Copenhagen for 2

Tuesday June 3rd we left Oslo after breakfast for our 1 p.m. flight to Copenhagen.

Our hotel, Hotel Absalon, was again just a street away from the train station on Istegade and, despite my apprehensions, really quite decent.
We checked in and headed straight back out for an early dinner before the KISS concert that had brought us here.

500 meters down the street we sat down at the terrace of Det Gule Hus, recommended by our Rough Guide. The food - burger for Bart and grilled salmon for me - was absolutely divine, and half the price of a restaurant, and the beer was 3 times cheaper than Oslo, a nice change, but probably not surprising in the land of Carlsberg and Tuborg.

From there we walked to the Forum, the venue for the evening. Doors were already open and so we opted for a place on the balcony, giving us a great view on the stage.

After the concert, we headed off in search of a bar for a couple of drinks and a huge bowl of popcorn, then back to the hotel.

Wednesday we just couldn't get out of bed, so ended up only setting off around 1 p.m.
We stopped for brunch at the Hard Rock Café, on the other side of the station, which was hugely disappointing, although the terrace was great for people watching, and the couple sitting behind us looked strangely like my mother and her husband.

Starting from the central Radhuspladsen, we headed off along the main shopping street and shopped for a couple of hours before sitting down for a cool beer on Hojbro Plads.

Dinner was at Sticks N Sushi on Istegade, one of the three branches of this modern sushi restaurant in Copenhagen. The food was absolutely delicious, the wine - a New Zealand Marlborough - so good, especially after a week drinking beer and the whole atmosphere was really cool.

Thursday was another difficult start, and after missing the hotel breakfast we had a late brunch back at Det Gule Hus. Also really yummy and worth every kroner :)

June 5th is a national holiday in Denmark, so all the shops were closed and probably quite a few of the museums, so we headed down to the waterfront and boarded a taxi boat for a tour of the city. DFDS operates a couple of guided tour boats, but they also have 3 unguided tours with a hop on-hop off system. A day ticket for those boats costs around 6 euro and you can take as many boats as you want. So we boarded our first boat at Fisketorvet, at the South end of the city, and basically boat hopped for the rest of the day, going through the canals of the center, up and down Nyhavn, out to Trekroner lighthouse and around Christianshavn, soaking up the sun at the same time.

We ended the day with a meal on the terrace of Cap Horn restaurant on Nyhavn, listening to a jazz live band, then headed back for a drink near our hotel on Holmtorvet, also the scene of a live concert that evening.

Friday our flight wasn't until 8 p.m., so we had a full day left. We got up - relatively - early and had breakfast at the hotel, then headed out to Radhuspladsen where we decided to check out the Bodies exhibition. After seeing Korperwelten in London, it was much less impressive and even a bit disappointing (a lot less shocking, too), but nevertheless very interesting and quite informative.

Then we hit the shopping streets again, then found a really picturesque square full of terraces to have lunch. Lunch was at Huks Fluks and was very enjoyable, even though we were invaded by a busload of Icelandic old-aged tourists and had to share our table with a couple of old ladies who didn't speak a word of English.

Our last stop was the park Rosenborg Have for a lie in the sun, knowing it was raining and cold in Belgium where we would be heading a few hours later.

Oslo highlights

We were in Oslo for 4 days, the main reason to the trip being the KISS concert on May 31st.

We arrived Friday in the late afternoon, checked into our hotel, the Comfort Hotel Børsparken - close to the station and good value for money, and headed out for a meal at Asian restaurant the Golden Dragon.
We soon discovered just what our guide book meant by "expensive food and drinks". Although the meal was really good quality, compared to Chinese restaurants in Brussels, we payed about 3 times the price, with beers at 8 euro and main courses around 20 euro...

After dinner we headed down to the harbour, crossing through the park behind Akershus fort. The park was full of groups of friends picnicking, and a big trend seems to be little throw-away barbecue kits, really neat.

Saturday was spent relaxing in Tøyen Park, with the intention of going to the Munch museum, but we never actually got round to it :)
We headed off to the concert venue, Vallhall arena, a couple of metro stops away from Tøyen Park, and got there nice and early, so we were among the first to enter the venue when the doors finally opened.

We were front row at the concert and the show was impressive.
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, stopping on the way for take-away noodles from the 7/11.

Sunday we caught the ferry to nearby Hovedoya, an island just off the coast, which we set off to explore before finding a spot on the beach under the shade of a tree - as we hadn't actually brought any sun cream. We had a late lunch at the island's only snack bar and headed back to the ferry. We had taken a day pass for the ferries, part of the public transport system, so we decided to find ourselves a spot on the top deck and enjoy a few rides around the islands, soaking up some late afternoon sun :)

Sunday evening we headed out for dinner in trendy Grynerlokka and ended up in a French restaurant, Bristo Brocante, decent but nothing amazing, especially considering the price...

Monday we awoke to more amazing sunshine, blue skies and soaring temperatures and decided to hit the shopping streets.

After a quick walk up the roof of the impressive Opera House, we walked up Prinsens Gate to the university, stopping to browse books in an amazing bookshop, followed by coffee and a cookie, then past the Slottsparken, on to Hegdehaugsveien and Bogstadveien, all the way up to Frognerparken, where the sculpture park is. There we crashed on the grass, browsing through our newly acquired books and reflecting on life...

Then we headed to the harbour to catch a late afternoon 2 hour Fjord cruise...

... before dining at "Front", on the posh waterfront Stranden... absolutely divine food (and frightfully expensive drinks).

The Police at Werchter

After seeing their Amsterdam show last October, I was really excited about The Police headlining TW Classic.

Of course, the weather was crap, so we only headed out around 7.30, parked at Leuven station and took the bus to the concert field. We arrived just in time, 5 minutes later the first notes of "Message in a Bottle" rang out and we hurriedly made our way as close to the scene as we could get without pissing off too many people as we squeezed by.

Sting with a beard... well, he reminded me of my father. I guess it makes him look more his age, but then, shouldn't he lose the see-through black top? As far as I'm concerned, he still looks sexy, though I'm not sure how much of it is nature and how much is collagen.

Andy and Stewart however really do look their age. Especially Andy. In Amsterdam he seemed to be struggling to keep up enough energy. This time he seemed much better, smiling and seemingly enjoying himself. Stewart is still impressive to watch.

Of course, there is something slightly ridiculous about a 60-something guy singing "De do do do de da da da", and I'm not sure the simplicity of the lyrics really "fits" the image of the three artists on stage any more. But the songs are catchy and the choruses easy to sing along to, which the crowd did abundantly, without being asked.

All in all it was really enjoyable, and the usually rigid Belgian crowd was especially enthusiastic, which always adds to the atmosphere.

I wish they had played just a little bit longer, a few more songs...