The way I booked the trip, it was land in Copenhagen, rush to the boat and take the cruise for seven days. Return to Copenhagen for two days, and then off to Amsterdam for three days. We arrived back in Copenhagen and took a cab from the dock to the airport area. Right across from the airport. The hotel was cool, and the first couple of pictures are from inside our room. We unpacked, and then headed off to see Copenhagen. I had a mission. I was going to recreate a picture from 1972, But that comes later in the day. The initial problem was me being able to walk. We ended up buying pain killers in the hotel store so that I could move around.
Then we walked to the subway. Copenhagen has one of the best city, subways. Clean and easy to get around the city. We were heading into the city itself, and our initial map argument was about which way to go from the station. My ribs honestly hurt so much at that point, that I smiled and let the argument rage on. I didn’t have the energy to walk and to argue. SO I walked. From the subway stop to where we were going for lunch (we landed about 8 am and were off the ship by 9. We were at the hotel by 10, and on the subway by 1130). My daughter had gone to the front desk to ask what was the best place to go for lunch that was near the harbor.
She was told of a collection of food trucks that didn’t move, in an old shipping warehouse near the harbor. A perfect fit for the project that we will talk about tomorrow. Now, from the subway station to the old warehouse was a bit confusing, but we managed to make it to the most amazing lunch place ever. There were 30 different food trucks in the building. We finally, after much discussion, decided on Korean food as our lunch. No matter how much we discussed, we could not come to an agreement on the desert. The kids wanted to go to the cheese place. My wife and I wanted to get Danish pancakes. So we spilled up for desert and met back up outside to enjoy the desert.
The pictures today are in the Rostock Zoo. The mosaic pictures are by the Mosaic artist that lives in my house. My wife makes amazing Mosaics, and she loves to find them in the wild. I split the Rostock zoo into two parts. Before and after. This picture is from the before part. Like Legoland, we got on a bus and headed to the zoo once we were docked in Rostock. The first part was waiting for the zoo to open, we got there a full ½ hour before it was open. Once we were in, we walked the out loop path of the zoo and got to see some animals. The zoo didn’t have concrete paths; most of the paths were mulch and quite easy to traverse. The map arguments began after the first turn.
We came to the first map, and the animals that were to be seen was agreed upon. Then the argument about the most expedient route to the animals began. So, after five days of that argument, I just started walking. Everyone ended up following me, and I got the party to the desired animals viewing options. Some of the animals were very hard to see (the lions and tigers) as it was early morning and they were still napping. The weather was a crisp 70 degrees, and we were able to walk around the zoo without any problems. We had some hours to enjoy the zoo. We decided that we would eat lunch and would end our day at the Darwin Exhibit. Well, not end the day, we had things yet to see.
Around lunchtime, we entered the Darwin exhibit. The Galapagos Turtles was an amazing display. It was sadly the end of before after began when we entered the Darwin exhibit. The story of evolution. It was dark, and I was walking around the corner to see one of the exhibits. I didn’t see the sloping section of the display case. I fell, landing on the lens of my camera, and driving the body of my camera into my chest. I ended up cracking three ribs. It took me an hour to be able to move again. The after impact was huge. My ribs didn’t heal. Now two mistakes were made by me. The first was not having the ribs checked out at the time. The second was grinning and bearing it.
After leaving Legoland, we had a sea day on the way to Rostock Germany. The piano player is in the main lobby/central area of the ship. All the cruise ships I’ve been on has that central area. When we went on the Disney Cruise, they did the pictures there. Somewhere in our packed old picture collection that has yet to be scanned is the picture of the five of us on the Disney Cruise. We had to hang up in our house in Indiana, but it has been packed since then. It is strange, over the years you put pictures away. I have a picture of Les and Joan Ralstin (individually) that my wife can’t have where she sees them. She misses her parents when she sees them.
Europe is a lot more open about alcohol and minors. The drinking age for the Cruise was 18, so the twins were able to drink, one of the twins doesn’t like the taste, so he tried a few things but didn’t have their drink. The other twin tried some different drinks. They tried some strange drinks with my daughter and wife. I either had a beer or a scotch. Every day we walked around the top of a ship, to make sure we were over 10,000 steps a day. Then we would hang out in one of two lounges. The Mid-Ship lounge was near the Disco. I thought, having survived Disco once, that Disco was dead forever. But there are still places that have Disco floors, and the Costa Cruise ship was one of them!
We would play cards and relax in the lounge. I love the sea day of the cruise. That is the day when there is no port of call, just the sea. We were heading from Denmark to Germany. The open water was forever as we traveled. We would arrive at Rostock in the late night, entering the harbor in the early morning. But the sea day was spent chilling. The last few pictures are of our assigned table, waiting for dinner on the Sea Day. We only had one or two dinner crisis on the entire trip. The first was the fact that my daughter struggles with things that have eyes. She had to leave the table and go back to their stateroom because of a prawn that was glaring at her.
