Today I boarded my first Danish train and hopped aboard to the northern coast of Denmark, to Helsingor. I had really high hopes for the train. What pulled up at Grand Central Station in Copenhagen was not at all like the Hogwarts Express train I was expecting to come whisk me away to towards the coast. What pulled up instead was a small five car electric train, even smaller and more disappointing than the Metra in Chicago. Nevertheless, Kronborg Slot did not dissapoint me.
Although the northern coast of Denmark is colder and windier than the brisk Copenhagen I’ve gotten used to, Kronborg was such a site to be seen. Surrounded by water, Kronborg is the type of castle I am used to seeing in movies. Believe it or not, a movie was actually being filmed while we were there (my googling skills have yet to wield me an answer as to which movie it was)! Kronborg is surrounded by a moat, which means yes, DRAWBRIDGES! I’m not sure if anyone else was as excited as I was to be crossing real drawbridges into the castle, but it was a surreal feeling. Kronborg’s outline along the coast looks absolutely massive, and it’s beauty is above all else. Just walking around the outside of the castle I took 48 photos.
After seeing Kronborg castle we left Helsingor in hopes of going to see Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerod, but unfortunately the Danish trains disappointed me again and we were unable to figure out where to transfer and how to reach Hillerod. Instead we returned to Copenhagen and went shopping! Which luckily, did not disappoint me. I must say, the shopping available in Copenhagen is quite good.
Three hours of shopping later I hopped in a cab back to our cozy hotel. In this cab I had an interesting conversation with my cab driver, Hashem. Hashem was a smaller man with dark clean cut hair and a freshly shaven face. I have seen people of all races and diversities in Copenhagen, but Hashem doesn’t seem to speak as good English as most and has a thick accent. Hashem’s first question after asking where to, was to ask where I was from. All Danes can pick out an American accent from a mile away, which I have found entertaining. Hashem then asked, after finding out I was American and from Milwaukee, “So what do you think of Trump?” This, unfortunately, has been a very common question from Danish people within the past five days. I have learned from bartenders and tour guides alike that the Danish are terrified of President Trump.
After a short conversation about my opinion of our nations president, I asked Hashem what he thought of the Danish government. Hashem then said, “I have lived in Denmark for 24 year now, the first 14 years were great, the last 10 have gotten worse and worse.” I then admitted that I had no idea how their government worked, but knew they had a Prime Minister, and I then asked if the Queen has anything to do with the government. This I thought was a valid question, seen as how the parliament and Danish Prime Minister are located within Christiansborg, which is one of the castles in Denmark, but I was proven wrong.
Hashem told me that the queen, Queen Margrethe II, has nothing to do with the government and that the royal family hasn’t for decades. “She is just a face,” Hashem said in his middle eastern accent. “She is the face of Denmark but she has nothing to do with the government, she is just a symbol for the people.” Hashem then told me that he originally comes from Jordan, and that he is Palestinian. Hashem came to Denmark following a beautiful Danish woman he had met in Jordan while he was enlisted in the Jordan Army. As any girl would be, I was instantly intrigued in his love story, and asked for more details. Hashem told me the Danish woman was working in Jordan around the time his time in the army was up. She then asked him to come back to Denmark with her, and he accepted. They are now married with three kids and living just outside of Copenhagen, very happy. I’m a sucker for a good love story, and an interesting conversation.
Keep following me as I watch the changing of the guard and Amelienborg tomorrow, and then board a cruise ship towards Norway!