Copenhagen was very much a last minute holiday. My lovely husband was jetting off for a stag weekend and rather than being left at home I booked a very cheap last minute flight to Copenhagen. Only after I had booked the flight I realised why they were so cheap – there was absolutely no accommodation left in the city! Apparently September is conference season – and on this particular weekend, all the ophthalmologists in Europe descend on the city.
Luckily after some very lengthy phone calls, I managed to secure myself a bed in an 8 bed dorm room in a downtown hostel located in the red light district…….
In fact this turned out to be one of the funnest aspects of the trip (the hostel – not the red light district. 🙂 It’s been a while since my travelling days and I had forgotten how lovely a good hostel can be. I met so many lovely people and even made a few new friends. In my room alone I met one of the aforementioned ophthalmologists, a yoga teacher on a retreat, a law student from the US and an ambulance driver from Tenerife who claimed that solo holidays were her version of therapy. All lovely, friendly and interesting people.
Now, down to business. I want to tell you about my favourite places in and around Copenhagen:
- Finn Juhl’s house. If you are an architecture and furniture design nut like me, then I don’t think i will need to explain my excitement at happening upon this stunning find in the middle of the countryside.
I have been a huge fan of the (very sadly) late starchitect Zaha Hadid. And nearly fell over myself in excitement when I happened upon a photo of the Odrupgaard Museum outside of Copenhagen. I will tell you more about this museum later, but while there I came across this neighbouring building that is open to the public.
It’s a treasure trove of mid-century modern EVERYTHING. Like, look at those armchairs and sofa. And the art on the walls. Ughhhhhh, if only it was lived in. As usual these un-lived in ‘museum’ houses just feel a bit cold. Really they need a family or live-in owner to keep them feeling alive! I visited the Homewood – one of the earliest modernist houses built in Britain. As part of bequeathing it to the National Trust, the designer/owner stipulated that it be lived in by a family, whilst also open to the public on certain dates throughout the year. While visiting there, the warmth of family life could still be felt and it was great to know that the house was being loved, enjoyed and cared for as well as lived in.
I thoroughly believe that homes were built to be lived in and certainly loose most of their joy when turned into full time museum pieces.
I can’t believe I forgot to add a photo of the art work on the right of this photo below. It was so beautiful. Will try and find it and add it to this blog post.
2. The Odrupgaard Museum. And secondly, this is the magnificent extension to the Odrupgaard Museum designed by Zaha Hadid. I don’t even think that any words are needed to describe how new and forward and yet strangely organic this building is. It reminds me of a mitochondrian. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s due to my leaving cert biology drawing skills (or lack thereof) rather than any sensible reason.
Also, I nearly died with delight when I found out that there was a Monet retrospective in residence. I had missed it when it was shown at the RA in London. And could not believe my luck that I had happened upon it so randomly here. I love Monet. I love the ethereal light and colour of his images and the magical beauty. How he captures the mood and not just the image. To me his art is the closest thing in oil paint to God. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the art – after going to a convent primary school and living in fear of being told off by the nuns, I am loath to break any rules. So no rule breaking here.
3. Cycling around Copenhagen. I might have mentioned in other posts how cycling just automatically puts a smile on my face. Combine that with blue skies, super stylish city and fabulously comfy bikes – yes, i am in heaven.
Copenhagen is the coolest place that I have been and might even be the most beautiful and perfect city that I have ever visited. I and my new friends from the hostel kept talking about how we wanted to live here! Except, we might need to confirm that once we experience it in the depth of winter. But really – it was perfect!
4. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. And now for this stunner – it’s silly really that this is number 4 on the list – it could easily be number 1 if there weren’t just so many wonderful places in Denmark. About 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen central station, and then another 15 minute walk lies this stunning waterside modern art museum.
The gardens are full of huge sculptures and installations that add to an already inspiring scene.
Swimmers and kayakers took full advantage of the mild weather and still sea.
Tree lined paths lead to the other art filled buildings.
And huge windows overlooked, quite possibly, the most picturesque lake that I’ve seen in awhile.
Apparently the place is called Louisianna after the original owners three wives – all named Louise.
5. Tivoli Gardens and the Anderson Bakery next door (best kanelsnegl and spanderbauer ever!) I try to avoid gluten wherever I can but every now and again the discomfort is well worth it. And Danish pastries from this famous bakery are probably the most delicious pastries that I have ever eaten! Big claim – I know! I brought home a gift of 10 pastries for Edd………..I may have eaten most of them on the plane ….
I took one of the free walking tours of the city and met some really lovely people – we ended up going for dinner at Paper Island (possibly the only cheap place to eat in the city) after the tour and then on a high of new friendships decided to check out the Tivoli garden theme park. Little did we know that there was a serious heavy metal concert on that night. I quietly snuck away back to the hostel and ended up going for a far more low key cocktail in a trendy bar with one of my new hostel friends. Far more to my taste!
6. Freetown Christiana. Christiana is the antithesis to Copenhagen and is delightfully messy after the pristine tidiness of the rest of the city. Set up in the 70’s by a group of hippies, Christiana is home to an alternative hippy lifestyle. Although sadly there is a bit of a drug problem here. The week before I visited a drug pusher shot a policeman who was still seriously ill in hospital at the time of my visit. After this tragedy, the Christiana ‘government’ banned drug sales from the commune. Now the drug pushers gather on park benches around the entrances. The story continues…
8. Paper Island AKA Papieren. People! Eating out in Copenhagen is expensive! However Papieren holds the answer – a cool warehouse full of food stalls that aren’t allowed to charge more than some affordable amount of money (that I can’t remember). Also, it opens up onto the river and at this time of year is party central in the sun.
One of my many new friends from this holiday.
9. Boat picnics. If I had been here with a group of friends or a hen party I would definitely have hired one of these – they looked like great fun – boat around the canals, eat and drink at a little picnic table in the middle of the boat.
10. And finally – staying in a hostel and meeting loads of nice people was a huge highlight and eyeopener. It reminded me that meeting lovely new people is far more exciting and fun than staying in a stylish hotel. You don’t need much money to have a good time! I also especially enjoyed the free walking tours and found them really funny.