

Arriving at Amalienborg we were in for a surprise. The Royal Guards were out in full force - orchestra and all. It might have been due to the previous day's Princess birthday - I can definitely not claim the honour for this part of the tour but enjoyed it anyway. We had arrived just in time and the guards left again just in time for us to make our next deadline - the tour to the top of the dome of the Marble Church. This was my first time up there and hopefully it wont be the last. To get up there you have to walk up really narrow and winding stairs to the space between the inner and the outer dome, from where there is another set of stairs to the dome top. From the top the view is amazing, especially with the red roofs half-covered in snow.

We had now reached a critical part of our tour. Optimistically I had hoped to have time to scale the church dome, have lunch and visit the Royal stables and carriages all within a good hour and a half. Well - it wasn't possible so instead we hurried past Nyhavn, grabbed a lunch-to-go at the bakery and walked through Christiansborg, which houses the parliament (and the stables, which we opted out of). From there we took a taxi to the Carlsberg Brewery.

A bite on the go ....

We used to go to Carlsberg quite often when we lived in Valby, which is quite near. But now it had been over 4 years since we had been there and although a few things had been moved around or added to the self-guided tour, the experience was quite similar to what we remembered. my favorites were still there ... the horses and the bar!

This one had just given Jamie a right scare !! The house of Ps is not so easily scared !!!

"I'm pretty sure that you're not allowed in there, Colin!"

Beer o'clock !!

The tour finished with a tour of the central city, i.e. the pedestrian street. Need I say that we turned in early once again ?! But this time with good reason.

Sunday we took a short trip to Lund - a small university city just a few kilometers from Malmö. This place seems to be mainly inhabited by youngsters and the youngsters had chosen either to play trombones in a crazy band or stand in a huuuuge line all afternoon. I believe they were waiting to sign up for the carnival - don't know how it can be that this can't take place in cyberspace instead of in the freezing cold and snowy streets. I'm just glad not to be young enough to feel like I had to stand in that line! At least they had arranged for a pretty alternative band to keep the mood up!

These two took a little rest before marching on.

Funny how the snow "fell"

We spend most of the afternoon strolling around town, taking snowy photos and visiting the Cathedral before taking the train back to Malmö. In the evening we went to eat out at El Patio just around the corner, and next morning Jamie and Colin left us to our own devices once again. Buuuuuh – we had just gotten used to have them around again. We miss having them around already …….

Below you can see a slide show from the visit: