Living in Belgium, and never been more northwards than the Netherlands, I never came across true Viking culture. So it was time for a change! Me and a friend booked a trip to Copenhagen and even though the city itself has no remarkable Viking heritage, it took us only a 20 minute train ride to find the old capital of Denmark: Roskilde, but that’s for another post. Copenhagen is a cool city by itself!
Copenhagen, or København in the local lingo was founded in the 10th century by Viking fishermen. However, the city gained more prominence in the 17th and 18th century, marked by the relatively new architecture in the city center. From our hostel (Copenhagen Downtown) we started our trip around the city center, from the Rathus to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, around the Tivoli gardens (closed during the cold Scandinavian winter) and ending up in Nyhavn for lunch.
Nyhavn is definitely the top attraction of the city. Not only does it adorn the cover of every possible tourist guide, but it’s just a damn nice place. We sat down for some Smørrebrød and an Elefantenøl (or øleføntenøl for the lesser linguistic wonders among us) and carried onwards to the more ceremonial places of the city.
After walking around for a few hours, we started to notice a little plate with the letters “Ensrettet” on it. It appeared in almost every other street but we couldn’t figure where it would lead us to. So we tried to follow the arrows for a while, only to be confused even more when the arrows started to point in completely opposite directions. We gave up for a while but when did a Canal tour we started to notice these signs even on the water! This had to be one of the biggest attractions in Copenhagen and our tourist guide mentioned nothing about it. After a while it became clear what it meant. Ensrettet just means “One way”, to tell vehicles the road is a single direction road.
Denmark is of course also known for one of the most famous toys in the world. Lego! Although Billund is the world Lego capital, Copenhagen has more than enough stores to remind you of their national pride.
On our last afternoon in Copenhagen, which was marked by miserable weather, we decided to visit one of the world’s biggest tourist traps. The little mermaid! The little statue sits on a rock on the shores of Copenhagen a few km from the city center. It certainly lives up to its name. Busses with confused tourists are dropped off every hour, you can see them wondering if this is the reason they traveled so far. Which makes it all the more awesome. Speaking of tourist traps, it can compete with Manneken Pis in Brussels. The little statue of a peeing boy is constantly flocked with tourists as well. Maybe the Little Mermaid and Manneken Pis should have a lovechild, resulting in the biggest tourist disappointment in the world 🙂
Anywyas, long story short, it’s a very nice city to visit, just a bit cold and expensive, but definitely worth it!