I came to this city for a few reasons. First, the flights from London were pretty cheap. 50 quid return ticket (*fist pump*). Second, I thoroughly enjoyed the European Christmas festivities which I have seen in Vienna and Stockholm a few years back. Third, I’ve never been to Denmark. Fourth, the Danes are said to be the happiest people on earth, so let’s see what this is all about!
The weekend was short. In retrospect, I wish I stayed longer, or travelled with a friend (as there were times when I felt lonelier because of the festivities). I did anticipate this city to be expensive, but boy it WAS expensive!
Copenhagen top tens
Open faced sandwiches. Rye bread with butter and on top, a variety of toppings. Salmon (gravalax), eggs, caviar… This is a local favourite. I had one with curried herring. Don’t let this sandwich’s size fool you. This fills you up!
(9) Freetown Christiania
This autonomous neighbourhood in the heart of Copenhagen was a social experiment, filled with hippies. In this part of town, weed is, erm, tolerated. Unfortunately my visit to Christiana was a breezy one. The sun had gone down and it as looking more dodgy than “with a bit of character”. No pictures are allowed here though. Apparently, drug dealers and selfies just don’t mix. I suggest coming here during the day when the vibe is more hipster than dodgy.
This waterfront, lined with colourful townhouses, offers one of the nicer views in Copenhagen, if not THE nicest. This used to be where sailors in the 17th and 18th century docked and got some, erm, paid pleasures from local women. Hans Christian Andersen, famed author of well-loved fairy tales, used to live here.
(7) the Little Mermaid statue
This a little, nearly 100-year-old, statue gives Brussel’s Mannekin Pis a run for its money as the world’s most underwhelming sculpture. I wonder why it continues to be popular, and what prompted me to walk an extra 15 minutes out by the Waterfront to see it, despite the warning from the tour guides. I dunno. Maybe there’s a sadness in the Little Mermaid’s unrequited love story that most people can relate to.
(6) Amalienborg, the Royal Residences
Either Denmark is one of the safest places in the world or the Danish Royal family enjoy seeing random tourists just outside their window. We witnessed the changing of the Royal Life Guards, and talk about Hygge! We were just a few feet from them! I loved listening to the sweet, love story of Prince Frederik and Princess Mary, who met at a pub in Sydney. She didn’t know he was a prince!
(5) Danish hotdogs
My first Danish meal was a hotdog. A French dog to be exact, which is basically a hotdog jammed inside a baguette. It was nice! I had another hotdog the following day, a riestat with the works. Pickles, mustard, and fried onions. What is it with the scandis and this processed meat product? I ain’t complaining though. It was good!
(4) Rosenborg Castle
In my view, this is Copenhagen’s equivalent to the the Tower of London. Rosenborg Castle houses the Danish family’s Crown Jewels. Visitors can go be all close and personal with these jewelled headpieces. The castle’s collection of other wares is also interesting.
(3) Glogg or Gluwein
You say “Christmas” And I say, “mulled wine”. Glogg is the Danish kind, sweeter and with fruity, nutty goodness to munch on. There were almonds, cranberries, and sultanas. A perfect snuggly drink for wintery weather.A sweet response to the bitter cold. I remember one Christmas when I brought home to Manila a mulled wine mix and attempted to make one for my family to enjoy. Hmm. Wasn’t the same without the cold weather!
(2) Hygge and friendly, law abiding Danes
In Copenhagen, hygge, or coziness, is all around. All the restos I visted used dimmed, yellow light, and lots of candles. Everyone’s all huddled up, looking comfy, and just being… happy.
Also, I observed that most people followed the pedestrian crossing signals (go for green, and red for stop). Why do they do it? One, the fine is 1000 pounds if you’re caught jaywalking; Two, the Danes just wish to set a good example to children.
They say that the Danish society is pretty progressive, compared to others in the world. They legalised gay civil unions in the 60s, had a democratic constitution in the 19th century, etc. And what’s all this about organic?! The hotel I went to served an all organic breakfast (it was pretty good!), and had organic toiletries. I even saw a salon which was called “organic hairdresser”.
(1) Tivoli Gardens
I was a kid again in the world’s second oldest, operating amusement park. Christmas just elevated the experience: the holiday cheer, cute and colourful ornaments, comforting and sugary snacks. I didn’t go on any of the rides, but I just soaked up the festive atmosphere. This place being Danish, there was a feeling of hygge! Coziness and happiness. I would come back to this place in a heartbeat.
Did not make the Top 10:
(11) Rundetaarn, the Round Tower
Christian IV, famous ruler of Denmark in the early 17th century, had this round tower commissioned, to showcase a great view of the city. Today, the view isn’t too bad. The tower isn’t high enough for a spectacular view, but the walk up is fun. The surface is fairly flat. I suppose it’s one of those built for horses back in the day. The must-do for thrill seekers is this tiny, dark space with a glass floor. You can see all the way down to the bottom. Claustrophobes and those afraid of heights will cringe. (As did I do no photo!)