After a serene 2 days in Malmö, I hopped on the train to Copenhagen. On the way, I met a nice English man from Plymouth who was frequently in the area for business. He was lost alongside me in the train station and decided to follow me because (he later told me) 1. I spoke perfect English, and 2. I looked like I knew where I was going (spoiler: I did not). The comical introduction lead to nice conversation and an invite to visit his beach home in Plymouth next time I was across the pond (don't worry mom, he was 60-something and showed me pics of his adorable grandchildren. Creep level 0%).
When I arrived in Copenhagen, I checked in at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. I will preface my experience here saying that there is nothing wrong with the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. It was a lovely hostel with kind employees and a well-kept common area. That being said, I dropped my bags into the sardine-sized 4-person room my key gave me access to, went to the lounge, pulled out my laptop, had a small meltdown (I was tired and hungry), and booked an Airbnb. Although I had been excited to be in a more social environment and finally maybe meet some new people (what are socializing???), I unexpectedly discovered that a hostel filled with rowdy young adults holding pints of beer and eating a $2 hostel dinner was not where I wanted to spend my precious time on this trip. I had a lot of feels about the whole situation (my mom can attest - I called her probably 20 times and made her think I was dying or something. Sorry mom).
Shoutout to Dane, a kind fellow who sat with me at the hostel while I waited for my Airbnb to be cleaned. He also hailed from the west coast, we shared our adventures, and he shared a tasty quiche with me. Dane, you probably wouldn't have sat next to me if you had met me 45 minutes sooner. Thanks for reminding me of goodness on an overwhelming day.
Long story short, one Uber ride later I made it to my darling Airbnb at 11pm. It was everything I could've asked for - clean, stylish, cozy and well curated. 10/10 would recommend.
(Available for booking here.)
My lovely Airbnb was right down the street from the Design Museum, so naturally it was my first stop. I was greeted with the most intricate, inspiring embroidery and fiber work and more chairs in one gallery than I could fathom. There were dozens of styles of interior design and plans for alternative cities that had me all heart eyes.
I wandered down the street to Nyhaven (in typical tourist fashion), and spent a quiet afternoon enjoying lunch and people watching. Though a very touristy area, the buildings are more beautiful in person than in any Copenhagen postcard. They stand proudly with a dull brilliance of what once was, while holding history behind dozens of single-pane windows.
Although probably the most touristy attraction I could've chosen to go on, I took a canal tour of the city with a tour guide who spoke more languages than I could count. I actually learned so much more about the city than I would've in my few days of exploration. The frigid sea mist covered my glasses, and I soaked up every frozen second of the ride.
This is the little buddy that accompanied me throughout the city during my time in Copenhagen. He was a sweet little 3-speed, and a joy to ride. I found myself staying out much past dark simply riding through alleyways and side streets simply for the joy of riding in such a bike-friendly city. I took less photographs than I normally would because I was cruising on my bike most of my days, but it was refreshing to enjoy the city on two wheels. Thanks to all of the friends who encouraged me to experience Copenhagen on bike!
I booked my bike through Donkey Republic, and though I did have some trouble locating my first bike, we sorted out the situation and I was able to rent a second. Their app is easy to use, and you can extend the rental of your bike over wifi, which was helpful so many times!
In the midst of missing my Smuffcat, I stumbled upon a darling cat cafe tucked away on a side street. My heart was beaming as I parked my bike and scurried towards the entrance. I sipped on a soy chai latte, threw around toys for the more playful cats, and spent a solid hour with tiny fur paws in my lap, drowning in kitty snuggles.
At this point in my trip, I was tired and starting to miss home. A seemingly unassuming cafe filled my heart and lifted my spirits more than they will ever know. I am grateful.
An ode to my love, the Belgian waffle. I still dream of you, my dear. Someday we will meet again.
Copenhagen, you were not what I expected. Though your food was delicious and streets bike-welcoming, you had a way of slapping me in the face with realizations that I needed to make. You were not the experience I anticipated, but I left you feeling more sure of my place in this life.