Copenhagen has been my favorite city to visit (so far) in my semester abroad. Denmark is known as the happiest country in the world and the Danish sure make that statement true. Every local we encountered was kind and helpful and I am truly grateful for that.
To start off the weekend, Alyssa and I boarded our ‘lovely’ RyanAir flight expecting to take off mid afternoon when just our luck, our flight was delayed for almost three hours. Not to mention but it was also delayed AFTER everyone had already boarded and fastened their seat belts. It wasn’t until an hour after sitting on the plane that the pilot announced that something was wrong (those are not words I like to hear when about to fly in the sky) with the plane and we had to relocate to another plane. That happened fairly quickly and efficiently because everyone wanted to just take off already. After we were all boarded and buckled for the second time, the pilot then informed us that they just needed to wait for the plane to be fueled so we could actually fly somewhere. Well, that didn’t happen for another hour. Honestly, why didn’t they just wait until everything was finished fueling up and then let us board so we didn’t have to wait any longer? Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we actually got off the ground. One positive aspect that came out of all of this was that I made two new friends with the people sitting next to me on the flight (I had the middle seat). We started talking after making comments about the fact that we haven’t taken off yet. I really enjoyed this flight because the three of us just talked about our lives and stuff. Weirdly, even though we were flying out of Madrid, neither of them were Spanish. The window seat friend was a man who offered me some canned pineapple (after I made a comment about how hungry I was) and was from Venezuela visiting his mom who lives in Spain. He also mentioned that he has a one year old daughter who’s name is Nicole too! He works in Copenhagen but flies to and from Venezuela to see his family. The aisle seat friend was a Swedish woman traveling from Madrid for business and was just excited to get home and see her daughter (who studies at UC Santa Barbara) who she hadn’t seen in months. To me, strangers are just friends you haven’t met and by the end of our 3 hour flight it felt weird having to say goodbye to two new people who I’ll never see again. A great start to my weekend in Copenhagen!
After we landed, we boarded the metro and made our way to the downtown area of the city and looked for our hostel. Three of our friends were already there waiting for us but the only thing on my mind was FOOD (a common theme!). Because we arrived so late, most restaurant kitchens were already closed so the hunt to find food took some time. Every restaurant that was closed actually broke my heart until we found a Schwarma joint and gobbled some deliciousness. Afterwards, we bar hopped a bit to get to know the Danish night life and then called it a night at around 1:30. The hostel situation was fine, we stayed in a 10 person room which obviously was a noisy situation because everyone has different schedules. I was tired and fell right asleep.
The next morning, we woke up at 9am and made our way out to find breakfast. One of my sorority sisters, Lexi, was also traveling to Copenhagen this weekend so I was pretty excited to see her. She tagged along with us as we found a sweet donut shop for breakfast. Our three other friends from our program Laura, Nicole and Angela unfortunately had a flight later that morning so we didn’t get to spend much time together. Our last stop together was to a castle to which we climbed up to the top and caught the spectaluar views of the city from up top.
We then said goodbye to Laura, Nicole and Angela and Alyssa, Lexi and I were on our own. We headed back to the hostel for a pee break and figure out how to rent some bikes. Copenhagen is a HUGE bike friendly city. They have their own bike traffic lanes on the road and it’s one of the main forms of transportation. For those who really know me, I LOVE riding my bike around my hometown so I was stoked to rent a bike. Unfortunately, just my luck, none of the bikes that the hostel had available were appropriate for my height. I have never experienced anything known as “short girl problems” more, than at that moment. Yes it’s a great story to laugh at later, but in the moment I was actually upset because Lexi and Alyssa had found bikes. Fortunately, with some help of the staff at our hostel (remember, nice Danish people), they informed me of another option to try for someone of my (ahem) stature. I had no choice but to walk and find the place on my own. No big deal, I have a pretty good sense of direction and to wander alone for awhile wasn’t a bad idea. Alyssa and Lexi then went on their way to meet me at the bike place.
The bike rental place was located in Nyhaven which is the big touristy area of Copenhagen that you see on postcards and what identifies Copenhagen. After some selfies on my GoPro and finally finding a bike made for a 5 foot, 21 year old (it was a children’s bike ….), there was no sign of Alyssa, Lexi or Wifi. I waited for awhile for them and then decided to ride around and explore the Nyhaven area. I found a cafe, with Wifi, contacted the girls and they found me shortly after. To wander and bike alone in Copenhagen was very pleasant since the sun was shining and I was just happy to be in the city with a bike.
We soon found a quaint restaurant along the canal in Nyhaven and settled for some seafood. I enjoyed a lobster soup which was delicious. With a major sweet tooth, we next enjoyed a waffle treat on a stick. It was a waffle covered with white chocolate and sprinkles; diabetes on a stick basically.
