This week I spent two nights and two days in Copenhagen with my very good friend Katie from Hong Kong. £56 return flight with Ryanair for two people! Don’t mind if I do.
We arrived in the early afternoon and as the weather was cold and grey, we decided to go to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is about a half hour train ride outside of Copenhagen.
On the way I noticed three things which I found a bit curious or at least noteworthy: bikes, hats and lamps.
Let’s start with the bikes. Copenhagen seems to have an incredible amount of cyclists and bikes around. There are cycle lanes everywhere and there are more cyclists than pedestrians. We later learnt that there are five times as many bikes as people in Copenhagen.
Next observation: hats. We noticed several young people wearing the same hats all over the city.
The third thing I noticed: street lights on strings. I would say that in most cities the street lights are held by lamp posts. But in Copenhagen they are held by a construct of different wires so that they are located above the centre of the road rather than along the sides.
It’s quite an interesting set-up whereby you can go to several different buildings which initially don’t seem that big but just when you think you’ve seen everything in one room, you discover that you can go around another corner and another or down a flight of stairs and that there is lots more to see.
Other than the paintings by Peter Doig, there was a large exhibition about art in Africa. It was very educational! It presented different artists from various parts of Africa south of the Sahara desert and it also showed some innovative housing development projects. Katie and I ended up becoming fascinated by a 90 minute documentary about the German director Christoph Schlingensief’s opera village project in Burkina Faso and almost watched the whole film.
The museum also has some really nice gardens with various sculptures and installations, a lake and a beautiful view over the sea. The outdoor bits reminded me a tiny little bit of Naoshima Island in Japan (although of course nowhere near as good… sorry, Copenhagen).
The next day we decided to walk from our AirBnB flat in Norhaven to the Little Mermaid. After freezing the day before we decided to wear double t-shirts and double cardigans in addition to our jackets. Of course day 2 turned out to be a really sunny and warm day. Typical.
And a lot of people agree with me on that. We weren’t the only box tickers there. Poor mermaid. She’s clearly bored of tourists climbing across the rocks and posing with her for photos.
Our flight back to London was in the afternoon, so we spent the last morning at Tivoli Gardens, the famous amusement park in the centre of Copenhagen (note: the sky was back to grey, the double cardigan strategy needed to be executed again).
I had heard a lot of good things about Tivoli but I can’t say that it really convinced me. It was nice but it wasn’t amazing. Maybe my expectations were too high. We also went quite early in the day and there were hardly any people there, so that didn’t help the atmosphere.
Maybe it was the dull weather that made it all about lifeless.
But somehow this lack of buzz was prevalent most times during the trip. Copenhagen mainly seemed a very quiet place without much activity. The only time the opposite was true was around Nyhaven on the sunny day.
Once we got back to London and walked from the tube station back to mine, my friend said that she suddenly felt much more alive and I completely agreed. London just has a vibe to it that is exciting and makes me feel energised. Copenhagen is nice but I felt like it was just a bit too quiet.