Saturday, May 3, 2014

Copenhagen: So very cozy

Copenhagen Highlights:
- Christiania
- Navenport and the boats
- biking around
- Stroget (longest shopping street)
- Royal Palace
- Magasin du Nord

What I did:
We went up north for a long 4 day weekend from classes down in France. We flew in Copenhagen Thursday night. We were staying at copenhagen downtown hostel. They had quite a nice bar and social area. However with drinks so expensive we did not really get a chance to buy many. We hung out at the bar for a bit on Thursday night, and then we called it a night and went to sleep.

Friday morning we woke up early, hit up the grocery store and walked around the city a bit! We was the main walking street Stroget which was so neat and poked our heads into little shops. We ran into the amazing toy store and decided to do a little exploring. This was our first taste of Scandinavian culture and we really enjoyed it!

After the toy store we headed to drop Cara off with a friend who was going to give her a tour of the rest of the city. Then Alina and I went to take the New Europe free tour. It started in a square just 2 blocks from our hostel so that was easy! I loved the tour as it took us to all the big landmarks and filled us in on years and years of history. One of the best parts was when they told us about how once Denmark had tried to sell Norway to Sweden... um what? Denmark you don't just own Norway, it is an independent country and you can't sell it away.... Geniuses.

We visited a lot of things I don't remember on our tour but I do remember Navnport, its gorgeous, the waterfront, and walking down to the castle. The tour ended in the dark since it gets dark so early up there especially in November.

I stopped by this amazing giant shopping center on the way home called Magasin du Nord which was incredible, especially their gourmet chocolate section.

That night I actually had a really fabulous and interesting night. We were sitting at the bar of our hostel and 3 guys sat down who turned out to be Dannish. That is pretty darn rare at a hostel bar but they told us it was the cheapest bar around and everyone was friendly and fun. So we laughed and got some drinks together. We ended up playing this Danish dice game called Maya which was so much fun. It sort of like poker with dice where you had to bluff on your roll and someone would call you. After awhile we decided that we needed more players so I made a lap around the bar asking people if they wanted to play Maya with us. The first group I ran across was 3 Danish girls! My gosh there were a lot of Danes in that place. It was actually sort of awesome! We continued to play until the bar closed at 3AM. It was an amazing night. So many times I just had these surreal moment where wow I am sitting here at a table with 6 Danes in Denmark learning a traditional dice game, listening and learning Danish, and being the only foreigner at the table. It was such a lucky authentic experience that I was happy to have!

Saturday was a day trip to Sweden (read about it here).

Sunday was when things got really fun! I spent almost the whole afternoon in Christiania, which is an independent state inside of Copenhagen that is basically a hippie commune. Weed in legal and everyone lives around in colorful shakes and leads their happy little lives of fun. It was really funky and weird. My friends were not interested in going so I went on my own.

I rented a bike so that I could easily get around the whole city which was so fun! So I biked down there for the morning. It is hard to explain what it is like on the inside but it is pretty cool, and really big! There were a lot of visitors there but I just wandered around looking at the architecture and the vibe in general. I found the little veg restaurant which was amazing and delicious (plus pretty cheap for Denmark).

 After my time there I biked around a little more, visiting Stroget for some shopping (did you know legos and H&M come from Denmark) and going back to Navnport to take in the views again!

That night back at the hostel I made friends with a guy at another table, an American. We decided to go exploring in Chiristiania at night. I would have never done that on my own as it was about a 35-40 minute walk and a little sketchy when I got there but i am SO glad I did. Christiania had a whole different interesting feel at night. It was dark and quiet, so more shady, but there was this old abandoned barn and we heard nose in there. Inside it they were having a massive jam session. This place was filled with the most interesting cast of characters I have ever seen. They were utterly hilarious and interesting to watch. Again it was another surreal experience to be sitting in a barn at 1 in the morning listening to music with a bunch of local hippes.  We made it home and I slept long and hard before getting up the next day to catch our flight home.

Overall a fabulous experience. The country was SO cozy with coffee shops and cute pastry places to tuck in a warm up. The adorable cobble stone streets and shops. It was just so well done. It's hard to explain Scandinavia other than to say that I would absolutely live there!

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