If you read my last post, I promise you one thing for this one : No more poems, unless we’re talkin about how poetic my impression of this city was, mmmmk.
Our first stop on our little tour of Europe is Copenhagen, land of the Danes! Happiest people in all the land, they say!
I was super excited about getting to Copenhagen because: I’ve never been to a Scandinavian country, I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen specifically, because my friend Anton lives there who I haven’t seen in roughly 11 years, and because it was Pat and Is meetup spot after spending the week doing things apart. Me celebrating one of my best friend’s wedding by being a complete mess in a sparkly dress, and him couch surfing, playing music, and tying up loose ends in Galway.
What greeted us in Copenhagen was a huge billowing breath of fresh air. Sunshine for nearly the entire day! Friendly people. Organized and clean and colorful streets. Canals and open air cafes.. stunning architecture and an easy transit system! It made us *almost* forget why we only purposefully decided to stay only 3 nights: it’s expensive, it’s true.
Our airbnb was located in the neighborhood of Amagerbro (I still cannot pronounce this. I weep) right off the metro, and as soon as I came up the stairs and saw this area, I knew I was going to like exploring this city. Like I said, sometimes you just know?
Our host was welcoming, friendly, and made an effort to make us feel at home. He was so excited about his new chair he put in our room with “great light, perfect for reading!” and a little collection of papers he had cut out himself of all the sights he recommended we see. I got there before Pat and I couldn’t have felt more comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that I immediately fell asleep for 3 hours…….oops. Jet lag. Overnight flights. Overstimulated. You know. Bleary eyed I picked up Pat from the airport later that night by taking the metro to and from the airport.
Our host shared with us that he sang in a choir, and we ended up singing for him over coffee with shots of this liquor that he says is an old Danish tradition to have before coffee.
He also told Pat before our arrival that he walks between the shower and his bedroom naked, and that’s a Danish thing too, so.. alright
We spent the majority of our time wandering the city, which was so easy to do considering the metro goes all over and there’s only two to choose from..so super easy for people like me who struggle with direction 😉 To give you an idea of price, I bought a 72 hour all-transportation-inclusive pass (bus, train, metro..) for a little over $30.
We rented bikes one day for $3.75 an hour. It’s set up like a lot of city bike things I’m seeing nowadays- you pay for the bike in one place and then you can drop it off at another location which are dotted all around the city.
ANyway… these bikes…are a DREAM. THEYRE ELECTRIC. MEANING… you pedal and then it just goes. and it’s beautiful. and glory. I was literally singing, “This is the bike ride of my dreaaaaaams!” because I don’t like to bike generally. But on this?? It made me want a moped/scooter all the more. We went errrrywhere, including the beach, on our perfect little bikes, on the perfect bike lanes in the streets, amongst the other lovely bikers, who I doubt were as insanely happy as me on my bike. They were just going where they needed to go whereas I was cruuuuisin’.
The thing I really loved about Copenhagen besides the biking and ease of navigating the city was all the water. Lots of canals with lots of boats and cafes and restaurants and bridges. Water really gives a city some charm.
Speaking of canals, there’s this postcard-worthy and famous area called Nyhavn, which is what you see if you were to google “Copenhagen” and click on images. I wanted to see it, I wanted to take my own pictures to add to the thousands, so we went there and I got to do just that. I even took some blurry slow shutter pics, because why not:
Walking the streets of the city and going through random neighborhoods had its perks as well. I was presented with colorful buildings, symmetrical designs, and “stalk roses”, which bloom in summer, I was told by a friendly Danish man.
When it was time to eat, there was no shortage of places to satisfy. We grabbed a few delicious Danish brewed beers from a carryout, drank them on the walk, and found ourselves in a warehouse of food trucks and street food right on the water.
During one of our days, we made sure to walk through the little neighborhood/town-within-a-town of Christiania. My only regret is not spending more time here, because we just walked through the Green Light district and went on our way. Basically, this part of Copenhagen was started by squatters who were protesting military activity. It’s now known as this eccentric little area with funky hand made houses and tents. Our host joking said that in order to live in Christinia, you have to either be born there, or be f*cking someone who lives there.
I accidentally took a photo before realizing no photos were allowed because “Buying and selling hash is still illegal- please no photos!”. Other rules included “Have fun!” and “do not run-it causes panic”.
When we walked into the Green Light district, I understood immediately why it was posted to not take any photos. In this little area, there were stalls and booths set up like a farmer’s market, with only the front of each one open, so you could only see what was inside when you were directly infront or passing by. Those working the booths were wearing ski masks…a bit creepy at first realization. On their tables they had impressive displays of marijuana in all forms, shapes, and sizes. It was a spectacle, and a little bit theatrical looking to me, who stumbled into this scene unexpectedly. Ski masks and army looking camo curtains. “Don’t run”, I remembered reading, “it causes panic”. Noted! I had a lot of questions after I walked out of that Green District, I tell ya what.
Moving on. Because Copenhagen is expensive, we were careful with how we spent our money, which is nothing new in general. We did, however, splurge on one touristy thing, which was to see a castle. There was not really a particular reason why we chose Rosenborg Castle over any others- we hadn’t done a ton of research on the different castles, and from the looks of it, we figured it couldn’t disappoint. I was really happy with this castle, though, being that it was my first castle experience (!!), and that it had super comfy lounge chairs outside of it, so I could chill as long as I wanted admiring the back of the castle free of charge.
I was right in that it didn’t disappoint. Rosenborg Castle was only lived in for around 100 years, and in the 1700’s became the King’s “pleasure palace”, meaning he housed all of his most valued possessions inside. This now includes a basement level treasury, which has crowns, swords, and other incredibly detailed and luxurious pieces. Those were particularly mesmerizing to me, having seen all of these types of things for the first time in person, like I said.
The castle was full of marble among other materials, and my favorite room of all the rooms was appropriately called “The Marble Chamber”:
In the Great Hall, you can see the throne, guarded by 3 silver lions, and a ceiling that is carved in impressive relief style sculpture work. My neck was cramping in admiration of this ceiling.
Oh, the splendor… someone had a little thing for big cats, too:
You can walk outside of the castle in its gardens and basically relax as long as you want. The only charge is the admission inside the actual castle.
If you noticed that the architectural design of this castle is visually pleasing, you are not alone. Pretty much everywhere I looked in this city I was saying, “What’s that??”. Everything was visually interesting:
Lastly, as far as touristy things go, I suggest going to City Hall.
First reason being that there’s a helpful visual in the bathroom, explaining the do’s and don’t’s of using a toilet.
But also because it’s a beautiful building and because it houses the Wold Clock, which measures so many different aspects of time, including the time zones and the planets’ orbits. One of its gears takes over 2,500 years to make 1 rotation.. Yeah. Years. It was really a work of art and science. Here’s a one section of it:
Lastly, the highlight of this short visit was spending our final night with an old friend. Anton was an exchange student at my high school, at the same time that my family hosted Guta for the year. We had a lot of fun times and I always hoped to visit him. It was so awesome to get to spend time with him in his city and get to know his fiance, Becky. They just finished nearly a full year of traveling all over the world, doing workaway in remote areas. I laughed so hard I was nearly crying at some of their stories, and it felt SO GOOD to talk to someone who understood what it’s actually like to do long-term traveling. It’s not always fun. You get overstimulated and worn out from seeing new things. But the stories at the end are worth it. Love you two and cannot wait for our paths to cross again. Thank you for sharing your home and your travels and your restaurant spot on the river and your Danish breakfast treats with us. We couldnt have asked for more.
Until next time, we’re hitting the road and heading to Germany!