Hej (aka hi in Danish): Nov. 14-Nov.20

7 Dec

So this week was my first international trip. I spent a nice long weekend in the lovely city of Copenhagen, Denmark. To be honest, traveling to Copenhagen was not on my agenda when I arrived in Europe back in September. But, I had friends who wanted to go and I figured, why not? I am glad that I made that decision because Copenhagen was a city unlike any that I had been to.

The trip kicked off on Thursday, which also happens to be a day that I am in Segovia, so there was a lot of traveling to do. Let’s just say that I spent more time in transit than not in transit on Thursday. In total, it was about 14 hours. Walk, metro, train, bus, walk, walk, bus, train, train, plane (which was delayed by 1.5 hours), metro, walk. My day was a weird combination of walking to public transportation, taking small naps while in transit, and then switching modes of transportation. Quite a day.

Friday began with one of the greatest breakfasts I have ever eaten in my life. It consisted of yogurt, granola, eggs, goat cheese & vegetables, more cheese, bread, fruit, and pancakes. Wow. It was incredible and filling. While I am usually a 3 meals a day kind of person, after eating this breakfast at 9:30am, I was not hungry again until 5:30pm. It was marvelous. With that fuel, the remainder of the day was spent exploring the city and hitting as many sites as possible.


Breakfast of champions

We started off at a royal palace Christiansborg, walked to the top of the tower at the main government building, and then saw another palace museum Amalienborg (part of the complex where the Queen currently lives), a church, and the famed port of Nyhaven. It was quite a day filled with history, royal artifacts, and immense joy (because those are two of my favorite things). I did learn early on that while the Danish royal family has two male heirs, they are both older and already married. That was crushing. Just another royal family that I will be unable to marry into. Oh well.


Visiting royal palaces in style (if you can’t tell there are blue plastic covers over my shoes)


The city from the air

So Amalienborg was quite different than what I expected. Essentially it serves as the storage attic of the royal family. It is just like my garage at home in that it is filled with lots of stuff (some significant and some useless), except no one pays to see my garage. I never really thought about how many royal things accumulate and how it just builds up because anything that was used by the royal family is valuable for that reason. But, you know me, I really liked it. My favorite part were the signs that described what some of the artifacts were. These were by far the sassiest artifact descriptions that I have ever read in my life. I almost aspire to do that as my career. Here is one example for you (it was placed by a pile of unused wallpaper and carpet; if you read nothing else in this post, read this):


So sassy


Palace with a pretty sky

We also went the to the Louisiana Museum of Art, located outside the city. The best part of the museum was this room with hanging lights that changed colors. It doesn’t sound terribly fantastic, but it was really magical when you were standing inside in the complete darkness with the lights changing all around you. I’ll attempt to do it justice with pictures.


Pretty cool, right?



And Saturday was more adventuring: seeing the famed Little Mermaid Statue, the notorious Nyhaven, more museums/palaces, a spiraled church tower, Christmas markets galore, and a canal tour. Needless to say, I got a lot of steps in on Saturday.

As expected, the Nyhaven area was absolutely gorgeous. These are the rows of waterfront houses that pop up if you Google Copenhagen. And, it was decorated for Christmas so that made it even more magical. I took an ungodly amount of pictures trying to capture the majesty of the colored buildings, water, and ships.



I won’t tell you how many tries I insisted on to make sure I would get a good pic

So this tower. We are talking 400 steps to get to the top, part of which involved climbing up a ladder to get outside. Then, there were more steps spiraling along the outside to get you to the highest point. It was cold. It was windy. And I was very concerned about dropping my phone. But, it was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was such a surreal moment just standing at the top, all alone, looking out over the city. It was one of those moments that really called for a selfie (which I managed to take without dropping my phone, so that was a relief).



Copenhagen from above

Another highlight of Saturday was visiting Tivoli Gardens. This is an amusement park that was all decked out in holiday decorations and lights. It was stunning. I really started to feel the Christmas spirit while wandering through the gardens and admiring the lights, fake snow, and other holiday decorations. It will be Christmas before we know it!


Find a sled, take a picture with it




Even the restaurants were getting into the Christmas spirit!

And the food in Denmark was delicious. I’ve already talked about brunch, so here’s another breakfast and lunch.


Yes, it was a goal of mine to eat a Danish in Denmark


A traditional Danish open-faced sandwich (yes there is bread under there)

A couple things I’d like to mention about Denmark:

  1. The people there are very friendly. In the metro station when they saw we were looking at a map and heard us discussing our journey, they approached us and asked if we needed help. It was quite nice!
  2. The Danes believe in personal space. What a welcome change from Spain where that is practically non-existent.
  3. Drinking in public appeared to be quite socially acceptable. I’m not kidding when there were two younger gentlemen making mixed drinks while seated near me on a train.
  4. The word for ‘hello’ in Danish is ‘hej’ which is pronounced ‘hi’. So yes, a saleswoman greeted us by saying ‘hi’ and when we responded ‘hi’ back (as is quite natural), she proceeded to speak to us in Danish. Oops. But, in three days I was mistaken for being Danish the same amount of times I have been mistaken for being Spanish in the last 2.5 months…
  5. While not originally on my travel list, I am very glad to have had the opportunity to visit Scandinavia. The country is very much my speed: gorgeous buildings, a plethora of history, reserved/polite people, and they don’t stay out as late. And, they are often the happiest country in the world, so that’s certainly a plus too.

    Hej from Copenhagen


    Sun setting on my Copenhagen experience



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