101 things in 1001 days: Travel somewhere new in Europe

101 things in 1001 days

On Thursday the 19th of May, six wonderful friends travelled to Manchester in preparation for an early, yawn-inducing, flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark may not be the first country that comes to mind when envisioning a ‘friends holiday’ but the image of six, recently employed graduates, struggling round one ageing laptop and eating Sainsbury’s basic salt and vinegar spirals may help. The headline would read “Stony broke recently graduated human beings try to escape Stoke-on-Trent.” Three hours, a headache and one rebooked flight later we had secured a three night stop over give or take one flight, one of the nights in a hotel and any idea of getting to the airport.

Friday morning full of the obligatory cooked breakfast and a vodka and orange (with at least one shot incorporated) we boarded the flight and two hours or so later we arrived in the bustling capital. As I nearly caused a queue meltdown, mistaking out ticket numbered 006 for 900 and nearly queue jumping over one hundred people we boarded the train to the hostel. Checked into our darling, quirky hostel our minds turned to food and our second drink of the day.

We ambled down the stunning cobbled streets of this wonderful city. The streets were incredibly beautiful and I was shocked at how many cyclists were on the road. A number of times cyclists rang their bells to get us to move out of the way and make room. We ended up finding ice-cream, going to an Irish bar and the hostel and drinking a lot more than we thought we would. A day well done in my eyes

On the Saturday it was the birthday of the wonderful Ollie Birch. Deciding to explore the city and make our way to a number of Botanical gardens we set off into the city. Accidentally veering off course we spotted three swan pedalo’s and with the sun streaming down on us we took to the water. At one hundred Krone for the hour (five pounds each) we spent the next sixty minutes pedalling up and down the water, chasing each other, naming the swans, and generally causing a great deal of trouble. The park was beautiful and we could see the runners sprinting round the water, gearing up for the Copenhagen Marathon scheduled for the very next day.

Leaving the swans, with not too many scratches, we made our way to the Botanical gardens. Filled with every flower you can imagine, poisoned, flowered, blossoms, we entered the greenhouses that were hot and humid and spent the time spotting tiny little orange frogs. Tom and Harry continued their want to re-create statues and artwork from around the city and many giggles were had as they attempted the regal poses. That evening we hunted out a bar to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. Drinking cider, diet coke and red square vodka and singing along to the acts we finished the night in a local McDonalds. Bang on.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLLLLLLLLIE

The next day, we finally sought out the Little Mermaid statue. Although we decided not to really plan every day to the minute it was the one attraction that kept being mentioned when people learnt of our trip to Copenhagen. Not before our first Danish pastry and coffee for breakfast. Walking down towards the coast line we spotted a little café; orders ranged from chocolate and custard to croissants to covered in coloured sprinkles. I chose a terribly sweet pastry covered in little seeds and a black coffee and it tasted oh so wonderful.

We passed the harbour, a replica statue of David, a number of fountains, boats and the weather really picked up. Beautiful sunshine splayed out across the harbour. The little Mermaid although beautiful was squandered by the sheer number of people desperately trying to climb upon the statue but we had a good view and she is a wonderful statue to say the least. We spent the rest of the day exploring; we found a windmill, an old abandoned army barracks, a memorial, saw the Marbled Church and ate loaded open sandwiches.

We spent a lot of the trip exploring and walking around the vast and beautiful city and it felt so wonderful just to see it without any preconceptions.

Later than evening the city was incredibly busy but seeking out a restaurant we were lead to the back of the establishment and taken down a number of steps. Realising a little later that we were in a completely different restaurant we ordered and were quickly dismayed. The food was cold, wrong and damn right horrible and the female pirate model in the bathroom who had lost both of her arms was the last straw (although cause a lot of giggles.) We quickly left, with a little money off the bill and went to find some drinks. Finding a bar we asked if we could have the menu the reply ‘We do whiskey, gin, vodka, what more do you want?’ went down a storm and we spent the rest of the night in the hostel bar, drinking Piña coladas (renamed Penis Colliders,) doing tequila shots, and playing pool and air hockey.

One of the more surreal adventures along our trip was a boat excursion to an abandoned fortress set upon an island. We stumbled upon the chance to go thinking that it would be an informative trip and we would learn a little more about Denmark and Copenhagen. As we neared the fortress it soon became clear that this maybe wasn’t the place you would like to be left for two hours waiting for the boat: it honestly looked like a still from Shutter Island. We entered the fortress and read a few of the informative signs. However as we wandered through it felt as though they had just run out of money. The ceilings were covered in both stalactites dripping down onto the grubby floors. Harry decided around this time to pretend to be a terrifying zombie and scare the living crap out of me. His zombie impression is perfect to say the least saying that

On the suggestion of the boat guide we went down a staircase into the cellar. There, there were no lights, and odd noises echoed through the rooms. Inside were odd pieces of materials, rusty pipes, old machinery and linen. It was terrifying to say the least. Deciding to film our endeavour, Sarah’s camera decided to corrupt the video adding more fear and after I stepped on something and shrieked loudly we ran back up to the safety of the light. Deciding the café was better for us, we spent the next hour drinking frothy hot-chocolates, fluffy chocolate cake and cooing over a six week old Labrador puppy named Melly.

Deciding to venture back into the fortress, we found a bike, albeit with a flat tire and decided to teach our friend Harry to ride a bike. With Tom and Ollie grabbing the back and Sarah, Dani and I screaming “pedallllll” we all fell into fits of giggles as Harry *cycled* through the musty fortress.

We spent the rest of the afternoon talking in a tiny little bar, drinking cider and coffee with baileys and set out to find somewhere for dinner. We ended back at the first restaurant we found on the first day, and truly loved reminiscing about our trip.

It’s a little difficult to get it all in but I honestly had the most wonderful, wonderful time away. Not only did I have an incredible time seeing a stunning, exciting, interesting city but I did it with the most wonderful people possible. I haven’t managed to get everything in (we did so goddamn much over four days) but hopefully you’ve had a little insight into our trip to Denmark.

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The City of the Broken: Ceri Beynon

I’m really unsure (unfortunately) on how to review this book and that makes me unhappy to say the least; I’m going to call this review a ‘constructive critique’ because I think there is so much potential in this book but it just wasn’t executed as it could have been and that’s a real shame, however the author has definite promise and I think definitely has the ability to create an exciting work; however it needs just a little more meticulous and particular. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Onto the review of ‘The City of the Broken,’ by Ceri Beynon.

Seren Loneheart falls in love for the very first time with a boy who has a dark secret. She soon discovers he is a prince who rules over ‘The City of the Broken’, which has a population of heartbroken and outcast people. He informs her that he wants her to become a citizen of his city, as when he meets her he believes her to be lonely and unhappy and would therefore make the perfect citizen! But much to Seren’s delight there is a sudden attraction that he wants to pursue. The pair embarks on a dark fairytale romance that results in Seren finding happiness for the first time in her life. However, how can she be at her happiest, when she needs to pretend to be broken in which to live in ‘The City of the Broken?’ Can these young lovers survive all this turmoil that threatens both their relationship and Calix’s crown? Will Seren succeed in healing Calix’s heart and ending his determination to remain unhappy for the sake of his duty to his father? So, that’s the intro, sounds brilliant right! The first comment to make is that the premise of the book is brilliant; the idea of a desolate city, ruled by a King who is completely heartbroken due to the death of his wife and wants to keep the population of his land in the same disheartened state is very interesting. Is it a very emotional and morose scenario and this means that it makes the reader think and it transports us to a new city, and idea, which is lovely! Additionally the love story between the two is very naïve and young, which adds to the fantasy feel. The book dips and bobs keeping the reader intrigued as to whether the two can keep their romance going, or whether it is altogether a farce. Add in a manipulating King, and some wicked extra characters and you have the basis for an interesting book! It reads well, and is simple to understand. The plot line has pace, which means that you do feel compelled to read on however, for me this book didn’t quite hit the mark for me, which was a real shame!

So onto the constructive critique; I know that author must know that in the copy that I read, the punctuation is poor. Many words such as ‘can’t’ are missing the apostrophe and throughout, the spaces and the punctuation is in the wrong place such as; ‘I was in the Broken City .I was scared.’ It is really off-putting as a reader as I found myself noting the mistakes! All it needs is another few meticulous edits to get that up to scratch. Secondly, I think that the book needs to be describing the story, rather than telling as it means that the book lacks a sense of depth. Take for example the main character, she appears superficial and shallow and this is notably due to the lack of information. We at no point learn about who she really is, how old she is, what she looks like, her personality; the descriptive writing is so sparse that it means that we cannot imagine this character at all and this pulls down the enjoyment of the book as it means you can’t empathise with the character as you know very little about her. The characters need to each have their own personality, to pull the reader in and make the book a whole; the author needed to take a bit more time to really explore the characters. I think the message here is to have fun with it, find their characteristics and build then up extensively to get the reader involved! Additionally Seren does not seem to have any links to a family of her own and that confused me; a young girl spending all night in the City of the Broken and noticeably falling behind on school work, but at no time was this discussed and this forced me as the reader to think, how believable is this? As a reader you should be having no-doubts, as you are drawn into a new world of mystery, but it felt like I was banging on the door, unable to get in due to my inability to immerse myself in the plot or the characters! A further point is that it is understandable that the Prince is mysterious and unexplained at the beginning however, it would be brilliant to have a little more interaction between the two as it seemed a little odd that they suddenly are so attracted and infatuated with each other; however we as the reader are forced to imagine that they are just pulled to one another through fate. At one point the characters suddenly kiss, but there is no build up. Using the sense of infatuation but not giving it the foundations to take the readers breath away is a real missed opportunity. A final constructive critique is too enjoy description; the city is a desolate place with people wandering like lost souls however the author doesn’t appear to enjoy it and yet there is so much potential to really push the description. If I were writing about this I would go to town with the description to really pull the reader in and to make them feel the coldness of the people, the harshness of the King, the vulnerability of the Prince and the determination of Seren. It is so frustrating because I know what is screaming to be said and yet it doesn’t hit the mark. The plot is solid; but it is in the execution that fails for me.

I know that this sounds like a negative review, but as I always say I am always honest and that sometimes means you need to be harsh to be kind; in the end! The one thing I want to say is that this book has so much potential but it hasn’t been executed in the best possible way. I think that this author has so much to give and obviously is a budding writer and understands the way in which to write; but remember, give detail, think of description, and be dynamic. Punctuation, grammar and spelling much be perfect, description should be powerful and determined, and finally give the readers something to get there teeth into, be forceful in your writing and get the reader involved. This book is on the way; but for me, just not there yet.

the city