HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN! Spending your birthday in 2 different countries during the day, what a lucky duck!
BHW and I woke up early to get one last cup of joe at Coffee Collective and also some breakfast at a place I had read about! We had a few more hours with our bikes so we rode back over to Nørrebrø. After our coffee, which was fabulous.. AGAIN.. we walked to Grød. Grød is a tiny restaurant that serves only one thing, a Danish specialty, porridge! You can choose many different toppings, sweet or savory, to go with your grød! BHW wasn't very hungry so we just got one to share. I chose fresh apples, caramel, chocolate, and granola! It was absolutely delicious! If I had the chance to get it again, which hopefully I will, I would try a more savory version! Many people refer to this hole in the wall as 'Porridge Paradise'!
On our ride home we decided to take a 'shortcut' through the cemetery, Kirkegård. We stumbled upon the world famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's grave. It is quite a modest grave for someone so famous. Time was ticking, and we needed to get our bikes back to the harbor before our 24 hour rental ended! After we rode our bikes down Nyhaven Harbor (SO GORGEOUS!) one last time, we had to return them. It was such an awesome experience being able to pedal around town like a local. I would highly suggest renting a bike, but also making sure to at least explore for one day on foot! We got a 20% discount on our bikes using the Copenhagen Card! Both ways are fabulous for getting to know a city, make sure to do both! My flight left at 1:30PM and we had a few more hours to spare. We took the metro back to the apartment and gathered our bags! BHW took out the trash through the courtyard while I locked the front door and dropped the keys in the mailbox for our host, Jan. Just as soon as I heard the clink from the keys hitting the bottom of the mailbox, BHW comes to the door panting and banging on the window. Somehow, he had left his shoulder bag upstairs in the apartment! I tried and tried to squeeze my hand through the tiny slot to reach the keys but it didn't work. Thankfully we could still access Jan's internet and I was able to FaceTime audio him. He was 'very far away' from the apartment but he said the caretaker was on the premises and should be there in a couple minutes to unlock the door. We got SO lucky that someone was around to help us out!
After we got all that drama out of the way, we hopped onto the metro to head towards the airport, making a stop before there to explore the Den Blå Planet, the aquarium! Can you guess how much we paid to get in? I'll give you a hint.. it had something to do with that amazing Copenhagen Card.. so.. FREE! We had a little less than an hour, but we enjoyed our time there! They had a really cool water tunnel with sharks! The aquarium also had sea otters!
Now for BHW's birthday surprise! BHW and I left for the airport so he could make sure I get through security and got to my gate. I faked being so nervous and afraid to fly alone and that he HAD to come with me so he could calm his frightened wifey. I mean, I was a little nervous to visit another country alone, but I made it super dramatic... It was great. His flight didn't leave until 8PM so he had the whole day to 'drink alone at the airport on his birthday'. He whined about this for months as I tried my hardest to feel sorry for him while holding in a huge secret!
I got through to my gate and literally start sprinting to the other side of the airport to find none other than BHW's best friend, IC, who is also flying in for the wedding. IC was also heading to Berlin to go to the bachelor party. He had left from JFK and we told BHW he had a direct flight to Berlin. Little did BHW know, that Ian actually had a super long layover in Copenhagen, and then was on the same flight with BHW to Berlin.
I never actually found IC. I tried to hold on as long as I could but my plane was boarding, so I had to call BHW and tell him he needed to find the arrivals gate at the airport. He was so confused. I told him he needed to meet IC there. He said, 'Wait, WHAT? IC?' I then responded, 'So stop whining about drinking alone on your birthday and go have fun.'
I think the best part of the surprise was that it wasn't planned at all! It was just chance that their flight was the same to Berlin and that Ian had a crazy long layover in the city Brian was already in! Sometimes life just works like that.
They had an awesome day in Copenhagen and are now happily in Berlin drinking until they can drink no more, and I am on my way to Prague for a day of solo travel!
I landed in Prague at 3PM and bought my bus ticket to take to the city center to find my hostel. The bus ticket was soooo expensive.. $1.85. HA! The bus ride was about 20 minutes and then I had to take the subway for a few stops. I thought I would be a little more nervous about being in a foreign country alone, but I actually felt quite confident and calm. Nothing was in English anywhere, but I just told myself that if I got lost it was OK to ask. When I got to the city center I tried to follow the directions I had written down earlier but got a little turned around. I found a cafe and stood outside to sneak a little of their free wifi to download google maps. Once I downloaded the map, I walked towards the hotel. Even without internet, if the map has been loaded.. it will follow your walking! The only thing it will not do it re-calculate if you make a wrong turn. I found my hostel within a few minutes of downloading the map, sometimes technology is a time saver! I paid for an all girls room at Hostel Rosemary, it cost me around $20 for the evening. The hostel was nice and my room was clean with 4 other beds, three of which were occupied. There was a communal bathroom and hang out room/kitchen!
When I got into my room there was also a woman there who had just landed from India! She asked me what I was doing for the evening. I didn't have anything planned so she offered for me to join her for the night! As we walked towards the main square, we were chatting about her reason for coming her etc. Deepika is married and has a 5 year old son. She was telling me when she first had her son she spent 3 years at home, rarely doing anything for herself.. typical mom life, right? After the 3rd year she said 'enough is enough' and that she had to take some time for herself. She then traveled to Munich alone for 2 weeks. She and her husband have agreed to each take a solo vacation once a year and then one together as a whole family. I thought the entire idea of it was very interesting and also super cool. I told her I had a lot of respect for her to do something so big for herself, many moms I know just opt for a 60 minute massage at a spa down the road!
When we reached the square we stopped for a treat, I hadn't eaten since early in the morning when I had some grød! We ordered a pastry called a Trdelník! The pastry is dough rolled in sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes walnuts and then roasted over an open flame on a spinning rod! I had one filled with lemon custard, fresh strawberries, and nutella! It was heavenly! Deepika had her evening planned out and I sort of just tagged along happily! We walked through a light drizzle to the Museum of Torture Instruments, a 6 Euro entrance fee and a little too touristy for me. But I went and enjoyed reading the information about all the ways they tortured people, what a weird thing for people to pay to visit! Some of the devices were downright insane! The strangest ones were where they locked people up in uncomfortable positions, causing cramps after an extended period of time.. then they just died from going mad over the pain! Deepika was a little sick and it was raining, so we decided to grab some dinner and call it a night, I was pooped, so I didn't mind a bit! We found a restaurant in busy square and shared traditional Czech beef goulash and pea soup! Both were delicious and filling on a cool rainy night! The place was filled with a tour bus of older Asian folks. Bleh, I typically look for somewhere a little more off the beaten path, but I just went along with it with a smile.
After dinner we went to the hostel and headed for bed! I had most of the morning the next day to really explore on my own. I was looking forward to that! Overall, my first solo travel day went well, and I didn't get kidnapped or hurt or anything my mom was probably worried about!