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My Copenhagen

Sometimes you land in a city and it’s love at first sight. For me, Copenhagen was such a place. When I landed in Copenhagen, there was a bite to the air. It was December and freezing cold, but still obviously pretty. I immediately felt a conscious appreciation for my surroundings at that moment — the hygge effect that Denmark is famous for, no doubt.

I checked into my hotel (the First Hotel Kong Frederik if you were wondering!) which, to be honest, was pretty disappointing. After the first night, I ended up complaining and was moved to a better room. But, whilst the new room had improvements, it wasn’t a hotel I’d stay at again and therefore I cannot recommend it to you! There are definitely much better hotels available in the local vicinity. The location of the hotel, however, was great. It was conveniently located and had easy access to an abundance of restaurants.

In general, Copenhagen is an incredibly easy city to navigate, whether by foot or otherwise. Bicycles, however, are the most popular choice. They are everywhere – and not just for the locals! You can rent bikes on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis, and you need not worry about getting knocked off whilst cycling because bikes are somewhat of a priority in Copenhagen. There are dedicated bike routes all across the city, with bicycle rental places available in most areas – even hotels have their own fleets! In addition to this, car drivers prioritise cyclists, something that’s almost unheard of in places like England, so you’re definitely safe when it comes to seeing the city via two-wheels!

The pace of the city is chilled, but by no means slow. Restaurants are plentiful and the majority of people in Copenhagen speak immaculate English. The part I like the most is that even though there is an abundance of things to do and see in Copenhagen, nobody rushes. There is a general sense of politeness and respect that is held for one another. To be honest, I don’t even think that the Danish would understand the meaning of the words “road rage”! As a result, it is a pleasure to explore Copenhagen. The mixture of ancient Nordic style townhouses against clean minimal style buildings, like the Opera house, provides a welcome contrast, and the library can be enjoyed peacefully. It’s a city where you’re encouraged to take things slow, meaning that you can walk (or cycle) along, taking in the edges and curves of the buildings, without feeling any pressure to move on.

During my time in Copenhagen, I explored as much as my legs and stomach would allow. Indoor food markets, Michelin starred restaurants and the infamous little mermaid statue by Edvard Eriksen which, if you want to visit, is located on the waterside at the Langelinie Promenade. My only advice with this particular statue is to ensure that you go early because otherwise, you end up with this…

This little statue sure does get popular!

One thing I noticed during my time in Copenhagen is the palpable sense of the pride that the locals have for this place. You can literally feel how proud the locals are and honestly,  they should be! There is a lot to learn from the Danish, and I’m not just talking about the new, globally-adopted notion of Hygge. For example, one thing in particular that took me by surprise was how friendly the locals were. I don’t mean the sub-standard general politeness you may find in some establishments, but a profusion of politeness from everybody you communicate with. Whilst I was in Copenhagen, there was a pub I found myself returning to frequently, for no other reason than for how friendly everyone was in there. Whether you were old friends, co-workers or complete strangers, everybody spoke to each other and, as a result, the atmosphere was incredible. It was so cosy. Being there felt like hanging out with long-term friends – a feeling that’s incredibly hard to create when you’re a tourist visiting a city. The landlady of this pub was the sweetest. She honestly took the term “hostess with the mostest” to a new level when she invited us for a drink and to share some homemade traditional Danish sweets.

I was visiting Copenhagen over New Year’s Eve and, whilst it was incredibly chilly, I was fortunate enough to catch the last couple of days of the world famous Christmas Market at the Tivoli Gardens.

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Trying to put into words how much I loved this place is difficult, but it’s honestly incredible. I would come back to Copenhagen again just to revisit the Tivoli Garden Christmas Festival! Being there felt as though I was instantly transported back to being 10 years old again. I walked around from afternoon to evening with my chin in the air, trying to take it all in. It was sensory overload. Like exploring the most extravagant Disney film stage. It felt magical, and the cherry on the top of this wonderful day was that despite its popularity, the crowds were thin. There were no queues or over-crowded restaurants, just a self-aware audience who respected each other’s personal space and experience.

I picked up lots of souvenirs on my trip. One of them has to be one of my all-time favourites, the famous wooden monkey by the Danish artist Kay Bojesen! It’s a famous and iconic little sculpture and it’s a souvenir I will treasure forever.

It’s moments like that, and the one with the landlady, that can’t be replicated. The Danish have a term called Hygge, a phrase designed to demonstrate not just being present, but to recognise and enjoy the present as it happens – and Copenhagen was a place where I was able to do just that.

So, that’s my trip to Copenhagen. I had a brilliant time and I can’t wait to go back. Miss you already Denmark!

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