Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Copenhagen Post

January generally sucks quite honestly, doesn't it. This year I decided to plan an escape from the January blues and give myself something to look forward to to get me through the month. It really worked FYI. I also sat an exam a few days before flying so this trip was a nice little post exam pick-me-up.

So Copenhagen, what's good?
We stayed in a really central hotel and there are loads to choose from to ensure you're in walking distance of most of the things you would want to visit and see.
One of the top things you'll usually see listed on any Copenhagen article or blog post is Tivoli and I wish I could say we went but, unfortunately, the gardens and park are closed during winter so we couldn't go in and experience the magic. We got the teeniest glimpse inside the gate on the way back to the train station at the end of the trip as there was a show on in the theatre so the gates were open and obvs I had a little peak. What I did see got me excited to go back during peak season so I can see what all the fuss is about first hand.

One of the biggest draws  is, of course, pastry. I mean, could you really go to Denmark and not have a Danish pastry or 10? I set myself the challenge of eating as many different types of pastry/confectionery on offer at the various patisseries across the city as I possibly could. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks... it didn't matter what the time of day, I was down for the danish pastry.
I managed to cram quite a few into the 2 and a half days we were there and even got in a stop at La Glace which was a big tick. La Glace is fancy. Picture the most traditional tea rooms you can, this is the Danish equivalent and with that territory comes a price tag, but it was worth the very expensive breakfast on our last day to be able to say I've been there.
Condittori La Glace is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, rooms of it's type in CPH and its not hard to see why it's survived since opening in 1870. La Glace is famously known for sports cake, which from what I gather is lots of cream and pastry with a macaron base and some nougat. I was set on trying it when we went but somehow it completely flew out of my head while I was there and it wasn't until we left that I remembered it.
Top tip: Order sports cake in La Glace and let me know what it's like. Ta.

There are so many things to see in and around this city. The plan was to hire some bikes and cycle to all the great spots dotted here, there and everywhere but much to my disappointment the city bikes were out of order the whole time we were there so we had to revert to good old fashioned walking, which meant a lot more time out in the cold and less time in bars and cafes.
Anyhow, we still managed to fit loads in including the little mermaid, the Carlsberg gate, the Cisterns (bear in mind they're closed out of season) and Christiania, as well as all of the more central things.
Christiania, or the city in a city, is well worth a visit, even if it's just to get you over the river and out of the most touristy areas of the city such as the shopping streets. The objective of it's residents is to create/maintain a self-governing community so it's really interesting to walk around. There is some great artwork to see in this little freetown as well as a skatepark and a couple of cafes/bars. It's pretty much an alcohol free zone though with weed being the poison of choice as Christiania has been a cannibis trade centre for a few decades, hence the no photos rule because it's not technically legal in Denmark, although has been overlooked by police in this commune for some time. There are a number of stalls dotted about selling to tourists and locals alike but saying that, if you're not into smoking, it's still worth a visit just to experience the place. Quite honestly, I found it a little intimidating as I didn't expect to see so many residents in balaclavas although there didn't seem to be any ill feeling towards tourists wandering around so don't let this put you off going. If you know what to expect, it won't be an intimidating experience.

Next on the whitsle stop tour of Kobenhavn is the Observatory. This is kind of tucked off of one of the main shopping streets but at only 25KR entry (about £2.50) its well worth a visit.
The climb to the top is actually pretty easy going due to it being a slope instead of steps. Apparently this was so that the King could ride his horse to the top of the tower - learn something new everyday.
This trip was really just about exploring, finding great shops and happening upon the attractions. On the way to any tourist attraction there would be plenty of stops off a quaint little home stores and, of course, bakeries.

Too busy stuffing my face to take in any historical buildings
If you head down to see the little mermaid, make sure you stop off to see the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace (at midday). The guard will march from Rosenberg Castle to the Palace through the streets of Copenhagen even stopping at traffic lights. Once changed the off duty guard will do the same back to Rosenberg. From Amalienborg head to the waterfront which is literally over a small road and walk along here instead of the streets to get to the little mermaid - you'll get to see the opera house, some art installations and the more industrial side of the city across the water.
I don't know what I'm doing, I was in a weird mood on this day and had already pretended to hang myself from a giant ship hook with my scarf much to the amusement of passers by...
We actually paid a visit to the Botanical Gardens on our last day as well as checking out Torvehallerne Market which I think may have been one of my favourite parts of the city. Essentially it's a glass house with permanent market shops, cafes, food stalls and bars inside. At night it's all lit up and was heaving so was clearly a popular place for an evening drink and bite to eat.
Botanical gardens aren't usually our thing frankly but these are a free attraction and were a welcome break from the bitterly cold wind. We actually ended up really enjoying it despite feeling very old in admitting that! The glasshouse dates back to 1874 and is pretty extensive considering it's nestled away in the middle of the city.
Of course, we paid our customary visit to Hard Rock cafe and had heard a lot about some great burger joints and bars so tried to hunt some of these down, without any real success in all honesty. We found a few of the bars we'd heard about beforehand such as the Bird and Churchkey which is a gin and craft beer bar and is really cool. I'm not known to be a gin lover but this place was beyond good with over 80 different types of gin and is well worth a visit if you're in the Gammel Strand area.
Cafe Norden is also good for a coffee or lunch with it's 1920's decor and great view of Amager square. There are so many bars that looked amazing and we either didn't find or ran out of time to see so I'm determined to go back and try a few more out.
It was a very chilly month to visit the Danish capital but it was great to see a new city and I would definitely go back in Spring or Summer to explore some of the things we weren't able to see this time around.
Now I'm on countdown to the next trip... USA ROADTRIP, I'm ready for you!!!

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