In Copenhagen we stayed with my friends Thijs and Kir. Thijs and I worked together at Apple and Kir came to my Zumba class. They moved back to Denmark about a year and a half ago, so it was really nice to see them. And they were incredible hosts – between Kir’s homemade bread and Thijs’ gourmet cooking, there’s no chance we lost any weight during our stay!
Copenhagen is a small and flat city, which makes it very walkable. Though they have great trains and buses, bicycles are the favoured form of transportation.
You see bikes parked everywhere, and none of them are chained to anything. There are generously-sized bike lanes, and everyone takes the traffic laws very seriously – most cyclists use hand signals but don’t wear helmets, everyone obeys the lights, and no one jay-walks. I think I only heard a car horm once during our week here. And all of the cobbestone streets have a portion that is smooth pavement, which is especially great if you are wearing heels or dragging a suitcase behind you, but I suspect this was designed for the benefit of the bikes.
Also, everyone speaks English, vegetarian food wasn’t hard to find, and the weather was great. So all in all, a very easy place to visit.
While we didn’t manage to get a reservation at the world-reknowned Noma, Thijs did score a table at Geranium. The restaurant has 3 Michelin stars, only 10 tables and just as many chefs – it was an incredible 4-hour dinner and I certainly don’t feel like I missed out by not eating at Noma. Kir even spotted some Danish celebrities there.
I also highly recommend Mielcke & Hurtigkarl. Though it has no Michelin stars (which is surprising) it was delicious and creative food. Its tucked inside a park in a smaller neighbourhood – they took advantage of this by starting the meal started with champagne and some snacks in the garden. I was also very impressed by the wine pairings – the food and wine really enhanced each other in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.
We spent one day at the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art. Its about 45 minutes north of Copenhagen on the coast. The artwork is certainly interesting, but more impressive is the building itself. Its predominantly underground, tucked into a hillside overlooking the ocean. They have sculpture all over the property. Its the first time I’ve seen a Calder mobile in the open air, and many of the scultpures were intended for climbing. Nothing is very well-marked which I thought was unusual and fun – it was up to you to wander around and discover it. (Unsurprisingly, The German was less enthusiastic about the freeform exploration aspect – ha!)
Another highlight was Tivoli Gardens, which is the second oldest amusement park in the
world. Its right in the city center but you’d never know it after you walk through the gates. There are lots of gardens (as the name implies) and the entire aesthetic is very charming – it’s not too polished and feels more authentic somehow. There’s really something for everyone: a huge range of restaurants (and good ones – not your usual crappy theme park food), a massive play structure for kids, a couple different stages (a symphony was performing the afternoon we were there), and of course, plenty of rides.
We also managed to catch up with a few other friends, get a haircut (thanks to Kir for hooking me up with her stylist), made a quick trip to the Zoo, explored Christiania (the “freetown” in the middle of Copenhagen, which was like a mix of Berkeley meets Zeitgeist), spent a lazy afternoon having drinks on the waterfront of Papirøen and several evenings relaxing with Thijs & Kir in their garden.
So all in all, a really great week!
Now we are off to Stockholm via trian. While its not the fastest way to get there, its already proven to be cheaper and more comfortable than flying, plus you get a better view and free wifi!