31 May 2015

cycle city

T R A V E L & P L A C E S || København, Denmark

I rarely need an excuse to travel but this time round I actually had a good one - my flatmate was running his first ever marathon and the destination was extremely appealing. Years ago I went to Norway and remembered really enjoying the Scandinavian way of life - clean, crisp air, open spaces, lots of eating fish and meeting friendly [and beautiful] natives. Of course I can't just generalise but I did have one other enticing fact up my sleeve - Copenhagen is home to the world's best restaurant Noma, so I imagined I could probably 99% guarantee I would eat well there?! That last sentence was quickly proved right [2 hours after stepping off the plane] and as we got to know the city many of us were contemplating a permanent move… This 1st of 2 posts is all about the city and its four fun neighbourhoods. Copenhagen is super walkable with pretty much everybody navigating it by bicycle!

I N D R E B Y || & Nyhavn & Tivoli

Indre By is the inner city of Copenhagen. It's where everything looks like the guidebooks and postcards you tend to see outside of Denmark - pretty cobbled streets, colourful townhouses and the main shopping district lined with stores showcasing high end beautiful Danish design. You can't really go wrong with Indre By, it caters to the inner comfort tourist really well.

1. Kayak Republic, a waterside cafe and bar with a floating beach.
2. Læderstræde, one of many beautiful cobbled streets in this part of the city.
3. Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre between apartment buildings.
4. The Royal Library and an interesting dome on the banks of København Havnebade.
5. Christiansborg Palace, a royal palace with lavish reception rooms, stables and a 12th century castle.

6. Nyhavn, the famous picture-postcard-perfect and colourful 17th century waterfront and canal.
7. Tivoli Gardens, a very popular destination; we didn't go in but looked cute from where we peeked in.

|| & Torvehallerne

Nørrebro aka Copenhagen N, feels like the most recent up and coming district. Over a couple of decades, it's gone from a being a working-class area into one of the hottest spots in the city - it's retained its edge whilst becoming home to some of Copenhagen's newest and sought after bars, restaurants and design shops. It's also the home of Assistens Cemetery where many famous Danes are buried [a great spot to explore and chill out in apparently, though we didn't get to explore on this trip]. Nørrebro felt little a real melting pot of cultures with people from all over living alongside each other.

1. Nørrebrogade, crossing the bridge from Indre By the high street had some great graffiti.
2. Off the Nørrebrogade were lots of cute streets with more colourful houses and trendy cafes.
3. Jagtvej, more beautiful graffiti and hidden gardens at the top of Assistens Cemetery.
4. Spiral staircases hidden on the building which I actually thought was painted on.

1. Welcome to Torvehallerne, one of Copenhagen's buzzy and trendy marketplaces!
2. Danish vs. German asparagus, which would you choose? Veg market stalls on another level.
3. Asa, a beautiful and delicious smelling little spice shop [shopped more by foreigners than Danes].
4. Summerbird, originally specialising in marzipan and now making some stellar chocolates.
5. Fresh seafood stall with the largest assortment I have seen yet, plus some of the grumpiest looking fish.
6. Torvehallerne's outdoor space, unfortunately it was raining on this particular day but cute all the same.

V E S T E R B R O || & Kødbyens

Vesterbro was a popular neighbourhood amongst many of our group. Ex- red light district and a haven for hipsters and trendsetters, this area is just filled with lots and lots of cafes, bars, restaurants and design shops. It's actually been ranked 4th hippest place in the world 2014 [Shoreditch is 7th for context, so you can imagine what we're dealing with here - hipster elite hangouts]. I just liked the randomness of it all - lots of amazing graffiti everywhere and probably one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy a wide variety of craft beer in a trendy little underground bar [Mikkeller Bar] and then buy a dildo all on the same street [we didn't actually do either of these activities, but if you're interested in either or both it's on Viktoriagade - I don't judge].

1. Kaffe on Istedgade, super duper cute and edgy [I cringe as I write this but I can't not speak the truth].
2. Graffiti on the boards surrounding the new train line being built; might as well make it look pretty.
3. Loved this chained delirious fake-dog on the post boxes [the Danes are generous with their postboxes].
4. Madklubben on Vesterbrogade, the other trendy cafe/bar/resto packed high street in Vesterbro.
5. Graffiti in a tunnel that I'm still trying to decipher the hidden meaning of [help me out if you solve it!]
6. Chilling on one of the many outdoor dinning / drinking tables on Halmtorvet

I was a little nervous that the famous Kødbyens would be over-hyped. I was proven completely wrong. It is just as spectacular as everyone / the guidebook / my dog said. Seriously hip, clearly very popular amongst the Danes [not just us visitors] and a little haven of great food. Still operating as a meat / fish packing district, it's home to some of the best food in town: Mother for pizza, Pate Pate for French/ Spanish/ Moroccan, Nose to Tail for the piggy fans and Fiskebar for the fish. An absolute winner of an area.

1. Welcome to Kødbyens! Where industrial vibes meets fine cuisine and gives you a great big foodie kiss.
2. Bish Bash Bosch, loved these retro signs - made me feel like I was on my way to a discotek.
3. The compulsory bike racks ready Copenhagen's happenin' foodies to arrive.
4. København is Super Kul and we love Vesterbro!

C H R I S T I A N S H A V N || & Christiania

Last but very much not least, we headed over to Christianshavn. We wanted to see where Noma lived  [we couldn't eat there] and had also heard about an interesting hippie commune called Christiania which we were keen to explore. Christiania is a freetown which means it is a self governing area in Copenhagen, independent of the Danish government - it is open to the public and runs on its own rules. Inside you can find homemade houses, galleries, workshops, music venues and organic eateries amongst the trees. Upon entering, there were three rules: 1. No Photos [for your safety due to hash dealings in the green zone], 2. Don't Run [it is super chilled and running freaks everyone out] and 3. Have Fun! It might not be everyone's vibe but I really enjoyed exploring Christiania - everyone was super chilled, happy, slowly going about their business and any sort of judgement was left at the entrance. A testimony to how humans can live harmoniously if they choose to work and live together.

1. Christianshavn is home to more beautiful canals, boat houses and boat cafes.
2. Church of Our Saviour is meant to have some of the best views of the city if you want to climb 400 steps.
3. Restaurant Kanalen was in the most picture-perfect spot in Christianshavn.
4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of the various serious-work buildings on Christianshavn.
5. Christiania entrance, had to grab a snap with adorable away-with-the-fairies mural.

C P H M A R A T H O N ||

Finally, I have to congratulate Asad and Andrew for running such a great marathon - both their first and they smashed it. It was amazing to watch you both [and all the marathoners] run and 38km was definitely an emotional moment. Well done guys and thanks for giving us an excuse to explore the wonderful København. Until next time...

For great tips and general preparation, I found the Visit Copenhagen site really helpful.

We love you København!

hope you've all had a great weekend!


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