Copenhagen, Denmark- The Beginning of my Scandinavian Adventure

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After a surprisingly not terrible $250 flight on Norwegian Air Shuttle, I arrived in Copenhagen.

Landed in Denmark

I was cautiously excited for my first time in Copenhagen.  My only other Scandinavian experience was back in 2006 when I went to Stockholm with my family as they tried to convince me to move there.  As much as I love Abba, Sweden was not for me and I assumed Copenhagen would be pretty similar, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This trip to Copenhagen was also my first Airbnb experience, when ended up being great.  We stayed in a lovely flat in the Norrebro area and it was very helpful to have locals available to help plan out the day.

Flat in Copenhagen

Flat in Copenhagen

It turned out that Norrebro was also a very convenient place to stay.  The stuff near by was more local and less “touristy” which was nice, but it was also walkable to all the tourist attractions.

Norrebro-Copenhagen, Denmark

Although, everything seemed walkable from everywhere.  Aside from the cab ride from the airport, I didn’t need to use any of the public transport while I was there.  It did mean a lot of walking, but I prefer to see the city by foot.  At least, I hope that’s the reason and not just that I embarrassed myself trying to pronounce “Faelledvej” to the cab driver and then didn’t bother attempting it again.

After getting to Copenhagen an settling in a bit, the rest of the day was primarily spent just wandering around getting my barrings and taking in the scenery.  I was very comfortable all over Copenhagen (except for the fact that everyone there looks like they stepped out of an Abercrombie catalog).  I read in a guidebook later that where I was staying in Norrebro was probably the “least safe” area of town.  The book made sure to use the term “least safe” as opposed to “most dangerous” because everywhere in Copenhagen seems to be very safe and clean.

One thing I loved immediately about Copenhagen was there attitude towards outside drinking.  It was not unusual at all the have a drink while you walk around town, or grab a few beers and sit on a park bench.  in fact, I passed several people of all ages and creeds openly drinking wine from the bottle as they went about their business.  These are my people.

Outside Drinking In Copenhagen

Here in the Land Of The Free that’s an activity that’s primarily confined to hobos, or at least concealed by a paper bag or water bottle full of vodka.

The first night there I also got to witness the (almost) midnight sun.  This photo was taken around 11pm.

Copenhagen, daylight at 11pm

This was a phenomenon that I had read about and prepared for, but enjoyed way less than I thought.

It was just always sunny!  I live in Florida.  I love the sun.  I thought this would be great.  In actuality, I just never knew what time it was.  It made it very difficult to adjust to the time difference and made jet lag that much worse.  Not to mention that for a a country that gets 18+ sunlight hours every day for part of the year, they really don’t have curtains figured out.

The first full day in Copenhagen started with a walk towards the attractions, beer in hand,

Walking around Copenhagen

with a few requisite stops for silly photos.  Other languages are ridiculous.

Fart means something different in Denmark

Farts and sluts everywhere!

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CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR

I did see a few more cultural sights as well, including the Church of Our Saviour, a baroque church built in 1695, who’s million-stair spire offers spectacular views of the city, in addition to making me feel super out of shape.

Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen

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CHRISIANA

I was told I couldn’t visit Copenhagen without seeing Christiana, a “freetown” / hippie commune, where absolutely no photos are allowed even though they’re totally “not selling pot.”

Christiana in Copenhagen

and the most touristy attraction yet,

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CANAL TOUR

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

There are many canal tours offered and they’re a great way to see a lot of the city with only a little bit of time.  Most of them are very reasonably priced, about $7-10 per person and leave out of Nyhavn (pictured above).  It was a good way to take note of different attractions in the city to come back to later.

Copenhagen Canal Tour

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View of Palace in Copenhagen from Canal Tour

Perhaps best of all was the view of the tourist fan fare around this little mermaid statue from behind.

Little Mermaid Statue from the water

The next morning my airbnb host gave me a few suggestions of where to go.  It was supposed to be a warm (for Denmark) sunny day, so he offered many outdoor options.  The top suggestion was to take a blanket and case of beer and drink outside in one of the many parks around the city, which is just what I did after a quick stop for some Danish pastries.

Pastries in Copenhagen, Denmark

It seemed the boozy picnic was an idea that everyone else in the city also had, which leads me to believe that warmish sunny days are pretty hard to come by.

