Kickin’ it in Copenhagen

just over a month ago (yes I’m still catching up on blogs), a few of my fellow exchange students and I ventured of to the scandenavian treasure that is Denmark, to me more specific, Copenhagen. A little gem of Europe, located only a stone throw across the water from Molmo, Sweden (literally it is a 20 minute ferry ride from Sweden, very close) .

I have, unexpectedly, incontrovertibly, fallen in love with Copenhagen.

It was a very last minute trip , with most of my fellow exchange students watching sites like ‘skyscanner’ like obsessive hawks, all hoping to snap up cheap  deals for the weekend. So it happened that one of us was browsing flights one afternoon and found cheap flights to Copenhagen, it sounded cool.. so we booked ourselves the flights.

( Quite the novelty to weekend in foreign cities to the extent they do in europe. with most major cities under 3 hours away, it is all too convenient)

Copenhagen city square

Copenhagen city square

Traditionally its not the most popular, nor raved about city in europe its true, being comparitively small and limited in terms of sites and attractions, it was not at the top of my list.  However,its perfect for a weekend trip for this exact reason, you can fit in a lot and leave feeling like you have seen a large portion of the city/culture.

After a two and a half hour flight we touched down, despite it being late at night, the city was alive with people out eating and drinking and being generally merry, quite a nice welcoming. After some midnight Maccas we checked into our accomodation for the weekend, the Downtown Hostel (incidentally, a really great place to stay if ever you are there), a cool little place just left of the city centre.

On the plane to Copenhagen

On the plane to Copenhagen

Enjoying Copenhagen's Night Life

Enjoying Copenhagen’s Night Life

With its own bar and movie area downstairs is very chilled and a great place to come back to after a day sightseeing in the chill for a beer and pizza. Hostel traveling can be hit and miss, finding a gem in one city with cosy beds and fun staff one day, and cold showers and mice the next… so buyer be ware- check out sites like famoushostels.com and read the reviews from fellow travellers. However on the flip side, we met some really cool people staying at the hostel and were able to  compare notes on what cities and sites to see.

The Quirky Down-town Hostel

The Quirky Down-town Hostel

The docks of Copenhagen

The docks of Copenhagen

What a view!

What a view!

The city of Copenhagen itself is small enough that you can walk everywhere. We were lucky that, for the most part, it was sunny for our stay. that being said… it gets VERY cold.. so pack your coat and umbrella!

With a central network of canals, its worth taking a boat tour, they will give you some background info on the city, as well as take you to possibly the most famous monument, the statue of local Hanz Christian Andersons most iconic creation, The Little Mermaid… did someone say photo op? The city itself was an inspiration for many of his fables, with its cobbled stone streets, palaces and generally romantic vibe its not hard to see why.

One of the Many Canals

One of the Many Canals

Hanz Christian-Andersons little Mermaid

Hanz Christian-Andersons little Mermaid

View of Copenhagen from the cities Observatory

View of Copenhagen from the cities Observatory

If the water is not your thing, the staff at our hostel pointed us in the direction of free walking tours that are on offer, although we didnt have time to go on one, everyone we spoke to raved about it and said it was a great introduction to the city and culture.

Monster Burgers in Copenhagen

Monster Burgers in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, is an odd mix of southern Europe and Scandinavia. Sitting between the two, its not quite either, the buildings echo both the sand-stone look and feel of france- and the clean lines and design orientation Scandinavia is famous for, with a slightly quirky edge. little cafe’s and bespoke stores line the canals, with multicoloured buildings and street art a common fixture.

Copenhagen street art

Copenhagen street art

The people themselves are fantastic, very friendly and open. English being a common tongue, it made it a really easy and relaxed trip, we were able to soak in the city and talk to locals with ease. Of course part of travelling is experiencing the challenge of language and really immersing yourself in a culture, so rolling with those challenges and taking the opportunity to soak in an alternative vocabulary. never the less, hearing your mother tongue in a foreign city makes it a lot less foreign.

The Streets of Copenhagen

The Streets of Copenhagen

Lost In Copenhagen

Lost In Copenhagen

One of the many palaces in Copenhagen

One of the many palaces in Copenhagen

More Palaces!!!

More Palaces!!!

Copenhagen royal Apartments, now THAT is a bed!

Copenhagen royal Apartments, now THAT is a bed!

