My second stop on my summer adventure was to the city of Copenhagen in Denmark. I’ve only really known one person from Denmark, a guy named Peter who I met at turtle camp back in 2012. He was one of the most purely friendly people I’ve ever met, and after declaring every day “friendship day” and getting wildly excited about newly discovered creatures (squirrels), I knew that this was a land of wonderful people.
Arriving in Copenhagen in the mid-afternoon we exited the train to search for our AirBnb accommodation. Immediately I was struck by how clean everything was, how smooth the train was, how pristine the streets were. I’d never really thought of Dublin as a dirty city, but the contrast was hugely noticeable having just left Dublin that morning. We then commenced a 40 minutes self-guided walking tour, which is how I try to shed some joy on being lost and sweating through several layers of clothes whilst lugging my over packed backpack through the streets. Alas, after what seemed like several back-breaking days we found our accommodation, and our moods lifted significantly as we carefully unraveled our packs and removed the sweatiest of layers. We rented an apartment in Nyhavn, which is a particularly picturesque street, constantly wafting the sounds of street performers and the chatter of the people in the cafes below. The sweat and aches felt well worth it as we gawked out of the open windows. What made the apartment even more perfect is that it was above an ice cream store, which served the useful purpose of supplying treats as well as a handy marker for not getting lost (again).
That evening we were introduced to our first reality of the cost of Copenhagen. Every restaurant seemed insane, unbelievable, and yet, it was true that the cost of a simple dinner of spaghetti would set you back around 25-30 Euro. I rationalized it by reminding myself that the flight from Dublin had only been $15. This however was just the beginning, and the prices of Copenhagen started to be a real set back, especially when it comes to enjoying yourself on a holiday. My low moment was ordering a glass of water for 7 euro.
The next day we joined a Sandeman’s walking tour, and found that we’d already navigated about 80% of the streets during our self-guided tour the previous day. It was undoubtedly much more enjoyable sans backpack and adding a tour guide. The tour itself was interesting, and in another guides hands I think I would have been riveted. But, this guide lacked the charm and charisma of turtle camp Peter, and I’d say his jokes were lost in translation, but we can really only blame language for so much.
That evening we headed to theTivoli gardens around dusk, planning on catching the light show once the sun set. I have to say that walking into Tivoli at dusk with the lights glowing was one of the most magical things I’ve seen. It was so incredibly quaint and pretty, and just really magical at that time of day. Lighting is so important to me, and the warm lights shining out from the cafes looked so jolly.
When we arrived in Copenhagen we purchased Copenhagen cards, which offer free entrance to transit and many attractions around the city. We knew we wanted to visit Tivoli, and that alone made it worth it to get the cards for the weekend. So, the following day we decided to tick a few attractions off our list and take advantage of our city cards. We headed to the Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale house (after another 30 minute self-guided tour of both sides of the street trying to find the damn thing). In my mind’s eye I was imagining a sweetly decorated house with fairy tale scenes. The reality was much more carnival fun-house than childhood fantasy, but I have to say it was so bad it was good. This is also where I learned that Anderson seemed like a pretty messed up guy, and quite the creep.
With the haunting images of the fairy-tale house fresh in our minds, we headed back to Tivoli to eat lunch in one of the quaint cafes. This is when I learned that a good deal of the Tivoli magic comes out at night. It’s still ok during the bright sunlight, but what made the park magical was the lighting, and if you only have one chance to go make your journey at dusk.
After lunch we went on a canal tour which was definitely a nice thing to have included on our city pass. The canal winds under some incredibly low bridges, which prompted an endless refrain of “sit down and watch your head” from our tour guide. The tour lasts about an hour, and is a unique view of the city, and a nice way to relax. After, we visited the palace, and were relieved to have our passes because each section of the palace had a separate fee, and paying for each would have been ridiculous. Without the pass we would have paid around 10 euro per area, and some were just an empty room where asking 2 euro would have been ambitious. The main part of the palace was pretty amazing, and our tour guide in this section was really interesting and informative about the history of the palace, and the current royal family. My friend and I did have differing opinions on what I believe to be one of the most hideous tapestries ever made, and she believed to be a fun and vibrant one. I think the faces of these children can settle this dispute quite easily.
The next morning it was already time for our departure, and though the city was beautiful I was more than ready to head for a more reasonably priced destination. Also the people on the bikes pedal like maniacs.