So having settled (at least for now) in Brighton with a full time job, I have an excellent opportunity to explore Europe city by city. I have Prague and Berlin booked up for next month, and another trip in December of undecided destination. But my first trip was to Copenhagen, mostly because the flights were very cheap.
I went with a good friend of mine, and we stayed in a nice little Hotel/Hostel combo near the main station. An early Saturday flight was cheaper than the Friday night, so we arrived into CPH around 10 in the morning. The train over from the airport was nice and easy to catch (and accidentally not pay for) and the hotel was a short walk from there. The Annex hostel was clean and functional, with nice sized rooms and very friendly staff. Helpful hints and the usual city maps to help the tourists out. My phone contract also allows me to use data abroad, which made finding our way around very easy, so rarely used the map. I’m a big fan of 3 thanks to their roaming offer.
After leaving our bags, we decided to walk into town and headed past the station and down the main shopping street. Filled with the usual fare of European shops, but along pretty streets, the street is lively and friendly without being overly busy. It’s a long road as well, with shops all along until you reach the other side of the city centre. From there we headed south towards the infamous Christiania, crossing the pretty canals and past plenty of massive and fascinating buildings. CPH seems to be full of churches, statues, squares, palaces and more, and while a lot of them are not as old as you might think, perhaps only 17th or 18th century, there’s so much history in those streets its impossible to ignore.
We spotted a spiral spire on the horizon, and as it was en route to Christiania decided to see what it was, turns out it’s Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviours Church) and the spire is accessible, so up we climbed, and got some awesome views over the city. The only tall buildings in Copenhagen are the church towers, so don’t expect a view like New York, instead you can see for miles around, even as far as the bridge to Sweden. With the Copenhagen Card that we’d got from the tourist office on the way into town we got free entry, the first good use of the card. We could see our next destination from the top, so guided ourselves to Christiania, an enclave created by hippies in the 70s that has been allow continue by the Danish government. So it’s full of hairy, dreadlocked types, and lots and lots of weed. There’s a very free vibe as you enter, people happily sprawled out in the sun relaxing with a spliff. Be careful with your camera though, they don’t take kindly to photos, and as you wander along ‘pusher street‘ you’ll see stands selling drugs, but draped in camo nets to hide the proprietor, who usually hid behind shades and bandanas as well. Down towards the waters edge, the scenery opens up again and the canal-side path is a lovely place for a stroll.
Heading back into the city we stop for a traditional Smørrebrød and sit on a bridge watching the city buzz around us. Back to the hotel for a nap after our early flight leads us through the city again, seeing more of the sights but without a clue of exactly what we’re seeing, just stunning old buildings, and stunning new ones as well. We found a very strange stop on our wanders home, a statue museum, display some originals and some copies of the best statues around CPH, almost creepy, the amount of statues was overwhelming, and the art work very impressive. Some of mounted figures were so huge they reached the roof of the huge cavernous rooms that house them.
After our break, the next stop was another accidental find, Huset KBH, a little courtyard surrounded by little bars, and the bastard cafe – dedicated to board games. We happened across a Q&A with some people, though we have no idea who they were, or what they did, as our Danish is a little non-existent. We enjoyed some nice drinks, and free pancakes too before heading over to Nyhavn for dinner. Although we’d heard the warnings about this tourist trap, we still enjoyed good food that wasn’t overly expensive and the vibes were friendly enough. Exploring more of the streets on the way home we saw a little of the nightlife, mostly just funky bars and little pubs in the city centre, no hassle or aggression though, like some cities.