STARTING A EUROPEAN TRIP WITH COPENHAGEN

Copenhagen, Denmark  |  August 3 to 5, 2017

To start my semester abroad, I figured I would start with a little familiarity. I was in Copenhagen last summer and found it to be beyond beautiful and also quite bustling for its relatively small size. Flights from Los Angeles to Copenhagen are around $400 one way (depending on the time of year), which is unbeatable, hence the first destination.

While the weather wasn't great, I got to do a few things I didn't get to do last time. I had to begin with a stroll down Nyhavn. For those who don't know, Nyhavn is the canal where all the colorful row houses are. If you search images of Copenhagen, you will likely get some pictures of Nyhavn (skip Google, see below). In Nyhavn, you can have a great day taking a canal boat tour, eating unique Danish food, or simply watch the tourists go by.

Next, I wanted to get a great vantage point of the city. I was once told that whenever you go to a new city, the first thing you need to do is find some building or tower you can climb and get to the top to get a view of the city. And so I did. There's the Round Tower (Rundetaarn) where there's no steps, it just continues winding up.

Finding a place to stay in Copenhagen is no easy task. I had stayed in the Grand Hotel near the train station in the past, and while it was nice, for the price it was not worth it. I decided to splurge a little and settled on the Scandic Palace Hotel, right in the heart of the city. An Airbnb would've been just fine, but I really enjoyed the Scandic Palace.

After some sightseeing, I wanted to mosey around the town and casually take the city in. I was amazed at how every street, alley or square was beautiful and in pristine condition.

After spending a good amount of time in the city, I decided I wanted to see one more thing before it got dark. I wanted something...castle-y. To get my fix I walked through the King's Park (Kongens Have), the 17th century parkland and garden which leads up to Rosenborg Castle (Rosenborg Slot). At the Dutch Renaissance palace, you can take a tour to see the place, as well as the crown jewels! And if you're lucky, you might even be able to see all five of Denmark's military servicemen training (I'm kidding about there being five, although Denmark's military is quite small).

The next day I took a quick trip across "The Bridge" (watch Bron/Broen) to see Malmö, Sweden. Malmö is a neat, little city and is worth seeing if you have some time in Copenhagen. After getting back to Copenhagen, I made my way to Freetown Christiania—the hippie, anarchist commune dubbed the "Green Light District", where cannabis is sold in booths by masked men. As a former military base, the commune has about 1000 residents who boast of an "alternative lifestyle". Christiana is more than just a place to get high, it also has great food, music, and souvenirs. Just remember not to take pictures or you'll get in big trouble—hence the lack of photos.

After a little "greenery", I made my way back to the city to pack up and prepare for my next destination: Hamburg, Germany. See my post for Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin in a few days.

Quick Tips:

  • Public transportation (i.e. buses and trams) can be a bit confusing, so get the DOT Mobilbilletter app and you can purchase a single ticket or all day pass there.
  • Hotels are very expensive here so make sure when booking, know that cheaper prices usually mean the hotel is far from the city center or doesn't have a private bathroom.
  • For a great burger check out Gasoline Grill. It's a gas station with a little burger restaurant attached. In the US something like that would be Disgusting (capital 'D'), but here it's amazing—fresh, good quality meat and delicious fries.

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