- Tivoli Gardens amusement park in central Copenhagen -
Christmas season is here! The Danish capital is slowly but surely turning into a winter wonderland. One can tell by the smell of mulled wine and apple cake taking over the city. Although I’m currently in a stressful exams-period, I make sure to give myself a mental break every now and then. So last weekend my sister visited me and we spent some quality time together sightseeing Copenhagen and eating delicious food. I took her to my favourite restaurants, cafés and bars, and we visited a couple of museums.
It was so nice to have her company, because this month has been mentally and emotionally draining. I already wished for this month to end before it even started, for so many reasons. The weather is darker and colder, work keeps piling up and everyone’s busy too. Fortunately my boyfriend’s coming to Copenhagen today - and it’s only eight days left till December, so better and brighter days are ahead (literally ☼).
The best is yet to come
Although November feels never-ending, this semester went by in a flash. In a way it’s sad that my time as a student is coming towards an end, but after almost six years at university I’m ready for a change. Next week I’m packing all my belongings, moving out of my apartment in Copenhagen for three months, flying off to London for a bit and then going home to Norway to spend time with my family. After that I’m traveling to Melbourne to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve, and then I’m off to Southeast Asia where I’ll be based in Saigon for two months for some very exciting reasons, which I’ll probably blog more about later. Thanks for following and stay tuned for more!
Home to Norway
Time flies so fast now a days that I didn't even realise that it's been over a month since I last updated this blog. Here's a little update on what I've been up to lately: After the weekend in Istanbul I flew home to Norway during reading week to spend time with my family, which was much needed. Despite living closer to home now I feel more homesick than ever. I love living in Copenhagen, I enjoy being a "jetsetter" - but at the end of the day, there is no place like home with my family and my dog.
settling in Copenhagen
Just to give a quick glimpse of my life in Copenhagen so far: It's much more quiet compared to when I used to live in Edinburgh for sure. In Edinburgh everything was walking distance, I had people around me 24/7 and campus was just a five minutes walk away. Unlike Copenhagen where it takes a bit more effort to get around and to meet up with friends who live on the other side of the city. Basically, Copenhagen feels like Norway in a nutshell sometimes; the weather, the food prices, the people and culture. In general, Scandinavians are just much more reserved than British people, which I'm starting to get used to again. Having grown up in Norway there hasn't been much of a culture shock.
Otherwise I'm just living the normal student life. I don't talk about it a lot because it's not that interesting to know, but I do spend the rest of my time off-travelling studying towards a master's degree after all.
spontaneous trip to London
Anyway, it so happened one evening a couple of weeks ago that I received an e-mail where I had won tickets to see Sam Smith the following day at Tate Modern in London. Being the biggest fan that I am I impulsively booked a 9PM flight to London the same night (for £40 with Norwegian Airlines) and ended up spending a long weekend there; catching up with my girlfriends from uni, eat amazing food, celebrate Guy Fawkes Night for the first time and of course, see my favourite artist. And as someone who's in a long distance relationship, it was an extra bonus to get to see my boyfriend in London again.
long weekend in Brussels & Antwerp + London
Last Friday I flew to Belgium, which I'd been looking forward to a lot. The flight ticket was only 110 DKK (approx. £10) with Ryanair when I booked it last month so I thought why not - just breathing in Copenhagen would be more expensive. We (Rickie, his family and I) spent two days in Brussels and one day exploring Antwerp, before taking the EuroStar train back to London for his graduation ceremony on Monday (I booked my tickets quite late so I paid almost €60). I flew back to Copenhagen the next day, and again, my flight ticket was only £10 with Ryanair. And that, my friends, is what I call budget traveling.
It was an overall wonderful trip with good family quality time, amazing food and exploring new places together. More about my Belgium trip in the next post.
Feeling happy but sad after an amazing weekend in Copenhagen with my boyfriend who visited from London. After more than three years in a long-distance relationship you'd think it gets easier, but goodbyes are such a bittersweet feeling! Fortunately, I trust the timing of our lives and I know that there is a time and place for us to eventually settle in the same city in the future. As for now, we are embracing the magic of the moment and staying positive.
