I fell in love. With the city of Copenhagen. I think it’s the start of something really special.
I don’t know if it was the excitement of travelling to a new country, or if it was the cultural beauty that surrounds the entire city. But I am in love with Copenhagen.
Our story begins at 1:30 a.m. and, after two buses, a plane, and a subway – a Canadian and two Turks arrive in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. This stunning city of 1,250,000 people (22% of Denmark’s 5,700,000 citizens) can best be described as the perfect mix.
Copenhagen is the perfect mix of the values I have noticed in Nordic countries (among them compassion, trustworthiness and politeness) and the excitement and beauty I imagined of continental European cities.
It is the perfect mix of a city where you feel comfortable to grab a Danish hotdog (10/10 recommend) and sit on the patio with a glass of wine (11/10 recommend), while it also is sparking with innovation and brought the world Tivoli Gardens (the inspiration behind Disneyland), Lego and Hans Christian Andersen (author of The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling.)
It is the perfect mix of a historic city that has undergone two devastating fires that nearly destroyed the city yet still has stunning towers from the 17th century, while at the same time screams cosmopolitan with neon H&M signs hang from architecturally stunning buildings.
Perhaps the entire essence I have observed in Copenhagen is best described in the following story:
After eight hours of travelling on one hour of sleep, our contingent was exhausted. As we aimlessly tried to find our hostel while squinting at a tiny map found on a parking meter, a Dane on a bicycle (one of about 1 million we observed, as 35% of residents bike to work daily) came right up to us and asked if we were lost. His kindness helped us find our home for the next three nights.
We then embarked on a free city tour (yes free, because the tour guides believed visitors deserved to see the best of Copenhagen at no cost), hearing many fascinating stories on this fascinating city. The highlights for me included Christiansborg Palace, the house of all Danish power, and Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish Royal Family.
A ride on the Metro showed me what an incredible moral compass Denmark has. There was no check in or gate to present our pre-purchased Metro ticket prior to entering the train – the system trusts that Danes won’t sneak on the bus. (Unless there actually was a checkpoint and I just missed it, in which case I sincerely apologize to Denmark.)
After supper in a trendy pub, and a walk along the populous streets of central Copenhagen, I could see just how urban and modern this city is while still retaining the historic roots.
However, don’t get me wrong. Denmark has faced their fair amount of criticism, most recently for their management of incoming refugees. I’ll offer my observations on this in a future blog post.
Tills nästa gång, (Until next time)
For every trip, I’ll share my thoughts on hostels, restaurants and places to visit.
Sleep in Heaven: 5/5
This was the first ever hostel I stayed in, and it was a fantastic experience. The atmosphere was beautiful, the staff was welcoming and I felt secure at all times. All in all, simply wonderful.
I cannot properly describe how great this service has been. The guides were informative and funny, and showed us Copenhagen from a completely different perspective. Well worth the two hours.
Bertel Skager: 4/5
Passion fruit. Cookie. Double chocolate. The best cheesecakes imaginable can be found here. A little expensive, but a fun way to treat yourself.
I easily spent two hours wondering around here. This free museum offers many fascinating exhibits from prehistoric Europe to Life in Denmark from 1600-Present.