A First-Timers Guide To Copenhagen


She didn’t move much, that Mermaid…

Denmark and Sweden in 5 days? Well I have Danish ancestors19th century vintage, so sooner or later a trip to Copenhagen was going to be in order, and I immediately felt at home: a lot of the men were blonde/gingery, tall, young and handsome, so I fit right in. Apart from the tall bit. And the handsome thing is a stretch to be fair. Obv I’m not ACTUALLY young, of course. And my hair is more grey than off-blonde or ginger-ish lately. Apart from that though I fit in fine.


Looking over the sea to Sweden

First impression of Copenhagen? Bicycles. Cyclists everywhere, young, older, male, female, chatting into mobile phones while cycling with one relaxed hand. Tweeting with no hands. You see this is all fine, cos cars don’t rule the roads, the bike lanes are given just as much priority and its the quickest way round the city. Unlike the UK, cyclists don’t have to wear lycra and 2 grand for a state-of-the-art bike, bone-shakers are fine and padlocks not needed.


Tivoli Gardens, through a distorted mirror. I think.

My fluency in languages is legendary. Start with a local greeting (“hi”) followed by whatever i want in English usually works for me. Happily in surprisingly cosmopolitan Copenhagen everyone speaks perfect English. Which is more than I can say, for example, people born in exotic places like Essex and my hometown Mansfield.


Twisty building Malmo

Vegetarians have a challenge. Find something without pork products. I am exaggerating. Most of the breakfast cereals had very little bacon in them, and the croissants only occasionally. Invariably that means aimless walking trying to find a place that was suitable for everyone. Happily, our visit coincided with the midsummer festival. This meant bonfires in every bit of public open space, picnics and booze into the night, and a right good ol’ party atmosphere. It also meant students driving round town in all sorts of large vehicles celebrating end of term, or their fave lager, or something, wearing sailor hats Popeye style, with bangin’ music and shouting and honking horns and mega vuvuzelas and alcohol and singing. So there was much street life to keep us entertained from first thing in the morning, all day, all evening, and a bit of the night. I was quite envious. My uni course was a meal and everyone drifting off into the sunset one by one. Here, and also in Malmo, Sweden, it was a big bang, on lorries, on boats, on military vehicles, on cycles, on foot, on open top lorries, Sherman tanks, space shuttles and amphibious landing craft. Im lying a bit there. No one walked.



On sunday we got the train to Sweden, over the sea by bridge. Internet, plenty of seats, every 20 minutes to Malmo, smooth, all mod cons, a revelation. One day I dream the UK might have trains. I didn’t even have to show my passport and the ticket checker was a bright and helpful lady. People to help everywhere wherever you go, and not just one on duty, there were literally dozens walking round away from the many many booths and self-help machines. And the toilets! Clean, and prolific, and free. Not just in tourist areas. EVERYWHERE we went there were public toilets in both countries. There were more in half a square city mile than in the whole of tourist-dependant Bournemouth – away from the seafront, there are no more than about 10. Fortunately us Brits are used to walking around in incontinence pants to avoid the piss dripping down our legs, a real social faux pas!


A Windmill In Old…Malmo

Copengagen has many beautiful historic old buildings. Loved the Round Tower, and astronomer Tycho Brahe connections. I was impressed I almost chopped my nose off in trubute. After 4 days the novelty wears off though and you long for the odd council housing estate just to stay grounded. Malmo too, not to mention impressive new architecture in new developments. As I say though, it was Sunday, so Sweden was closed for the day. The weather was cool, showery, overcast, with just an occasional peak of a small yellowish thing in the grey sky. Midsummer. The whole 5 days. Now I know how they feel in Scotland (love and condolences!).


Inside The Round Tower

Health and safety gone mad is how the right-wing British press like to characterise the EU. That most certainly is not my experience. Being practical and not moaning about everything is how i see it. That said, climbing 6 flights of hotel stairs, while they were sanding down, polythene on steps, planks blowing off fire escape half done roof tiling, banging works from 7am to 4pm each day, and scaffolding by all windows wasn’t what I was expecting for 800 pounds for 5 nights. Its not cheap!


Copenhagen waterfront

So, anyway, hope that helps with what to expect and to do…