Copenhagen, the pearl by the sea
January 1, 1970
by Ludovica Picardi
Sometimes when I travel I use to wonder how would it be like to live in that particular city.
Well, I think Copenhagen (and the whole Denmark) is one of the few places in the world where life is really awesome, because has the rare and precious quality of being “people oriented” and “eco-friendly”.
I’m not just talking about either the super-efficient services (of all the kinds) or the wonderful green spots that fill the whole city, but what really surprised and fascinated me was the calm, the peace, the respect and the joy palpable in the air, through the streets and in the faces of the blond inhabitants.
But Cph is not just wonderful lifestyle, is also an avant-garde city with its modernity, design, fashion and a deep culinary tradition.
So come with me and I’ll show you this wonderful city where I’ve been this summer for 4 relaxed and nice days!
THE ARRIVAL: INDRE BY
We made our way to our marvellous flat in Vesterbrogade (hosted by a kind Danish woman named Joseffa), and there we rested a bit and off we went for an afternoon stroll in the city!
We visited the enchanted gardens of “Tivoli“. This is one of the main attractions of the whole city, and I can assure you that (even if the price is a bit too high for a park) it’s definitely worth it! The garden with its fairy-tale atmosphere, fountains, lights, romantic little boats, and the amazing Chinatown made me find my inner kid! We felt like we were immersed in a Disney movie, where is spread the children’s happiness!
There we found a little and cozy restaurant called “Fru Nimb” where finally I had the chance to try the famous “smørrebrød”, the traditional Danish open sandwich made with buttered rye bread and the topping, which consists of pieces of meat or fish. I had the one with the herring, and even though it was the first time I tried this kind of fish, I have to say that it was really awesome, I highly recommend you for its tastes like the real Scandinavian food 😉
By night we left the park and we had a romantic stroll near the “Frederiksholms Kanal” on the tiny isle of “Slotsholmen” and there we reached the charming “Christiansborgslot”, the royal Danish palace, which is very striking by night ! Lastly I can say that this turned out to be the best way to top off our first special day in the city.
DAY 2: CHRISTIANSHAVN/NYHAVN
Next morning we were full of beans to face the day, and so we decided to dive completely in the local way of life. And what’s the locals’ most common habit? Obviously BIKING!
Therefore, we went to a bike rental, called “Baisikeli”, which revealed the best we can ever get!So riding our bikes we reached the district of “Christianshavn” in a spot that for me was the best in town: “Christiania“. This is a small self-governing city, and doubtless one of Denmark’s most popular tourist attractions yet it has been a turning point for strong debate, especially because of its view on hash. This little ex-hippy community has a deep sense of quiet and a rooted respect for nature, and I can assure you that it definitely has a big charm: its paths, colorful street markets and eco-sustainable houses made me feel in another planet! This is a place where you can see the real identity, the different face of the “always tidy city”.
There we took “a walk on the wild side” immersing in its cool woods ,where there’s an unrealistic peace, tranquillity, and everybody are fully relaxed,and so we choose to take a quiet afternoon nap under a fresh tree, which was completely deserved!
Then, fully restored we headed to the famous “Operaen”; It is located in the near isle of “Holmen“, and it’s the national opera house of Denmark. Its modern ,extravagant and avant-garde architecture wholly captured my attention 🙂
By night we went to visit one of Cph clichés: “Nyhavn”.Flanked by colourful and “Dutch-style” houses, this canal was built in 1600 to connect the port with city centre. This is certainly one of the most common spots in the city though I agree that really there’s something wonderful ,almost seemed to me like I was walking into a painting, and there’s a fresh sea breeze that brought me back to ancient times, like I was in a tale of vikings or sailors…
Right in Nyhavn we had a lovely dinner at restaurant “Heering”, where obviously we tasted their delicious varieties of herring and salmon that had a different and special taste that I never tried before! But then we had a really bad surprise: It was raining like never before! Though we didn’t quail and we faced a real storm on our bikes. Then and after a never-ending way we eventually reached (completely wet!) our flat where we had a romantic hot tea by our window 🙂
The third day we woke up with a sunny weather, we left the apartment as soon as we could and we went biking to the “Nørreport” quarter. There we went to see the Renaissance castle of “Rosenborgslot”, one of the most important building of Copenhagen with towers, a deep moat and precious collection of ancient tapestry and the famous crown jewels of the Danish royal house.
We took a walk in the close park of “Kongenshave” the royal gardens, and there we rest a bit on a bench near an ancient fountain surrounded by beautiful trees.
Later we passed to another (even more charming) park: the “Botaniskhave”. This lovely botanical garden has the biggest plant collection of the whole country. I cannot say if it’s due to my love for nature but this place completely BEWITCHED ME. There I ambled through its quiet woods, wild paths ,typical english gardens, and then entered the huge glass greenhouse. But once you’re in , you’ll feel the essence of the wilderness ,the smell of the ground, almost seems like you’re taking a trip into the amazon forest because you’ll be surrounded by millions and millions of different species of plants and colorful flowers. There your sight will be captured by a magical white spiral staircase that leads you to the (even warmer) second floor where there’s a rounded and tight path where you literally pass through a web of plants branches that look like a thousand arms.
In the afternoon we choose to dive into the danish sailor soul taking a boat ride on the canal. So we found a super cheap one hour canal cruise that was totally astonishing! We saw from the boat the main attractions of the city, like the famous Little mermaid and the modern architecture of the “Kongelige Bibliotek”.
So we had a taste of what Copenhagen is truly like: a wonderful pearl by the sea
From the boat we discovered an outstanding and locals’ spot, the “Papirøen” and once the tour was over we went there as soon as we could! The“paper island” (this is the translation from Danish and it really looks like is made of pure paper!) is a big area where basically you can find all the street food of the world! There was a magical and chilled vibe and with a fresh ale and some chips we had a one of the best moment of the whole journey. This is where I discovered the real meaning of the Danish word “hygge“: the sense of happiness and joy that you feel when you’re sharing a memorable moment with one (or more) special people…
DAY 4: SLOTSHOLMEN/STRØGET
Travel was almost over and so the last day, after a breakfast with a cappuccino and a delicious “kanelsnegle” we wanted to see all the city from top.
Therefore we found the best spot that offers the whole view: the tower of “Christiansborg palace”. The view from there was seriously breath-taking! From this tower you can see all the beauties of Copenhagen and there’s even a map of all the places your sight can reach. Just then we realize how small yet nice the town is. There you really feel like you’re on top of the world!! So we framed in our memory, for the last moment of our travel, the picture of this wonderful city we completely fell in love with.
So… lastly here’s a brief list of all the places that well worth a visit
- TIVOLI AND RÅDHUSPLADSEN (INDRE BY QUARTER)
- THE LATIN QUARTER, RUNDETÅRN AND VOR FRUE KIRKE (STRØGET QUARTER)
- ROSENBORG, KONGENSHAVE, BOTANISKHAVE/TORVEHALLERNE(NØRREPORT QUARTER)
- CHRISTIANSBORG PALACE+TOWER, KONGELIGE BIBLIOTEK (SLOTSHOLMEN QUARTER)
- DESIGN MUSEUM, MARMORKIRKEN, AMELIENBORG, CANALS (NYHAVN QUARTER)
- CHRISTIANIA, OPERAEN (CHRISTIANSHAVN QUARTER)
- LUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART