…And the title pretty much sums it up.
Due to a rather unfortunate mishap with our diary entries we booked ourselves a rather lovely day trip to Denmark. (Why Denmark you ask? Well the truth is we were looking for anywhere close enough to visit for the day.
My day trips to Venice have been such a success that we wanted to open up the rest of Europe for our delectation).
Copenhagen in Denmark fitted the bill beautifully. Early morning flight there, late evening flight back, what could go wrong?
Well, the fact that Chris and Ben had forgotten to write that they were running in The Great South Run the next day really…a run that they hadn’t got round to training for either…talk about make life difficult for yourself. Hahahahaha.
But let’s go back to Saturday first.
We arrived at Stansted airport bright and early for our flight, we’ve been incredibly lucky with our flights running reasonably on time, I did have two 1 hour delays on the way back from Venice on those trips but it wasn’t anything too problematic.
We were all perky and excited…I can assure you I didn’t arrive home like that. Hahahahaha.
We had the most wonderful day! I have never been to any Scandinavian countries before but I have to say I was blown away. The city of Copenhagen is beautiful (although not quite as beautiful as Gdansk in my opinion, so put Gdansk on your travel list, I’m a huge fan). but it is beautiful nonetheless, there is an amazing energy and warmth. And the people are so friendly, probably the warmest, friendliest people I’ve come across in Europe.
They speak the most impeccable English, in most cases without a hint of a Danish accent, to the point I couldn’t tell you what a Danish accent is like.
We arrived at the airport in Copenhagen, passport control was a breeze. We then simply followed the signs for the Metro (the train to the city), which was ridiculously easy, you don’t even step outside of the airport. The ticket for the train was £4, which leaves me embarrassed and almost ashamed of what people discover once they’ve landed at Stansted to get the train to London to find their ticket price to be.
Their Metro system is only 3 lines so it’s very easy to follow. Do your homework before you leave home to know where you want to go and what you want to see.
Our first stop was to see Tivoli. Tivoli is a theme park that opened in 1843, visited by Hans Christian Anderson et al.
Walt Disney visited many times and took inspiration for his dream of Disneyland from there.
It’s incredible, mainly because it’s in the middle of the city, you literally come out of the station and there it is across the road. You queue up on the pavement (sidewalk) outside. Now if you’ve been to a theme park here or in the States then you’ll know the queues wouldn’t be in an orderly line on the pavement, it’d be spilled out on to the road and all over the place. It wasn’t there. It was very calm. We sadly didn’t have time to go in but it’s an absolute beauty of a place.
We headed off on our whistle stop tour of the city, it’s stunning, it really is…all this and only 1 hour and 20 minutes from London Standsted.
No day trip is complete without a few pit stops along the way. I had the most delicious hot chocolate of my life here, in Cafe Norden.
I’m not meant to consume chocolate in any form as it gives me terrible gut ache amongst other things, and whilst I never eat actual chocolate I do make an exception for a cup of hot chocolate every now and then and just suffer the consequences…this one was the most worthwhile gut ache I’ve ever had!!
That creamy layer was just that, a thick layer of double (heavy) cream. Oh my God I was in heaven!!
I’d go back for that alone! Hahahahaha
Kaitlyn trialed a Danish Pastry and confirmed it was the best she’d ever had. Tesco will have to up their game. ;)
I chose my outfit for the day with the length of it in mind, not the dress length but the trip itself.
I will always feel nervous about such a long day out with no where to change my bag, when you are staying somewhere over night you have a hotel room to pop back to, when you’re just there for the day you have no such safety net to fall back on. And yes, that does make me anxious about all the what ifs. What if it leaks, what if it overfills what if, what if, what if…
Well you could spend a life time indoors worrying about all those possible scenarios or you could head out the door, head held high and hope for the best!
I chose my dress (From Oliver Bonas) because it’s the least likely outfit choice to leak, I wore my trusty tights (from Tesco) with a hole cut in for my bag to pop through for warmth and anti fat thigh chafe and I wore what I thought would be a comfortable pair of boots (from Russell and Bromley) because I’ve had them 20 years and they are well worn in (got that one wrong, as my feet were so sore! The cobbles did me in big time).
