In 2010, we decided to go to Copenhagen because a friend of my partner lived there with his family. They were acquainted with each other because my fella and his friend both do an internet radio show, featuring music not for the faint of heart! It wasn’t a city we had thought about before but while doing research, it appealed more and more so we booked it and flew over from Manchester for 5 days.
Here then are my overall impressions of the city.
Bikes! Yes this is a city full of bicycles, like Amsterdam but the bikes here seem in better condition. We’ve been told that people in Amsterdam use old bikes for around the city in case they get stolen which is very common there. Maybe it isn’t as much here? Don’t know. They also have bikes with a carrier box in front for cargo and sometimes kids. Yet, we haven’t heard many people lay on the warning bells on the bikes like we did in Amsterdam though you still need to keep an eye out and remember the bike lanes will be occupied by two wheeled vehicles who have the right of way there.
I saw one bike parking garage at Norreport station and I’m sure there are probably others around the city but we didn’t see them, mainly being in the old section of the city most of the time. The streets are mainly wide other than in the old “Latin Quarter”. The bike lanes are also wide and, on many of the roads, the bus stops on the street side of the bike lane, not near the sidewalk. Good concept!
The people were really nice in the restaurants and shops. Language hasn’t been a problem either. Saying “Hi” is the same in both languages, more or less and we made sure to say “Tak” for Thank you even when spoken to in English.
I couldn’t seem to get a good strong cup of hot tea. It’s definitely coffee culture there. And they serve coffee and tea in glasses quite often. There’s no coffee or tea makings in the hotel room and I don’t know if that’s common or just this hotel. We can get it free in the hotel lounge if we want.
I notice people don’t queue politely for the bus, they just crowd through the door to get in. A bit disconcerting if you try to get off though you are supposed to exit through the back door of the bus.
There are lots of big parks and green spaces even in the old part of the city. There are lots of towers and spires on buildings and churches, usually elaborately decorated. Many buildings are brightly painted in warm colours, yellows, oranges, golds, rusts, with some blues, pinks and greens thrown in. The buildings have a lot of large windows, too. Many of the older houses and buildings have clay tiled roofs. Many of the streetlights are hung off wires that are strung down the centre of the streets. Thus, the power wires tend to clutter up the photos!
There are a lot of really nice squares and piazzas in the old part of the city, all of them with outdoor cafes and bars. Many of them provide small blankets in case it is chilly outside. Novel concept! Most of the restaurants and bars are now non smoking so you do get the usual group of people outside the entrances having a cig.
Most of the cafes/restaurants we went to, you would order at the bar and pay up front and they’ll bring the food to you. Posher places will bring you a bill but the tip/service charge is usually included already. It’s useful but not so great if you do get slow or lousy service.
The city is flat with a lot of cobblestones on the sidewalks and many of the older streets but there are rows of flat paving stones through the cobbles as “lanes” that you can walk on to save your ankles.
Everywhere we ate, the food was so nicely presented, almost works of art sometimes. Lots of greenery on the plates and food, not always to our taste but it was pretty anyway. We have had the occasional meal that wasn’t that good but mostly it’s been really excellent food.
There are three castles/palaces in the city centre. We went through one of them and saw the other two including a Changing of the Guard at the Amalienborg complex. They seem to be very conscious of their history and heritage and even newer buildings often reflect the style of the older ones nearby.
Doing research, it seems that many of the hotels have free Wi-Fi, ours included which is very modern and very handy. Our hotel has free wi-fi but has a computer in the lobby that they charge for use.
Copenhagen is definitely a lovely city, beautiful architecture, good food and nice people. It’s expensive, most definitely, but it’s definitely worth visiting and it’s a place I’d visit again should the opportunity arise.
A little later on, I’ll post some travelogues from our visit to Copenhagen.