20 May Travel Diary: Copenhagen
With 6 full days in Copenhagen, day 1 got off to an easy and slow start. After an hour long flight from Stockholm we arrived in Copenhagen on a bank holiday, so the streets were quiet and most restaurants and stores were closed in our neighbourhood of Nørrebro, one of Copenhagen’s more hipster and multicultural neighbourhoods. After consulting our list of recommended eating spots we managed to grab a really delicious meal at Baest, which we were told and can confirm serves the best pizza’s in town all made from organic meats and produce. As we walked around the neighbourhood at 21:30 with the sun still out, it became glaringly obvious to us that if we didn’t rent bikes to get around then we would definitely look like tourists (and one never wants to look like a tourist). All the bikes lined up and in some cases stacked and covering up the walls outside apartment buildings, verified the stats floating around that Copenhagen has five times as many bikes as cars. Armed with this information, the first thing we did on day 2 was hire bikes from a bike repair and rental shop for 50 Kroner a day and I can confidently say that this was the best decision we made on the entire trip (if you don’t include our decision to buy bottles of wine and gin at OR Tambo before leaving South Africa). There isn’t a better way to explore Copenhagen than on a bike. It’s not only the quickest mode of transport, but the most scenic way to travel as you can seamlessly integrate your “sightseeing” efforts into your routes from one place to another. The old port of Nyhavn honestly looks like it looks in pictures and more than once we biked through this beautiful old part of Copenhagen to simply enjoy the views as we made our way to other places like the The Black Diamond Library, located across from the Cirkelbroen (The Circle Bridge) which I recommend actually biking or walking across, as it’s unique design is quite something and the view of The Black Diamond Library from across the water is really beautiful because of how its shiny black exterior mirrors the sky and water. We would not have seen and done as much as we did everyday if it weren’t for the ease in mobility that biking around the city offered us and no other day proved this than the day we went to Christiania and ended off our long day at Tivoli. We started off that morning at The Little Mermaid sculpture, to take our obligatory tourist photos, and then proceeded past Amalienborg Palace, The Marble House, The Gefion Fountain, The Royal Danish Opera House, grabbed a semi-quick lunch at Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen, where I had the best mojito and pulled duck burger before entering then Christiania – a controversial former hippie commune where you can buy weed. I am going to take a brief moment here to state that no other experience on this trip amused me and moved me more than my time at Christiania I loved that photography is forbidden, because dealing and smoking etc weed is illegal in Denmark, but that the Danish government know about this self governed freetown and leave them be. I enjoyed how people were just milling about, soaking up the sun and having unguarded fun. It truly was a fascinating experience and I can see why everyone who we spoke to kept asking us if we had been to Christiania.
With the sun setting at around 10pm everyday, the days really are long and you want to fill them up because the sun is out and it seems like the practical thing to do. So, we decided that given the amount of day light we still had, that we would go to Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park and gardens in the middle of Copenhagen city. Opting to not engage with rides (because I have developed an irrational fear that I am going to die on a rollercoasters ride) my sister and I decided to picnic in the gardens, whilst we waited for the water fountain light show to take place. By day 4 of our trip we were already 80% through our recommended “Places To See and Things To Do in Copenhagen list, so we decided to take it easy and see what this whole cemeteries doubling up as parks where people go and chill and hangout thing was all about. My personal favourites were Assistens Cemetary the final resting place of famous Danes, like fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen and Frederiksberg Gardens. On our way home we took a detour to check out the The Bicycle Snake, a 235-metre-long pedestrian and cycle bridge and ended off our day having drinks at a place right on the water called Kayak Bar and trying to find a party in The Meat Packing District. With so much to do in Copenhagen, we prioritised the trip out of town to Louisiana Museum Of Modern Art located directly on the shore of the Øresund Sound in Humlebæk, 35 km north of Copenhagen, because both my sister and I have a deep appreciation for art and design, and some how in all our biking across the city we hadn’t managed to squeeze in a gallery or museum. From the ocean views and beautiful sculpture gardens to getting to experience Yayoi Kusama’s permanent installation at the museum “Gleaming Lights of the Souls”, Louisiana Museum Of Modern Art is really big and there is a lot to take in, so making your way out there is well worth it. A travel blog post from me wouldn’t be complete without some food related words and when it came to food, eating in Copenhagen was a treat.
With breakfast and brunch being one of my favourite meals of the day, I would recommend grabbing brunch at a lovely cosy place called Cousins, which is a concept café / interior / plant / furniture shop… because nothing in Scandinavia’s cool is just one thing. The brunch is total value for money at 79 Kroner. My sister and I actually struggled to get through the spread of yoghurt with homemade muesli, overnight oats, chocolate croissant, soft boiled egg, cheese and other breads. But the place is so pretty and filled with an array of lovely things on sale, that walking around in between bites helped.I mentioned Copenhagen Street Food earlier in my post and it is getting another mention, because it really is worth the stop over. With a variety of food vendors, gin and cocktail bars one could on a warm day, easily spend hours there. Another great spot for a quick meal, ambience and a gin & tonic is Sliders, which literally just serves sliders… of all types and kinds with all sorts of things in them.
We enjoyed a delicious and fancy meal at Höst, an affordable fine Nordic food restaurant in central Copenhagen. I recommend booking and ordering the “An Evening With Host” option on the menu as it includes a really spectacular 3 course meal along with wine pairings. Try book a dinner slot later in the evening, so you can eat at leisure and take your time before the restaurant closes.
To summarise my trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen, I’ll borrow a quote from my travel buddy and sister…
“I like simplicity, design, architecture, sustainable living, gender equality and I’m not easily amused by people…I mean, I’m Scandinavian” – Lumka Nteta