The last leg of my trip to Scandinavia! I knew I had to stop in Denmark after hearing about it for years and years from my grandpa. I loved it!
One really nice thing about Copenhagen is that Ryan Air flies into the main airport, about 15 minutes away from the city center by train. So so so much nicer than flying into a small airport an hour away. The other really nice thing is that my hostel (Urban House) was a grand total of 500m from the train station. Since I arrived pretty late, this made it so much easier to get to my hostel and go to bed.
I was not particularly thrifty in Oslo and Stockholm so I wanted to be a little more budget-friendly in Copenhagen. Fortunately, this was not hard at all! There were a lot of free things to do, and the city is small enough that walking places isn’t tortuous. Especially since the weather was so nice when I was there, I was glad to walk and see the cool buildings and parks.
Observations from walking:
- THERE ARE SO MANY BIKES. I thought there were a lot of bikes in Ghent and Uppsala, but Copenhagen blew them out of the water. Like it was basically an entire sea of bikes.
- Copenhagen is like Oslo and Stockholm, very very clean. I found the streets prettier here, though. The buildings are very colorful and all of them look different and interesting.
- Coffee is expensive here. I passed a million and one coffee shops, planning to stop when I found one with a cheap latte. The average espresso-based drink was 30 dkk ($4.50). I did eventually find the best café/book store with wifi, outlets, food and coffee (Paludan’s). I felt like I scored when I got a double latte and a roll for 45 dkk ($6.50).
Apparently everything touristy (i.e. museums) is closed on Mondays. This day was a Monday, so I mostly just explored and found good spots to have coffee and chill. I was honestly pretty tired from Sweden, so it was nice to be able to take a slower pace. I stumbled upon the Nyhavn neighborhood.
I wandered for a bit longer before finding Christainsborg Palace. The Royal Stables behind the palace still have horses and contain a museum. I didn’t see the museum, but I did see the horses being trained, which was kinda fun.
I ended up in Christianshavn, a neighborhood with various churches, parks, and pretty views. I wandered around the park for a while – it was beautiful and big and nice to be in. On my walk, I ended up in Christiania. This is a little area in Copenhagen that is self-regulated to a degree. Basically, it is where the hippies live and you can buy and smoke pot there. It really was just a place to get high – which was kind of lame because the internet told me it was like a hippie commune, with shops and many different things. I was hoping there would be a good organic/hippie food truck. Or some fun hippie stores. Or environmentalist stuff. Nope. Just weed. Maybe I’m spoiled by the Portland hippies, but there is a difference to me between stoners and hippies. I promptly left and found a hot dog stand.
The Danes love hot dogs. They are the most popular fast food in Denmark. They invented something called a ‘French Hot Dog’ and its kind of like a small baguette stuffed with a hot dog and a special sauce. I had a long conversation with the vendor about the sauce, because he doesn’t know how to tell foreigners what its like. Its basically a honey dijon mixed with mayo. They are good!!
I had dinner at Riz Raz, a reasonably price vegetarian buffet. So good! Falafal, lasagna, bread, several good salads, beets, potatoes, etc. etc. I also had an elderflower drink with it. I guess it is a Scandinavian specialty, but it was really good. You can buy the syrup at any Ikea, I guess. Going to try to recreate it at home!
If you have read many of my blog posts you can probably guess what I did next…….
Botanical Garden! Copenhagen’s Botanical Garden was THE BEST I have been to. Big, and beautiful with lots of ponds and ducks and various plants. They also have some sort of juniper (I think) growing there so it smelled really good.
Also, lets talk about the green houses. I wish I had been there during a more standard time, because they have so many and you can go into a lot of them, if your timing is good. They even have one that recreates Arctic conditions for growing Arctic plants!!!!
The most famous attraction in Copenhagen is the Little Mermaid Statue. The botanical garden is right next to 2 other parks that lead to the statue, so I just walked through the parks until I got to the statue.
I would like everyone to know that random spots of gravity are just as common here in Europe as they are in the States. There I am, standing near the statue with the 10 or so other people, we are all taking pictures. All of a sudden, I find a random spot of gravity and fall over, with absolutely no grace. I took out a 10 year old boy with me….. I mean….uh.. the random spot of gravity got both of us 😉 Needless to say, I took my picture and left promptly!!
Okay, since travel is really all about food, I decided to treat myself to a sit-down lunch. It was a priority to try the famed danish open-faced sandwich, smørrebrød. I found a great little restaurant! It was called Kronborg, and was very reasonably priced. Although I may have splurged and got 2 dishes…. and a beer. Because I’m trying to save money, right? But I had to have a Carlsberg beer while I was there. Anyways, I got an open faced sandwich with a chicken salad that was quite good. And then I also got danish meatballs with pickled cucumbers and beets that was excellent!!
After my late lunch, I headed to the National Museum of Denmark. This museum is free, has free wifi, and places to charge your phone, and it is huge! An obvious focus is the history of Denmark, but they also had exhibits with African and South American artifacts. The viking displays were very well done and they also had rooms staged as if from different periods of time in Denmark — fun to see how life has changed there.
That was the end of Copenhagen, and it was time to return to Lille. I had a great time in Scandinavia, but was excited to return home and just relax for a little bit before Toussaint ends and its back to work.