At Dubai Airport Terminal 1 at 1am to start our trip, with an Aeroflot crew just arriving too for their flight to Moscow.
It was the start of National day weekend, so the airport was super busy with every leaving for a long weekend break.
Flights for my trip were to Copenhagen (CPH) from Dubai (DXB) via Istanbul (IST) on Turkish Airlines (TK). For the return I had booked on Ukraine International Airlines (PS) from Stockholm (ARN) to Dubai via Kiev (KBP). The TK flight cost $343 and the PS flight was a very reasonable $148 for a total of $491 for the round trip.
Grabbing an early morning coffee & snack before heading off to the departure gate.
Our flight to Istanbul was on an Airbus A340. Alot of the passengers in economy were German tourists flying back to Frankfurt.
Breakfast #1 about an hour after take-off of cheese pastry, spinach, almond cake, cheese and some tomato juice.
Disembarking the TK A340 in Istanbul.
And in the very busy main terminal. My first time back to Istanbul's Atatürk Airport since I visited Turkey back in 2011.
We then went to a café for breakfast #2, turkish coffee and yoghurt.
After a decent caffeine and dairy fix, we then walked through the duty-free shops and couldn't resist the turkish delight samples.
Turkish Airlines aircraft as far as you could see.
Boarding our flight to Copenhagen (CPH) at ~8am. Although we boarded on time, take-off was delayed by about ~30 minutes due to a seemingly endless queue of other aircraft waiting for take-off.
Breakfast #3 on our uneventful flight to Copenhagen.
And groundside at Copenhagen Airport. We were first in the queue for immigration so were through in 1-2 minutes, and then headed off to catch the metro into Copenhagen.
The 3-zone metro tickets were 36 Danish Kroner (DKK) or $5.30 each.
On the 12 minute ride into the city centre.
Taking the elevators up at Nørreport Station.
After a 10 minute walk, we checked into the Imperial Hotel, a 4 star hotel in the centre of the city we had booked for 990 DKK per night (~$150) including breakfast.
After a quick freshening up, we out out to explore the streets of Copenhagen.
Quite a pretty and beautiful city and reminded me very much of Amsterdam.
'No more EU'. There was a referendum tomorrow on whether to modify opt outs from specific EU rules.
Walking the dog.
We then walked along picturesque Nyhavn, a 17th-century waterfront canal dug by Swedish war prisoners from 1670 to 1673.
Nyhavn is now a busy bar and restaurant district.
We weren't quite acclimatised to the cold yet, so opted instead to retreat indoors for lunch.
Where we had some Danish Smørrebrød, a traditional Scandanavian food consisting of an open sandwich made from buttered rye bread. I had the fish fillet with caviar and shrimp for 150 DKK.
After our tasty lunch, we then continued our walk around Copenhagen. The elaborate Christmas decorations at the Hotel D'Angleterre, a 30 room hotel built in 1795. Previous guests include Hans Christian Andersen, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Ozzy Osbourne and Oprah Winfrey.
The colourful front windows of the Magasin du Nord department store.
Stopping at one the Christmas markets in the city centre.
Crepes and Nutella.
Very peculiar 'rusty' chocolate nuts, tools and drill bits!
Some locals enjoying a bite to eat in the festive atmosphere.
Walking along Strøget, the 1.1 km main pedestrian shopping street in Copenhagen.
About to cross the street on our way back to the hotel.
And the view from our room at about 4pm, just before we crashed out for a nap after the long day of travel and exploring.
After a couple of hours rest, we went for a walk to Tivoli Gardens, which was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel.
Tivoli is a famous amusement park that first park opened in 1843.
Warming up by a brazier.
A selfie in front of the Merry-go-round.
A lurking chinese dragon underneath the Dæmonen roller coaster.
Stopping for a coffee and hot chocolate to warm ourselves up.
A view of the roller coaster and Japanese pavillion. Tivoli Gardens is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland.
Stopping to grab some dinner.
We opted to try the pulled duck burgers.
Very tasty with some Hoisin sauce.
A very festive and picturesque place to take a leisurely evening stroll.
And a great way to end our first day in Copenhagen.
After an early morning run in the dark, we headed down to breakfast.
With everything from crispy bacon to pungent blue cheese.
Colourful bird boxes on the street as we went out to explore some more of Copenhagen.
Not as many bicycles as Amsterdam but it was definitely close.
Inside the Royal National Library.
Looking across to the Copenhagen Opera House.
At the Little Mermaid Statue.
Frederik's Church, viewed from Amalienborg Palace.
Construction of the church first began in 1749 but was not completed until almost 150 years later in 1894 after budget cuts and the death of the original architect.
We then stopped at about midday for a hot drink...
..and some tasty apple marzipan slice with cream.
We then retreated from the rain to check out the National Museum Of Denmark.
The museum had three levels covering pre-historic, the middle ages, and modern history.
A school group in the Middle Ages section.
In the modern history section, the blue UN helmet and flak jacket of Lieutenant Colonel Lars R. Møller from his role in Operation Bøllebank for the UN peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR).
And a recreation of a 1970's living room!
Yellow, red & green. We then walked back to the hotel for a rest.
After a decent nap we then ventured out to Torvehallerne, a gourmet food market, for dinner.
A very interesting place with lots of different and exotic foods and drink.
And some colourful characters too! Torvehallerne, which opened in 2011 and hosts ~80 vendors, has also featured in the New York Times.
In between the two main food halls was also an outdoor market, despite it being winter!
Some Christmas berries for sale.
And some of the delicious desserts on offer back inside.
Tapa del Toro.
And at Sushi Lovers, where we decided to try some of their Danish-Japanese cuisine.
First we had the Sushi Menuer, which consisted of 6 nigiri of tuna, salmon and prawn, and 8 inside-out maki for 149 DKK.
Our next dish under preparation, the Red Hot Dragon roll, which consisted of crispy shrimp and avocado topped with seared tuna, 3 kinds of chili, teriyaki sauce and spring onions for 142 DKK.
And it definitely tasted as good as it looked! Never thought the best sushi I have eaten would be in Copenhagen too. A very filling and tasty meal for two, and good value for 291 DKK / $43 total.
We then went to the Coffee Collective, which according to the Lonelyplanet guidebook served the best coffee in Copenhagen.
And enjoyed a cappacino and latte.
We then headed out into the cool night to savour one last evening stroll in Copenhagen.
Under the mistletoe.
And back at the Imperial Hotel, ready to rest before getting up at 3:45am tomorrow morning to catch the train to Sweden.