We started our moms trip not with two moms or even one mom but with just us, Colin and me, on a rainy day in Copenhagen.
This was both of our first visits to Copenhagen and to Denmark. I didn’t know much about Copenhagen but had heard lots of general hype about this Scandinavian capital. I knew it was home to Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid and the beautiful Nyhavn waterfront.
We arrived in Copenhagen at 8:00 AM, having left Prague at 6:40 AM (meaning we woke up before 5). It was an early start, but who can pass up those cheap RyanAir flights regardless of their god-awful boarding times? We paid $50 CAD for both of us to fly to Copenhagen, so I’m not complaining.
Plus, we wanted to make the most of our time. We only had that day in Copenhagen, as we were planning to meet up with my mom and her friends for dinner and then head over to nearby Sweden. So with umbrellas in hand, we set out to explore on a rainy day in Copenhagen.
The airport connects to a train station that spits you out right in front of Tivoli Gardens. Neither Colin nor I are into amusement park rides, but I had heard Tivoli Gardens was beautiful and there were free parts we could walk through. Sadly, those parts were not open when we rocked up before 9:00 AM, so we carried on. We’ll have to catch Tivoli next time!
We continued walking, past City Hall and a big statue of Hans Christian Andersen, onto an adorable pedestrian street. The shops and restaurants were just starting to open. It was cool to be in a city so early, before toursits take over, to see a quieter and more local side of Copenhagen. Having a cobblestone street to yourself is always a treat.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. Just as it started to pour, Colin and I ducked into an adorable cafe that served breakfast. And we were quickly hit with sticker shock from Scandinavian prices. After living in Prague for a few months, we were not used to paying more than $10 for breakfast, let alone some of these prices that were closer to $30. But we sucked it up, ordered our overpriced eggs and coffee, and tried to wait out the rain.
Having waited as long as we could and with no sign of the rain letting up, we took out our umbrellas (so glad we packed those at the last minute!) and headed out. Feet soaked, we finally arrived in Nyhavn about 10 minutes later. And it was as cute as I had hoped it would be, though smaller than I thought. Even in the rain, the row of colourful buildings on the waterfront was looking good.
At my mom’s friend’s recommendation, we hopped into a boat for a canal tour around Copenhagen. It was nice to be shielded from the rain, but tough to see much from the foggy windows of the boat. We caught a glimpse of the Little Mermaid statue, and like many who have been disappointed by her size, didn’t feel the need to come back and see her up close.
After the canal tour, we started the hunt for lunch. We tried one place right on the main strip of Nyhavn but decided to leave when they couldn’t tell us the specials for the day. We ended up at a hotel restaurant a few blocks away where the decor was nice and the server, originally from Texas, was sweet, but the food was awful. Unfortunately, none of our eats in Copenhagen (including that night’s dinner) were very good. I know Copenhagen is one of the biggest foodie cities in the world so I guess I’ll have to go back and try again.
Following lunch, we headed out, umbrellas still in hand, towards the royal palace, Amalienborg. After being blown away by the Stockholm Royal Palace (and all of Stockholm, really), I had high expectations for the Danish version. While the palace was interesting enough to walk through, it was a little bit underwhelming. The public only has access to a small space (just two floors) and the layout wasn’t very clear, meaning we did one floor backwards. But it was still interesting to see the different royal rooms, especially the one with the terrifying painting of the Danish royal family. It looked like something out of Stranger Things!
Another cool thing I’ve noticed as we’ve been travelling around Europe is how interconnected every place is. We learned about the Hapsburg family during our time in Austria and saw their names come up again while learning about Denmark’s royal family. (Please don’t ask me how they’re actually related, because I’m foggy on the details. While I love to read books in real life, as soon as I see information on a plaque my eyes glaze over and I revert to the attention span of a five year old. Colin always has to fill me in on whatever I missed.)
After zipping through Amalienborg, we headed behind it to the beautiful Frederik’s Church. Now this plaque I actually read: Frederik’s Church is better known as the Marble Church because it was originally to be made completely from the finest marble. However, this was super expensive so the project was abandoned for over 150 years. Finally in the 1870s, the church was sold to someone who promised to rebuild it, but he opted for the much cheaper limestone instead of marble. It opened in 1894 and despite barely being made of marble, is still called the Marble Church to this day.
By this point in the afternoon, our early morning and rain-soaked shoes were really catching up with us. So we headed to Espresso House (a place we would visit a few more times on the Swedish leg of our trip) for a pick me up. A quick coffee break ended up turning into an extended work session/perfect place to wait out the rain. We took out our laptops, caught up on work, and enjoyed some overpriced (but very delicious) cups of coffee and pastries.
And that about wraps up our first and only rainy day in Copenhagen. We eventually met my mom and her friends at a nearby pub and then had a bit of a disappointing dinner in Nyhavn before heading to their home in Sweden. Overall, I enjoyed our time in Copenhagen, despite the rain. The city seemed cute and I think we saw a lot of it for only having the one day. I’m glad we showed up early and got a chance to see a bit of the city.
Would I go back? I don’t know. I enjoyed Copenhagen but I wasn’t super wowed by it. I think the weather and the bad food had something to do with it. So maybe if I returned on a nice summer day with a good list of restaurant recommendations, I’d like it. And I’m sure there’s much more to see than what we covered. But I don’t see myself going back just for Copenhagen. Perhaps I would visit again if I were en route to somewhere else in the area.
Have you been to Copenhagen before? What did you think of it?
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