Over a four-day weekend in November J and I got out of London to experience Denmark’s famous Hygge, in Copenhagen. Visiting Copenhagen has been a bit of a dream for the last year, and the ‘happiest country on earth’ did not disappoint. It was cold, windy, and got dark by 4:30 PM – but none of that (surprisingly) mattered. (I would definitely recommend gloves and a thick hat, though!)
The flight from London to Copenhagen in the early afternoon was gorgeous, and just under 2 hours. We flew over lots of scenic little islands, fields of wind turbines, and saw the snow-covered farms surrounding Copenhagen. We landed just as the sun was setting and couldn’t resist snapping a few photos right on the tarmac. The airport was pretty small, we got through quickly and decided to take a train to Copenhagen Central Station. When we hesitantly approached the train platform, being unsure of whether it was the right one, a local woman approached us and offered to help with directions. From then on the friendliness of the locals became pretty standard. We made it on the correct train, and walked about 5 minutes to Ansgar Hotel from the Central Station.
Meeting travellers at Café Globen
We decided to meet some fellow travellers on our first night, and luckily there was a couch surfers meet-up at the local travel bar – Café Globen. We ended up being a group of about 6 sitting around, having local beer (Tuborg), and swapping travel stories until about 1AM. We met a woman from Japan, who was traveling alone for a few weeks in Scandinavia, a young guy from the Netherlands, who had come to Copenhagen to undertake a cabinet-making internship, a guy from Slovakia, who had just started a job locally, and a couple of locals (including one who was adopted from South Korea as a child and brought up in Denmark), who shared some good tips about what to see.
Café Globen is run entirely by volunteers – it makes just enough money from sales to pay the rent and keep the lights on. The bar is open to the public, and functions as a regular pub, but also is home to an exclusive travel club of about 400 members. The bar is pretty cozy, with a huge world map on one of its walls, and a small library of travel guides in its corner. Would be easy to get lost here – reading about other countries, planning, etc! It doesn’t serve food, but encourages people to bring their own or order delivery from elsewhere.
The travel club that it hosts has pretty respectable requirements for joining, including having to have been to at least 4 continents and to at least 33 countries for at least 24 hours each. There may have been a few others I’m forgetting. One of the volunteers and club members explained that they have 2 members who have been to all 196 countries (impressive!). This was one of my first couch surfer gatherings, and the idea is really starting to grow on me.
Central Area & Nyhavn
The next day, on Saturday, we started on all the sightseeing. We walked around the old central shopping area for a while and eventually made our way to Nyhavn. We noticed that the streets are not brightly lit in the evening, as we were used to. At one point we veered off a central path and found ourselves in pitch dark.
We stumbled upon Andersen Bakery near Tivoli, which became our regular breakfast/lunch spot. They had an impressive variety of pastries and really delicious hot dogs (with buns baked at the premises).
The next day we explored the city by bike, including a visit to Christiania and the street food market nearby. Copenhagen is also home to the Assistens Cemetery, where you can take a quiet, contemplative walk in the autumn foliage and visit the graves of Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard.