Copenhagen in two days

A thousand apologies for being so ridiculously slack with my blog over the past few months! I don't have a good excuse for my absence really. I've just felt uninspired, I have had absolutely no desire or motivation to write and it's a shame cause I feel like I'm beginning to forget all of my travel memories, and that's only making me want to blog less and less... I've also been ridiculously busy, especially since coming back from Southeast Asia. In between university, I've been doing applications and extracurriculars and a bunch of other stuff and basically just 'adulting' like crazy. Anyway enough about my mundane life, time to rewind to a better time and place for me, Copenhagen.

It's hard to find anything to fault about Denmark's capital. I mean, what's not to love about Copenhagen? It's in the happiest country on Earth, there is outstandingly sleek design everywhere, the people are beautiful (like damn Denmark!), it's home to the iconic Nyhavn, it's gorgeously historic but incredibly modern at the same time... I could go on for days.

Scandinavia is notoriously expensive and so I would always prioritise other cities over Copenhagen but once exams rolled around, I was itching for a good excuse to flee the country and thought that Copenhagen would be the perfect way to procrastinate from my studies. Yes, you read right, I went during exams. As in, I left a day after one exam and arrived back a day before another. If you consider the fact that I had not attended class all semester and knew absolutely zilch for my exams, you'll realise how utterly stupid I was being, but when in Europe?..

The first photo I took in Copenhagen. I didn't have the heart not to include it. Look at that dog!!

Copenhagen involved quite a few firsts for me, one of them being that we stayed at an Airbnb where we were sharing a tiny, and I mean TINY, flat with the couple who owned it. Up until that point, I'd stayed at countless Airbnb's but had always rented whole apartments. This was a completely unique and different experience which wasn't bad, probably not one I'll repeat any time soon though cause the couple was slightly awkward which made things a little awkward overall.

On our first day, the weather gods didn't really seem to be on our side and the skies were really overcast. This made our first stop, the iconic colourful houses of Nyhavn, a little lacklustre and we opted to come back when the weather (hopefully) picked up. From there, we basically took a leisurely stroll around Copenhagen, hitting whatever sites we came across. I had always dreamed of hiring a bike when I visited Copenhagen but the dreary and drizzly weather just didn't seem worth it. Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe and it was clear why. Bike lanes follow roads all around the city and are even elevated above the road level, just as an extra level of safety. Ahh well, maybe next time?

Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen
Amalienborg Palace
Guards outside of Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen
Amalienborg Palace
Guards outside of  Amalienborg Palace

Our next stop after Nyhavn was Amalienborg Palace, home of Australia's own Princess Mary and her husband Frederik, Prince of Denmark. My dad would have been so excited if he'd been there, he loves Princess Mary's story! Next up was the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's equivalent of Brussels' Mannekin Pis. The similarities between the two were actually uncanny. Both are underwhelmingly small, yet surrounded by hoards of international tourists. I definitely prefer the Little Mermaid though. The smaller-than-lifesize statue is inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale of the same name and sits proudly in Langelinje Pier.

What struck me the most while wandering around Copenhagen was the gorgeous architecture. I'm a sucker for Scandinavian design and being immersed in it had me memorised. I even loved the small things, like how their street lights, known simply as Copenhagen Lamps, hung from above directly in the middle of their roads, suspended by subtle wires. Everything about the city was so beautiful and I was obsessed. I swear my neck was getting sore from walking around and craning my head up to take in all of the beautiful design.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen
The Little Mermaid
At this point in the day, the weather started to pick up and this completely transformed the city. Copenhagen was so much more beautiful bathed in the sunlight! Whilst wandering around the city, we stumbled across Rosenborg Castle and gardens. Having been in Europe for almost six months at this point, I had seen my fair share of castles and palaces and was all castled out. The castle was really small and definitely did not compare to others that I had seen in Europe so we didn't linger around there for long before heading off to do some more exploring.

Our aimless wandering around led us to Copenhagen's main shopping strip, Stroget. I had no idea at the time, but it's actually the longest pedestrian street in the world! As a money-deprived exchange student nearing the end of her time abroad and visiting Copenhagen with only a 30L suitcase, I had zero intention to shop and neither did my other two friends so lunch was next on the agenda for us.

During my day and a half in Copenhagen, I had noticed that the city was littered with these little food trucks, all of them selling the exact same thing, Danish hot dogs. I didn't realise that Danish hot dogs were a thing before I arrived in Copenhagen but it turns out that it's their most popular street food and the city has an absolute abundance of Danish hot dog stands. For lunch, we had (of course) Danish hot dogs which were actually amazingly delicious. Best hot dog that I've ever had, even better than the sausages from Prague! They were also super small though and ridiculously expensive for what they were. One tiny hot dog was $7. People aren't exaggerating when they talk about how expensive Scandinavia is...

Danish hot dogs with traditional toppics
Danish hot dogs

After lunch, we continued to walk around the city to see other sites and eventually came to the waterfront where we decided to sit down and take a breather. Now, what followed this is probably one of the coolest moments of my life to date. 

A small speed boat started to pull up in front of us while we were sitting by the waterfront and I joked around with the others, asking what they'd do if this guy offered us a lift. I had definitely spoken too soon because right at that moment, the speed boat driver asked us where we were heading and then told us that another boat would come to pick us up in 5 minutes. We ended up getting a free speedboat ride around Copenhagen!