We visited some beautiful places, including the Design Museum. Scandi’s have impeccable taste as well as English, it’s well worth a look, although in places you could be mistaken in thinking that you’re in Ikea (I’m such a heathen! Hahahahaha).
And of course we visited Copenhagen’s most famous daughter…
The Little Mermaid, Yes, she is tiny and yes her back drop is a little industrial but she is very beautiful. I feel she is best viewed from the land rather than a boat trip, Ben’s friend Leonie saw her by boat but because she’s so small and Len only saw the back of her she was utterly underwhelmed.
She is a bit of a trek from the city, but only a mile or so, not that far really. We walked over 10 miles on our day trip here, what’s another mile matter. Hahahahaha
We had the most fantastic day. We headed to a roof top restaurant for dinner where the hospitality couldn’t have been better.
I thanked our waitress in Danish, to which she responded in kind with a stream of words I had no clue what was being said. Chris, Kaitlyn and Ben cracked up as I sat there like a rabbit in the head lights. I had to explain that thank you and hello were all I knew. She was so sweet and said in perfect English “Well you said it so well I thought you were Danish” :)
I was mistaken for a Norwegian at Stansted the other day so it must be that 7% Scandinavian I found out about in that DNA test I did a while back coming out! Hahahahaha
Anyway in the restaurant I asked if the steak was cooked dairy free as Ben has a lactose intolerance. The waiter says (again in impeccable English) “well if it isn’t I’ll make sure chef makes it so”.
I’ve got to say we were blown away, we had a waiter mess that up in London a few weeks back. So we were really happy here.
The meal was delicious. We weren’t rushed in anyway. Everything was relaxed and just lovely as is Copenhagen itself.
The only down side I could find if I was pushed for one is some of the shops shut at 3pm on a Saturday. So just do your shopping early.
Copenhagen has all the biggies too, Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo etc as well as the normal ones H&M, And Other Stories and Topshop etc.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit. A day was long enough to see what we wanted to see, an over night trip would be very nice because you could spread out your sight seeing more and fit in more hot chocolates.
Our flight home was the best we’ve ever had. The plane only had 40 people on board, so we left early, flew quicker and everyone had a set of 3 seats to themselves. That’s the closest I’m ever going to get to a private jet! Hahahahaha
We always pay for fast track passport control on the way back, yes, it’s pricey for what it is but it means you get through in seconds compared to sometimes 50 minutes plus in the normal queue.
It was vital for this trip as we got home at midnight and then had to leave our house at 5.50 am to be in Portsmouth, parked and ready for the run by 9 am when the gates would be shut and the roads closed for the race.
Arrived back at midnight on our ghost plane.
And then up with the larks for our 5.50am departure for the race.
I’m so proud of my 3. Chris, Sam and Ben did the run. Chris and Ben for some reason didn’t train for it at all, time just got away from them. And Sam did train for it but went down with a chest infection and was told by a doctor not to do it at all.
So with that in mind the fact that they finished at all was incredible but in really good times too!
Did it inspire me to run it next year? Errrrr, no, no thanks, my forté is in spectating.
I have bladder trouble, collateral damage from bowel cancer and running sets it off into spasm, I have a hernia which hates all sports, so no, running 10 miles isn’t for me.
But I’m so proud of them for doing it. Chris and Sam ran it for The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a charity very special to Sam, because they rebuilt his confidence after his cancer treatment and taught him to sail and trained him to be crew.
He’s now on their youth board.
Ben ran it for Mind Charity because being open and up front about mental health is very close to his heart because he has suffered since the age of 11. (Understandably if you know what he’s been through. You know there’s always that joke about people in therapy discovering it’s their mums fault…well in Ben’s case that’s actually true).
I have done my best to stay alive though so I’m not all bad. Hahahahaha
The three of them are my heroes.
Sam met us down there with his family and Milly’s family were there too to support Sam and Milly’s brother Elliot (who ran the race in 1 hour 20 minutes! 10 miles in 1.20!?). :o
10 miles isn’t easy, but the crowds kept them buoyant. It’s a big race, it’s televised. Not that we saw them when we watched it when we got home but the chances of spotting 3 people out of the thirty thousand runners was pretty unlikely. :)
So that’s our weekend in a nutshell. It’s now 3 days later and I’m still shattered…and I didn’t even run a 10 mile race!