First my apologies for the duplicate pictures that are not duplicates. The Olympus camera was passed around to everyone in the family, my daughter and I was the only one using the DSLR. What that meant were some times we ended up with two, three and sometimes four copies of a picture taken at a slightly different angle. The restaurant where we had lunch in Legoland was in the hotel connected to the park. You had to exit the park (get a stamp on your hand) and then reenter the park when you were done with lunch. The messaging boards in the hotel used Legos to spell out the various messages, which was cool. The hotel was a long hallway from the park.
Lunch was a European Buffet. Not something most folks in the US is family with. In the US, we tend to have what is often called troughs for buffets. In Europe, there is a grazing section (salads) and then a slice of lunch meat and finally, a hot food section. We enjoyed lunch and then head back to Legoland. For the day we hit 20,000 steps. We never left the park after returning from lunch. We walked to the sections of the park. There were several city layouts. Amsterdam, like Maduro dam, Copenhagen and a few smaller recreations of Neighborhoods within Copenhagen. Like the Royal palace area, the little Mermaid and the Copenhagen harbor.
I know there are LEGOLAND’s in other places, the one in Denmark is the first one. There is one in San Diego California, and I am sure other places. We had a great time wandering the park. We also stopped for snacks at various times. My favorite Lego display was the Medieval section. I loved seeing the castles built out of Legos! Finally, as the day wound to a close, we got back on the buses. I enjoyed driving through the Danish countryside. I had, previously stayed in various locations around Copenhagen. I even had the opportunity one time to spend a few days along the Ocean. But I had never seen the Denmark that my family left more than 120 years before I returned!
The first, original Legoland was our next destination after Norway. We left Kristiansand, yes the opera was blaring as we left. It just so happened that we left the harbor as the sun was setting. Our dining room was at the rear of the ship. It was the very read of the ship so as the ship pulled out to head to Denmark again, and we got to watch the sunset as we enjoyed dinner. Except, the sun wasn’t going to set until much later than we were eating. The ship traveled from Norway back to Denmark as we slept. We were all excited because that night we watched Zootopia, the movie, as a family and we were going to spend the next day at Legoland!
In the morning, we were loaded into buses and rolled through the Danish countryside! The majority of people didn’t go to Legoland, but the majority of the folks on the cruise were without kids. We were with older kids/adults, but there wasn’t a single person in our group that didn’t want to go to Legoland. Well, there was one person that didn’t think Legoland was going to be an epic day (my wife). Legoland was not her idea of a fun day. She did, however, end up having a blast. But, first, we had the bus ride. That is the fun thing about the boat excursions everything is organized. You got on the buses heading to Legoland. They already had our tickets, and we just had to show up!
The first part of Lego land was the Star Wars exhibit. Ok, in fairness the very first part was the entrance and all the stores. But we walked right out eh Star Wars area. One of our favorite family stories was taking the twins to their first Star Wars movie they have been hooked ever since (in fairness my wife, actually before we were dating because I would have poked her had I been there, fell asleep the first time she watched the original star wars). From Star Wars, we wandered to the NASA and spaceflight area. Legoland is very similar to Maduro Dam, the recreation of Amsterdam in Legos that is in Holland. But Legoland has many more things to see than just Amsterdam!
The second part of Kristiansand was visiting a pet shop. My wife, or my daughter I don’t remember which one, the one that wasn’t holding the map at the time found a museum. An art museum we discussed, then decided to go to the museum. The arguments about maps were hilarious. If you ask my daughter or wife, they will glare at you! (all the pictures are on the way into the harbor)!
The museum was very nice. They let three international students get the student rate for admission. That was free. My wife and I were 10 Euros, but they honored the fact that US students were visiting their museum, so the kiddos go to go into the museum for free. The Museum was focused on a mix of modern art and traditional older artistic styles. The first exhibit was an interactive video conversation with an amazing artist.
It was on the top floor that the more traditional paintings focused on Kristiansand as it had been 100 years before. The museum was funny, and the map arguments had stopped for a time. The twins were done with the museum in 11 minutes. We ended up spending a lot more time than the 11 minutes it took them to navigate the museum. But it was an amazing experience. We ended up talking to the person that let us in for a good 10 minutes in the end. She was very interested in learning more about the US.
Kristiansand was our third stop in Norway. Gelsinger was the first stop; the trip down a Fjord was amazing. We wandered around the small town, then back to the ship. As we left the harbor at Gelsinger, the ship’s speakers blared Italian Opera. I have to say for a second, my wife, daughter, and I was a little taken aback by the music blaring from the speakers! The highlight of the first stop was the addition to Captain Lars to our family. Oh yeah and the bakery.
The second stop was Bergen and the Vertical Train. Ok, the highlight for the kids was the bakery. For my wife and me, it was the fantastic Salmon Sandwich and lunch. Overall a wonderful 2nd stop! The last stop was Kristiansand. The Ship arrived, and there was a band there to welcome us, and a Moose. We never did find out why the moose was there. But, there was a moose there. Not a live moose mind you, but none-the-less a moose.
We started our Tour of Kristiansand on the trolley/train. Around the edges of the town and then into the commercial district. Our first stop was GameStop. Yes, the twins and our daughter were jonesing for their video games! We also went into the coolest bookstore. That was the most amazing thing for me; the bookstore was the coolest. I always love an old bookstore, where you have to ask the owner or salesperson where a type of book is!