So some of you may know that two weekends ago I hopped on a plane and flew (not me personally, I don’t fly planes) to Copenhagen to play for Netball Paris in Copenhagen’s International Tournament. Not only was I ridiculously excited to be reunited with some of the awesome people I met in Paris, I was also full to the brim with anticipation at the prospect of exploring a new city in a part of the world that I’ve never been to!
Some interesting facts about Copenhagen:
1. Copenhagen was founded over 1000 years ago in the 10th century and it originated as a Viking fishing village.
2. You know Disney’s The Little Mermaid? Well that is actually an adaptation of Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson’s Den lille havfrue, which has created many film, theatre, novel and opera adaptations, and caused one man to commission the build of a bronze statue of a sorrowful mermaid by the sea in Copenhagen, which is now one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Take a read of the original fairy tale, and I think you’ll come to appreciate how the word ‘adaptation’ should be applied very loosely when talking about the Disney film.
3. Denmark boasts (not sure if that’s the right word) the highest income tax in the world! Denmark’s highest earners can be taxed up to a whopping 57% of their income, ridiculous!
4. Given what I just wrote above, would you believe that according to surveys, people who live in Denmark are the happiest people in the world (whilst the UK ranked 22nd and France ranked 25th… merde). I know where I’ll be moving to when I graduate.
5. A major aspect of Danish culture can be summed up in the word hygge, pronounced hugh-guh. It’s hard to explain what it really means (a direct translation into English is cozy but there’s more to it than that), it’s all about spending time with your friends and family and relaxing together enjoying each other’s company, pretty cool huh? That’s totally hyggelig!
I was greeted at the airport by pal Erin who’d just landed from Paris. After struggling to make sense of the Metro ticket machine, we managed to buy a ticket and we jumped on a train and arrived in central Copenhagen just 12 minutes later (so much better than the 40 minute/1 hour journey we were used to with Paris). Once at the (super clean) central station, Erin and I got into full tourist mode, with our map open in full and we began to search the unfamiliar combinations of letters that made up the Copenhagen street names. Alas, our map reading skills (or lack of) failed us, and we succumbed to the iPhone and its Google maps app.
Upon arrival at Danhostel Copenhagen Downtown (website here), a colourful and welcoming hostel, with its guests getting merry and spilling out onto the pavement outside where they lounged on comfy looking cushions, beer in hand. Sitting in the reception come bar we found Elsa, fellow NP member, who had arrived the previous day. After checking into our room and dumping our bags we headed out to explore and eat.
We wondered down picturesque cobbled streets and past gorgeous Nordic buildings until we stumbled upon Riz Raz (website here), to which Erin chirped “I know this place, I’ve seen it on Trip Advisor!” and on that note we grabbed a table outside on the street, wrapped ourselves in the blankets that were draped over the chairs (blankets seemed to be offered at all restaurants with outside seating in this city) and gave our order to the waitress (who, like every other Dane I came across in Copenhagen, spoke perfect English). After we’d finished an impressively large jug of local beer, we all realised how tired we actually were and headed back to the hostel. The others arrived at about midnight, but I was dead to the world.
The following day was the tournament, we came 6th out of 8 teams, and we all had an amazing day, we even managed to make a name for ourselves and make some other teams jealous by watching the final match between Copenhagen and Stockholm whilst sipping on Carlsberg, go hard or go home!
That night we met up with the other teams for some food at Riz Raz (we obviously picked well the previous night) and we then moved on to a bar/club called Hornsleth (facebook page here). The bar was… un peu bizarre shall we say, with fake blood splatter on all the walls and ceilings, a lot of profanities written in big scripture and some vulgar paintings of certain anatomical features on the toilet doors. However, it was very urban and you could tell it was a top club as most of its clientele (us included of course) were dressed to the nines, and let me tell you… Danish men are bloody beautiful! Most of us partied until 3am, when we decided we’d danced enough we headed to Burger King on the main strip (a treat for the Parisians as BK isn’t in France) and were entertained by some very drunk Danes singing ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Blurred Lines’ to us whilst we ate.
Dinner at Riz Raz both nights, deffo try the buffet!
Some of the crazy wall art in Hornsleth
All of us (bar 3) in Hornsleth
The next day we awoke without any hangovers, and we all headed out for a walking tour of Copenhagen provided by an Australian guide. I only got to do an hour, so I didn’t manage to see Tivoli (the second oldest amusement park in the world) or the Little Mermaid statue, as I had a flight to catch (it really was a brief trip), but what I did get to see of Copenhagen was lovely. Everything is exceedingly clean and new. The locals always had a smile on their faces, and I was secretly pleased every time I walked into a shop or café and was greeting with a “hej hej” (“hi hi”), because it meant they thought I was a local, being tall and blonde does that! My trip was definitely too short, and it left me wanting to come back, so I could see more of the city, but also so that I could eat another pølser (Danish hotdog) and go and see the Little Mermaid for myself!
Sorry if it’s a tad long but it as such an amazing weekend I couldn’t cut myself down too much!
Thanks for reading!