Mar 28, 2016

Copenhagen I

One of the undeniable advantages of working in Germany is the amount of paid vacations. Easter, for example, is a four-day weekend. The flip side is that Germans plan their Easter holidays at least a year ahead, so by the time you realize you have a four day weekend, all the good, affordable transit options are gone. I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen, and it’s one of Saori’s favorite cities, so we decided to go.

Planning the trip three weeks prior, it turned out that the most affordable / maximized vacation time was to take a night train to Hamburg and continue by rail, and then fly back.

Thursday night after work, we packed and went to the train station around 1 AM. We had reserved bunk beds, six to a cabin, and we fell asleep to the rocking wagon and faint screech of the rails. Woke up outside of Hamburg around 8 am and I scrounged up some coffee and prepackaged brioche. It’s a great way to get to Hamburg, one train, wake up and it's a bright early morning just in time for the coffee shops to open.

I could have skipped the next six hours and three trains to get to Copenhagen. The architecture of the small house suburbs changes slightly but the landscape never varies from the flat lowlands with gray skies.

We arrived in Copenhagen around 2pm and walked to our hotel/hostel which was about a 20 minute walk away- and not through the most lovely or interesting parts of the city. As it turns out, however, the metro system, like the rest of the residents, avoids the central station simply because there is nothing there worth seeing apart from Tivoli, the 150 year old amusement park, and the start of Strøget, the high street which runs as a gradient from the seedy gift-shops and American fast food dominated start at the train station to the high Danish design boutiques at the opposite end.

We decided this trip should be food-focused, after reading numerous places that the Danish capital was a foodie center. Noma, a local restaurant credited with sparking the Scandinavian food revolution (or so I gathered from various “36 hours in Copenhagen” articles), ranked the best in the world six years of the past ten, and many of it’s chefs left to start their own local, highly lauded restaurants. So we decided to forgo the pillow mints for the fresh mint.

The hostel was tucked into an industrial-looking residential neighborhood outside of the main island and next to the university. Long, red brick warehouse blocks, with wide sidewalks jammed with the parked bicycles of the residents. But it was only five minutes to walk to the metro station, a real bonus in a city which boasted only a dozen stations in the entire metropolis.

After checking in (shower and toilet down the hall) we struck out into the city, doing a lot of walking. I had hoped to do some shopping for some cool scandinavian design but all the stores were closed for the Easter weekend. So we ended up trekking out instead to a highly regarded local craft-beer bar ØLSNEDKEREN in the gentrifying working class neighborhood of Nørrebro. Had two really good beers there and chatted with Saori about history and design before wandering to nearby Overfor for some spendy but really good burgers and fries before toddling off back to the hostel for bed.

It should be noted that Copenhagen is an expensive city, especially for food, but not nearly the eyeball-clawing expense of Norway

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