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Copenhagen - August 2007

Today, I am off to see a friend in Denmark so I hop on the SBB train ( from Lausanne, Switzerland to Copenhagen and off I go.

It was so easy to get on the train at the station in Lausanne. They had everything waiting for me because I had called the day before to make sure they had the ramp and were ready for me. First stop was Basel, Switzerland and it was an easy change to the next train. I had to do it fast though, with only a 15 minute connection straight from one train to the next. The workers there quickly transferred me and sent me on my way again.

Off to Hamburg, Germany where I almost missed my stop because I wasn't paying attention, but got off the train in time to sit in the station for two hours… with no money. No one really spoke English there, nor were the signs in English at all so I definitely had to struggle a bit. I could have changed some money but I wanted to wait till I got to Copenhagen because the currency is different there anyway. They use the Danish Krone in Denmark and Germany uses the Euro, so I figured I’d just wait.

I got to Copenhagen at midnight and the people were all very helpful in getting me off the train. They spoke enough English for me to understand and even though they were not informed ahead of time, they were right on top of getting the lift and everything to get me off the train and up to the street to meet my ride. Chalk it up to another miscommunication with the train system, but all ended well.

I met my friend at the street and he took me back to his apartment in the city so I could drop my bags and get sorted. I got my bed, aka the couch made up and passed out. Let’s party the next night instead.

Today was a chill day just hanging out around the apartment and resting up for the night that was inevitable. The boys came by and we went to the pub down the street to have a few beers. Tuborg is the home brew there so of course I had to try one... or 10. And of course, I made a couple new friends as well along the way as the shot of Ouzo and Tuborgs were flowing. This is basically the only pub open late in my particular neighborhood and the locals have dubbed it “The Death”. I am not really certain why, but if I had much more to drink I probably would have found out the hard way.

The next day I ventured out with my friend Niklas for the day. First I had to find a bike shop to get my tire fixed as it had gone flat on the train ride up, so we stopped at one right by the apartment I was staying and he didn’t have the right size, but in Niklas talking to him he found out that there are a ton of shops all over the city and the surrounding suburbs. So I found a shop that did have the right size I needed and a CO2 cartridge pump to get me back rollin’ down the path. We found a nice little park on a lake and sat in the grass as I fixed my tire. Worked like a charm!

Niklas had to head off to his job so I was left on my own to explore. I got on one of the public trains and headed for the downtown city center of Copenhagen. The trains are really easy and the platforms are pretty close to the train floor so it was an easy hop in. They have ramps that you can get out and use easily, but I am too impatient for that and there was really no need. The grab bar just inside the door works just fine for me to pull myself in with. Once I got to the city center, I saw that there were quite a few main street closed off to car traffic which made getting to and from really easy. The cobble stones everywhere didn’t really help, but I made do. There were good curb cutouts everywhere. I mean, slapping down a bit of concrete in front of the curb edge isn’t perfect, but good enough to get around.

Most shops had a few stairs going up or down to get in, so that made it a bit difficult but all the restaurants had cafes out front so eating was easy, shopping would be the difficult part. And pretty much everyone around that area spoke English, so I got around just fine. I even stopped at the Irish Rover to get an order of some really tasty fish and chips.

I took the train back out of the city towards Niklas’ apartment and had no problems. There were lifts or elevators everywhere to get me to whatever floor I wanted to, even in the small suburb of Charlottenlund, where I was staying.

Today we took the train to Bakken (pronounced Bah-gen) (www.Bakken.dh) with a few more friends and goofed around at the carnival there. It was a very eclectic place where there aren’t near as many tourists and a lot of the locals frequent to hang out and have a beer or 3. It is a ways off the beaten path out in a section of woods in Klampenborg. After a few hours of wandering around aimlessly, having some traditional Danish food and laughing with my friends, I took the train back to my buddy’s apartment for the night.

Tonight I took the train to main station, a train I have taken quite a few times now and got it down to a science. This time with all my bags though, so I had a lot more difficulty getting into the train than I was used to. The conductor peeked his head out the window and asked if I wanted the ramp. I said yes, giving up on my stubbornness. And he came out quickly pulling the ramp out for me. On the train, I met an old man who I talked with for a bit and he said to me at one point “It’s not the legs that make the man, it is the soul.” Now, this drunken old man is spouting wisdom at me and he was so right it was a bit eerie. How about that.. drunken wisdom at its best..

I dropped off all my bags in large locker at the tune of 35 krone for 24 hours. I can honestly say I am really starting to figure out the trains here -- not like it is really that mind-boggling. I took another train to the City Center and found this city come alive with all sorts of people-- shapes, sizes and nationalities. I decided to push to the Irish Rover Pub again and have a pint of Guinness this time and listen to this acoustic duo play great Irish drinking songs. There was a single step into the door, but the bouncer helped me up with little effort.

After my beer I was off to Rosie McGee’s ( near Tivoli, where a huge body-builder of a bouncer let me in. One step into the club and, again no worries. After grabbing a drink at the bar I headed to the dance floor that was up one more small step. One of the bartenders had made a joke of “why am I sitting down there”, I thought he was funny and laughed then later he came over later to apologize, saying he didn't know I was in a wheelchair. He couldn't see it from behind the bar. I let him know it was OK, that I thought it was funny as well. I end up dancing with a chick that kept knocking the glasses off the ledge with her butt-- she wasn’t big, just drunk. Part way through the night I get offered a shot by a man standing next to me who was thoroughly liquored up. How could I refuse? Although, after a few shots with them I realized that the bathrooms were all downstairs. I know that isn’t going to happen, especially in my current state of inebriation, so I figure that this was a good time to find a new place to hang out.

Strecker’s was next where I met Julie, the bartender (she was from a rural island near Germany) and had another pint of Guinness. This time the restrooms were on the first floor with no steps, but were kinda small. Hey, I am not complaining at all. I can fit. All the buildings in the city center are 700-800 years old and still look exactly the same yet the insides have been recently renovated to make room for new, modern stores and restaurants. The accessibility leaves still something to be desired, but like everywhere else, they are trying.

After a couple more pints and some good conversation with a couple people behind the bar, they invite me to a place called the Moose Bar after we close Strecker’s down. I figure it sounds like fun and head out with them to drink until 7:00 in the morning. This was a total local’s hang out and it was great! Then we decided to call it a night there and tried to find some pizza to soak up the beer. No luck anywhere near there as all the pizzerias weren’t even open yet, so I parted ways with my new friends and went to the main station to get my bags. I found my train to the airport and wandered by many different shops and restaurants along the corridors of the train station to my train. This station is actually very easy to get around. Now, well versed in the Copenhagen public transit system, I made my way easily to the airport and was very, very early to my plane to Geneva, so I decided to wander around the airport as well. When it was time to board the plane, a very polite lady helped me on the plane who I found out had been working there for 15 years.

A super easy and quick flight to Geneva, once again. At the airport, I found a train to Lausanne and jumped on. Once I got to Lausanne, I thought it would be nice to sit on the water for a while so I strolled down the hill from the station. And by strolled, I mean flying down the sidewalks like a wild man. I burned my hands so bad on my push rings on the way down that I realized I should really get some gloves for times like these.

Well, lesson learned and another great trip in the books.