To Helsingor or Not To Helsingor

Two days ago, Andrew and I decided to do an overnight trip to Helsingor. I’ve always wanted to go, but could never find the time. I’ve also been traveling so much the last few weeks by myself. I just wanted to travel with Andrew for fun before another crazy amount of solo-traveling for work.

So here we are. Elsinore. Also called Helsingor; mostly known for its Kronborg Castle, where Shakespeare’s Hamlet is set. We arrived yesterday from an hour long train ride from Copenhagen, just in time for a surprisingly delicious Chinese lunch at Asia House Restaurant (click here to virtually visit the restaurant). We both had Peking Soup (which seems to be served in most Asian cuisine places in Helsingor), which came as part of the lunch menu. Andrew ordered roast duck with mushrooms. I ordered beef with vegetables. Both orders were served with rice and the servings were enough for one moderately hungry person. Both orders and the soup were quite delicious. In fact, this may be the most authentic-tasting Chinese food I’ve had in Europe since I moved; enough for me to consider taking another one-hour train ride one day just to eat Chinese food.

After lunch, visited the Kronborg Castle. The castle closes at 4pm. It was already 2pm when we got there, so we had to quickly deposit our carry-on bag into one of the castle’s free lockers and move as fast as we can so as to make our entrance well worth it. Luckily, we finished viewing all opened rooms in the castle and even spent a bit of time browsing the gift shop. Embarrassingly, we may have been the last to leave the castle premises. They had to re-open the big doors to let us out, and we had to profusely apologize for putting more work on them.

A recycled fish exhibit just right outside the Kronborg Castle

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A recycled fish exhibit right outside Kronborg Castle

My most and least favorite part of the Kronborg castle where the castle’s casemates. The casemates are gloomy, cold and dark underground passages under the castle. Some of the passages were open to the public. This is by far the longest and most complicated underground passage I’ve ever been to. But I don’t really have much to compare. My only other underground passage experience was in the old city in Accra, Israel. When I visited Accra, most of the passages were blocked, so the entire experience only took 5 minutes. But this one – in Kronborg – took a loooong time. Other than the arrows on the wall, I did not have a guide to lead me. It was eerie. And I had to freakin’ use my cellphone flashlight to help me see the way. I also had to mind my step. Not only was the ground uneven, some had cobblestones, some  were cemented, and some just had sand.

The Kronborg Castle tower offers magnificent views of the city, the Øresund Strait and Sweden at a distance. There are 145 round tower steps, which surprisingly were not as narrow as many round tower steps I’ve taken. I usually hate steps, but this one was not really much of a chore. Other than occasional dizzy spells (because I felt like I was going round in circles both going up and going down the tower), I didn’t really feel a need to stop and catch my breath. In comparison, I would say the Møns Klint staircase is far worse than this.

After 4pm, Andrew and I left the Kronborg castle, walked along the banks and caught a bus to our hotel which was 30 minutes away from the city center. It was the only hotel available at a fairly reasonable price at such a short notice. The hotel has its own restaurant and serves free breakfast.

Unfortunately, if you want to have your lunch and dinner at the hotel as well, you will need to order in advance. The nearest restaurant is 15 minutes west of the hotel (by feet). It’s called the Hamlet Asia Restaurant, an all-you-can-eat fusion Asian cuisine (I know, Asian cuisine in Denmark) for 139 DKK. Soup, main course, and desserts are all in. Drinks are 45 DKK on average.

Tomorrow, we check out of our hotel and travel back to the city center to explore some more. We are also thinking of taking the 7 EUR ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. Perhaps go shopping at the H&M store there. We’ll see. But we look forward to more adventures. 🙂

October 08, 2016 | Helsingor, Denmark

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Oslo is Love

I’m currently in Oslo for a Nordic experimental conference. It’s my third time, second city in Norway. And without me even noticing it, Norway is quickly becoming my favorite Scandinavian country. Everything is just so beautiful. I like how the Norwegians have incorporated cities in nature, I am fascinated by Norwegian architecture and how they utilize space, and I like the fact that diversity is tangible in its capital city.

Today, after the last parallel session, I took a walk around the city center. I sat down and watched ducks paddle on a pond near the royal palace. I was even lucky enough to witness a change in palace guards. It was thoroughly enjoyable, what with their synchronized marching and funky hats. It was also quite funny how tourists would rush to have their pictures taken with the marching guards in the background. Maybe if I was with Andrew, I’d dare to have my photo taken with the same marching guards background as well. :p

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The Royal Palace

I walked along the shoreline, saw a presentation detailing the various architectural buildings in Norway, went in a small grocery store and found that it had a greater product variety that many bigger grocery stores in Copenhagen, and dropped by an Asian food festival. One day, when the cost of spending so much on food and accommodations in Norway is no longer so painful, I would like to come back and play tourist. I think I will like that very much. I think Andrew will too.

 

October 02, 2016 | Oslo, Norway