- The body achieves what the mind believes -
This weekend I completed Copenhagen Half Marathon! This was my second half marathon in six months (my last being the Meadows Marathon in Edinburgh), and I spontaneously signed up for the event by myself seven weeks ago while I was still living and working in Stavanger. Back then I had a really consistent fitness routine and I thought that signing up for the race would motivate me to keep it up. But moving between three cities, going on vacation, starting uni, eating cinnamon buns for breakfast etc., made it all very difficult to maintain an active lifestyle, and honestly, the final week leading up to the event I felt so anxious about the whole idea of having to run 21km when I could barely breath after 10km. But the body achieves what the mind believes and I did it!
21000 other participants from all over the world and an amazing atmosphere in the city on race day helped me push through the entire distance without stopping, despite getting soaked by a thunderstorm, hail hitting my face, mud reaching up to my ankle, and an injured right knee. Although I still have a way to go to hit my 2:00h-goal, I'm glad I didn't give up. I'm just more encouraged to train harder for next time. In running a half marathon it doesn't matter if I come first or last as long as I can say "I have finished", because there is a lot of satisfaction in that.
Otherwise I'm doing well, thanks for asking? Copenhagen is a wonderful city and my biggest challenge is to have self-control when I walk past Danish bakeries, which are basically located at every street corner. So far, struggling. Especially on Wednesday when there's something called "onsdagssnegle", which is basically an extra large cinnamon roll that they only sell on Wednesdays. I'm having one just now and it's so delicious. Any bets on how long it will take before I begin to roll?
Life has a funny way of working out. In one moment Sadia and I are studying in China together, celebrating New Years Eve in Shanghai and travelling around Taiwan. In the next moment we are flatmates in Copenhagen doing our master's degrees and having sushi dates in the weekends. However this happened, I'm in a very happy place now. Big cheers for new beginnings and nofilter-friendships - the best and funniest ones. And with appetites like ours, the most fulfilling too.
- New beginnings -
And so it continues. These so-called new journeys I keep setting out on, where I pack all my belongings, move to a new city in a new country, and confuse people about where in the world I'm at and about what I'm doing in my life.
Ever since I went on exchange to China two years ago, I've been living on the fast lane and somehow everything that has happened in between feels like a big blur. Just today I realised that it's been five months ago since I submitted my bachelor's thesis! How is it that I've graduated from university, completed a three-months summer internship in Stavanger, and started my master's in Copenhagen already?
It's been some hectic periods, but fast-forward to where I am right now and I couldn't be happier about how all things turned out. I'm currently settled in a bright new apartment in Copenhagen, enrolled in the fifth best entrepreneurship course in the world at CBS, surrounded by creative, like-minded people from all corners of the world who inspire me to be myself, be courageous and to fulfil my full potential. In other words, I'm really excited about the future and I look forward to document some of my upcoming experiences on this little blog of mine.
The happiest capital city in the world. The place to be if you appreciate arts and culture, design, architecture and sustainability. The biking-friendly city of all-black fashion. I fell in love with Copenhagen, so here's a few of my personal recommendations for you to enjoy the city too!
TAKE A BOAT TRIP
For 40DKK you can join a boat tour along the idyllic harbours and charming canals. It's a nice way to see the city from a different perspective, and I love the waters so when we passed a departure port I joined the tourists crew and gave it a go. It wasn't more than 30-45 minutes and I learnt some interesting things from the tour guide who spoke in English, Danish and German.
RENT A BIKe
I can't really speak for myself as I never got the chance to rent a bike and bike around the city (although that was the initial plan), but Rickie did and so do almost every single person in Copenhagen. Denmark, in big contrast to Norway, is mountainless and flat out flat. Biking is ideal because there's rarely any uphills hence no resistance - so basically it's not a dreadful experience even for the laziest. Rather, a cheap and active method of exploring Copenhagen!
WALK/ Jog/ Hunt Pokémons AROUND PEBLINGe LAKE
Amongst the real wedge of swans floating in the lake, you can join the water fun by renting your own swan pedalo boat. Woho! The ostrich gondola. Although I passed this time it's a fun way to explore the waters during the summer, no? The option's there. Meanwhile we strolled along the waterfront, enjoyed the view and the colourful building. Maybe next time there won't be crowds of Pokémon-Go hunters everywhere. Crazy!
Grab a Danish pastry on-the-go
Danish pastries... What else do you actually need sometimes? Maybe a coffee to complement, but that's pretty much enough to highlight my day. Bakeries are as common as 7/11s - literally on every street corner. Grab a cinnamon bun from Lagkagehuset and enjoy while you make your way to the next pastry house. Did I mention the 'smørrebrød'/ sandwiches you have to try. And speaking of food, Møller Kaffe og Køkken offers amazing brunches. Oh! Also a very popular place I need to mention is Bertels Salon, which offers cheesecake and coffee. The pistachio cheesecake took me to heaven and back, haha. A definite must-try!!