After some more pictures and walking around the area, we rode our bikes but not for long since I had was only able to rent my bike for three hours. I barely made it in time before the rental place closed (why so early at 5pm, idk). We then walked/rode over to an area with TRAMPOLINES I (literally) jumped for joy to be in the happiest country. WEEEE
Next Alyssa and Lexi headed back to the hostel to return their bikes and I again walked by myself taking in all of Copenhagen’s beauty. By this point, I had already gotten to know the area so I knew how to get back without a map. Once we were reunited at the hostel, we rested in the lobby and of course took advantage of the free wifi. After relaxing on social media for awhile, we walked around the area in which our hostel was located and grabbed some dinner at a restaurant called Stella’s. I ate a delicious and nutritious tortilla wrap of vegetables and drank a nice chai latte. Afterwards we wandered around some more, now noticing all the cute boutiques and clothing stores. Everything was closed at this point so we saved (our parents) some money and after more walking and talking, we went back to the hostel for a quick nap.
Sometimes the best plans are no plans. After a nap and some convincing of Lexi to get out of bed, we headed down to the bar at the hostel for a brew. After grabbing a Carlsberg, Alyssa and I sat at a random table (Lexi joined later) full of people around our age who immediately included us into their group. This is one of my favorite things about traveling: meeting and talking to all different kinds of people. At hostels, people come and go from all over the world! I met some other study abroad students from North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas along with other travelers from Philadelphia, Argentina, Australia and the UK. It’s so interesting and fun to talk to new people and learn about different perspectives on life. We all enjoyed some brews and mingling amongst one another and later in the night, made our way over to a club called the Mini Bar. At about 2:30, we called it a night and walked back to the hostel.
The next morning, I woke up at 9:30 and manned up to shower in the hostel bathroom which only had two temperatures: cold and colder. We also had to make a walking tour that the hostel was offering at 11. The walking tour was so great! Our tour guide was very knowledgable and funny and I highly recommend doing these tours whenever you travel. These guides add some spunk and humor to the history of the city making it more enjoyable. While on the tour, we also met a girl named Taylor who was solo traveling around Europe for seven weeks and we all became fast friends.
Christiana was the next stop on our list after the walking tour was over so we headed there by metro. Christiana is a neighborhood within the section of Christianshaven, a freetown (aka not part of the EU and they make their own rules). This neighborhood has a big hippie vibe and cannibis is totally legal. There are two rules in this town: no running and absolutely no pictures. The landscape was beautiful and everything was green. We walked around a lot and also made our way to an area that had a bunch of food trucks with different kinds of dishes. After eating and sitting along a canal, we decided to head back to downtown Copenhagen and walked around some more (what else is new but honestly, thats how you get to know the city). We later said goodbye to Taylor since she was staying in a different hostel and we all took our midday naps.
After a joyful (sarcastic because everyone in our room was annoying) snooze, I joined Lexi in her four person hostel room because she seemed to have become friends with the characters in her room. They were three other boys, also study abroad students, who were living in Germany. We all bonded and talked about many different things. Alyssa later joined us and we all decided to spontaneously go on a crêpe run. Around downtown Copenhagen, they have some food trucks and crêpes were one of them! Still salivating just thinking about it but my banana Nutella crêpe was DA BOMB. We then journeyed back to the hostel.
Thanks to our hostel, who decided to inform us upon our arrival that renovation and construction was going on in the building and that it may be a little annoying, we were awoken LOUDLY at 8:30am by a drilling right outside our door. Yay!!!!! What a great alarm clock!!!!! Lexi had to catch her flight early that morning so Alyssa and I grabbed breakfast at the hostel. After overhearing a girl at the table next to us mention to someone that she was from Chicago, we obviously had to strike up a conversation. Turns out she was from a town very close to us and we all knew mutual people! Small world ain’t it? Alyssa and I spent the rest of the day shopping in the different Danish clothing stores and got a fish pedicure (yes, real fish -sorry you missed this Lexi). The little fish eat all the dead skin on your feet. It tickled so much but the fish really did leave my feet feeling very smooth.
After gathering some last minute pastries, we grabbed our stuff and headed to the airport for our next European adventure. Here are my life lessons I learned while in Copenhagen:
-if you’re under 5’3 GOOD LUCK finding a rentable bike.
-everyone is willing to help if you’re lost and everyone is kind.
-they speak Danish, but happily they all know English too.
-anyone not from the United States will never fail to ask you why Donald Trump is such a crazy bafoom (why does that seem to be a popular conversation starter amongst non US citizens?) hehe
That sums up my time in Denmark! Its actually la semana santa (spring break) for me right now so I’m writing this on the plane while on the way to Venice! I’ll be spending the next day there, then traveling to Florence and ending the week in the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Ciao bella!