This trip to Copenhagen right in between my second last and last university exam happened because I realised — in my ‘leaving Aarhus’ checklist that apart from shivering through a cold, deserted Nyhavn at 7AM the day I arrived in Europe, I had been to Copenhagen 2 times during my exchange and walked directly from the Flixbus bus stop to the airport or train station each time.
So I called up my friend Daria in Copenhagen and emergency-arranged to impose my presence on her for three days. Needless to say, a lot of major YOLO-ing happened during these six months.
Anxiety - and frankly greed - is always something I have to contend with when travelling. Time is precious, you want to see everything at once, you don’t want to miss out, so a lot of the time it’s an endless stream of activity, a checklist to hit. While I’ve always believed in planning efficiently, I think sometimes it’s also important to listen to your own body and your needs in that moment.
This trip to Copenhagen taught me you can also be allowed to luxuriate in the company as much as travelling, that sometimes it’s better for you because so much sensory stimulation - especially for my introvert self - can be unexpectedly wearying. If it meant watching Fantasy on Ice with Daria for half an morning and deciding not to try and hit all the art galleries in Copenhagen in favour of simply walking around with Sasha and catching up, that’s okay too. Everything in moderation, and sometimes that also includes being ‘on’.
Copenhagen is beautiful though — a bigger city that Aarhus but with that typical Danish flair and taste for excellent house paint colour selection and design. I was lucky to catch it during a warm and sunny weekend (“Heatwave”, my Scandinavian friends complained in the 27C while I laughed at them) which meant golden hour light for all my photos.
- Nyhavn Boat Tour - Worth sailing around to get a 'birds eye' understanding of Copenhagen and Denmark, as well as a 'back view' of the Little Mermaid ('smile because you're in the background of 100 tourist photos!' our guide cheerfully instructed). The Netto-Bådene is just off the side of the Canal and Harbour Tour you see immediately and is a bit cheaper!
- Rosenborg Slot - a nice place to sit and picnic, just make sure you leave by 10:30PM to avoid being locked out! (but if you do, the exit is via Orangeriet.
- Copenhagen Street Food - in early evening, great place to soak in the ambience of the harbour over some food.
- Look out for the guy selling honey mead in a stall opposite Rundetaarn who might give you a tasting (the honey mead is really good!)
- Christianshavn is a beautiful place to walk around especially in early afternoon. So many beautiful buildings, canals and bridges - I recommend a route across Knippelsbro bridge and around Christiansborg Slot and the 'Black Diamond' library
- We paid a quick visit to Freetown Christiania, which is an autonomous anarchist district that is eclectic, colourful and fascinating to observe, even though we didn't stay too long (no photos though!)
Definitely worth a half-day trip out if you have the time. A beautiful museum and grounds, straight out of Ex Machina and also peak Scandinavian design, with a thoughtful and varied permanent collection and lots of great facilities (a buffet restaurant. In an art gallery)
Tivoli Amusement Park
I never quite noticed that an amusement park exists in almost every large city, to varying degrees of creepiness. Tivoli in Copenhagen was, however, definitely the best maintained and designed. It truly seemed like an amusement park straight from a movie. I really recommend going on a Saturday evening to catch both the laser light show (I've never seen something quite like it - the laser effect were used to make the water glitter and the music was lovely Viking-esque folk tunes), the evening live concerts that often happen and fireworks, even if you don't go on all (or any) of the rides.