6th May - 8th May 2016
Copenhagen – the land of tanned, blue eyed, blonde haired beauties. It is the cultural centre for Denmark – a lively, stylised city – a very liveable city and the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Locals ride gracefully around town, arriving at their destination with an elegant swing of the leg across their chic bike, all in one movement without a single disturbance in momentum. And then there’s me who’s half riding my bike and half pushing myself along the curb trying not to fall in gardens because I am so mesmerised by the beautiful locals.. and beautiful scenery..
The meaning of the name København
is ‘Merchants Harbor’ as the city is based on the coast of the island Zealand and has many canals running through the centre which are lined with fishing boats, sailing boats, paddle boats and canoes. You can see Sweden from the coast of Copenhagen and can travel across a bridge to get there which only takes 35 minutes - how handy!!
So, we arrived at the very flash Copenhagen airport on the Friday night (6th of May) and took a short train ride to our Airbnb.
We were staying in the perfect location as it was about a 10 minute bike to the city in one direction, and the same to the beach in the opposite direction. The apartment was very modern, located on the top floor allowing excellent sunset views (well worth the hike up the stairs) and the interior design was really hip and inspiring - it really portrayed how well-travelled the host was.
Saturday morning we wandered leisurely into town in the wonderful heat of the sun, and found ourselves the most quaint and picturesque cafe near the river, surrounded by tall trees and flowers. The building was old fashioned with a Roman feel to it; the outdoor area was covered with small pebbles and surrounded by bright gardens. We sat outside in the sun and had a delicious buffet breakfast with lovely Danish pastries and perfectly roasted coffee, and soaked in our surroundings.
We strolled through town by the canals watching small boats cruising by - making the most of the early summers day- and found ourselves some public city bikes to hire. The bikes have iPad’s attached to the front so you enter in your details, creating an account
and when you unlock the bike from the docking stand it starts charging you until you clip it back in to another docking station anywhere in the city. This is such a smart and innovative idea, which is so well utilised in a city like this. The iPad includes maps to ease navigation on the go and the bikes also have a small motor making it a very leisurely and pleasant way to get around. We cycled around the warf, and found ourselves in the Royal residence – Amalienborg - during the Changing of the Guards which was really cool to see, they are dressed very similarly to the Queens Guards. The Royal grounds are very impressive, consisting of four different palaces surrounding a large square with a statue of King Frederick V in the centre and a beautiful large water fountain at the entrance, sitting just before the ocean. It is quite a significant part of the city..
We continued cycling and arrived at very quaint, large park – Churchill Park - with beautiful blossoming trees and a lake in the centre with peaceful white swans floating around. There was a very pretty and well detailed church on
the edge of the park and a very impressive water feature as you enter the grounds (almost as impressive as Trevi Fountain 😉 ). There were so many bright pink cherry blossoms all clustered together all over the park which was a very pleasant and warming sight, especially in contrast with the bright green grass. There were so many picnics being enjoyed under the blossoming trees, with wee children running around in the sun giggling and students studying in the shade. The public spaces in Copenhagen are magnificent, creating a very social and welcoming environment for locals and tourists. The spaces are so well utilised and designed specifically to create a very friendly and safe space for people to hang out – one of the most liveable cities we have been to, we could really see ourselves living there!
We spent a couple of hours cycling around the city, passing the beautiful university grounds, cafes and restaurants sitting on the edge of canals, and many lovely buildings of all different colours with the cute bicycles sitting out front. We parked our bikes at a docking station and walked along the water and through the busy crowds on the main
canal to find a cute cafe for lunch. On the way to finding lunch we were so hot and parched we stopped for a take-out beer and sat on the edge of the canal: people-watching (/mesmerised by the locals) and enjoying the buskers playing music near us. The rest of the afternoon consisted of delicious ice cream, then beers on the warf in the sun surrounded by many locals doing the same thing – it was wonderful. We later enjoyed a fantastic Japanese dinner – a large fresh sushi and sashimi platter (which is non-existent in Edinburgh) – and then went for a long walk back home, through Christiana – the very hippy area of town.
Christiana is a large commune area which has its own special law, the Christiana law of 1989, and is an economically self-sustaining society. The community is very tightly knit with a very popular yoga and meditation culture and the children grow up very much immersed in this way of living. They are fully aware of their situation, being very educated from early ages on their way of life and reasoning compared to the social norm. The Danes see Christiana as a very successful
social experiment as a lot of drug addicts who cannot function in society, move to Christiana and are just as accepted and an integral part of the community as the entrepreneurs are. The buildings and architecture in the area are so hippy, and creative - a lot of the houses look like tree huts and are fully emerged in the bush. It is a really fascinating area, there was so much to see and take in, I wanted to learn so much more about the way of living in this community but I believe the Christianities like to stay distanced from the public/ tourisits.
The following day we jumped on some bikes as there was a docking station right by our airbnb and we cycled toward the beach, stopping at a cafe for a tasty big breakfast. We parked our bikes at the beach and found a nice spot to lie in the sun, with all the locals who had the same idea. The beach is manmade, with small dunes and a shallow sand pool area for children to play in safely. There are cafe huts right on the beach selling cool drinks and ice cream, and a hire
shop for kayaks, paddle boards etc – another well thought about and utilised public space - and along the beachfront road are many cafes and restaurants which were packed on such a nice day! Being at a beach definitely made me miss NZ beaches, and the quality of our beaches, and summertime spent with family and friends..
Our next stop was to Tivoli Park – one of the oldest theme parks in the world. You pay an entrance fee and then inside are beautiful gardens and small lakes, with very flash restaurants, all interwoven between the theme park rides. We strolled through the gardens and around the park, listening to the gospel music which was playing at the main stage, scoping out which rides we wanted to go on. We chose two roller coaster type rides; one was a lot more extreme than the other and gave us quite an adrenaline rush. After a lovely time at the park our stomachs were aching from hunger so we walked to find a nice place to have a late lunch. We walked down a pedestrian street which seemed to be the centre of shopping and fashion with shops one after the
other, and clothes stalls out on the path - it was very hard not to pop in to every shop as they were all very styley and enticing. We reached an open square which was surrounded by nice restaurants and coloured buildings, with a well dressed man playing the saxophone in the centre, and we couldn’t say no to spending a couple of hours enjoying a long lunch here enjoying the amazing atmosphere.
It was a wonderful end to our weekend, listening to excellent live music, in the sun, surrounded by the amazing architecture and the lovely feel of the culture of Copenhagen. I would love to go back for an extended amount of time and be able to get to know this very loveable and liveable city.
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