Friday, January 13th, 2012

Kronborg Castle, Elsinore Denmark

GirlsGetaway is delighted to introduce an ongoing travel series by Sarah Emery, a university student with an insatiable lust for travel. She recently returned from a long term backpacking trip through Europe with two of her girlfriends and has agreed to share tales of her adventures with our readers. Here’s the third story in our series: Sarah Travels on a Budget. To check out other stories in the series click here.

SO Elsingør is a little village, about a 45 minute train ride north of Copenhagen. The reason it is amazing and exciting is because there is a BIG AMAZING castle there, called Kronborg. You may remember Kronborg as the castle where Shakespeare’s play HAMLET took place. Yes people, ELSINORE IS REAL. AND I WENT THERE. It was amazing.

Anyway, we checked out the train ticket prices and figured HA, to heck with that, we’ll just bike! I checked it out on google maps – pretty easy to navigate, just stick by the coast all the way north until the coast ends. Google maps also said it would take about 2 hours to bike there (THIS WAS A LIE). We figured 2 hours wasn’t so bad, we biked for hours and hours at time when we were exploring Copenhagen.

The only day we could really do this trip was Friday – we already had a bunch of other plans. When we got up and set off the weather was not great – cold and overcast. However, it hadn’t started raining yet, and we held out hope that the skies would clear up. The first hour or so of the ride was pretty enjoyable. It was cold, grey, and windy, but biking right next to the ocean was fun, and the cute little houses in the Copenhagen suburbs were fun to see. We stopped a couple times, still enjoying ourselves.

Biking in Denmark The Good and the BadThen the weather took a turn for the worse. It started to rain. It was really windy (biking in this kind of wind makes you feel like you’re biking uphill, even if you are ACTUALLY biking downhill.) We hit the two hour mark, and by the looks of the map we were still less than halfway there. But we were stuck – we’d already started, we didn’t think we could take our bikes on the train, and we were unwilling to give up. Sometimes stubbornness is a REALLY NOT FUN thing.

By the 3 hour mark it had started to rain HARD. Of course neither of us had brought rain coats (or jackets of any kind). We had treated this trip as one of our little Copenhagen rides from my apartment to the grocery store – we didn’t even bring water. We were completely unprepared. Also, as we got further and further from Copenhagen, the landscape started getting hillier and hillier. Soon we weren’t just battling the wind and the rain, but hills that were practically MOUNTAINS.

I feel like this was the main failure of the trip – we were seeing parts of Denmark that I’d never seen before. Adorable hamlets, vast fields, gorgeous green mossy forests, windswept beaches – and both Carly and I were too blinded by our misery to take ANY of it in. We just plodded along, concentrating only on arriving at our destination in one piece (and trying really hard not to think about how we were going to get home).

We hit hour 4, and the distance we still had to go seemed VAST. We FINALLY came across a little collection of shops – we stopped at a café (SOAKING WET) for a snack and a rest. I bought a chocolate milk, I think Carly had a muffin. And then we soldiered on.

Kronborg Castle DenmarkHour 5 hit and FINALLY. We could SEE THE CASTLE. That last five minute bike ride up the huge castle road was the most excruciating of all. I almost died. I was on the verge of DEATH. BUT WE ARRIVED! We we SO exhausted. And now it was time to explore the castle – we were both only half alive at this point, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. The best part (in my opinion, not Carly’s) was the SUPER AWESOME CREEPY TUNNELS under the castle. You get to just wander around all by yourself, in these crazy ancient terrifying haunted tunnels of darkness and DEATH. They don’t even have electric lights, just gas lanterns. AMAZING. Carly was terrified OUT OF HER MIND.

We took the train back. Bikes are allowed.

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