Pick 5 friends who know each other since a long time, since when working was just an ugly mirage, who made a lot of crazy things together. Scatter them around Europe and choose one European capital to hold a reunion on a weekend. Federica (you already know me) from London (UK), Silvia from Zurich (Switzerland), Martina from Delft (Holland), Veronica and Serena from Bergamo and Pavia (Italy). 30 years old, but we don’t look our age. Selected city: Copenhagen.
Here we are for the first edition of this wonderful annual meeting that might become even more frequent. You know, the soul mate is male, but when you meet other 4 soul mates who are your best friends… Skype is not enough!
The first day slip away because of the journey, we all come from different airports and at different times. I’m the first one to arrive.
I get in contact with Jonathan, our Airbnb host, and meet him to get the keys of the flat we have rented. The flat is located in Nørrebro, which is one of the ten official districts of Copenhagen. The area is known for its multiculturalism and over the past few years has become a destination for young danish people.
Our apartment reflects the multiculturalism of the area: as described, it is very cosy and welcoming, furnished with pieces from all over the world mixed together.
Finally, around midnight, the gang is reunited.
After chattering and gossiping, we all go to bed: we need to wake up early in the morning to start exploring the city.
The weather, alas, is not on our side. We wake up in the morning with rain and icy wind which will be our faithful companions for most part of our stay. Nevertheless we are not intimidated and shouting the claim “the cold keeps us young” we begin to wander looking for the best places to visit.
1-Central Copenhagen and Nyhavn
Our first stop is the old town. Copenhagen is not so big and you can move easily around by public transport, walking or cycling (if it was sunny, everything would be nicer…). The bike, as it is in most Scandinavian cities, is preferred by locals. We decide to go for public transportation, timely and frequent, and we move towards the city center.
After a quick breakfast and a walk through the streets of Slotsholmen, we head to Chistiansborg Palace, that used to be the Royal Palace and today is the seat of the Danish Parliament.
The bitter wind doesn’t allow us to pause to admire the beauty of the building and forces us to keep moving. We move towards Nyhavn: do you have in mind the classic postcard depicting Copenhagen with colourful houses overlooking the Canal? Well, this is Nyhavn, the ancient port and one of the main tourist attraction. Impossible not to take more than one picture here.
2-Paper Island (Papirøen)
From Nyahvn is easy to move to Paper Island: just cross the Inderhavnsbroen bridge linking the West to the East of Copenhagen. This modern 180 metres long bridge consists of two lanes, one for pedestrians and one, of course, for bicycles. In 10 minutes walking we arrive in Paper Island and its famous Street Food Market. Old containers adapted to bar or restaurant, wooden tables, food from every corner of the globe: for our hungry mouths this is heaven!
We take a look at all the stalls before deciding which specialty to eat. At the end, we decide to try the traditional Danish “smørrebrød”. Literally smørrebrød means “bread and butter”: a slice of buttered rye bread (rugbrød) topped as desired. We tried the one with fresh salmon, yogurt sauce, lemon and cress, and the one with potatoes, fried onions and fresh chives. Copenhagen is known for being an expensive city and street food market is a great way to spend the righteous and have good food in a hip environment!
A few steps from the Street Food Market you can find a city within the city. Christiania was founded in 1961 by a hippy community. Since then, Christiania is one of the few testimonies of an independent community recognized by the State. Since 2011 it has been made accessible to tourists. Walking in Christiania is like taking a dip in a parallel reality: colored houses, graffiti on every building, people dressed like in a 70’s musical. Despite taking pictures is banned, residents are really tolerant and accustomed to tourists who crowd the streets of the town during the weekend.
4-Kastellet and The Little Mermaid
Our third (and last) day in Copenhagen begins with a must see: the famous Little Mermaid. I have to admit it, I feel a bit disappointed by this famous danish statue. No big deal, massive queue to see it and take a picture. Almost like being able to approach the Mona Lisa at the Louvre: mission impossible! We take just a few pictures from above and continue towards Kastellet, star-shaped fortification within walking distance from the Little Mermaid.
Kastellet is a Citadel which includes several churches, a windmill and five bastions: Kongens, Dronningens, Grevens, Prinsessens and Prinsens. As we are freezing (or just starving), we decide to stay in the area for lunch. We are pleasantly surprised by Babette, a restaurant located below the hotel with the same name. Run by a very nice girl from Tuscany, the restaurant offers delicious dishes prepared with organic ingredients and seasonal vegetables. We go for for crostini with fresh sardines and the soup of the day served with carrots and curry. Highly recommended if you are in the area and your stomach starts to gurgle!
5-Nikolaj Kunsthal – Contemporary Art Museum
Last stop before leaving is the Nikolaj contemporary art museum Kunsthal. We are attracted, rather than for the current exhibition, for the fact that the Museum is inside a gothic style church. An evocative atmosphere lead us during the discovery of a video installation by the German artist Julian Rosefeldt.
Unfortunately, it’s time to leave. Looking forward for the next trip with my girls!
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