A Solo Trip to Copenhagen
January 1, 1970
by Kunal Soni
A great man once said, ‘We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
Travel, to me, is not just moving from one place to another—not a journey that takes me to a land untrodden; it is moving away from a monotonous routine and into a marvelous sea of collective thought.
Copenhagen, for me, began with a resfeber that every traveler might have known. A new place, embedded with new souls—a new experience awaited me in a package of four days; four days which were in anticipation of showing me a mini forever. Being the spontaneous solo traveler that I was, without much thought, I packed my bags and embarked on this solo adventure.
Staying in Copenhagen
Hotels and even hostels can sometimes leave quite a big hole in your pocket while traveling. Although there are a few budget hostels for student travelers in this city. However, Copenhagen is quite an expensive city, so expect a lighter wallet in case you decide to stay on for more than a few days. Couchsurfing, where you simply surf the couch of some local, is a pretty good alternative to hostels. I couchsurfed with a family of four, with two adorable kids. One of them was Ru, and the other was a way too little to even respond to a name. That family gave me glimpses of my childhood and echoes and bits of how families work everywhere; lots of love, a bit of playfulness, and perhaps a dash of naughtiness and of course, buckets of compassion. I was exposed to several things because of Ru, who taught me how my childhood still hasn’t left me and that, by far, is a gift that I shall hold dear.
A Free City Tour
On the first day, I met a group of couchsurfers like myself. There was a kind soul who was giving a free tour around the city and we couldn’t have been happier. We toured around Copenhagen, visiting places which my eyes hadn’t seen before—places that proved to be more than just a visual treat. Words are not enough to describe what the aura Copenhagen had around its streets—an ache to set sights onto new places, and it mayhaps was born due to the traveler in me. Although there were several sights worth mentioning, the mentioned few were the highlights of the city.
The Little Mermaid
One of the main attractions in Copenhagen in a small bronze statue of ‘The Little Mermaid‘. It is the very same mermaid from the Hans Christian Anderson tales that many of us grew reading about. The statue lied on a small rock along the shores of the city, and needless to say, was surrounded by tourists!
The Hans Christian Anderson Square
Moving from the bronze statue of the Little Mermaid, we moved to the Hans Christian Andersen Square. The square was a beautiful garden with a statue of Hans Christian Anderson in the center. Hans Christian Anderson is a rather important figure in Copenhagen. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the very man who birthed the tale of the Little Mermaid and others which make up the childhood of every kid. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to show this beautiful square, but hey, we all have google don’t we?
Christiana – A Free Town
The Eden of the day had to be my visit to Freetown Christiana, an autonomous neighborhood, or the word that I discovered for this was ‘commune’, a place where a group of like-minded individuals resided and practiced common laws.
Christiana is the land of the settlers—a Freetown set as a replica of a society built from scratch. With biker gangs and raging cannabis trade—Christiana offered me a sight of a never-before-seen town, a collection of people who rose out of the need for their own government, a set of outcasts who actually belonged within this strange and enchanting town. Ah, the awe that aspired in me as I walked through these streets! And then sunset that happened in a while became the icing on my cake.
The couchsurfers and I headed to a street that offered a wide range of street-food. But, what could I eat there? Being a vegetarian, finding anything without meat in Copenhagen (any of the Nordic countries for that matter, meat is like, prime there) was an arduous task. But, with the existence of falafel, I shall go on! Although it didn’t come cheap! 12 Euros for a falafel sandwich! I was already feeling poor there.
After which, I returned back to my host’s place and bonded with them; a fun family they were, an adorable three-month-old daughter and Ru, the playful little guy whose laughter still echoes in the walls of my mind.
The Couchsurfing Bond, Solo Walks and More
On the second day, I set off on my own. I figured that the best kind of travel happens in solitude. With a camera lens, the streets seemed almost magical—the buildings and architecture of the place evoked in me a sense of Eunoia. My lone travel led me to another set of couchsurfers, and I joined them for lunch in a hostel—and this part interested me most—the people there brought food from their countries; a mini food festival inside the walls of a room! With live music and good food, what more can a man ask for? Things like these make me want to live a nomadic life, but of course, duty calls!
In the course of just two days, I had gotten so comfortable with my host’s family that they seemed more like my own family than mere strangers. Ru and I had formed a bond—a strong friendship which taught me things, the mind and thoughts of a child often help me where grown-up thinking doesn’t—and he’s the best teacher one could ask for!
On the third day, I joined a walking tour of Copenhagen, where I got to see through marvelous streets, and though I can’t brag, I can’t help but state how better my pictures were getting! The beauty of the place got to me, I suppose! It was during lunch did something interesting occurred.
The Cristianborg Palace – A Building with a view
The fourth day was the day I was set to return. Though, a return was nowhere in my mind as I stepped out the streets in search of the places I hadn’t already seen. So accepting a local’s suggestion, I went on top of the Parliament Building- The Cristianborg Palace! And I am glad I did.
I saw the city from a whole new angle. With only a street view in my broad spectrum of sights, this particular sight from the sky took my breath away! I noticed buildings and details that I hadn’t noticed before. I’m sure I would have seen all the way to Sweden too, the sight was just that far-reaching!
The National Museum
I headed over to the National Museum next, where a brand new spectacle awaited me. I am under the impression that Copenhagen, as beautiful and enchanting as the place was, preserved the best treats for last for me since after all, it recognized the passionate traveler in me! There was a screening held to explain in detail about the Nazi occupation in Denmark, and to make things more effective, there were lights and sound effects which took me back in time—to a place where I believed I was one of those who was captured. The visuals of the concentration camps along with the background sound sent shivers all over me; people don’t value time as much as they should, sights from the past can teach you what history books never could. As magical as this was, the Museum did well in moving me to tears.
Copenhagen did indeed give me a forever packed in four days and three nights, and this experience just made me realize that travel is the source of nourishment for my soul. Without which, I shall merely be reduced to a routine observed machine freak—and I have no intentions of giving my expansive mind up! Walking through untrodden streets, meeting new faces, experiencing incidents (not the pork one, but whatever) and seeing new sights—all of it counted as one fantastic adventure! As the mighty travel addict, I can surely say this—I haven’t been everywhere, but it sure as hell is on my list!