Copenhagen, so Gracious

August 4-5, 2016

The over night flight from JFK to Copenhagen  was really pretty comfortable. We each watched movies and slept until just an hour outside of Copenhagen. There is a very slick interactive map in each passengers entertainment screen. See?


We were able to see lots of Copenhagen on a previous trip. Yup, I have a photo with the “Little Mermaid” and changing of the guard at the palace, Carlsberg Brewery. I think that we checked of most of the “have to sees” from the list. Therefore, since we are fortune enough to revisit this very civilized and clean city, we are looking for “What’s new?”

New is the first thing that hits us in the face when we arrive! New construction of very attractive and modern apartment buildings has us craning our necks on the way from the airport. We had planned to uber in to the city. However, the overseas Verizon plan that we got isn’t working AT ALL. What a frustration! We pick up a taxi to take us to the tourist area, Nyhavn or New Harbor. Arriving a few days before Jon and Kathryn join us, we are going to walk this city!


We are staying in a quiet, modern room in a great historic home, an air bnb just around the bustle of Nyhavn, or New Harbor. The iconic photo of Copenhagen that you often see of quaint houses and canal with old boats is Nyhavn.

imageIt’s a busy tourist area, but we aren’t stuck in it.  Best of all, our hostess is an instant buddy, so welcoming, so gracious. She baked cookies for us when we arrived and gave us chocolates and blueberry muffins the next day.  It is such a rich experience to live with a resident of the city, learning from her about this beautiful place.  She assures us that the Danish don’t think all Americans are idiots, only the Trump supporters.

She has kept lots of the charm of the old building in her flat and we have a view of a darling courtyard shared by several buildings. Urban indeed, but it is very quaint and quiet. Barry and I chuckle to see a bathroom similar to one we used in a hotel in the Netherlands several years ago. The shower is just a corner of the tiled room. There is also a potty and sink in there too. When you finish your shower, you squeegee the water to the drain under the sink. This is definitely not ADA approved, this granny could slip and kill herself on this wet tiled floor!

Close by is the new area called Papirøen, in English, Paper Island. New, since we were here a few years ago. It is an island just over a cool new bridge from Nyhavn that has a warehouse full of street food stalls: Turkish, Thai, pizza, Scandinavian foods.  Our Sacramento neighbors told us about this place, but they really didn’t need to.  We found a constant flow of people walking there. It was PACKED!  Talk about good vibrations, Joie d’vivre does a conga line throughout the place. Friends and families gathered around picnic tables,  sitting in beach chairs by the water, everyone seems to be enjoying beautiful food and drink during a magical Danish summer evening. (Hygge? – more on that later)

Last summer, “the dark summer of Leaky”, was the time we had planned to be in Copenhagen. Just before coming, Barry’s doctor found that one of his heart values was leaky, Barry needed heart surgery  and we had to cancel our trip. At that time, I had booked a Copenhagen Food Tour that clearly didn’t provide refunds if canceled. I emailed them with our sad tale and they immediately responded with a very gracious email and a full refund for the tour.

This tour was on our “must do list” on this trip, and I have to say it was very  very worthwhile.  SO….Fitbit in place and shoes laced, we head off to the food market to meet our tour.

The food hall where we meet is great, modeled after one that we had the chance to see near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid a few years ago. It’s got two main glass rectangular buildings: fruit, veggies, flowers and another that is meat, fish and cheeses. There were so many nibbles all day long, that I am obliged to write only about the highlights.

Firstly, we enjoyed several foods from the small Danish island of Bornholm. Our guide said that it is only a few hours by ferry from Sweden but a day’s journey from Denmark. (I think that this is going on a future itinerary!) The island has an unusual weather pattern in that the summers are warm for Northern Europe and it has rocks that hold the heat on the island. (?) Consequently, they are known for dairy farming, agriculture as well as tourism and art. It also has a very large medieval fort and lots of ancient history. There is a shop dedicated to the foods of this small island. In another stall we sample local spirits, feminine and masculine varieties of apple wine (fortified with aquavit). The masculine has higher alcohol content. After considering this, it’s probably a great idea, we do have different tolerances for alcohol, it’s biology.

We tried some rhubarb juice that is made as part of a successful city social project for the long term unemployed. They make rhubarb juice drinks, and keep bees in several areas of the city. This gives some work to the people who need it. Also important is that it reminds all of us, not to be too preachy, that bees are central to all agriculture and that urban farming can be very successful.

We walk for miles and miles, thank goddess. During this four hour tour there are many stops for bites. We enjoy some lovely open faced sandwiches, which are called Smørrebrød. They are as delicious as they are beautiful. There are organic sausages, local beer that crafted to emulate west coast IPAs!, and traditional hard candies. Happy, happy….

Our guide was knowledgeable not only about the city’s history, but also regarding the current events within the city, and certainly the food. We covered about five miles during five hours and saw lots of  Copenhagen.  Really, this was Valhalla, so many  fascinating and unique things to see, so many tales to keep us entertained!

After the tour, we headed to Tivoli a Gardens, because it’s just one of the places one must check off the list when sight seeing Copenhagen.  Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park built in 1843. We heard that it was an inspiration for Disneyland, though much smaller, we were able to see nearly all of it in a hour. The gardens are very lovely and there is a quaintness to the attractions for children that make it very dear. There is a robust collection of restaurants and bars throughout the park, very few shops, no movie merchandizing.  It is large enough to entertain for the better part of the day, yet not so large that it zaps your spirit. How very civilized.


These two foodies walked over nine miles today, take that Fitbit buddies??

Tomorrow we are taking the train to the Viking town, Roskilde.



4 thoughts on “Copenhagen, so Gracious”

  1. Hi guys,
    Fascinating report of your long day in a nut shell! I used to enjoy my trips to Denmark, even in winter time, when birch wood fire places in the hotel lobby welcomed the weary travelers !
    Happy continuation of your trip!

  2. Love hearing your good experience with Airbnb. David and Megan had a nice experience with Airbnb in Italy at spring break. I’m considering putting my little “granny flat” on Airbnb if I get it finished…and get brave enough – lol!

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