I just returned from Copenhagen, Denmark and my legs are extremely sore from all of the walking! I had an amazing time and it was so great to see my long lost friend Maggie. I also got to meet her awesome friends from school. Copenhagen was sort of a last-minute decision for me, so I planned a fairly short trip. I got there Friday afternoon and left late Sunday morning. However, I packed A LOT of fun into that small amount of time.
It was my first time back to the Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol) since arriving in Leiden. It turns out you miss a lot when you’re loopy and jet lagged. I didn’t realize how huge and gorgeous the airport was before. I felt very comfortable there. As usual, I arrived extremely early because I’m paranoid. So, I had plenty of time to explore as I waited for my flight. The flight was just one hour long – a piece of cake compared to the seven hour flight I took to get here.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Denmark was look for an ATM. Unfortunately, Denmark does not use the Euro. The Danish Krone (usually just referred to as Kroner) was extremely difficult to get used to. I made sure to check the conversion before leaving. One Euro was equal to about 7.44 Kroner. That makes it seem like I could leave with tons of souvenirs and barely spend a thing, but that’s not the case. Denmark’s cost of living is extremely high. I got water at a restaurant and it was 19 Kroner. That converts to about 2.55 Euro. Water here usually costs about 2.40 Euro. So, things cost about the same amount of money in Denmark, it was just really hard to get used to handing over such a high number of bills for something so small.
After withdrawing some money, I went to buy a metro ticket. The airport was extremely packed, so I waited quite a while to purchase my ticket. My hostel very kindly provided directions from the airport. They even told me which zone I’d need to purchase my ticket for and which metro line I needed to get on. It was smooth sailing until I actually got into the city. The directions I had from my hostel were a little confusing, and Europeans seem to prefer to get everywhere by memory. Street signs are always extremely hard to locate. I finally found tiny signs attached to the buildings (because that makes sense). It was really dark, so I was kind of terrified, and I had to get really close to the signs to see what they said.
I assumed my slow walking, confused face, and desperate attention to the map on my phone was making me look like a complete idiot. Apparently all of the locals look like that, because someone stopped me and asked me for directions. “I’m sorry…I’m not from here either,” I said. The woman looked almost upset with me. I don’t know if she thought I was lying or something, but I promise you I’m not Danish.
Fiiiinally I got on the right track and found my hostel. I was probably only lost for about ten minutes, but it felt like hours. Copenhagen is very safe, but being alone in a busy city in the dark is still a tiny bit scary. My hostel was AWESOME! The little dorm rooms were so cute, my bed was comfy, the shower was warm, we had two big windows, and that’s just the room. On the first floor there was a bar, game room, computer room, lounge, a fancy seating area…it was insane. I was very impressed and shocked. As much as I wanted to continue exploring, I knew Maggie was waiting for me. I checked in quickly, locked all my stuff up, and headed out.
Since I was in the heart of the city, finding the place Maggie was meeting me was actually really easy. I got to walk on one of the coolest streets ever. There were lots of shops that I wanted to check out. When I found the place, it turned out to be a really cool student bar/cafe/hangout place. Maggie’s school was holding a networking thing there, and she didn’t see it being an issue if I joined her. It was really fun, and I got a free meal out of it.
The next day, I woke up way too early. I expected that because I rarely sleep very well in a new environment. I’m probably going to have to do something about that. To kill time before I was supposed to meet up with Maggie, I walked up and down that street I really liked. Shopping is fantastic in Copenhagen. Everything just feels a little bit fancier and more clean. The safeness I’d heard about in Copenhagen was not a joke – people would walk into stores and just leave their babies outside in their strollers. I’m not kidding. The food staples in Copenhagen seemed to be hot dogs and waffles on a stick (I tried a sample – it was wonderful). There were stands and kiosks for hot dogs everywhere, and I could smell the waffle stands from a mile away. It was also fashion week (how lucky was that?), so EVERYTHING was on sale. I was a happy camper.
By the time I finished up my shopping, it was time to meet Maggie again. She walked me around Copenhagen and showed me some really cool buildings including the Royal Library and the Black Diamond (a newer, more modern half of the library). We also saw lots of other cool buildings…maps sometimes made it hard to know what building we were actually looking at, but hey, they were pretty. She also showed me where she goes to school.
After that, we met up with Maggie’s friend Kristina (who was awesome) and had lunch at a place called Joe and the Juice. It was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been to. The place specialized in smoothies and sandwiches. I got a smoothie called the Iron Man, so that was fantastic (and delicious). That’s not the most interesting part, though. Every employee was male. The music was loud and full of fun. The guys were dancing around behind the counter, juggling cups and fruit, laughing and joking. When I ordered, the guy behind the register said, “Of course. But only because you’re cute.” When he asked me for my name he said, “Aaah a beautiful name!” Even signs outside the door were flirty. One of the doors was broken, so there was a sign that said, “Darling, please use the other door.” Needless to say, most of the customers at this place were female.
Later, we met up with more of Maggie’s friends and walked to The Little Mermaid statue and Nyhavn. Nyhavn is always the first sight that seems to come up when you read about Copenhagen online, but it wasn’t that crazy for me. It was gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. I think I’m just a little spoiled by Leiden and Amsterdam. The canals are so gorgeous and there are crazy cute buildings everywhere, so it was kind of weird to me that people are so attracted to the site. It makes sense for a place like Copenhagen, though. The city is very big and busy. There’s tons of traffic and lots of movement. Nyhavn was kind of a peaceful separation from all that, and the pretty buildings and boats make it that much more magical.
We went out for dinner and drinks that night, and I had a great time. The beer is much better in the Netherlands, just so you know. I’m so thankful that Maggie’s friends were so welcoming and fun. As I said before, it was also great to finally see Maggie. The plan is for me to meet her when she and a friend come to Amsterdam, so hopefully that works out!
Next up is London! Maya and I leave on Thursday and I am soooo excited. I’m trying really hard to keep these posts somewhat short, but there’s just so much to say! I appreciate the handful of you that continue to read. I promise I’m not offended if you just skim 🙂