Tag Archives Things to Do in Copenhagen

Exploring Copenhagen’s Beauty & Culture

Despite the cloudy skies and ever-present rain, Copenhagen is still quite beautiful. We spent our third day in the city exploring stunning views of the city and some of the art culture it offers.

Just around the block from our hostel we found plenty of architecture and design to marvel over.

Almost everywhere you look the scenery is beautiful.

Seeing Copenhagen from above was a must-do, so we visited the 110ft+ high Rundetaarn (“round tower”) and climbed the unusual spiral passage to the observatory.

 

After seeing the magnificent Copenhagen cityscape we ambled over to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an impressive museum filled with paintings, sculptures and ancient artifacts.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Often our excursions took us down Strøget – one of the longest pedestrian-only streets in Europe – the Fifth Avenue /
Champs-Élysées / Bond Street of Copenhagen with a splash of Melrose Place. Up and down Strøget are shops, restaurants and boutiques hailing from many countries ranging from the most upscale like Gucci to more wallet-friendly options like Zara: a shopper’s paradise. Side note: the Danish are really tall; at 5’1″, I feel like a toddler clumsily climbing onto stools that are too high and ducking the flailing hands of passers-by in conversation.

 

For dinner that evening, we opted for a Danish meal at a restaurant within the freetown of Christiania, Spiseloppen. To say that the restaurant’s location is sketchy would greatly understate the level of anxiety we felt as we climbed each narrowing step, rising higher and higher away from safer ground, bypassing a group of thuggish-ruggish looking twenty-something men I named the “Danish Get Fresh Crew,” one of whom whistled at us as we passed by. Happily, we avoided our own Law & Order: SVU-type tale when we opened a heavy-wooden door to a perfectly respectable-looking restaurant with an affable host/server and warm and comforting dishes.

At the end of our meal, our server informed us that it was the last night the restaurant would be open until January 17th. “We’re taking a much-needed break for the holidays.” I told my friend I couldn’t imagine a restaurant in the United States closing for almost a month to give everyone time off. We’re opening up shops on Thanksgiving Day now for goodness’ sake!

In honor of the occasion he comped us free pints of the Danish seasonal holiday beer, Tuborg Julebryg, along with a traditional Danish Christmas dessert or rice pudding topped with a cherry sauce. Tuborg, isn’t my favorite. I must admit, I prefer German and Belgian ales and lagers, but the gesture was kind nonetheless and a lovely way to end a great day.

 

Tuborg Julebryg Beer Copenhagen | The Girl Next Door is Black
Tuborg Julebryg, seasonal Tuborg brew

15 Things I Learned About Denmark On A Walking Tour

We arrived in Denmark yesterday afternoon and took it easy our first evening, after a grueling 9 1/2 hour flight. I look forward to one day being able to fly first class on the regular; flying economy on long flights is the pits. Sleeping is more like a series of stiff, fitful and not quite satisfying naps.

Strøget in December, Copenhagen Denmark | The Girl Next Door is Black
Strøget, is one of Europe’s longest and oldest pedestrian streets. It’s lined with shops, eateries and bars.

For dinner, we dined on hand-crafted burgers at Halifax, a gastropub in Indre By.  I once belonged to a burger club, so I’ve tried my fair share of burgers – Halifax makes a respectable burger. We noticed the Danes around us lingered for awhile after their last bites, enrapt in conversation. The staff appeared nonplussed by this. Tipping isn’t a custom at restaurants.

Scandic Palace Hotel Copenhagen, Denmark | The Girl Next Door is Black

This afternoon, my friend and I took a free 3-hour walking tour of central Copenhagen. Our tour guide was Magnus, a true Dane with blonde hair, blue-eyes and a strong jawline (along with a slightly sarcastic sense of humor). He shared his knowledge of his home country and I learned the following:

1. For years Denmark has held the title “Happiest Country.” Magnus seemed pretty happy, I must say. Certainly proud of his country.

2. Interestingly, Denmark has one of the highest divorce rates in all of Europe.

Denmark is known for its Pølsevogn or sausage stands where they sell hot dogs and sausages with toppings like mustard, ketchup, diced onions, pickles and a remoulade.

3. It also has one of the highest individual tax rates in the world at an average of 55%.

4. Taxes pay for things like college education, which is free for all citizens up through the PhD level. In fact, you get PAID to attend college. The money can be used for rent (you get more if you don’t live with mom and dad), books, food or even beer if you like.

5. The Danish greatly value the concept of “hygge” (hew-ge), which loosely translates to a feeling of being relaxed, satisfied and unhurried.

6. There is no minimum wage. The average hourly rate is US $50.

7. The standard workweek is 37 hours.

Friends Selfie in Copenhagen | The Girl Next Door is Black
Copenhagen selfie!

8. Danes get minimum five weeks of paid vacation!

9. Copenhagen is one of the world’s most livable cities with biking a popular mode of transportation.

10. Life in prison in Denmark means 25 years. Prisoners get rooms with beds and are allowed TVs. Once released, the government helps reintegrate former inmates into society.

Baresso Hot Chocolate Copenhagen Denmark | The Girl Next Door is Black
Hot Chocolate with light, dark and white chocolate and cream from Baresso was perfect for the chilly, rainy day.

11. Denmark is also one of the safest countries in the world.

12. It’s legal to drink on the street in Copenhagen.

13. The Danish like being on time, but not early.

14. The Prime Minister, Vice Prime Minister and Queen of Denmark are all female.

15. Denmark has a whole lotta pigs so pork is a very popular dish.

Frederik’s Church

I don’t know if it’s the air, the sense of chill or just being on vacation, but my friend and I both agreed that we are really happy today. We like Denmark so far!

Black girl in Copenhagen | The Girl Next Door is Black