Copenhagen and Carlsberg

Friday, 19th July 2013

It was another bright and sunny day when we woke up this morning, with nary a cloud in the sky.  But there were little black clouds forming above our heads as we tried to shake off the depressing fact that our holiday was fast coming to an end.   😦

We weren’t due to arrive in Copenhagen until around 2.00pm, so we had the whole morning to spend at leisure.  We decided, therefore, to try out the Black Watch‘s swimming pool, which we’d thus far not managed to do.

We put our cossies on under our clothes, then made our way to the pool deck on Deck 6.  Although there were a lot of people relaxing on the sun-loungers or in the chairs scattered here and there, no-one was actually in the water.  Dipping a toe into the pool to test the temperature, we found it pleasantly warm, so in we went, and had the pool all to ourselves.

It was so nice in the water we spent a good half hour having a swim.  During our time in the pool, we noticed some of the bar staff setting up an “International Beer Festival” stall, consisting of many types of canned and bottled beer from all around the world.  We recognised various brands: San Miguel (Spain), Carlsberg (Denmark), Carib (Trinidad), Red Stripe (Jamaica) to name but a few – there were about 20 different types.

When we got out of the pool I went and got dried and changed back into my clothes, then we decided to have a pre-luncheon bevvy.  I chose a ‘Carib’ which is beer that is sold all over the Caribbean; we’ve had it in St. Lucia and in St. Maarten so it brought back good memories.  Trevor tried the South African version of ‘Carling Black Label’ and we enjoyed them very much.    🙂

We took our damp cossies and towels back to our cabin then went up to the Marquee Deck for our lunch; just something light like a sandwich or bowl of soup.  Then I went back and washed and blow dried my hair before it had a chance to be ruined by the pool’s salt water.

By this time we were just about ready to dock in Copenhagen.  There were another couple of (larger) ships there; one was the MSC Musica and the other was the Seven Seas Voyager.  We were moored up about half a mile from the famous Little Mermaid which we’d seen and photographed on our two previous visits here; on the Queen Victoria in 2007 and the Caronia in 2002.  But who could ever tire of Copenhagen?   🙂

We disembarked the Black Watch and decided to walk into the town, as we felt we needed the exercise!  Along the quayside were many ‘hop-on-hop-off’ city tour buses touting for business, but we decided we would take a ride on one of these tomorrow, as we had the whole day here.

We took a leisurely stroll into the town, passing several statues; one was of a polar bear with two cubs, one of a large bare-breasted mermaid, another was a statue of a soldier, erected in memory of the fallen in WW2 and, of course, Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid, which predictably had crowds of tourists round it.

We passed little souvenir shops selling postcards, t-shirts and beachwear, as well as ice-cream and snack stalls and another kiosk selling beer.

In the town we had about a mile to walk to get to the main drag.  I bought some postcards and we sought out an attractive pavement café to write them out; it had the added bonus of free wi-fi.  The beer cost about 8 quid a pint!   😦

After our drinks we walked back to the Black Watch and enjoyed some more (free!) booze up on deck in the bright sunshine.  Then it was back to our cabin to get sorted out for dinner.  Tonight we weren’t going in the Glentanar restaurant but were partaking of an Asian buffet that they were putting on in the Garden Café.

The Asian buffet was delicious; there were dishes from India, China, Thailand and Indonesia.  We tried a little bit of various dishes, then I spotted Chicken Satay skewers with the distinctive peanut sauce.  There were also some noodles which I smothered in an appetising sweet chilli sauce.

The chilli sauce took me by surprise; it was really hot!  I do love spicy foods and can usually eat the hot ones (such as vindaloo) but this sauce was something else!  I needed three glasses of iced water to douse the flames.   😉

After the delicious buffet we spent the evening in our usual way; off to the Neptune Lounge where it was a double-bill once again; the leader male vocalist from the Black Watch Show Company was putting on a mini-show he’d written and choreographed himself, called The Ringmaster, and this was followed by a reprise from one-man-band Bruce Thompson.  An excellent evening’s entertainment once again.  One thing I will say about the Black Watch evening shows – at least they are original and not just the same old tired excerpts from musicals that we saw on the Adonia in May.   🙂

Then it was off to the quiz (which we didn’t win – I think our prizes have dried up now!) and we finished the evening by going up to the Lido Lounge where resident entertainers “Serendipity” and Shat Pannon were performing again.  We spent some time sitting outside on deck in the warm evening air, watching the lights coming on all over Copenhagen, then it was off to bed, once again well after 1.00am.

