Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen Segway Tour

Segway-Tours-CopenhagenTo see Copenhagen and learn as much as possible (without taking a car or bus), we couldn’t think of a better way than by Segway tour.  The tour company’s business office was easy to find and, walking from the Tivoli Hotel, we even arrived early enough to find a table and relax for a few minutes at a nearby café.

Side note:  I don’t have a picture to show you of the “Copenhagen Downtown Hostel” next door to the tour office because it would have felt weird and ultra-tourist-ish to take pictures, but this very hip place had large mats of fake grass, giant lounge cushions, and outdoor heaters on the sidewalk/up against the building – it was packed with men…lounging, drinking beer, and napping.  We thought it looked like a very cool place.  Back to the story…

When it was time for the tour, we stepped into the small headquarters for Segway Tours Copenhagen and met our very nice guide (the only excuse I have for not making a note of his name is that I was suffering from jetlag).The-Fam-Segway-Tour-Copenhagen

I’m no great Segway expert, but all three of the tours I’ve taken on these fun little vehicles began the same:  Helmet-fitting and safety lesson first, followed by some Segway practice, and then the tour.  I was really happy to find that I could get a helmet with a GoPro camera mount on it and that the helmets were wired for sound – we would hear our guide talking through in-helmet speakers!  Our family was touring with another small group and we’d be zipping around Copenhagen mostly via the city’s extensive bicycle path system.  The number of bicycles in Copenhagen is staggering!  Luckily, we all managed to share the bike lanes safely.Copenhagen-Segway-Practice-Area

We had a tremendous amount of fun and adventure!  We sped (okay, a Segway can’t really “speed”, but you get the idea) around the city, stopping here and there for brief lessons on Copenhagen’s history, culture, economy, and monarchy.St-Alban's-Church-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Copenhagen Frederik's-Church-Copenhagen AmalienborgThere was an enormous amount of construction going on everywhere – Copenhagen is a very proud city and is constantly being improved.  The tour was fast-paced and we were amazed by how much we got to see!  Churches, castles, opera house, shopping areas, statues, gardens and so much more!

Have you seen Pitch Perfect 2?  At the end, when they’re competing in Copenhagen and the colorful waterfront buildings are shown – you know that part?  Nyhavn-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Tour-CopenhagenWe were THERE!  That area is called “Nyhavn” and it is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly crowded!

If you’ve never been on a Segway, I have to tell you – it’s a phenomenal way to sightsee and I highly recommend it!  Pros:  Easy to learn and maneuver, fun to ride, allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short time.  Cons:  It’s like standing in one place for two hours and can be hard on your feet and legs, you have to pay close attention to what’s going on around you and watch your wheels so they don’t run into anything – this is a hazard that can make you fall off!

I’ll continue our adventures next week with a recap of Tivoli Gardens and the first day of our cruise on the Disney Magic.  In the meantime, you can check out the YouTube video of random Segway tour scenes filmed on the helmet-cam here.

Link to Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1).

Cruising the Mediterranean on the Disney Magic – Part 2

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Our First View of Europe

Our first view of Europe was from the plane’s window as we prepared to land in Barcelona.  It was breathtaking!  Seeing those beautiful peaks also meant the long, seemingly endless flight would soon be over!  Plans to sleep on the plane had failed miserably and I, having ignored all the advice I’d read about coping with jet lag, had feet and ankles so swollen it was reminiscent of the last month of pregnancy.  The six of us had basically spent the entire transatlantic jaunt watching movies and eating.  Running on fumes, we drug ourselves through customs without incident and looked for our Disney transfer bus.

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In the Heart of Barcelona

As I mentioned in Part 1, I booked all the tours and shore excursions for this trip on my own, however, the hotel in Barcelona and transfers there from the airport and then to the port for boarding the Magic and finally back to the airport, I booked through Disney.  Having used Disney transfers in the past, I knew they’d be reliable, English-speaking, and stress-free (especially for a group of six).  The hotel would be centrally located – within walking distance of all we wanted to see and do in Barcelona on our one-and-only day there.  So, we boarded our motor coach at the airport and headed for the Renaissance Hotel Barcelona.  The weather was gorgeous – crystal clear blue skies, tons of sun and highs in the mid 80’s.

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The Sagrada Familia

Luckily, one of our rooms was available for us to use when we arrived.  It was still morning, so we freshened up, piled all the luggage in a corner and headed out onto the streets of Barcelona.  I did not book a tour for the inside of the Sagrada Familia due to time constraints, but we wanted to see this famous cathedral at least from the outside.  Our “real” tour for the day was scheduled for 4:00 pm.  We had plenty of time to walk all the way around the cathedral taking pictures – WOW!  Amazing! – before finding a place to stop and eat lunch.  I’d wanted to buy water and wine to take on the ship with us as well – shops and restaurants lined all the streets along the way from the Sagrada Familia back to the hotel.