I think we’ll just sit the next weekend out…well we’re off to a ball Saturday night but other than that you will find us in our pj’s. Hahahahaha hahahahaha.
I just want to say a little bit about my constant flying, I do fly a lot but it’s all in coach or maybe at a push premium economy for long haul, but the very closest I’ll ever get to private travel was that near empty Ryanair flight on Saturday night.
I’m very torn, I love Greta, I believe in what she is saying, I think it needs to be said too, but at the same time having had the experience in life that we had I also want to go and see everything there is to see before…well, you know…
I believe in Extinction Rebellion’s message but not their means of getting it across.
I do not believe you create change by inconveniencing the common man (or women).
I think they should have a believable single figurehead like David Attenborough (we all love and believe in him).
And I really truly believe they should be pestering politicians and captains of industry to effect change and not joe public just trying to make a living, we can recycle till the cows come home but that’s not going to help while companies are still packaging goods in non recyclable containers.
Sky news released this report on Tuesday it’s certainly food for thought;
Climate change correspondent @hannahtpsky
The Swedish have a word for climate guilt associated with flying.
It is "flygskam", which translates in English to "flight shame".
The movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, who famously sailed from Sweden to the US to avoid air travel, is having an effect.
In Sweden rail bookings are booming, and one travel magazine said that 64% of those who chose to reduce their trips abroad last year did so because of climate change.
And one recent survey that polled people in the US, UK, Germany and France found that 1 in 5 had reduced the number of flights they took in 2018.
And as I watched Extinction Rebellion activists target London City Airport recently, I started seriously considering this one - is flying really that bad?
I'm going to be in trouble for even writing that down.
It is also a selfish question, because I fly a lot.
But before the howls of outrage drown me out, here's what I think.
In the "yes, it's absolutely awful, how dare you even consider that a topic for debate" column, there are some compelling arguments.
The main problem is that global air travel keeps increasing and is expected to continue to do so at a rate of about 5% per year.
4.3 billion passengers flew on 46.1 million flights last year.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation predicts that in 2020 global aviation emissions will be 70% greater than they were in 2005.
And while airlines are trying to make their aircraft more efficient and experiment with biofuels, at the moment there simply are not viable (by which I mean scalable and affordable) alternative technologies and fuels for the industry to switch to, and precious few on the horizon.
These issues prompted one study to predict that if the rate of growth and lack of green alternatives continues, by 2050 air travel could be responsible for one quarter of the world's carbon budget if we are to keep temperature rises within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels.
This leads us on to the next problem, which is the climate injustice of air travel.
Just a few percent of the world's population can afford to fly, and when they do so, they can emit more carbon in one flight than another person in a less developed country does in an entire year.
Add all of that to the fact that planes spew other harmful gases and chemicals into the atmosphere at a height that compounds their harmful effects and it's enough to make anyone feel guilty.
I can feel the flygskam rising.
But there's another side to this story.
While flying might take up a significant part of an individual's carbon footprint, currently the aviation industry is responsible for just over 2% of global carbon emissions.
That's much, much less than agriculture, forestry and other land use (around 25%) and electricity and heat production (also around 25%), according to America's Environmental Protection Agency.
Even the global fashion industry accounts for over 8% of carbon emissions - more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
To me, that 2% of global emissions happens in return for extraordinary benefits.
I'm not just talking about individuals being able to go on holiday and to see friends and family.
I'm also talking more broadly about the rapid movement of people and goods in an interconnected world, and all of the cultural, social and economic benefits that come with that.
Giving up or severely curtailing flying means, to an extent, giving up something that knits us together; an essential part of our modern life.
It is an almost pure sacrifice in ways that other big changes that tackle the climate crisis are not.
For example, eating a plant based diet and going car free or dramatically reducing driving not only significantly reduces our carbon footprint but is better for our health.
Having one less child is certainly better for our wallets, as is living in energy efficient homes, and buying less in general, particularly clothes.
Am I suggesting that those who are lucky enough to fly should be able to hop on planes like they are buses for as long as they want? No. The price one pays for polluting behaviour, no matter the benefit, is for another column on another day.
But I am suggesting that the rising social stigma around flying is perhaps misplaced, and that there are other admittedly tough, big impact actions that we should look at doing first.
Sky Views is a series of comment pieces by Sky News editors and correspondents, published every morning.