Singapore Airlines flight SQ352, bound for Copenhagen, Denmark was being diverted back to Changi Airport. The left engine of the Boeing 777-200ER began powering down due to a technical fault. We were now flying on only one engine. As we approached the airport, the pilots began circling the aircraft in the air just off the coast of Singapore and began dumping excess fuel. Because of the long, direct flight to Copenhagen (13 hours, 10,000 km in total), the aircraft was carrying too much fuel to safely land the aircraft. Hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel were needed to be dumped before landing. As we look out of the window of the plane, we could see a thick stream of fuel rapidly evaporating into bands of contrails from the tip of the wings. The fuel dumping process took almost 45 minutes before the plane could safely land. We returned to Changi Airport safely and were glad to hear that while we were heading back, the ground crew at Changi Airport were making preparations readying a spare plane for us to board and continue our journey. We were very fortunate. We originally departed at 11.55pm. Our entire journey was delayed by 3 hours. The ground crews were kind enough to set up refreshment stations, handling out sandwiches, water, juice, coffee and tea for the passengers waiting in the gate holding area. Not a single passenger made a fuss. There were no flared tempers, no sighs of frustration. Everyone was just glad to board our replacement aircraft. 13 hours later in addition to the 3-hour delay, we arrived safely in Copenhagen, Denmark at 9am the next morning.
When this minor incident happened, we were relieved that the flight delay did not affect our travel itinerary one bit. We made a decision early on to stay in Copenhagen for the night upon arrival, before continuing our journey to Reykjavik the next day. These delays were anticipated during our planning process and we were lucky that we had enough buffer time so that subsequent connecting flights were not affected.
The excitement that we all felt was electric. We got off the plane and briskly walked into the long arrival corridors of Copenhagen Airport towards the luggage belt. The long flight made me groggy. I have difficulty sleeping when I’m flying. The long flight and huge time difference exacerbated my jet lag. Once we collected our luggage we made our way out and began looking for the train ticket counters to purchase our train tickets and make our way to Copenhagen Central Station. It was a short, 20-minute ride to Copenhagen Central Station from the airport. Our hostel, called Urban House was just beside Central Station, which was highly convenient given the fact that we had 4 hulking luggage with us (not including our individual backpacks, and camera bags) We booked a 4-bed private room with a private bathroom to stay for the night. A little luxury wouldn’t hurt after a long flight.
We were extremely impressed with Urban House Hostel. It is close to the Central Station which is a bonus and has nice chic decor, homely decorated lounges, with comfortable sofas, bean bags to chill, various bookshelves, a pool table, and warm interior lighting to give the space a homely ambience. The communal kitchen, which we did not get a chance to use, is really spacious with fully furnished dining tables for guests to have their meals together and houses top-notch kitchen appliances for them to cook their meals. The bar area has a cosy stage where live bands can perform during the night. The staff were extremely friendly and the private room that they gave us has 2 bunk beds with a surprisingly large bathroom for a hostel.
Weeks before our adventure we decided to go on a free walking tour of Copenhagen organized by Sandeman. We reserved our slots online for the walking tour scheduled at 2pm on the day of our arrival. Since we arrive early in the morning, we had plenty of time to leave our luggage in the hostel and explore the city on our own. We had lunch comprising of sandwiches from Copenhagen’s biggest bakery chain Lagkagehuset before making our way to central Copenhagen, passing by City Hall and to the shopping lanes of Vestegade. The meeting place for the walking tour was just upon the steps of City Hall itself.
By noon, we traced our steps back to City Hall and met with out tour guide from Sandeman who was waiting for other tourists who also signed up for the walking tour. The walk lasted almost 3 hours. As we walked the tour guide covered the length and breadth of Denmarks’s history and pointed out important landmarks dotted across Copenhagen’s city center. It was a good walk as it allowed us to orientate and familiarize ourselves layout of the city, recognizing key landmarks so that we won’t get lost when we explore the city on our own. I admit that I didn’t really pay much attention to the tour guide. I was pretty much jet lagged and groggy from the long flight. I did enjoy the walk, taking in the sights, observing people, appreciating old architectural buildings and generally admiring the wonderful city.
When the tour was over, it was nearing nightfall. The temperature started to plummet, and we headed back to our hostel. We made a short stop to an authentic Italian restaurant on our way back, where we had a hearty meal of pizzas. We decided to hit the sack early, for tomorrow, comes the real adventure.
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