In our three days in Copenhagen, we were completely spoiled with the most beautiful weather. Jimmy still has a tan line from his watch and I have a tan line from my loafers- I fear both will be there all year.
So on our second full day, we decided to do as the Danes do and rent bikes from our hotel. Fortunately, it would seem that nearly every hotel in Copenhagen rents bikes. Even better is the fact that the cycling-infrastructure in the city makes it a total breeze to ride around in your own protected lane through traffic, over bridges and even around round-abouts. Each bike is equipped with a built-in locking system which, in combination with the low theft rate, makes leaving your bike while exploring an attraction completely safe!
We were staying just a few metro stops north of the city center in Ørestads, off the Bella Center metro stop. Between us and the center was a beautiful, sprawling nature park, Amagerfælled. As we tootled our way through, weaving trough the dirt paths and under rows of drooping trees, we saw a crane gliding above a reedy pond, couple lounging on rolling berms, colorful art installations and families feeding water fowl over pedestrian bridges. We stopped and enjoyed a refreshment from our complimentary mini bar at a picnic table before continuing on towards our next stop: Tivoli Gardens.
(Also in this area, for the architecturally curious, are a number of fantastic housing developments by well known Scandinavian firms. Most notable is Mountain Dwellings by BIG, a Danish-based, internationally known firm. They are also currently contracted for the Kimball Art Museum in Park City, among others)
As I was researching our trip to Copenhagen, I kept reading that Tivoli Gardens was a must see. I even found it on a top-500 list for sights around the world. As the second oldest operating amusement park in the world and a source of inspiration for Walt Disney, himself, it certainly seemed like something we simply could not ignore.
Travelers Tip: When you purchase your canal cruise tickets, be sure to also buy your tickets for Tivoli Gardens. Not only will you save a significant amount of money on the group ticket, but you will also skip the Box Office line and go straight into the “Pre-Paid Ticket” line.
Now, I have been to Disney World and I freaking love it. So I walked into Tivoli- an old amusement park in the middle of a city -expecting to be completely underwhelmed. But even upon walking through the main gates, that same gleeful excitement came to me. Everything was bright and happy; even the small construction zone on a new attraction was lined with fun-house mirrors in a way that it took me a while to notice what it was. There are bright groomed gardens and ornate pavilions and those tell-tale amusement park noises of joy all around. Oh, and extremely clean restrooms.
We first took a tour around the park: gardens, oriental theaters, restaurants on pirate ships and in elegant terraces, fountains and -of course- rides! After surveying our options, we stopped for lunch in a sunny spot before continuing on for Oreo milkshakes and a final walk through the remaining park. Neither of us felt the need to wait in line for any of the rides, though it did look like they were moving quite quickly. There was a very nice variety of rides, from cork-screw roller coasters and high flying swings to bumper boats and child-friendly options. Be prepared: ride tickets are purchased separately from the entry ticket. There are kiosks around the park where these can be purchased by credit card.
(Oh! Also really awesome is that no matter what drink you purchase to walk around with- from beer to milkshakes- they are served in plastic cups that can be returned before exiting for some change back! What a great way to recycle!)
Having viewed Tivoli Gardens as an obligatory stop before our visit, I came out very pleasantly surprised. If you are traveling with young children, it should certainly make its way towards the top of your list. Other wise, I think it is a great stop for a few entertaining hours of the day, so long as your trip is not rushed!
The rest of this day was spent exploring Christiana (see previous post) and then taking a long, relaxing happy hour at our hotel. Exhausted from a busy weekend the weekend before, as well as a long travel day previous and a very active day, we rode our bikes to the nearby Marriot Hotel for dinner at one of their restaurants before crashing for the night. I think, also, that we simply were not used to all of the sun and wind and water and it really zapped our energy! Oh these weird Finnish side-affects!
On our very last day, we started the morning with a slow breakfast in our hotel lounge before taking the metro in towards Rosenborg Castle, where we spent the early afternoon wandering the exceedingly charming manicured gardens and “Ooh”ing and “Aaahh”ing the gorgeous Dutch Renaissance castle. Built in 1606 as a country residence for the Danish Royals, it now houses a small but important collection of Danish Royal artifacts, including Crown Jewels and the Coronation Carpet. Tour of the interior are available most days of the week, depending on the season. Even if you do not take an interior tour, at least take a stroll through the grounds and enjoy a small taste of royal “country” living. Ahhh…..
Famished after a whole morning of acting pretentious and parading through gardens, we made our way back to the city to finally indulge in the Copenhagen Street Food that we had heard so much about.
Along the main canal, a warehouse district has been transformed into the hottest place in town: a children’s discovery science center right next to a street food mecca. Skipping right over the science center (which I really would have loved, but I love food more. Plus, I would have gotten too into it and pushed kids out of the way to play with the experiments!) we perused the three aisles of stands-Italian, pulled duck burgers with duck fat fries, middle eastern, Asian, BBQ…everything!- before deciding on our first round of food: mojitos. Which I sipped while guarding 2 spots on the out side picnic tables while Jimmy went in for some deep fried pork dumplings and some Korean-Thai dish. Then we had sushi. Then we had Brazilian BBQ. Then we just settled for a pitcher of beer while we dangled our bare feet over the edge of the canal and watched boats go by for most of the afternoon. There was plenty of sun and entertainment to keep us there all afternoon, from a mostly naked bachelor party to a full marching band on a canal boat (so, a floating band?).
Can you think of a better way to end a lovely city break? With a pitcher of beer on a sunny afternoon with that handsome face smiling at you?
Yeah, neither can I.
Copenhagen for the win. It is officially down as one of my favorite weekend get aways yet! Maybe it was just the fine weather- but, then again, we seem to have a great time where ever we go!
We are so happy to be so busy this summer! We have some fantastic destinations coming up, so be sure to follow along!