On the second day, I had a few things on my mind: museum tour (either Carlsberg museum or National Museum), canal tour and the city hall and surroundings. I headed straight for the centre to see the city hall. The city hall was grand; Tivoli garden (famous adventure park in Europe) was nearby and I even found the Carlsberg museum a little further. I saw the city hall for some time, went to a nearby construction site which was open for tourists and took a few pictures when I noticed some homeless people nearby. I didn’t know that there were homeless people in Copenhagen. I had a map at that point, although now I don’t remember where I got it from. Tivoli garden was also nearby and I thought going alone on adventure parks was just too much; I wouldn’t be able to share the fun. So I skipped it. I walked with the aim of going to Carlsberg museum, as I had read somewhere that the museum has free entrance on Sundays, but upon reaching there, I found out that I was wrong. I decided against it and rather decided to rather spend money on Ripley’s believe it or not museum, about which I had known from a brochure I found near the canal side the previous day.
I spent a great deal of my childhood and teenage years reading quiz books, encyclopaedia, atlas, and ‘Did you know’ facts etc. I was naturally very excited to go to Ripley’s believe it or not museum, which I found out was the one of only two such museums in Europe (the other being in London). It was a slow day at the museum, sometimes I was the only person in a room. At first, I was a little disappointed that it looked so small, but I took so much time relishing the interesting pieces and information that I only realized later that it wasn’t actually that small. Some of my favourite items/categories from the museum were: optical illusions, the horror room, the tornado stimulation and all other small bits of truly incredible facts and their illustrations.
After the museum, I followed a street that led to the Copenhagen Cathedral and the city tower. The day was lovely and I didn’t mind the walk. There was construction everywhere in the city, but otherwise the streets and monuments were charming. Then I wanted to go to Rosenborg castle, which looked a bit down further from the cathedral. After walking for about 15 minutes or so I reached to the gardens of the castle. I was really proud of my map-navigating skills (used the maps for the first time, as it’s normally always my travel companion/s). The garden was, oh so beautiful. It was a big green space with sculptures and lakes and of course the castle and lots of happy people enjoying the sunny day 🙂 Rosenborg castle, originally build as a country summerhouse, was not very big, but gorgeous with its 16th century Danish architecture. I went in, took a couple of pictures and lounged in the sun overlooking a small pond with big ducks.
I just didn’t want to leave the gardens, but I had to see other things before boarding my flight to Poland later in the evening. So then I decided to go to Nyvahn to do the canal tour. I had already done a bit of lookup on the boat tours and I chose blue boats – for 40 kr (about 6 euros). The audio guide was basically useless as I couldn’t hear much from the back of the boat due to the engine noise. But I did have good views. The boat took us around the major attractions of the city; including the famous Copenhagen Opera House, The Little Mermaid statue and also some beautiful, old, narrow bridges. We also saw some old Danish buildings, new, modern apartments and Amalienborg Castle, the seat of Danish royals since 18th century. We returned back to Nyhavn gliding through Christianshavn canal quarter. Such a shame that I didn’t really get the audio, but I am sure the guide had interesting trivia to share. It was an interesting perspective to see the beautiful city of Copenhagen through its famous canals. I met a friendly Canadian couple on board, and we had interesting chat about Europe, Nepal and North America among many other topics. They told me how they had just gotten back from Estonia, which was a wreck after the fall of communism in 1990s but now is blooming with prosperity and resided by proud Estonians, I parted with them saying I wished the same for Nepal.
After the boat tour, I spent some time absorbing the laid-back atmosphere of Nyhavn and appreciating its beauty. Then I went back to the canalfront near Christiansborg palace and spent some time reading, drinking beer and contemplating about life. City travels can be relaxing too? I never knew. I then went to a kebab place and had delicious kebab with the best chilli sauce I’ve ever tasted in my life. I then proceeded to the nearby free town of Christiana where I was going to meet Sif and drink some beer. We first had some coffee along with her friend about Copenhagen and Denmark in general. It’s always interesting to hear about a country and its customs from a local. Then we went for beer at a nearby pub. Sif was very interesting, helpful, friendly and had a lot to say. I really enjoyed chatting with her.
Then I had to soon leave for the airport. We said our goodbyes hoping we’d meet again. I realized after boarding the metro that I had gotten on a wrong one, so I had to get down, go back to the station I had boarded the train from and wait for the correct one. I lost about 10 minutes in the process and ended up running everywhere in the airport. I only realized later that I should have left for the airport earlier as it was a big, busy airport and it was weekend. Shit. So, in the process of running, sweating and sprinting, I happened to unknowingly cut the queue at the security checks. It wasn’t really cutting the queue, as it seemed like there were two queues for two check points. But a Chinese woman (Chinese, I tell because of her accent and outlook) yelled at me. I had never been yelled at before by a stranger before. Well, the world is not full of nice people. What a shocker to actually experience it. I told her politely that the queue looked very ambiguous to know that it was just a single queue. So I stepped back wishing I’d make it to the plane before it left without me.
Luckily, I made it to the gate after running for a whole 10 minutes after the checks and waited in another queue of about half an hour. The plane actually departed late. So much for running.
All in all, it was a great trip. Copenhagen surprised me in so many ways. I now hold high expectations from Scandinavian cities, something which I think Helsinki doesn’t live up to. I would have obviously seen more if I had more days with me, but two days did offer an interesting insight into the city. The weather obviously also played a big part in my impression of the city. Couchsurfing was a great experience which led me to to believe that there are truly good people out there. Being yelled at by a Chinese lady at the airport however made me feel like there are truly rude people out there. Despite Copenhagen’s reputation as being one of the most expensive cities on the planet, I managed to get most out of my 620 DKK I spent over the weekend. As expensive as it is, there are also cheaper options to eat such as the famous Danish hotdog stands, kebab places, Asian takeaways etc and to save money by either walking, renting a bicycle and/or buying Copenhagen Card. I was also impressed with the cycle-friendly routes of the city. I used a lot of bicycle when I was living in Finland but I’ve never used it in a big city. Copenhagen looked very cycle-friendly, the aspect which I very much liked. I also liked how there were free public restrooms scattered on the city. I liked how easy it was to communicate because of the high level of English among the locals. I loved the monuments, the palaces and castles that reminded me of the Danish monarch. And the canals! I loved the canals!! Traveling to Malmo, in Sweden is also an easy possibility because of a good, short train connection between the cities. So do visit Copenhagen if you can, as it truly offers a lot of interesting attractions.