While I have allotted several posts to Copenhagen, I will provide an overview of the trip and my favorite photos here:
Day 1 and 2:
I took the train directly from the Copenhagen Airport to the lovely town of Lund in southern Sweden, where my darling friend Gizem is completing her Masters degree in Human Rights. Lund is a beautiful medieval town, built by Sweden to establish roots at a time when the region was predominantly Danish. The town is absolutely beautiful. The campus is in the heart of the town and it is surrounded by beautiful parks, full of old trees with vivid orange, red and yellow leaves. Students from all over Europe come to Lund to pursue their studies and complete their degrees. Old cobblestone streets lead you around the town and a beautiful cathedral sits in the middle of the city. I spent my first day exploring Lund, playing in the leaves and meeting some of Gizem’s wonderful friends. The following day, I had the unique opportunity to go to Malmo, to explore the 3rd largest city in Sweden and experience Swedish nightlife.
I returned to Copenhagen to meet my friend Jess at our fabulous hostel. We quickly fell in love with Danish coffee (Scandinavia competes with Seattle in terms of coffee consumption) and jumped on a canal tour to see the city by water. We ended our trip in Nyhavn, the most famous part of the city, known for its colorful buildings, lively cafes and it’s interesting history (Hans Christian Anderson lived there, and the old King once frequented the lively and seedy bars that once served this port). It is now one of the most expensive and beautiful areas of the city. The cafes are full of life and offer numerous variations of the city’s famous open-faced sandwich. We entered a warm and cozy Danish bistro and sat in a corner table, overlooking the canal to sample these infamous sandwiches They were delicious, but not filling, so we followed up this meal with a hot dog and decided to snack for the rest of the evening. We walked towards the infamous Christiana, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood where artists and galleries fill the streets, and traditional rules do not apply. Pot is sold along the streets and nonconformists live freely within this old military base. We found a nice cafe to sit and drink a beer as we took in the contrasts of the neighborhood. Families gathered in this cafe to share an inexpensive meal in a warm, modern and colorful environment. Outside, Middle Eastern tourists smoked pot like first time Frat boys. Residents rode their bikes through the streets. Candles covered each table. American Rock music played at the bar next door. It was an area of extreme contrasts. As we walked through the gate that announced we were returning to the EU, we left knowing we witnessed a unique community with an uncertain future.
We woke-up early to eat breakfast before our free walking tour. These walking tours are sweeping through Europe to provide travelers with a cheap and easy way to truly experience a city. The guides are also international nomads and work solely on a tips-only basis. We spent 5 hours with our enthusiastic Norwegian guide. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her love for the city was evident in each and every thing she said. Our tour consisted of over 20 people, from all over the world: Taiwan, India, Germany, Australia, the United States, England and more… We wandered through the city’s backstreets, learned about its tragic history (Copenhagen has been rebuilt numerous times due to horrible fires) and earned about the beloved Royal Family (The Prince met his Australian princess in a bar in Australia!). After our wonderful tour, we headed towards Tivoli to spend the day enjoying this historic amusement park. We jumped on and off rides, flew through the air, sampled several old roller coasters and ended the night with a walk through the Haunted House. It was a wonderful day!
We had a wonderful breakfast at our hostel and then headed towards the train station to book our train to Helsingor. Trains leave every 20 minutes and everything about transportation in Scandinavia is efficient. Our destination?! The castle that once guarded Denmark’s strategic waterways, and which is sealed in folklore ever since it served as the set for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It was a grey, rainy day and we convinced ourselves it was a perfect opportunity to see the castle in all of its glory. It certainly was!
We walked along the waterfront to see the famous Mermaid statue. This was funded by the owner of the Carlesberg Brewery, who was inspired after he watched the opera, The Little Mermaid. It is now the symbol of Copenhagen and a popular tourist destination. After walking through the lovely park, we headed towards the Danish Design Museum, a museum devoted to the influences and contributions of Danish Design. Afterwards, we walked through the grounds of Rosenborg Palace and towards the Round Tower, once the library of Copenhagen University and now a gallery space with a fabulous panorama view of Copenhagen. We made it just in time for sunset, which proved to be the perfect way to end our adventure. Afterwards, we headed towards our hostel and spoiled ourselves with a real dinner at a warm Danish bistro. It was a perfect way to end a perfect day and a wonderful trip!