Commuting Copenhagen to Lund

There are several ways to travel from Copenhagen to Lund and back. The prices of which depend on how fast you want to travel and what time of day your travel times are. The fastest is by rail and, depending on the the traffic, the slowest is by bus (or by foot, if you dare!). In the past, travel to Sweden could start from anywhere in Copenhagen, but due to the recent security measures that the Swedish government has put in place, there are passport controls at the Copenhagen Airport and at the Helsingør ferry terminal. This means that if you bought a rail ticket from Copenhagen Central Station to Lund, you will have go down at the Copenhagen Airport, transfer across the platform, have you documents checked by Danish immigration officials and then board the train to Sweden. Swedish immigration officials will board the train at the first stop after the Øresund Bridge to check travel documents.

NB: If you’re traveling around the Sound (and not just Copenhagen to Lund and back), it might be worthwhile to look at the Sound Card. It gives you 48 hours of transportation access for just 249 DKK. This is totally worth it if, for example, you’re thinking of going from Copenhagen to Lund to Helsingborg to Helsingør to Copenhagen. The only catch is you can either go clockwise or counter-clockwise using the Sound Card. You cannot backtrack. You can also cross from Denmark to Sweden by taking the ferry from Helsingør to Helsingborg. 

Rail

The fastest and most common way of traveling from Copenhagen to Lund and back is by rail. Rail takes around 50 minutes to an hour of travel. Tickets can be purchased on the train station (I’ve purchased tickets at the Østerport Station, Copenhagen Central Station and Copenhagen Airport) or online (check out SJ TrainsRejseplanenScandinavian Rail, ACP Rail, or Go Euro) for 15 – 20 EUR each way.

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Making sense of your online ticket, if you don’t speak Swedish

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CPH – Malmo ticket bought at Østerport Station in 2015

Bus

Several buses travel from Copenhagen to Sweden and back. Wizz Air has a transfer shuttle that goes from Copenhagen to Mälmo and back for 40EUR. Check My Bus provides comparison bus prices from Copenhagen to Lund, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find one that is 5EUR cheaper each way than by rail. Travel by bus takes around an hour and 20 minutes, longer if the buses stops by Mälmo or some other city/town on the way to Lund.

Car

Of course, there’s always the possibility of renting a car and driving all the way to Lund or carpooling. For the former, you might want to check out Drive Now or LetsGo if you don’t want to pay massively for insurance and if you’re thinking of using the car for just a few hours. For the latter, there’s Carpool World and Ride Finder.

I hope this has been helpful! 🙂

May 14, 2017 | Copenhagen, Denmark

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Papirøen, Copenhagen Street Food

After  almost 20 months of irregularly touring friends around Copenhagen, I have come to the conclusion that the one place friends will always be thankful I took them to is Papirøen. Literally translated as “paper island”, Papirøen used to be a paper factory and was the harbor’s last industrial area with no public access. At the end of 2012, the Procurement Association of the Danish Press terminated the paper factory’s contract, five years ahead of time, paving the way for exhibitions, cafés and restaurants, all on a temporary basis.

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Papirøen, shot from across the water

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A huge plywood seagull designed by landscape architect Kaare Skjerning and created by WoodCouture

Papirøen’s warehouse 7 & 8 is currently home to Copenhagen Street Food, an agglomeration of stalls selling various food and drinks (click here for a list of all stalls and their specialties). Calling the place Copenhagen Street Food, however, is a bit of a misnomer. When I think of Danish street food, I think of Danish pølser (English: Danish sausage), bøf sandwich (English: steak sandwich), and pølse i svøb (English: pigs in a blanket); but definitely not bibimbap, sushi and oysters, or butter chicken. Nevertheless, food is food, and the food here is not just good, it is also cheap(er). And to top it off, this is one of the few places in Denmark that caters to an international experience.

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Food stalls @ Copenhagen Street Food

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Eating tables inside Copenhagen Street Food

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Fish and chips from Tolbodens Fish N Chips

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Vegetarian pasta with an edible plate from Il Mattarello

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Salad with goat cheese from La Fattoria

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And if you want it simple, potatoes topped with cheese 🙂

While I unfortunately do not have photos (I was too excited to eat!),  I highly recommend Duck It’s pulled duck and Bulko’s bibimbap. 🙂

Opening Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 12.00 – 21.00
Friday – Saturday 12.00 – 22.00
Sunday: 12.00 – 21.00
(On Sundays, some stalls close at 20.00)

Address: Warehouse 7 & 8, Trangravsvej 14, 1426 Copenhagen K
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*Addendum: I learned in early May 2017 that Papirøen Copenhagen Street Food will not be at its current location for very long. There are reports that the warehouse will be torn down to make way for a residential development project on that location. So, if you’re visiting Copenhagen in the near future, you might want to make sure you go try out the street foods there before they are gone. At the time of writing, there is no news of whether the food stalls will relocate to another place.