Dine at the World's Best Restaurant
So while checking out the Danish Architecture Centre, we found ourselves next to Noma - a two-Michelin-star restaurant ranked as the best restaurant in the world four times for its Nordic Cuisine. Situated by the waterfront in the Christianhavn neighbourhood it's a guaranteed fine-dine with a view. Next time when I get that one-month-in-advance-table-reservation accepted, I'll let you know more.
Grab a pint at Papirøen Island
Across the bridge from Nyhavn and facing towards the Royal Opera House, "Paper Island" is a super cool venue for music, food, drinks and chill. It's a large warehouse filled with international street food stalls and the perfect place to hang out on summer evenings. Not to mention, the sunset from here is epic. Overall great vibe - a must-go, guys!
PEOPLE-WATCH AT NYHAVN
Picturesque Nyhavn harbour is a must-see in Copenhagen. It's colourful and lovely, even on a rainy day - and it's what makes Copenhagen extra charming. Nyhavn is filled with bars, cafés and restaurants and attracts tourists from all over the world all year round, so don't be surprised to get ripped off. Afterall, you're paying for the view (and the hype).
Explore Freetown Christiania
This is an interesting place. Christiania is a self-proclaimed free state in the heart of Copenhagen, most commonly known for its open trade of marijuana and hosting some of the most hippie citizens in the country, if not the world. The 'state' has its own laws, own currencies and claims that once you exit - "You're now leaving the EU". It's a hard one to explain, as photography is prohibited once you enter - but do check it out. I wouldn't recommend going alone though, and I'd aim to go during day time - but overall it's a safe place to explore. You wouldn't be the only one!
VISIT THE LITTLE MERMAID
Ok, an honest opinion here. I have never understood the hype over this tiny little (may I even say, very average) landmark of a mermaid. Yet, time after time is as crowded as ever. Sure it's one of those "must-see" things in Copenhagen, at least they claim. But I must say I'm not too impressed. I appreciate the story behind it and all but man, of all places to locate one of the most famous sights in Scandinavia... It's almost ironic. Nice flue-gas stacks in the background there.
CHECK OUT SUPERKILEN
This is a public park in Nørrebro district close to where we stayed. Loads of architecture, urban design, cycling tracks and everything that Rickie loves. I liked the celebration of diversity and exposition of the local habitats. Objects from all around the world are exhibited around the park in different forms and artefacts. It's pretty cool, definitely worth checking out!
Join A Free City Walking Tour
During my previous visit to Copenhagen, my friends and I joined a three-hours long free walking tour with Copenhagen Free Walking Tours starting at the City Hall Square. If you have time and would like to see the main city attractions with a professional guided tour - this is highly recommended. We really enjoyed seeing all the sights and getting to know the history behind every location we visited, including Christiansborg palace, the Old City Center, Nyhavn houbour and the Royal Palace Amalienborg. The guides are monetised by donations, so by the end of the tour you decide how much you want to give based on your personal experience!
This is just my small take on Copenhagen. There are plenty of more things to see and do - but bottom point is, it's a place worth going even for a brief weekend.
Simply translated into coziness, 'hygge' is a heart-warming lesson from Denmark that places Danes on the list of the world's happiest people. Their attitudes to life is felt through the 'hygge'-way-of-living - a contagious feeling during our weekend in Copenhagen. We attended our friend's beautiful wedding and the timing worked out perfectly for us to explore a new destination together while we're at it. Although both have been in Copenhagen once before, it was our first time together.
We stayed in Nørrebro, a hip area centrally located and perfect for people like us who love a good selection of food places at any time of day. We got a lovely private Airbnb and a good three days to fully enjoy the city. Airbnb is such a great concept and I recommend it to everyone who wants a little different experience than what you would get at a hotel or hostel, or whatever it might be. The website is peppered with accommodations of all styles and I'm sure everyone can find one that fit to theirs. So far I've stayed in one in Tokyo, Shanghai and now Copenhagen - and each time I''ve been really satisfied as each was entire home bookings - where we had the whole place for ourselves. Not to mention, if you're extra lucky the host will give you plenty of local recommendations and useful information to maximise your stay before they hand you over the keys - and the satisfying feeling of being home away from home.
- 48 hours in the capital city of Denmark -