Saturday, 20th July 2013

We were up at 8 o’clock this morning as tonight was the last formal night and we knew, from past experience, that this would mean there would be a free ‘champagne’ breakfast up in the Glentanar restaurant, where, along with the various fruit juices, bottles of bubbly and flutes would be available in case you wanted to enjoy a nice Buck’s Fizz.   🙂

I enjoyed a breakfast of smoked salmon, ham, salami and fresh fruits (melons and pineapple) washed down with coffee and three glasses of the free bubbly.   🙂

Then it was back to the cabin where we got together our stuff and disembarked the Black Watch to get one of the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ city tour buses.

Once again the sun shone brightly from a sapphire sky and the day promised to be another scorcher.  We boarded one of the waiting buses, bought our ticket then went up to the open-topped upper deck, where we plugged in our free ear-phones to listen to the commentary as the bus wended its way through the busy, Saturday morning streets.

We had to change at the civic centre for the bus that would take us to the Carlsberg Brewery, but as this bus wasn’t due for over an hour, we decided to go for a coffee and browse the shops.

Looking around some of the stylish shops and boutiques, I spotted a shoe shop (!!!) that was having a sale.  There were quite a few nice ones I saw in the shop window, so we went in (Trevor giving a sigh of resignation as we did so) and had a look round.  I spotted some lovely orange shoes with 5″ heels and open toes, tried them on and they were a perfect fit.  So I bought them – that’s two new pairs of shoes I’m going home with after this trip, ha ha.  I have shoes from all over the world, including Brazil, USA, Australia, Spain, Costa Rica, Tortola, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia.  Some of the styles and more colourful and unusual than the ones you’d get back home, so that’s why I can’t resist them.   🙂

By this time we had to go and get back on the bus, so off we went to continue our city tour, alighting at the famous gates, flanked by two bull elephants, of the Carlsberg Brewery.  Last time we were here in December 2007, we had to rush round it as we only had an hour until the last bus, so we didn’t do it any justice at all.  This time we could take as long as we liked – and we intended to.  😉

We bought our tickets and had a good look around.  We read about the history of the brewery, founded by J. C. Jacobson in 1847 and named after his son Carl, and we learned that the Carlsberg Group (which also brews Tuborg) is the fifth largest brewery in the world.

We then went into the stables, where the brewery’s dray horses are kept.  In reality, of course, the drays are no longer horse drawn, but the horse here are considered ambassadors for Carlsberg and are often hitched to old-fashioned dray carts for photographic and publicity purposes; you could also book a half-hour ride in the wagon pulled by a couple of these massive, dignified animals and we saw them doing a roaring trade, the horses’ hooves clip-clopping on the cobbles in the sunny courtyard outside the stables.

By this time, we were ready for our first free glass of beer (our ticket included two vouchers each that we could trade in any of the four bars for two half-pints of beer) so we sat at a shaded table in the courtyard and took advantage of the free wi-fi as well as enjoying our cold beer immensely.   🙂

We then continued our tour of the brewery which contains the world’s largest collection of different unopened beer bottles; to date there are over 22,000, displayed behind glass on floor-to-ceiling shelves.  We learned about the brewing process and the different brands, then decided to go back outside for our second glass of beer.

All in all, we spent three hours in the brewery, then went to catch the 2.30pm bus as we needed to be back at the Black Watch by 4 o’clock as I had an appointment with Mark in the salon; today he was doing my make-up as well as my hair.  In any case, all passengers had to be back on board by 4.30pm at the latest, as the ship was due to sail again at five.

The bus dropped us back at the Little Mermaid and we walked the half-mile or so back to the ship.  On our way, we passed the stall selling the cold draught Carlsberg at 5 kroner a pint and as we needed to get rid of the last of our Danish money we bought one and shared it between us.

Back on the ship I went to the salon and Mark, as usual, did a brilliant job of my hair and my make-up this time for a very reasonably price; I ended up giving him a tenner as a tip for the three hairdos he’d done for me, all of which had received many compliments.  🙂

It just remained, therefore, for me to put on my dress, jewellery and wrap and for Trevor to put on his DJ, before it was time to go to the Captain’s farewell cocktail party.   The Black Watch was underway by this time so the next time the ship reached land it would be back in Newcastle.    😦

We enjoyed three free glasses of ‘champers’ each and Captain Tom Hansen gave another little speech, summarising the cruise and the various ports we’d visited in his dryly amusing way.  Then it was time for us to go to dinner, where we enjoyed another sumptuous meal, followed by the traditional “Baked Alaska” parade by all the chefs, waiters and busboys.

The show tonight in the Neptune Lounge was the Crew Extravaganza, where we were treated to a display of singing, dancing and martial arts, some of them in their national dress.  It was an entertaining and colourful show and we really enjoyed it.

Once again we only lost the quiz by a point, then finished off the evening in the Lido Lounge, where we spent some time talking with Dave Kristian, the Geordie comedian, and enjoyed more of the free drinks.  I really will have to diet when I get back home, this lifestyle cannot be good for my liver!  But home was another world away, and tomorrow we had our final sea day to look forward to.   🙂

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