Of all of the cities I have visited in my time abroad so far, Copenhagen is probably in my top 5. I loved the atmosphere and culture, the fact that it’s a port city, the bike lanes that made my friends and I comfortable to rent bikes for a day to ride around the city – all of that partnered with the one day of beautiful weather we had just made me so happy.
The nice weather didn’t come until our second full day in Copenhagen, so we spent the first day walking around a little bit, going to a museum, and taking a tour of the Carlsberg brewery. Our first stop was at the Christiansborg Palace, which is essentially one big government building now. It’s actually the only building in the world that houses all 3 of a country’s branches of government, which I found really interesting. The building has seen 2 serious fires – one in 1794 and another in 1884 – so the current palace wasn’t actually completed until the late 1920s.
I must admit, the Carlsberg brewery was pretty underwhelming. Having toured both Guinness and Heineken in the couple weeks prior, I didn’t find it to be anything particularly special and none of my friends did either. We did get to do a beer tasting of Jacobsen beers (none of which I particularly enjoyed, but I always like to try new kinds of beer anyway), and they had a foosball table, which I think was everyones favorite part.
There were a couple aspects of the Carlsberg tour I did find interesting. The first is that the Swastika was actually the trademark of New Carlsberg starting in 1881. The symbol was removed in 1940-45 for obvious reasons, and the tour pointed out that time period as one when the ancient meaning of the symbol had been forgotten. The second is that the old Carlsberg brewery is home to the largest collection of unopened beer bottles and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for it. The collection has different bottles of beer from all around the world, and it was kind of cool to check out the brands of the bottles we could see.
Our second day in Copenhagen was extremely cool. It was a beautiful day so we rented city bikes, and got to see a lot more of the city than we would have been able to on foot. The roads all have bike lanes, which definitely made me feel better about riding them around in the city.
I think of the coolest things we saw in Copenhagen was our first stop of the day: the changing of the guards at Rosenborg Castle, which was built by King Christian IV in the 17th century. We were already amazed at how beautiful the castle and castle gardens are, but having the opportunity to see the guards switch made it all that much cooler. I did get a video of it, but unfortunately I can’t upload it to the blog website.
After walking all around Rosenborg, we headed to one of Copenhagen’s most touristy areas: Nyhavn Street. This is the street with all of the colorful buildings that everyone takes a picture in front of when they visit Copenhagen, and after seeing it all in person I
can understand why. It is really beautiful and has a great view of the water and boats and everything. Since we visited Nyhavn on such a sunny, warm day, the street was absolutely swarmed with people.
After making our way through the crowd from one end of the street to the other, and then back again, we stopped somewhere to enjoy lunch by the water. One thing to keep in mind is that people are absolute savages when it comes to getting a table outside on a day like that…we stood at a restaurant waiting to find a place to sit for quite a while, and anytime a group would leave a table the next people would swarm in before the table was even cleaned off. The wait was well worth it, though – our lunch was delicious.
After lunch, we ventured out to find these trampolines that are built right into the sidewalk in Copenhagen. Evan was SO determined to find them and we knew they were somewhere around Nyhavn, but it was so crowded and we had no clue where we were going. It got to the point where we had to ask someone where they were, but we eventually did find them and they were a BLAST!
After the trampolines, we kind of just rode our bikes around for the rest of the afternoon.
They were each equipped with a GPS, which made it really easy to find places of interest as we rode around. We ended up finding Amalienborg Palace, which is the home of the Danish royal family and was built in the mid-1700s. The 4 identical buildings that make up the square were initially built to house 4 separate noble families, but when the Christiansborg Palace burned in the late 1700s, the royal family bought Amalienborg and moved in.
On our little adventure we also found the National Gallery of Denmark, and some really amazing views all over the city. It was really wonderful being able to just ride around without a real destination – we got to do a lot of exploring on that beautiful day, and even better, got to end it with sushi for dinner! 🙂
We were all really exhausted from all of the bike riding so after dinner, we pretty much just went back to the airbnb to pack and hang out for a little bit. Our taxi to the airport was arriving at 9:30am the following morning – Andrew was heading back to Barcelona, Evan was going back to Dublin, and JD and I were off to Kraków for a couple of days.
Copenhagen was an absolute blast, and somewhere I would highly recommend visiting at some point in time. I think all of us were in agreement that it was one of our favorite trips of the semester so far! 🙂
Side bar: While we were waiting in the airport in Belgium for our flight to Copenhagen, JD and I also discovered how heinous face swap can really be…