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Delicious Lunch at a Corner Café in Barcelona

I’d love to be able to tell you the name and exact location of the fabulous corner café where we enjoyed lunch.  Sleep deprivation, hunger, and jet lag had all combined to make that part of the day a bit hazy.  We were pretty grouchy – I remember that well enough.  After a great meal, we made our beverage purchases and hobbled back to the hotel for a little siesta.  After a very short rest, we headed back out, but this time we were going to Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter – The “Old City” where we would meet our tour guide, Amanda.  On the way we made a quick stop by the Hard Rock Café to pick up a couple of pins for Raymond and Joseph’s collection.  The Hard Rock was packed!

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Poor Megan – SO Tired!

I booked our tour for Barcelona late in the day, hoping we could use it as motivation to stay awake and keep moving!  I figured it would be timed just right so we could have dinner right after the two-hour tour ended, walk back to the hotel along the famous La Rambla and get to sleep early in preparation for setting sail the next day.  This still seemed a solid plan – except for one tiny thing.  The tour I’d booked….was a SEGWAY TOUR!  None of us had ever been on a Segway, we were exhausted, had aching feet and were generally cranky!  Uh-oh.

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The Placa Sant Jaume, Barcelona

We met Amanda from Barcelona Segway Tours at the Placa Sant Jaume – a square in the center of Barcelona’s Old City.  She arrived on her Segway and guided us a short distance through the very narrow streets to the tour company’s headquarters.  Helmets, Segways, and release forms properly distributed – we headed out to a nearby courtyard for our Segway lesson and practice session.

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Barcelona, Look OUT!

Who knew?  Seriously – I’m not kidding – this was hands down one of the most fun things any of us had ever done.  Megan noticed right away and commented that “You want to cure jetlag and cranky-ness?  Just get on a Segway!”  It was so EASY!  Before we knew it, we were off on an incredible tour that took us through the Gothic Quarter (Roman ruins!) to the waterfront (Christopher Columbus Statue!) – along the waterfront past Barcelona’s man-made beach with its khaki-colored sand imported from the Sahara Desert.  How we didn’t wreck at the beach I’ll never know – we were completely distracted by the total lack of clothing on the sunbathers!  Amanda was delightful, spoke excellent English and her love of both her job and her city were obvious.

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Segway Tour in Barcelona – Most Fun EVER!

When the tour was over, we were entirely refreshed, excited about what the next day would hold and ready to eat!  We ended up at a seaside restaurant with outdoor seating where we ate a leisurely dinner and enjoyed delicious Spanish wine while the sun set beside us on the Mediterranean.  After dinner we did indeed walk along La Rambla and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the bustling Catalonian city.  Once back at the hotel, we couldn’t get to our rooms fast enough – exhaustion had set back in.  We promptly fell into our beds and were sound asleep in record time – dreaming about the sights yet to see on a journey that was only just beginning.

Links to other parts of this trip report:DSCN2897

 

Disney Cruise Ports – The Beauty of Key West

IMG_0226Disney Cruise Ports – The Beauty of Key West, Florida

Just about this same time of year in 2007 – we cruised with Disney to celebrate Megan’s Senior year of high school and ring in the New Year for 2008.  On our Western Caribbean itinerary, the beautiful island of Key West, Florida was one of the first ports of call after sailing from Port Canaveral.  Recently I noticed that the Western no longer visits Key West, but some of Disney’s cruises in the Bahamas do stop there now.

We’d heard about Key West and had high expectations.  Let me just say, it’s one of the best IMG_0250places for living up to its reputation!  It was absolutely gorgeous, pedestrian-friendly and true to what we’d been told, there really were chickens everywhere, key lime pie stores on every corner, and wonderful homes with fabulous gardens that made this town look like paradise.  I’m only sorry we missed seeing one of the famed 6-toed cats!

Knowing that we had excursions booked in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, we decided to tour Key West on our own.  The plan was to debark as early as possible, walk to the continental United States’ southernmost point, then take a leisurely stroll around town – taking in all the sights.  The only important mission we had was to get back to the ship before all-aboard time.

IMG_0278Since Key west is only 4 miles long and 2 miles wide, we thought we could see quite a bit on foot.  As far as plans went, it was simple and, as it turned out, perfect.  Our time in Key West was as laid-back and relaxed as the town itself.  We had a such great day that Key West is now near the top of the list of places we’d love to visit again.

Here are the highlights:

Key Lime Pie-on-a-stick!  Frozen and dipped in chocolate, these delectable treats were a perfect way to sample one of Key West’s most famous foods.  Key West is also know for its conch fritters – unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to try any of those.

A stroll through the heart of Key West’s Old Town – from the enchanting Victorian mansions toIMG_0265 the famous bars and restaurants on Duval Street, this was a walk through history – so much to take in!  Great little shops with an eclectic assortment of wares and curb-side hat weavers were a couple of more notable offerings.  We found a great tee-shirt shop where you could pick your design from a catalog and have a shirt printed while you wait.

The Southernmost Point in the U.S. – Cuba is

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just 90 miles away!  It’s a fun place to see/visit and a great place to rest for a few minutes and enjoy the view.

The Hogsbreath Saloon – on our way back to the ship, we just couldn’t help stopping in for a cold refreshment and a souvenir tee shirt.  A great way to end one very enjoyable day.

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