Day 15: To Copenhagen

We didn’t have a terribly early start, but it kind of seemed a little more stressed than some others. After setting our own schedule and having tons of flexibility for most of the trip, today we have a flight to catch. We also have to get the rental car fueled up and dropped off at the airport.

Instead of just tossing everything in the car in the most convenient and accessible form, we were back to getting everything into one carry-on bag and our two backpacks. Technically, we could have taken two carry-on bags, but we’d found it much easier getting around on foot with just one. The backpacks didn’t tie up our hands, and whoever wasn’t dragging along the bag had theirs free to navigate, handle tickets, or deal with whatever else we were up to. That often meant that whoever wasn’t munching on something carried the bag.

Getting the car back wasn’t terribly quick, but was the usual process. Security was quick (shoes on, laptops left in the bags, etc.) and we were on our way to Copenhagen in short order. After a short flight, we were on the ground.

Why Copenhagen?

The simple answer is that it made for a cheap flight back to the U.S. Cheaper than flying out of London where we arrived by more than half. Since I lived in southern Sweden as a kid, we contemplated renting a car again and driving or taking a train over to find some familiar places. We ended up deciding not to overdo it, and explore Copenhagen instead. I still want to make the Sweden trip, but have no regrets about exploring the Danish capital.

We booked a small room in an apartment overlooking a canal, just above a bakery and across the street from a supermarket. We were right in the middle of town, and as we figured out what we wanted to do with the afternoon (mostly while getting to the apartment), realized we were staying in the right spot.

The trip from the airport to the apartment in Christianshavn was a quick one on a relatively new metro line. When we exited the station and climbed the stairs to street level, we were looking directly at the apartment. Easy as it gets, and the passes we purchased allowed us unlimited rides on the public transit system for 24 hours–enough to cover our stay.

The building was quite old, with a small hinged-door elevator to take us up a few flights. Our hosts made a few recommendations regarding sightseeing, eating, and getting around, and shortly afterwards we set out to see the town.

Like Amsterdam, Copenhagen is built on landfill and drained swampland. Crooked buildings are often the result.

Design Museum

Yes, another museum. No, it’s not a technical museum. This time, it’s a design museum. Scandanavian design. Furniture, not foundries. Since we both had student IDs, admission was free. Here are a few pictures:

Downtown

After the design museum, we headed back to the apartment briefly. I can’t remember right now whether we needed anything, forgot something, or if it was just a craving for a giant chocolate cupcake from the bakery at street level. I did get the cupcake, that much is certain.

The Grey Ghost has certainly been places where it would have been nice to bounce off of a tire to slide around a tight corner.

After that, we wandered downtown, crossing a few canals, and taking in the sights. Copenhagen is a beautiful, clean city, and after a light rain as we arrived, the weather was nearly perfect.

Smørrebrød

It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Denmark without taking in some of its cuisine. We made our way to a relatively new courtyard-like food complex–kind of like a food truck park, but more permanent. I was kind of looking for an area that I remembered visiting as a kid–I thought we’d made it to the same general part of town, but either the place I remember is no longer around or was somewhere else.

Like what I expected, the portions were small, but very tasty. The one on the left had new danish potatoes with mayonnaise, tomatoes, chives, and crispy onions; on the right was marinated herring with peppermayonnaise, with onion and caper on rye. As you can see, someone took a bite before I could get a picture.

Live Music and Festivities

After eating, we decided to wander back downtown. We didn’t really have a plan, but since we had tickets back to the USA the next night, we figured we’d stay out a little late. We had seen a few things earlier in the day that led us to finding out that Copenhagen’s Pride festival was that week, with a number of free concerts, outdoor markets, and (of course) lots of street food. This isn’t some raunchy display or something only for a certain crowd. Think of it as just another excuse to have a relaxed good time, with rainbow flags and families everywhere.

The main stage was hard to miss, right in front of a building with a triangular matrix of color-changing LED lights. Danish music, even today, reminds you that you’re not too far from the land of ABBA, and almost as close to 1980s American music. Rick Astley would not be disappointed.

I assume the lighting is permanent. If you look closely in the video below, you can see that it’s animated, with the stripes of the flag constantly waving.
Apologies for not being able to see the stage until the end. I suppose that’s what I get for trying nighttime video of a concert stage with a cell phone from a distance.

Danish Happiness

The more time we spent in Denmark, the more we realized that Copenhagen supports the statistics. Of all the places we visited, locals there seemed generally much happier than anywhere else. It was a mix of almost southern hospitality, beach vacation mentality, and the attitude that you didn’t have a worry in the world.

Carlsberg’s “probably the best” line fits into this well. Lots of other businesses use variations of the line. In a way, it’s a nice way of saying “we think we’re the best” but without being overly competitive or concerned if someone else was instead. Confident, but modest. At the very least, it was good beer.

“Probably the best” is part of Carlsberg’s tagline dating back almost 50 years. As we toured the city, we noticed it was a phrase used to describe quite a few things, including the pleasant attitudes we encountered.

After the band finished up on stage, we made our way to a quiet bar for drinks nearby. After a while, we eventually headed back to the apartment and turned in for the night. We were in bed right around 1 am local time.

Tomorrow we had a little more sightseeing to do–including plans to set out on a canal tour–before our flight back to the US. For our one night here, fingers were crossed for some good sleep.

 
Today 1.0 mi 472 mi 10.3 mi 1.3 mi
Total 2,719.7 mi 4,286 mi 144.3 mi 58.7 mi

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