Copenhagen picnic day!

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As you can see, everyone there has a bike.  Really, everyone, 80 year old grandmas, businessmen in suits, children, ladies in tight dresses and high heels, everyone.  There are lots of places around town to rent bikes if you want to experience the city like a local.

After having an adorable, and aptly themed beer in the park,

Hans Christian Andersen Beer in Copenhagen park!

I left to check out some of the sights I didn’t get to the day before.

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KASTELLET

The Kastellet, despite it’s name, is more a fort than a castle.  I found this out after circling the Kastellet 3 or 4 times wondering where it is.  It’s a very nice walk though, with some picturesque views.

Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark

While the building itself may be unimpressive, the host told me a fun (and totally unsubstantiated) story about an impending conflict between Denmark and Sweden.  The Danish Royals invited the Swedish Royals to the Kastellet and held a military parade in their honor.  Because of it’s circular shape, the Dane’s were able to parade the same army in front of the Swedish Royals over and over and over again for 3 hours, after which, thinking the army much bigger than it was, the Swedes decided it was a better idea not to attack Denmark.  Like I said, the story is unsubstantiated, but the legend is fun!

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THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUE

Of course, no trip to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to the notoriously underwhelming Little Mermaid Statue.

Little Mermaid Statue Copenhagen

Little Mermaid Statue Copenhagen

This was not as crowded as I was lead to believe.  Of course, I live near Disney World, so my definition of crowded could be a little different than others, but I had no problem getting a photo without too much wait or hassle.

Little Mermaid Statue Copenhagen, Denmark

FREDERIK’S CHURCH

Frederik’s Church is quite noticeable around town, especially from the palace.  The gold leaf and enormous dome make it unmistakable.

Frederik's Church Copenhagen

It’s open to the public with guided tours available throughout the day.  I chose to show myself around without a guide.  The inside of the church is truly stunning.

Frederik's Church Copenhagen

Frederik's Church Copenhagen

Frederik's Church Copenhagen

After leaving the church and reading in a guide book that the National Museum of Denmark was free on Wednesdays, I decided to check it out for the last hour or so before closing, and also decided to not tell the airbnb host who seemed pretty insistent that I not spend even a moment indoors on a sunny day.

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NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARK

Once there, I realized that the museum was in fact free everyday, not just Wednesdays.  Free museums is one of my favorite things about Europe.  That and the amount of things they let you touch and take pictures of in museums, way less up-tight than their American counterparts, and with way older and more impressive stuff.  Take note America.

National Museum of Denmark

The inside of the museum houses historical artifacts from Danish pre-history, Vikings, and a collection of Egyptian antiquities.  You can’t beat the price and there is plenty to see here.  They don’t allow large bags, but provide lockers and everyone on the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.

National Museum Of Denmark

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AMALIENBORG

Amalienborg

Amalienborg is the Winter home of the Danish Royals.  A large courtyard surrounds four identical homes that house various members of the royal family.  I was lucky enough to stumble by during the changing of the guard.

Changing of the guard at Amalienborg in Copenhagen

Amalienborg in Copenhagen

I felt like I packed a lot into the 3 days I had in Copenhagen and I saw most of the city.  Copenhagen made a very good impression.  I often found myself thinking that I could live there, until I remembered that Winter exists.

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5 thoughts on “Copenhagen, Denmark- The Beginning of my Scandinavian Adventure

  1. […] day in Oslo, and sadly only a half day as I had to catch the ferry back to Copenhagen for my Norwegian Air Shuttle flight the next day around 3pm.  I again woke up early to try and […]

  2. […] just close whenever they’re tired of being open.  Of course, after having spend some time in Copenhagen, I knew that opening times didn’t mean much either.  I guess it’s something you get […]

  3. […] a truly global community.  A few clicks on the internet and I can know what’s going on in Denmark at this very second.  I can hop on that same internet and book a flight to Denmark and find out […]

  4. Denmark is so elegant and charming, your pictures bring alive the beautiful city. Denmark and Scandinavia what is still in our bucket list and we would love to get there ASAP. Your lovely post only galvanizes us to do it faster 🙂

  5. […] from a flight with them from Fort Lauderdale (the worst airport in the world, as it turns out) to Copenhagen round trip and have to say I was pleased that the airfare included […]

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