“I’m here” in Danish.
Today, I’m so excited to be staying with my very first Airbnb host! Her name is Deborah, and I can’t wait to get to know her and her beautiful city of Copenhagen (København).
Yesterday evening I arrived at the airport in Copenhagen, hopped on the metro to the central area (Kongens Nytorv, very short trip!) and walked a few minutes to my Airbnb hostess’ place on Gothersgade. After meeting Deborah, Jeff, and of course, Otto, I ventured out into the city to the few sights I knew would still be open. Also, yummy avocado toast at the cafe downstairs.
The first was the Round Tower (Rundetårn). This is a tall, (you guessed it) round, tower that is centrally located in the trendy shopping district, nestled among some of the historical treasures in Copenhagen. It was built by Christian IV, who’s name you will continue to read for all of the transformative works that he influenced in Denmark. For a small fee you are awarded the pleasure of hiking up the 34.8m spiral ramp to the beautiful panorama from the northern side of the city. This is one reason why it makes an excellent observatory, for which it is still used on select evenings throughout the year. Rundetårn is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
Next I went to the neighborhood of Christiana, which was originally established in the 70’s by squatters and has morphed into a laissez-faire commune where you can find handmade crafts, a music venue, weed dealers, and guys playing the guitar next to the river. The street entering the area is not-so-subtly called Pusher Street (seriously, even on google maps), and you will find many men ready to supply you, should that be your thing.
A stones throw from this mural-lined hippy central is the lovely church of Vor Freslers Kirke (17th century) which has an intricately designed tower with – you guessed it – many stairs to climb. The view is well worth it, however, and as you navigate up through the church bells and eventually onto stairs on the outside of the tower (caution for those who are heights averse), you are rewarded with another panoramic view from the south side of the city. This tower is even higher than the round tower at 95m, and 400 steps will get you there.
Lastly, I stopped into the Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek). Yes, I am a nerd for visiting a library, but it’s also a cool mix of architecture. The original red brick building is connected to the “Black Diamond” of the new building, which is located right next to the river with lovely views. I also snuck into the old library to see what my guidebook described as its “Hogwarts-like northern reading room, resplendent with vintage desk lamps and classical columns” and wasn’t disappointed. It was a nice, quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the last few days, and I only moved on because my stomach was rumbling so loudly it was disturbing my studious neighbors.
On the way back to my neighborhood to find a bite to eat, I happened to pass by the Royal garden behind the Christiansborg palace (complete with parliament, stables, and church) so I explored around there, as well. The garden houses a statue of Søren Kirkegaard.
After my second day in Copenhagen, my feet are barking! I took a slower pace and wandered from the Rosenborg palace to the Amalienborg palace (following the path the Royal guards would have taken) and witnessed the changing of the guards. Inside the Rosenborg palace they have designed each room so that as you pass through you also pass through time. You start with King Christian’s (I-VII) and also have the opportunity to see their regalia including jewels and crowns, weapons, and a room on Ole Rømer, who was an astronomer of the time.
Next I went on to the marble church (Frederickskirken), which reminded me of my time in Rome/Florence for the giant marble constructions. It had a beautiful old pipe organ and a lovely interior, and construction was started by King Frederik V in 1749.
I meandered down the river to the 5-pointed fortress (kastellet), which truly is shaped like a star. I walked through the barricades up into the fortress and saw the barracks, the fortress church, and their memorial to fallen soldiers. Just on the other side of this is the waters edge, where you can find the little mermaid on her perch, surrounded by tourists. She is the size of a real life tween girl, sitting on a rock with her fin curled underneath her. I walked back toward the city along the water past Gefion fountain, grabbed an iced coffee and ended up at the National museum of Denmark (Nationalmusset).
The Nationalmusset had a very good presentation on the early settlements of humankind, starting all the way from 13,000 BC up to 1050 AD. They had burial tombs and artifacts from the Stone Age, the Egtved girl – who was an unusually well-preserved body/clothes from 1370 BC – the sun chariots of the Bronze Age, and the Gundestrup Cauldron from the Iron Age. They had an extensive exhibit on the lore surrounding Vikings and rune stones (800-1050AD). Lastly they had a modern history of the country including its regional conquests, generations of kings and current state of life.
After this enjoyable day in Copenhagen I went back to my Airbnb apartment (which was a lovely stay) and went to the airport for my next stop!