I would call Copenhagen a must see for Europe, travel and accommodation are relatively cheap, but eating can be a little more pricey. Even so, the city has an incredible history, and night life. There are several castles and palaces dotted around the city, including the royal residences. Most of these are open to the public and well worth the look, especially the royal stables for those horse lovers.

The Royal Horses

The Royal Horses

Copenhagen is the perfect city for wondering around and getting lost ,everything being so close, and with plenty of museums, cultural centres, shops, cafes, bars and parks, for an easy weekend, with a chilled out atmosphere and certain charm. It’s easy to fall in love with.

My Danish Family.

Sorry guys – this one has been a long time coming. It is a little long, but on the bright side it is mostly pictures, so not too much reading is involved. 😉

For those of you that don’t know, my heritage is half-Danish (which half I wonder?) as that is where my mother was born. So when it ended up being cheaper and simpler to fly into Denmark than to Sweden, it was not a particularly hard decision to make. And after chatting with my grandparents (who are in Australia) they suggested that I get in contact with my grandfather’s cousin to see whether she was interested in putting me up for a couple of days. Luckily for me she was. 🙂

It was a bit of a different experience being *met* at an airport, and definitely not what I am used to. There was no trying to interpret signs and bus or train timetables to work out how to get into the city, or talking to tourist information staff. I just walked out of arrivals and there was someone waiting for me. That is something that happens when you come home, not go somewhere new. But maybe, in a sense, this was *my* home too. So we left Copenhagen Airport and headed home. :)As it had been about 40hrs since I left Australia number one on my list was a shower and clean clothes! Next was a walk around the lake, dinner, and a relatively early night – for me.

I had two days in Copenhagen. I had briefly been to the city once before on one of my extended stopovers, so I had walked around the main centre, visited Tivoli, and eaten Danish hotdog. This time I had a car, and a tour guide, so we travelled off to see some of the places that were important to my grandparents when they lived here. First stop was a little town called Osted. This was the town which my grandmother grew up in, and also had the church where my grandparents were married.

A dude slaying a dragon and wearing sunnies? I like this church art.

The church – obviously from the outside!

And inside. 😉

Next we visited Lyndby, the town where my grandfather went to school. Here we visited the church and graveyard, where we found some more of my relatives – but these ones were not the sort that I could talk to. (on a side note, I would have been really interested to hear what they had to say if they *could* have talked – or if I knew how to listen to them…)

My Great Grandfather.

My Great Great Grandfather. (we think)

After that we headed down to check out the house where my grandfather grew up, and had lunch down by the fjord – complete with replica viking ships. 😀

A very cool spot to have lunch. 🙂

Ah, saily boats. I like saily boats.

Then it was on to  Roskilde to see the Domkirke, the third church of the day. This is the place where all the members of the Danish Royal Family are buried, so as a result it is pretty impressive.

Sometimes art can give a great visual insight into the time it was painted.

A view down the aisle.

This mosaic was just a little bit scary!

We finished off with a relaxing coffee by the harbour before heading home, with enough time for a stroll by the lake and some chill out time in the garden before a very relaxing outdoor dinner.

The next day it was into Copenhagen proper, but we concentrated on some of the areas I had not been to last time. We started the day with a river cruise and then headed down to the palace area, where we were lucky enough to have timed our arrival for the changing of the guards. There was enough time for a quick picnic lunch in one of Copenhagen’s parks before heading back to the airport for my flight to Iceland.

Some of the colourful buildings lining the harbour in Copenhagen.

The Royal Guard doing their thing.

Another great view for lunch. 🙂

On handing my passport to the lady at the check-in counter, I was bombarded with a stream of rapid Danish. Noting the bewildered look on my face, the woman at the counter said, rather grumpily, “OK – we will speak English – but you have a Danish name!”. On informing her that this was because my mother was born in Denmark, but I was born in Australia, she came back with: “Well, tell your mother she should have taught you Danish!”. So, mother, consider yourself told. 😛 (for everyone else, my mother came to Australia when she was a child herself, so don’t be too hard on her!)

My time in Denmark was rather short, but we managed to fit quite a lot in. It was interesting to see a little bit of my heritage and get a taste of some of the places that hold importance to my family. But the thing that struck me the most in Denmark was seeing *people* who looked like they belonged to my family. A couple of times a day, just walking down the street, or in a café, I would see someone reminded me of my mother, or my aunt, or my uncles, or my sister. This was a little bit strange, as I don’t really feel that so much at home.

I need to make sure I come back here someday…….