From Thursday to Sunday of last week, I went on holiday with one of my closest friends ‘N’, to Copenhagen (the capital city of Denmark). I didn’t know much at all about Copenhagen before N invited me on the trip, and wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised at all the city had to offer, and had such a spiritual, liberating and happy bonding experience over the four days we spent there.
The city of Copenhagen is the most bicycle-friendly place I have ever visited, with more people using cycling as their main mode of transport as opposed to driving – so very different to London. Looking around as we emerged from the station I could see literally tens if not hundreds of bikes stacked around the station, left unlocked by the trusting and laid-back citizens of the city, or being ridden by men, women and children galore. Copenhagen even has it’s own traffic system for cyclists, including specific traffic lights, lanes and markings for those on bikes. It is incredibly safe, and the ground is flat and smooth, making for a highly enjoyable ride.
We rented bikes as soon as we arrived which we soon became very attached to. The cycling aspect of our trip was certainly one of my highlights: nothing beats the feeling of zooming down a wide main road with very few cars in sight, cycling over bridges, alongside glistening rivers, through lush green parks, and with the sun on one’s face and the wind in one’s hair.
Some of the things we did in Copenhagen include:
- Visiting Tivoli – the 2nd oldest theme park in the world. Fully functional, buzzing, a range of amusements for all ages and fear-factors, affordable (just about), beautiful, relatively uncrowded and SO much fun.
- Eating vegan food – Copenhagen has so many vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes, it is unbelievable! We found the most delicious vegan hot-dog cafe just minutes away from out road, and honestly it tasted sooooooo good.
- Christiania – a town towards the East of the city centre, just a half hour cycle away. It is an area closed off from the rest of the city and with it’s own ‘government’, essentially immune from the laws of the rest of the land. It is a community encouraging freedom of expression, creativity, equal rights and liberation. A road called Pusher Street houses dealers selling weed in a market-like setting, and people can be seen on every corner smoking a joint. It is a town of hippies, of spirituality, of art and of acceptance. It is a pedestrian only area, and places heavy values on being green and on living in harmony with the environment. I have never been anywhere like it or felt the level of acceptance there. Everyone is so friendly and smiley, especially to tourists, and as a result I felt at peace with myself enough to show my scars. It was such a liberating experience.
- Going out for a few drinks and making friends with both the locals and other tourists, chilling out in great company and having a laugh.
- Louisiana – we took the train 30 minutes outside of Copenhagen to a little town with a world-renowned gallery called Louisana. It is right by the sea, where one is able to view Sweden from, and has beautiful and vast grounds which we walked around for hours whilst experiencing the various paintings, sculptures and photography displays.
- Nyhavn – a beautiful canal sporting a host of all sorts of boats, lined with multi-coloured apartment fronts, delicious-smelling ice cream parlours, and quaint little restaurants.
- Stroget and The Latin Quarter – an area akin to Oxford Street in London, Stroget is the main shopping street of the city. Again, it is pedestrians only, and whilst it is more touristy than other areas, just a few roads away is the much quieter and historical Latin Quarter. Beautiful churches, cobbled roads, little organic cafes, and the University of Copenhagen were hotspots for us to explore and experience, just to name a few.
Overall what I enjoyed the most was the way of life I experienced just a snippet of whilst out there. I know that the cost of living is incredibly expensive, but I can totally understand why. So much money is invested into making the city a safe, green, communal, outdoorsy, healthy, civilised place to live in and visit, and it’s not surprising to me that’s it’s rated the happiest city in the world! If I spoke Danish and was mega-rich, I would no doubt consider moving there. What I’ve taken away from the experience is how much I value the outdoorsy, active and natural way of life – and I’m hoping to cycle and engage with nature a lot more than I usually do, in an attempt to keep a part of my experience of Copenhagen with me back in London.