Because the weather had done a complete one eighty compared to the dreary mess that it was in the morning, we decided to head back to Nyhavn to see the iconic colourful houses in all of their glory. The overcast and grey weather in the morning compared to the sunny blue skies of the afternoon definitely made a difference on the appearance of the houses. The good weather had also brought out the crowds and the area was super lively and bustling with locals and tourists alike. The restaurants lining the street that were completely empty before were all of a sudden packed to the brim.

We ended up sitting by the edge of the water enjoying some drinks with the locals and taking in our overall surroundings. I get why Nyhavn is basically an Instagrammer's dream now, it's so photogenic! I took way too many photos but managed to cut the ones I've included in this post down to three.

Tivoli Gardens
Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen's hippie commune, was our next stop and I had no idea what to expect at all. Christiania is a semi-autonomous part of Copenhagen that was founded by squatters in the 1970s and is technically not a part of Denmark, Europe or the EU. The community functions under its own set of laws, uses its own currency, doesn't pay taxes and is infamous for it's open trade in marijuana. The community prides itself on being a place which allows individuals to freely express themselves but there are a few rules to abide by, such as no running and no photography.

I can safely say that Christiania was one of the coolest, yet unnerving places that I had ever been. What really fascinated me most was the "Green Light District", the area where weed was freely and legally sold by masked men in balaclavas hiding behind netted stalls or standing next to flaming metal bins. That area of Christiania in particular had a really sinister feel to it. There was a lot more to Christiania though and I did enjoy wandering around the commune to see how the locals live.

We ended our night early as we were so exhausted, heading back to Nyhavn to watch the sunset. We enjoyed some more Danish hot dogs for dinner, which we'd all fallen in love with, before heading back to our apartment. I spent the rest of the night studying for my fast approaching exams. At least I was a little sensible on my trip?

The borders of Christiania
The main entrance to Freetown Christiania

Nyhavn at dusk
We had a pretty relaxing second day. As we had visited most of the typical tourists attractions the day before, this left us with a chance to experience more of the city's culture instead of running around trying to see all of the sights. With my undying love of markets (you'll know about this if you've been an avid reader), I couldn't visit Copenhagen without checking out at least one of their food markets. Torvehallerne Market had been highly recommended to us by some friends so we decided to spend the morning and early afternoon there.

This place means a lot to me because it is where I laid eyes on who is now STILL the most attractive human being that I have ever seen in my life. This might sound like an exaggeration but I swear, even to this day I've never seen someone more attractive, whether that be in real life or on TV. This guy was working at one of the market stalls, casually selling orange juice. Why he sells orange juice instead of doing underwear modelling, I will never know. He should seriously be in TV ads, or movies, or on magazine covers. The stereotype of Scandinavians being extremely attractive was no lie...

The actual market itself was gorgeous. It wasn't like the street food markets that I was used to. It was half undercover and was extremely clean, spacious, stylish and just fit with the overall Scandi design that I adore. For lunch, we decided to try smorrebord, a classic Danish meal which is essentially an open sandwich with limitless topping options. I apologise for the countless market photos that now follow. I couldn't stop myself..

Mmmm Danish pastries
Vietnamese bread rolls in Copenhagen?!

Assorted smorrebords


Seafood paella
After a satisfying lunch, we ventured to the Christiansborg tower to get good views over the whole city. The trek didn't disappoint! After initially struggling to find the right place and walking into a completely different building, we ended up making it to the top and were rewarded by spectacular views.

We decided not to enter the actual Christiansborg palace because we had seen so many palaces, and because I knew that I'd be seeing so more during my upcoming seven week trip around Europe.

Views from Christiansborg tower
Views from Christiansborg tower

One of Copenhagen's biggest attractions is the Tivoli Gardens, the world's second oldest theme park that opened it's doors in 1843. This was, of course, on our Copenhagen bucket list and because this was our final day in Copenhagen, we decided to spend the rest of the day wandering around the amusement park. Tivoli is located right in the centre of the city and is a short walk away from the main train station which made it a convenient place to get to.

I'm personally not a rides person at all. I hate the feeling of dropping with a passion and will refuse to go on anything which involves even the slightest of drops. As a result, I and the other girls opted to just walk around and explore. The fact that we were all flat broke at this point may have also influenced this decision... Two short days in Copenhagen had absolutely cleaned out our wallets. This is where we spent the rest of our day, wandering around the theme park and letting our inner five year olds out.

Two and a half days was definitely not enough time to take in everything that Copenhagen had to offer! Unfortunately, I didn't have any extra time and couldn't stay any longer because of my exams but Copenhagen did prove to be the perfect escape from the stresses of finals.

Copenhagen is an amazing city and it's clear why it's inhabitants are some of the happiest people in the world! If I was surrounded by such attractive people and design on a twenty four hour basis, I might feel the same way too! We got a bit unlucky with the dreary weather but I was still mesmerised by the city. I can only imagine how amazing Copenhagen is during the summer time! Copenhagen may not be a city with a whole heap of tourist attractions and sights to see but I almost prefer it that way. I feel that that leaves more room and puts more focus on the culture of the city and actually experiencing life in Copenhagen. One gripe that I had with Copenhagen, though, is that it is quite pricey and I'm honestly not sure how we would have fared if we'd stayed for any longer.

I would definitely love to return to Copenhagen one day and also see more of Scandinavia because I am actually so obsessed with Scandi design now. I just need to make sure that I save up because unfortunately, Scandinavia does fit within it's reputation of being ridiculously expensive.

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