The Bridge – Our Nordic Noir inspired trip to Denmark & Sweden.

We have been fans of The Bridge for many years following the adventures of Saga Noren and Martin Rohde .  For those of you who are unaware, The Bridge is a Scandinavian crime drama television series created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt.  It is a joint venture financed and created by both Danish and Swedish television and has been shown in over 100 countries.  The series is gripping and after pondering where to go for a January break and recently watching Series 3 we decided to head to Copenhagen for a 2 night weekend break.

We managed to secure return flights from London Luton to Copenhagen for £34 each from Ryanair and to keep in with The Bridge theme we booked our stay at the aptly named Saga Hotel.  We booked a double room with a shared bathroom with breakfast through for £128 (It is worth remembering to claim your nectar points when booking through Expedia as they all add up!). We also hired a car  for £31 through Holiday Autos who were agents for Europcar for the duration of the stay with a pick up and drop off at the airport.

When we arrived in Copenhagen it had been snowing ….of course this meant that Nigel had to do the obligatory snow angel just outside the airport terminal! As I was also on crutches at the time due my ongoing knee problems I decided against making my own and instead posed with some rather apt sculptures outsides.

After our silliness subsided we then made our way to the multi-storey car park to collect our hire car.  We were provided with maps by the hire car company but secretly hoped, as has happened before, that the car had built in sat nav; unfortunately this was not the case and therefore we set off in some hope that we would find our hotel with the use of a tourist map.   Off we went heading into Copenhagen in search of our hotel but it soon became clear that we were not going to find it unaided.. After some frayed tempers and several wrong turnings we spotted a big Europcar car office in the town and Nigel went in to hire a sat nav for the weekend for £16.  Within 2 minutes (lol) we were arriving at our hotel.

The Saga hotel itself was very basic; we hoped that given our previous experiences with shared bathrooms this would be just as acceptable but unfortunately it appeared to be one bathroom and toilet for approximately 10 rooms which is not ideal.  The room itself was fine and wifi worked although we did have some trouble connecting initially.  Check in was pretty speedy and staff on the reception desk were helpful.  There were also refreshments including beer available to purchase in reception.   Parking bays were opposite the hotel but this was pay and display at nearly all times.

tuborgWe decided to head off out into Copenhagen and have a look around however first stop would be to sample a local beer.  We found a nice bar not too far round the corner called Værtshuset Pinden and sampled some fine Tuborg beer which was 38 dkk (approx £4) and then headed off to explore further.   After some walking we decided to look for something to eat and ended up out of all places in an Indian restaurant called Indus.  The meal was nice but on the expensive side at around £50 with a shared starter and mains and the Tikka Masala was more tomato than cream based but the service was good.  We next walked along the street and found a bar called ‘Spunk’.  Sniggering at the name we headed in for a couple of drinks and some rock music on the jukebox.  It was a small but popular location with a friendly atmosphere.  We had a good time here and enjoyed the atmosphere and the beer but being pretty tired by now we headed back to our hotel.

The next morning after a pleasant breakfast we headed out in the hire car to visit the fmermaidamous Little Mermaid Statue which is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. The bronze statue is located at the Langelinje Pier created by Edvard Eriksen.  After a rather cold and blowy walk along the pier we reached the statue which was …..rather small!  For such a famous sculpture it was very much an anticlimax when we reached it.  Nevertheless it was worth seeing and we were also able to have a look round the pier area and the old Citadel nearby called Kastellet which is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe.

Our main aim for the weekend was to drive the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo in Sweden..  In the first episode of The Bridge a body is found on the halfway point along the bridge between Denmark and Sweden which brings the two police officers Saga and Rohde together to work on solving the murder.  We had prebooked our crossing with the hire car company who offered a gadget called Bropas that you flashed as went through the crossing which was slightly cheaper than the £37 (48 euro) individual charge.   The Oresund Bridge is the longest combined  road and rail bridge in Europe and from the Denmark side you enter the 2.5 mile Drogden tunnel which then exits onto the bridge where you continue for a further 5 miles until you reach Malmo.

We took our passports and were prepared for a delay as we had read that Border control had been enforced the Monday previously on entry to Sweden via the bridge in order to stem the refugee flow.  We made our way across the Oresund quite aptly playing the title music to The Bridge and reached the Swedish end. Unfortunately despite the promise of brilliant views from the bridge the weather was pretty grey and cloudy so we didn’t get the best view.  Despite our concerns the border control was smooth with a small delay to check our passport and we headed off into Malmo.

torsoFirst stop in Malmo was the Turning Torso building which is the highest skyscraper in Scandinavia. at 190 metres high and located in Western Malmo.  It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and based on one of his original sculptures called Twisting Torso. It was impressive to see the 90 degree twists and what a feat of architecture this is.  We then walked down to the water’s edge where the Oresnowmensund Bridge was visible in the distance.  Here we were able to make snowmen as there was an abundance of thick white stuff here; we had noticed that despite the      small distance there appeared dipto be a lot more snow in Malmo than in Copenhagen and the temperature was definitely lower!

In his madness Nigel contemplated a dip but changed his mind at the last minute.  We headed back to the car to get warm and drove towards Malmo Town have an explore and to find somewhere for a coffee.

Malmo is the 3rd biggest city in Sweden and a bustling metropolis with an abundance of shops and restaurants. It is also host to international sporting events and even held the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013.  We knew nothing of Malmo before we arrived and were pleasantly surprised by the city.  Due to the time of year we visited the Christmas lights and decorations were still up and they put a lot of English city decorations to shame.  By the time we had made it to the town centre it was starting to get dark which then brought out the beauty of the decorations.

It was getting late and time to depart this great city.  We headed back over the Bridge back to Copenhagen. As it was our last night we headed on out again to Værtshuset Pinden for a beer and then onto Spunk Bar again.  Speaking with the owner we were informed that despite the name there were no sexual connotations to it.

On our walk to and from the bar however it became clear that the area in which we were drinking was the red light district.  When we had visited the night before, we went back to the hotel around 9pm and therefore now later on a Saturday night it was apparent what this area was about.  There were clubs, sex shops and ladies on the street who were quite obviously not waiting to ask the time! – Maybe Spunk bar did have sexual connotatihotel-frontons after all…:-/  Returning back  to our hotel we also realised that it was also in the red light area. There were quite a few people hanging around outside our hotel and therefore anyone staying here should be aware of this as this would not be a nice area for lone females at night.  We had to be at the airport the next day for 12pm for our flight and therefore had a leisurely breakfast and made our way there for our journey home.

Our trip to Copenhagen and Malmo was an enjoyable one and we were able to see some of the sights of both cities however I feel there was a lot we missed due to the short time we were there and at some point in the future we would possible consider a summer return trip. Malmo I think would be a lovely place to go to for Christmas shopping due to the ambience and the shopping facilities there.

Our bookings all went according to plan however if we did return we are highly unlikely to stay at the Saga Hotel again.  This is probably an ideal place for backpackers however the queues for the toilet and shower were a bit much and the location was not the greatest (even if it did take us a while to figure it out!).  All in all however it was a very pleasant break and we were glad we achieved our aim of following in the footsteps (or tyre tracks) of Saga!

Carol & Nigel xx

January 2016

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