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Published: June 27th 2019
An extremely pretty spot.
Copenhagen is immediately impressive in a grand majestic way. A bit like Vienna in that this place is clearly rich and royal but was perhaps once richer and royaler and more important. There are no tall modern skyscrapers on the skyline, rather there are abundant palace turrets, castle towers, church spires and the ancient roller-coasters of Tivoli Gardens (the amusement park opened in 1843! Which makes it only the second oldest in the world. The oldest is also in Denmark).
The lack of tall buildings, combined with the squares, parks, gardens and especially the canals and wide harbours give Copenhagen a sense of being open and spacious. Despite being a capital city, you never feel like you are on top of people. The extra wide pavements probably help as well – extra wide to accommodate cycle lanes, cycling being the preferred mode of transport for seemingly the entire population. In fact, the cycle and pedestrian infrastructure is fantastic; putting much of the world, certainly the UK, to shame. We assume this is why the only overweight people we came across were tourists; and that is despite the delicious Danish pastries.
There is also a lot
Just a summer house for a former king.
going on, well I suppose there generally is in a capital city. We stumbled across an inexplicable South American samba parade shimmying down the main shopping street, a Catalan human tower competition in the King’s Gardens, brass bands making music videos on the harbour, tall ships setting sail, and probably more that I’ve forgotten. This was alongside the Copenhagen constants such as hipster gatherings at the Dansk Design Centre, the fog of marijuana smoke drifting through Christiana and people enjoying a swim from the city’s docks (great that it’s clean enough to swim right in the city centre but I don’t agree it was warm enough).
Going on tourist density, there seem to be just two main sights: 1) the delightful and colourful harbour that is the almost too pretty Nyhavn, and 2) the smaller than you’d think with a backdrop reminiscent of Sunderland and again very pretty if you can actually get near her due to the crowds Little Mermaid. In between these sights, as well as the wealth of palaces, castles, churches, squares, gardens, etc, we enjoyed just wandering along the water’s edge and stumbling across pretty areas such as Nyboder and cool areas such
Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød
Another former royal residence.
as the Meat Packing District.
While on the subject of parkruns (if you have continued reading from the last blog), Copenhagen has three! We did Amager Fælled parkrun, apparently rated the second best in the city because on nearby Amager Strandpark parkrun you run down the coast through the dunes and over the water with views of Öresund Bridge. But we enjoyed the two laps of the flat parkland despite the torrential rain.
We also found time to nip out of Copenhagen to Hillerød in order to visit Frederiksborg Castle. This is another stunning royal palace set on a lake in lovely gardens. We didn’t go inside (in my experience castles and palaces are all a bit samey on the inside), preferring the view and the grounds. It was a pleasant place for a wander around to get away from the (not very) hustle and bustle of Copenhagen.
We had crossed the impressive Öresund Bridge from Malmo to Copenhagen. Are there any other bridges over the sea between countries? I can think of a few causeways – Singapore to Malaysia and Bahrain to Saudi Arabia – but I don’t know about
A pretty part of Copenhagen we stumbled across while strolling about.
any other bridges. There were two firsts for me on this four-day Sweden and Denmark trip. Firstly, the whole trip was entirely cashless. We didn’t have the need at any point to use an ATM as everything, no matter how big or small and whether food or transportation or anything else, could be paid for by card. It was nice to travel so light without even a wallet in my pocket. Secondly, and adding to the feeling of lightness, I didn’t take a camera. The camera on my phone isn’t very good but on Magdalena’s it’s really good (go for Samsung). Thus, all the photos of this and the previous blog are hers and I could just wander and gaze.
Copenhagen has a few accolades bestowed upon it by others, such as Europe’s greenest city (ooh, what’s that funky looking building on the horizon? It’s a zero-emission waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope running down it) and world’s happiest city (the work-life balance is greatly skewed towards “life” with lower working hours and more days of leave than anywhere in the world; lengthy paid maternity and paternity leave; excellent education, healthcare and social welfare systems; high levels
of wealth and gender equality). Though it is expensive, especially if you ever want alcohol, and it is a bit flat for me, I do like a hill or mountain. But I really did like it and could imagine living there – I feel the same whenever and wherever I am in Scandinavia (though the long dark winter gives me a bit of fear).
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