For All Saints Day (La Toussaint), we had a week off from school and took advantage of the time to get away. For my program, it was planned that we would go to Paris for the first few days of the break, and then we had the choice to spend the rest of our time the way we liked. All us Nancy kids, because of my suggestion, decided to go to Copenhagen for four days!
Paris brought back a rush of memories for me since I had been there a few times when I was younger with my family. I really was able to appreciate it differently this time and, although I was doing the same activities as before (Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Champs Élysée, etc.), I loved the city and got to experience it in the brisk autumn air. Since it was the week of Halloween, we wanted to visit the catacombs for some spooky exploring. Unfortunately, they were closed on the only day we could go. On our last day, the four of us left the hotel, rode the RER to Charles de Gaulle Airport to meet my French friend, Hugo, to go to Denmark on a 1.5-hour flight.
Copenhagen might be in my top five favorite cities in the world, right up there with Boulder, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Hiroshima. Every street is filled with bikes, rather than cars, and there are parking “garages” for the copious amounts of bikes that must be parked when people are working during that day. We visited some main sites including the little mermaid statue, many towers (including one with an exterior spiral staircase that is incredibly frightening for people with a phobia of heights), Christinia (a section of the city that is not really Denmark, as Marijuana is legal, the people work in art as a profession, everyone lives in communal housing, and there are only three rules: no photos, no running, and have fun), as well as tons of fancy coffee shops that are characteristic of the city!
To cut down on costs, we rented an apartment in the best downtown location we could have ever asked for! It ended up €95 per person for three nights (less than any youth hostel, complete with a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, bathroom, and ample bedding). What a great idea! We took advantage of our kitchen to cut down on costs as well as go on an all vegetable (nearly vegan) diet to detoxify our systems from all the crap we had been eating in France. For Halloween, I made a delicious roasted squash soup, which was a perfect dish considering the freezing weather of harvest season in the “Cold, Cold North”.
The sun went down around 3:30-4 pm every night, but it started setting at 2 pm so that on our first day, we ended up returning to apartment while under the impression it was dinner time. We finally looked at the clock to realize that we had ample time to make dinner and relax. Hugo and I went out to the grocery store and got to experience the hustle and bustle of the city in the dark hours of the afternoon. It feels like 10 pm when it’s really 5 pm so everyone is on the street shopping for clothes and groceries. One warning if you ever go there: the clothing there is torturous to look at, especially for tall blonds like my friend Caitlyn who fit in perfectly among the Danes, but the prices are atrocious except in the stores originally from America as well as H&M. I had a hard time realizing how expensive even food was there since the currency is in Kroner, not in Euros.
At the beautiful central market which was filled with lively shoppers and happy faces, 45-55 kroner was a price of a salad. This is equal to about 6-8 Euros! Although it isn’t awful, we noted the slight difference in prices and decided to make things at the apartment whenever possible. Regardless, we still found reason to bust our wallets at least a little; we each found one piece of clothing we couldn’t resist. For me, I chose a button-down shirt that was at a Scandinavian store for 500 kroner (about 70 euros, so cheap for Copenhagen). It was something I had never seen before elsewhere and I thought it was worth the expense, as a souvenir and as something I would like to wear that fit well.
For Halloween, we all dressed up, ate the wonderful harvest meal we had all prepared, and enjoyed a ghost-shaped cake that we bought from the Danish equivalent of Starbucks (see link: http://www.lagkagehuset.dk).
Enjoy the photos!