Friday, 17 October 2008

Put me in your Suitcase: Copenhagen

The story goes that the largest island in Denmark, Zealand; was created when the godess Gefjun and her 4 strong oxen were plowing land in Sweden (given to them by the King Gylfi) that the earth was loosened by the deep and wide plows then thrown out into the sea, thus creating the lake Lögr in Sweden and the island which homes the happiest city in the world: Copenhagen. This past weekend I wanted to find out why this city was given the prestigious title.

To get oriented I always like to take a walking tour however in this case I’d definitely recommend taking a boat ride down the canal, it’s about an hour long and they leave every half hour from Nyhavn giving you the best views of the city and surrounding islands. Also, using a bike is a great way to cover a lot of land in a short time. Bike lanes are clearly marked on all roads and there are lovely paths which hug the canal leading to the Little Mermaid (which is in fact little!). They can be rented from the information center near the central train station (leaving no excuses).

Food always makes me happy, so how did Danish food measure up? You ask, well not to shabby. Danish pastries are heavenly, if you’re lucky enough to get them right out of the oven (like myself) they would melt in your mouth…mmmmm! The traditional Danish lunch is smørrebrød which is an open-faced sandwich of usually fish or warm deli meats, on rye bread. I had a yummy smoked salmon one at café Sorgenfri. If you start to feel a little peckish in between meals there are plenty of hot dog stands around worth trying. A hole is punctured in the bun (length-wise) then filled with your choice of condiments completing the treat is the long skinny ‘dog’ which is then placed inside leaving a bit hanging out for show.

Copenhagen gains points for their vast array of attractions from Tivoli Gardens a huge amusement park with an impressive garden, hotel and grand restaurant. Built in 1843 it is the oldest amusement park which is still intact. To the handful of castles scattered all over the city. I ventured to the Rosenborg Castle, once a summer home for the royal family and boasting the crown jewels and memorabilia from past generations of the monarchy. Don’t forget about the art galleries and museums, most of which are free or have specific days which allow free access. Oh and the Carlsberg Brewery.

Speaking of beer, Charlie’s Bar is a great hidden treasure tucked away from the high street where you can relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing. The owner refused Carlsberg’s demand to stock their specific beers that it sought the best from the rest the world. Now a vast of wonderful ales and lagers from the around the world are provided on tap.

With friendly smiles and warm welcomes everywhere we went it’s hard to criticize the city’s title. Along with great food, yummy beer and a vast amount of things to do I can see why they were given it in the first place (well, that and the fact that the government pays YOU to go to university…just maybe that helped!).

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