This summer Rory and I had the chance to explore a little piece of the world. For 25 days we got to travel to four cities in Europe…the first time over there for both of us!
We had a truly amazing time. Though now it seems like a distant dream, when we were there the days felt long, deliberate and never-ending (in the best way possible). I’ll break up each city into it’s own post over the next weeks here on the blog and share my personal guide to the places we discovered, though I know we barely scratched the surface.
Our journey began in the beautiful Copenhagen. Why Denmark? Well, besides my love of Scandinavian design, the city was host to the World Footbag Championships (I bet that makes everything much clearer…)
Footbag is a unique sport that Rory plays. In essence, it’s the amped-up version of hacky sack, complete with tricks, routines and more. Really, this topic could be a whole post in itself. Rory was competing this year, which lead us to Copenhagen for 10 days as our first location on the trip.
We stayed in an Airbnb in the neighbourhood of Nørrebro. If you’ve never tried Airbnb I can’t recommend it enough. It gives you the chance to live more like a local in the trendier areas that don’t often have hotels or hostels nearby. Plus you can save money by cooking your own food in the kitchen, and you often have access to laundry. Just do your research, read reviews, keep in touch with your host and it should all go smoothly. In all the accommodations we stayed at this trip, we didn’t have a single issue.
Our apartment was adorable, with lots of personality from cute knick-knacks and interesting art. There was so much natural light and the furniture was all mid-century influenced. It was the perfect place to call ‘home’ for the week.
The neighbourhood itself was also beautiful. It was quite quiet, but we were 2 blocks from a main street that had everything we needed. Fun fact, the Danes love their shawarma. I kid you not, every third business on the street was a little kebab restaurant. We stopped at a new place for many of our meals (when we weren’t cooking at our apartment) and it was delicious. The only downside to this was that we missed out on the chance to try some traditional Danish fare.
On our last day we managed to have a lovely brunch at Møller, which was a trendy little place that had amazing food. When you arrive they hand you a tiny paper menu and you check off what you’d like and hand it in a the counter. The dishes were small, so you could try a variety of things. Your own mini buffet! It was only a few blocks from our place and I kind of wish we’d tried it sooner so we could have gone more than once and tried everything.
I, of course, had a blast hitting up all the shops. I did a bit of research on where exactly to go because I am pretty picky about shopping when I travel. With the rise of online shopping and globalization it is getting harder and harder to find things that are truly unique to a place you are visiting. I make an effort to find local artists and designers, independent shops and locally made goods wherever possible. This way I know my souvenirs are truly unique.
Luckily, an amazing shopping street Jægersborggade was a 5 minute walk away. Along this street I found the ceramic studio of Inge Vincents, which was breathtaking work, and some quirky home goods shops like HØJ Copenhagen. The street was also dotted with outdoor cafes and candy shops. It was a dreamy few blocks to get away to, but only took an hour to cruise the whole thing.
On one of our free days, we also ventured to the other side of town to the Vesterbro neighbourhood. I found another shopping street Værnedamsvej which was filled with trendy little boutiques like Dora and Playtype. The street was narrow and a little winding, which made it a unique expereince to just wander through.
I had one store that was recommended online that I really wanted to visit, Girlie Hurly, which was about a 10 minute walk out of the way from where we were. The street we had to take to get there appeared to be mostly residential, filled with tall buildings lined with bikes and greenery, but was we glanced down at the basement windows we noticed there were many little artist studios hidden away. Some were even open as little shops too. We visited a few print shops and walked by sculpture and furniture spaces, but we were especially enchanted by Virk Varftet, and had a wonderful time chatting with the owners.
(It was also on this street we saw someone using a blowtorch to rid the cobblestones of weeds, which was a very strange sight).
When we travel, Rory and I like to explore at our own pace, allow ourselves breaks to just hang out and be lazy, and enjoy the smaller, quieter areas. That doesn’t mean we avoid the tourist-y things altogether, though! We made time to climb the winding ramp up the Rundetaarn (round tower), strolled along the waterfront, had dinner in the meatpacking district and took a canal tour.
The tour was a lovely way to see everything all at once, and it was perfect as we went on one of the only sunny days we had there. The famous Nyhavn harbour was stunning and picturesque, and it was fun to squeeze underneath the tiny bridges. We briefly passed the little mermaid statue but we were pretty underwhelmed by her.
Overall, one of the things that stood out the most to me about Copenhagen was the bikes! It was amazing to see how many people would travel that way and we were repeatedly gobsmacked at how many bikes were just parked and waiting for their patrons. At home, we never ride our bikes because the rules on the road are so unclear to everyone, but here we felt so comfortable using it as a means to get around. On a few occasions we rented bikes using the Bycyklen system, which had bikes docked around the city that you can just check out and pay by the hour to use them. They also had handy little GPS tablets on them which took all the stress out of navigating.
I can’t tell you how liberating it was to just take off and get exactly where we needed to by bike. It was especially fun in the evening when traffic slowed down and we could just go nice and slow and take it all in.
Because of the length of time we spent here, plus the friends we had to hang out with from the competition, Rory and I both enjoyed Copenhagen immensely. We loved the atmosphere, parks and bikes and could see ourselves coming back and exploring more of Denmark and maybe Sweden and Norway too. But this trip we had other plans. Our next stop was south to Berlin.