Sunday, October 18, 2015

travelogue: copenhagen, we go

After iceland, our very veins needed to slow down.

We needed one bed to sleep in every night for many consecutive days; we needed simple decisions like what to eat and how much of it should include cheese; we even needed, yes, less magnificent landscapes so our eyes and hearts could ease off of exploding every few seconds in disbelief.

We needed Copenhagen.

For my friend that is about to go on a solo mission to CPH, I've written out some details for her trip
(but also for you and you-- you should go! and also for me, for next time). If you don't like details, skip!

Quick Facts/ FAQ's

We went from: July 30th to August 4th

Season: Summer. By which I mean, long sleeves almost always, and a jacket and socks at night. It felt like early spring in Vancouver, with evenings that were cooler because of the city wind.

Accommodations: We stayed in the very fun and hip neighborhood of Nørrebro, at this Airbnb. Louise was an absolutely gracious host and the value for the price is unbeatable, in my opinion. It honestly felt like a European version of living in our East Van house. The area itself is so great-- you could spend your entire staycation there if you wanted, with the nearby street of Jægersborggade full of little independently owned shops of trinkets, contemporary and vintage fashion, bakeries, modern + clean drinking holes, a cacti plant store, a chocolatier...

Transportation: The easiest. From taking the airport metro to city centre, the bus ride to our apartment, to the renting of bikes to zip all over the city. The bike paths are unreal. So streamlined. We paid roughly $40 CDN to rent two bicycles for two days. Expect to pay between 50-80 DKK ($10-15) for a daily rental.

Clothing: I wish I had had access to my blazers and knit sweaters and cute oxfords. On this five week trip, we were going to such polar opposite places (Iceland vs. hot armpit Venice), that I couldn't fit this demographic of my clothes-friends in. I kinda made do with the warmest layers of my camping stuff, especially at night. The vainest parts of me wanted to tell every tall, statuesque, impeccably dressed Danish woman I saw: Just see me back home! I stylish!

Weird fact: Recycling / composting is hard to come by, more so than any country we visited on the trip. It was bizarre. Especially for a country where you see the wind turbines out of the airplane window as you land, and the lack of family-owned vehicles.

On Food:




B: *burp*

J: *fart*

Yeah. That's all we did here.

For the whole year preceding this trip, I dreamt big of Noma. I researched it, tried to score a reservation, reasoned: if we only swing by this part of the world once, isn't it our essential moral obligation to go to the best restaurant in the world? But. At some point, we got scared (what if after paying a month's rent on one meal, it doesn't live up to the hype?) and didn't want to risk the emotional scarring on an already expensive trip. I was sad. Peaceful, but sad.

Instead, we filled our gullet with other things. Pictured above, was part of the four-course lunch menu at Relæ, whose head chef worked at Noma.

We also biked to Torvehallerne, a massive indoor/outdoor food hall with many, many stalls crammed with things you want to empty your wallet for. We did our diligent duty by getting very full, and then eating some more. The best fish (and okay chips), our first smørrebrød (cold Danish open faced sandwich with elaborate toppings), samples, and lugged home a bounty of chanterelles, manchego, pesto, heirloom tomatoes. B made a delicious pasta with our haul, and we rewarded ourselves with a netflix marathon on the couch. The usual.

I  went to Lagkagehuset, a super popular chain bakery in Denmark, an embarrassing number of times over the four days. After all, this country is where the real authentic Danish was born, and the prototype far outshines that dry pastry with neon yellow goop you get at Safeway. I ate my first one while lounging in a cemetery-- the national (?) past time of Danes. Then I checked out where Hans Christian Anderson is buried, and hurried back to the bakery to get two more. #drugaddict

On What to Do:

We treated this second leg of our massive trip as a staycation, so it might look different than what you intend to do. Honestly, there were two days where B and I didn't stray very far from our couch, our bed, our fridge-- we did laundry, we wandered, we went on little walks.

Essentially, we blinked like little newborn baby lambs and recuperated from all the action we had experienced the week before.

After some nurturing and nesting, we ventured out. This was our biggest adventure:

Lots can be accomplished in one day. A packed lunch to go in my wicker basket. 40 minute bike ride up the coast. Impromptu stop along the way so B can get his fill of water, that swimming fiend.

We reach the forest, the park. We tiptoe onto a log surrounded by stinging nettle so we can spy on any meandering deer. I am elated: we see one! then two! then four!

I think that is all the wonder and magic we will see-- how can there be more? We round the corner on our bikes. A herd of babies gallop by. We hide in bushes and to seem them better and I try not to cry.

We move on. Heading up the hill towards the old palatial building, we literally see a field of antlers. I almost throw up on the spot. If I had, it would have been the kind with sprinkles and confetti and sequins-- so in other words, it was the best kind. You can see in the video that my eyes are about to actually burst.

On our way out of the park, there are hundreds upon hundreds just hanging out in the gathering dusk.

What is this completely amazing place?

These moments shoot up to claim their place as one of the top memories of my lifetime.

When I look back at these photos, all I can think is that even though we've been before, I would not hesitate to go back. It's hard to describe.

 I very much yearn for new countries, and as there are so many, it becomes harder for me as I get older, and vacations get fewer, and money gets lesser, to commit to landing in an already-visited country yet again.

This one, though. Yes I would.

Maybe it was the right one at the right time of our trip, but it holds a very special place in our bodies: that rememberance of how it cocooned us like a mama's embrace, and led us to rest enough so that we had the heart space to be best buddies and partners again.

After the magical, calm, hygge elixer that is Copenhagen, we kicked ass as teammates for the rest of the trip.

Thank you X one million deer, you graceful beauty. See you again.


  1. If you ever come visit the Bay Area, we have a big deer family that hangs out on our driveway and in our yard (INSIDE the "deer-proof" fence).

    1. Sweet! That's cheaper than flying back to CPH.