April 1, 2017 | Copenhagen, Denmark

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

From Hven

I wrote in an earlier post that I was going to Hven (see here). Well, I’ve been there. Just arrived actually. Sweaty, tired and extremely satisfied. So… before my short term memory gets replaced by “things of importance”, let me write about my experience. Ahora mismo.

There are many ways to get to Hven from Copenhagen. Google maps recommend traveling up to Helsingor, crossing to Helsingborg, traveling down to Landskronna and then taking the ferry to Hven. An easier alternative – which is what my department and I did – is to take M/S Jeppe from Havnegade 39. M/S Jeppe leaves Copenhagen at 9:15 am every day in the summer and sails back back from Hven to Copenhagen at 4:30 pm. They serve breakfast going to Hven and Danish pastries coming back. Since one-way travel time is around an hour and 30 minutes, that leaves 5  hours of galavanting.

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M/S Jeppe at Havnegade 39

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Abroad M/S Jeppe to Hven, and having brunch

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Limestone cliffs, as seen during our approach of Hven

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Bäckviken

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Boats docked at Bäckviken

Upon arriving at Hven, we walked up a hill to claim our yellow bicycles. The yellow bicycles that Hven is famous for is the cheapest among the available bikes. It costs 90 SKK and only has 1 gear. There are, of course, other types of bikes available (click here for more info on bikes in Hven and their corresponding prices); but since we were in Hven, why not. To be perfectly honest though, it was a pain biking with just one gear and my pride suffered a blow each time I pushed my bike uphill.

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Yellow bicycles for rent

We biked from the bike rental place to the Tycho Brahe Museum. There, we had an hour long guided tour on the life and works of Tycho Brahe, followed by a champagne on the lawn right beside Stjerneborg. Lunch was less than a 10-minute bike ride away, at the Spirit of Wine. We had a buffet lunch with a salad bar, herring, pork and a bottle of local lager. After lunch, we took our bicycles and rode it along the island’s coast. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of that, but I have for everything else. I guess, on that last leg on the island, we had too much fun to stop for photos.

I really, really wanted to take photos of the fields and the scenic views we saw while biking. But time did not permit. Neither did taking advantage of the downhill speed to make the uphill easier.

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Tycho Brahe’s measuring instruments

Bottomline, Hven was an amazing experience. If you haven’t been there, I would most definitely recommend it for a day trip. The island is very small. Some colleagues of mine were able to bike around the island in less than 2 hours. I would definitely love to visit Hven again. Maybe, next time, for some much needed rest and relaxation.

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The port at Kyrkbacken

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Gorgeous views at Kyrkbacken

August 26, 2016 | Copenhagen, Denmark

To Hven

I’m going to Hven for a faculty excursion in a few days; and other than the information provided by the excursion organizers in my department, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this little island off the coast of Denmark, right on the Øresund Strait. Hven is a contested territory (still is, according to my Danish colleagues), despite legally belonging to Sweden. The Swedes took control of the island in 1658 when Scania was ceded to Sweden under the Treaty of Roskilde. However, many Danes at that time claim that Hven was in fact not part of Scania but of Zealand and therefore, was still under Danish rule. On May 6, 1658, Swedish troops were sent to the island to defend it against the Danes and on 1660,  the official transfer of Hven to Sweden was made under the Treaty of Copenhagen. My Danish colleagues seem to enjoy calling Hven “technically” a Swedish territory.

According to Google Maps, this small, 7.5 square km island with just 715 inhabitants is closer to Denmark than to Sweden. Other than national pride, I cannot think of any other reason why Sweden wanted it enough to send troops. Neither can I think of any other reason why Denmark wanted it enough to reject Sweden’s ownership of it after signing the Treaty of Roskilde. It makes for a good historical site though. Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, built two observatories here – Uraniborg and Stjerneborg. Many also think that Johannes Kepler spent time on the island.

SO. Being the mastermind planner that I am, I have made a list of interesting things to see and do in Hven. There won’t much personal time during this trip, but we do get a few hours in the afternoon to do whatever it is that we want to do. So, while my colleagues go for a swim on warm summer waters [ahem!], maybe I can do a mini-historical/cultural tour of my own. Here’s my list:

  1. Tycho Brahe Museum which houses a Rennaisance garden where Brahe’s reconstructing the garden at Brahe’s Uraniborg Castle, the Stjerneborg Observatory, and an interactive weather station from the 16th century.
  2. Church of Saint Ibb, a 13th century church whose front altar was designed by Tobias Gemperlin and donated by Tycho Brahe
  3. Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn for food and drinks 🙂
  4. Beaches and the yellowish limestone cliffs the island is famous for.

I also created a Pinterest board for Hven (click here). We shall see how much I can see and do from this list, shall we? It’s not a long list, but I don’t have enough time either. And it’s a small island. I must remember though to bring sun block and withdraw a couple of Swedish crowns. Until the next update. 🙂

August 24, 2016 | Copenhagen, Denmark