At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Free Trip!

This post is going back in time to 1999

Have you ever entered a contest and then won a prize?  We did, one that actually counted for something!

When we lived in Ottawa we headed down to the pub at the bottom of the road with some of the neighbours on the street for a few drinks.  One couple in the group were regulars at the pub so the waitresses knew them well.  Carlsberg was having a contest and for every Carlsberg beer you have you get a balllot to fill out.  One of the prizes was a nice leather jacket.  None of us were drinking Carlsberg, but Wendy really wanted that leather jacket.  She asked for some ballots and got a stack of them, from that stack she gave everyone at the table one ballot each and kept the rest for herself.  We filled them out and forgot about the contest.  One Sunday morning about a month later I was home alone and got a call from the pub telling me I won a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark.  I didn't believe them!  They asked if I filled out a ballot at the pub and I said yes., but it was for a leather jacket.  Well, they said you won the grand prize, at trip to Copenhagen for a long weekend, the jacket was only second prize.  I phoned Kevin and he didn't believe it either, until we actually had all the paperwork in hand.

We were to leave in a months time, for the Carlsberg Jazz Festival in Copenhagen at the beginning of November.  We were to leave Ottawa and fly to Toronto on a Thursday late afternoon, then fly from Toronto in the evening to Copenhagen and arrive there the Friday morning and leave again on Monday morning.  They were paying for the flights, hotel with breakfast, a welcome reception at a pub down the street from the hotel on Friday night with figure food, tickets to see a jazz concert on the Saturday night, a tour of Copenhagen either Saturday or Sunday morning, a private tour of the Carlsberg Brewry Sunday afternoon which would be followed by a sit down dinner and then a band and dancing on the Sunday night.

What a blast we had!  The plane was privately chartered by Carlsberg and everyone on it was there for a party.  We were all contest winners of some sort from the Ontario region.  Either bar contest winners like ourselves, radio listener winners, bar employees, or bars that sold their quota of Carlsberg, Carlsberg employees that sold their quotas.  Everyone was there to have a good time.  Even the pilots and airline attendents.  The plane would be parked at the airport until our return flight.  Everyone was given two tickets for free beer on the plane both ways, once we were at the hotel there was a six pack in the room waiting for us, two more coupons at the pub the first night and all the beer you could drink at the tour, dinner and party at the brewry on the Sunday.  You  sure got to like Carlsberg beer by the end of the trip, if you weren't keen on it at the beginning of the trip.

Ruth on the plane over Europe somewhere

The street our hotel was on.  The First Hotel

We weren't about to waste our time on this trip, drinking all the time, we wanted to explore and explore we did.  When we arrived at the hotel we had a nap, the flight was over 10 hours so we were exhausted.  After the nap we went out walking and got something to eat on the street.  In the evening had a great time at the pub and ate enough figure food to fill us for the night.

Saturday we went walking all around the downtown area, then saw a ferry that would take you to Sweden that was only about 20 minutes away, so we hopped on one and went to Malmo, Sweden for lunch.  Once back in Copenhagen we wandered around more.  In the evening we went to one of the jazz concerts, it was OK but not our kind of music.

Charity Fountain (Caritas Sprigvandet) in Strøget, a predesdrian street in downtown Copenhagen

Ruth sitting and looking at the canal in downtown Copenhagen

A marching band statue on one of the pedestrian streets in downtown Malmo, Sweden

Statue of King Frederik VII on horseback in Christiansborg Square in front of the old palace which is now the Danish parliament

Sunday we did the bus tour of Copenhagen and really enjoyed that.  In the afternoon we went to the brewry where the whole group was give a private tour of the brewry.  The public usually only get to wander around a small building that shows you the process, but not the real thing.  We got to see the real thing.  After that they took you to the tasting room and then over to their entertaining area where a keg was waiting.  If you didn't like beer you were pretty much stuck for anything to drink.  Carlsberg makes beer, they also have the contract for Coca Cola and mineral water so those were your choices of drink, nothing else not even regular water.  I don't like coca cola or mineral water, so beer was my next choice and that really isn't high up on my list.  Kevin of course had no problems although Carlsberg isn't his choice of beer but it grew on him.

Entrance to Christiansborg Palace (the old palace) which is now the Danish parliament


The statue of The Little Mermaid that sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour

Copper vats at the Carlsberg Brewery, taken while on a VIP tour of the brewery

Ruth and a team of the Carlsberg Brewery horses and wagon

By Monday morning it was time to leave, what a very quiet flight home.  Lots of people did a LOT of partying this past weekend, especially the last night so there were some people not feeling the best on the way home.  Kevin and I were careful because we really wanted to enjoy the trip and the experience and not feel sick or wonder want we did.  Many people we talked to hardly saw Copenhagen except the inside of the bars and pubs, they couldn't believe that we went to Sweden, they didn't realize you could do that.

We were exhausted when we returned but loved every minute of it.  We spent maybe a total of $400 dollars and that covered parking at the airport, any meals they didn't cover, any drinks that weren't covered and any extras that we did, so we figured that was pretty good for a long weekend in Europe.  Ever since then we enter as many contests as we can, because someone does actually win them and maybe we might be able to win one again some day!

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