Big City hopping

Backpacking or roadtripping in Europe is something I haven´t done a lot, and started doing late in my travels, since the budget for a month in Europe can go a long way in Western Africa or Southeast Asia. Its also nice to visit Europe in the summer, which is prime work time, but early autumn or late spring is really the perfect time to visit. I got the excuse to go to Europe for 2 days of work, but extended it into a week long overland trip of big city hopping so I could try and justify my carbon emissions from Iceland and back.

Vor Frelsers Kirke

I started in Copenhagen, where I wanted to visit a dear horse-backriding friend Ditte, but that very same weekend she went to Iceland to ride so I borrowed her summer cabin for me and my favourite German riding friend. Michael had a bad knee so we didnt ride the Icelandic horses nearby in the town of Nykobing but we enjoyed the beaches of Sjaelland by bicycle and the weather was even good enough to barbeque dinner.

Copenhagen canals

We stopped in Copenhagen for a night to overlap with Ditte for one city bike ride and some touristic stops, and the next morning I flew to Hamburg, where I´d be meeting yet another horse friend Jana, for her birthday! We celebrated by scooting around town, day drinking and taking public transport ferries with roadbeers for a cheap booze cruise. We dined with some friends and sniffed some stuff that gave me a head rush, and the next morning we were finally off to ride. We rode Icelandic horses at a friends breeding farm called Bockholts-Hoff and rode thru a German forest on horses that had just arrived from Iceland. I wore my new yoga/riding/hiking pants that were a little too tropical for the rainy weather, but they must have been the reason the sun finally came out.

riding Icelandic horses in Germany

Next I was off to Rotterdam, via flight to Amsterdam and dinner with a Dutch horse friend, who rode those very Icelandic horses with Silke and I a few weeks earlier in Iceland. A short and sweet date before I checked into my Backroads hotel and was given a Backroads van to drive to Provence early the next morning.

Dijon

My ´work´ roadtrip took me 1,099km thru Holland, Antwerp and Belgium, then Luxembourg and into France. I drive past Moselle, Metz, Nancy, a bit of Champagne region, Dijon and spent a night in Beaune. Then I drove the Bourgogne trail, past the gastronomic capital of Lyon, along the Rhone and into Provence. We ended in Carpentras, where we keep our vans, and I spent a day bike touring thru Aubignan and Sarrians.

good thing our bikes have built in wine racks

Another day was spent traveling by train back to Paris, eating some moules frites on the streets of Montmarte, and left feeling like I had taken in an overwhelming amount of sights, tastes and culture from so many different corners of Europe. I had also managed to get a tan and feel the sun, so returning to a chilly fall in Iceland was very welcomed, especially since it was one of the first times Iceland was really experiencing a truly autumn season.

Stop-over in Copenhagen

I´ve been to Copenhagen twice before, but trying to manage a days’ layover isnt easy. But, with a landing time of 12 noon and a departure time of 22:00, noone wants to sit around at an airport that long, no matter how nice, so here’s what I did and you should do too.

water lilies on the ponds

water lilies on the ponds

1.) Leave the airport: There’s a train every 20 minutes from Copenhagen airport to Copenhagen central station, and it only takes a little over 15 minutes to travel. Once you’ve arrived in the central station, you’re in the heart of Copenhagen and within walking distance to all the main sights, shopping streets and drinking/eating spots.

Denmark's Little Mermaid

Denmark’s Little Mermaid

2.) Go to Tivoli: If its summer, and you’re a Disneyland/theme-park kind of person, spend the day at this fun park. There are roller coasters, green parks, yummy concessions and all sorts of other fun stuff, and entrance is only 110DK (around €15).

3.) Walk around the pedestrian shopping streets. Even if youre just a window shopper, or only looking for the cafes or bars to visit on the way, its a lively street of people watching and lovely surprises, and delicious Danish street hot dog stands.

summer is the time for bicycling

summer is the time for bicycling

4.) Visit the parks: especially around any castle or sea-side. You’ll find the (in)famous little mermaid statue, and one beautiful star-shaped fortress.

5.) Drink Carlsberg: or any other cold drink in the sunshine

Nyhovn near sunset time

Nyhovn near sunset time

6.) Visit Nyhavn, the cozy little harbour full of sailboats and restaurant patios. Mingle or people watch, or just eat and drink, and you’ll still feel like you’ve had the most romantic day in Denmark