Monday, March 12, 2012

Copenhagen: Flashback to December

Copenhagen in December
In an effort to remind myself just How Damn Good Life Really Is, I'm reflecting back a few months. We were very lucky this past Christmas to have been invited to escape the construction mess and instead spend the holidays with my in-laws for a week in Paris. We decided to take the opportunity to have an 8-hour layover in Copenhagen and spend the day enjoying another Nordic capital in the days leading up to Christmas before we headed further south.

Overlooking a canal with quaint
buildings behind us
It was hovering around freezing and overcast, but we were prepared with stroller, snowsuit and layers of wool (like any good Norwegians). We spent the majority of the day walking around the center of Copenhagen, window shopping and enjoying a tasty lunch accompanied by a strongly alcoholic mug of gløgg, a specialty Nordic holiday drink of spices and wine and rum. I had only had the norsk grocery store bottled version, which I now swear to never drink again 'cause the Danish version was killer.

As darkness approached around 4pm, we headed to the Tivoli--the permanent carnival located in the center of Copenhagen. It was filled with Christmas trees, and covered with lights. We were quite shocked at the entrance fee to even just walk around (slips my mind now how much it was, but maybe $30 for the family??) and we limited our rides to a single carousel ride and mini-ferris wheel. It was enough. We had all woken at 4:30am to catch the train to the airport and Greta had napped all of 30 minutes in the stroller. And the day was young: we wouldn't be arriving into Paris until nearly 10pm.

Double-decker carousel at night in Tivoli
I was surprised, impressed and charmed by the grandeur of Copenhagen, even in the bleak gray daytime. It still had a very sensible Scandinavian feel to it--hordes of cyclists commuting through the streets and everyone bundled up against the cold--but it felt different from Oslo. Oslo lacks much of the truly old, ornate, impressive architecture that gives European cities such a distinctive feel, but it wasn't until I visited Copenhagen that I really was able to recognize that myself. When the grand stately buildings in Copenhagen were being built, Norway was the poorest land in Europe and Denmark owned it. That explains a lot.

We hope to visit again, hopefully in a brighter, warmer time of year, and with a little more than 8 hours (and $30) to spend.


  1. I swear I have a photo of myself standing at that same bridge from umpteen years ago. I too was in Copenhagen for under a day. Did you see the little mermaid in the harbor? Or have I mixed up my cities? Now I want to go back....

  2. You're right, that's Copenhagen. But we didn't walk up far enough to see it; Erik said it was a little small and unimpressive, and I figured we'd be back with more time on our hands next time.