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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 Reasons Why Copenhagen Is My New Favorite Scandinavian City

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Welcome to Travel Tuesday! Bonnie, Tina and me are co-hosting this link up for the first time this week and I’m so happy and honored to get to work with these ladies for the next couple of months. Travel Tuesday is a weekly link up where we want to hear what you have to share about travel! Do you have exciting adventures to tell, beautiful pictures to showcase or helpful tips to share? Then please link up with us – this is a great way to meet other bloggers!

The title of this post is a bit misleading, because it insinuates that I have seen a fair bit of Scandinavian cities already. But as much as I regret it, the only country other then Denmark that I have visited in Scandinavia in recent times (and not fifteen years ago) is Norway. And while I’ve been to all the major Norwegian cities, that obviously means that I don’t really have any substantive knowledge about Scandinavia as a whole. But nonetheless, I really fell in love with Copenhagen and to today I wanted to share some of the reasons why with you.

I spend a day in Copenhagen during a long (planned) layover on the way back to Norway from Germay, because I wanted to grap the chance to explore a new place. One day wasn’t nearly enough to discover all that Copenhagen has to offer, but long enough to make me think that this is a city where I could see myself live. Copenhagen is not the most beautiful or exciting European city that I have yet visited, but definitely one of the most liveable and in many ways that might even be a bigger compliment. I didn’t have time to do a whole lot of research beforehand, so I quickly bought a travel guide at the Frankfurt Airport, spend the hour on the plane coming up with a plan and then just let myself guide by intuition not knowing what to expect – and sometimes that’s the best way to travel.

1. The Botanical Garden

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The Botanical Garden was the first thing I visited in Copenhagen. I hadn’t really planned on it, but when I got off of the Metro from the airport, I basically walked straight into and figured why not. You probably already know that I’m a sucker for nature (come on, I live in Norway) and unfortunately that’s an aspect that often comes a little short during city living. Hence the importance of a place where you can seek refuge from the noise and stress of the city. Not that Copenhagen is especially stressful, mind you.

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And the Botanical Garden offer just that: A place of nature amidst the city where you can spend some quite minutest. The Garden is not particular big, but makes for a beautiful short walk and if you’re visiting in winter and are tired of the cold, the greenhouse will warm you up in a heartbeat. Visiting the Botanical Gardens was the perfect introduction to this city for me: I got to take a short break after the stressful days in the beginning of January and my camera got to come out and play.

2. Rosenborg Castle

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Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and there are several castles spread over the city. Rosenborg Castle is located right next to the Botanical Garden and was built by King Christian IV. in the 17th century. The castle doesn’t serve as a royal residence anymore, but houses the Danish crown jewels, an impressive collection of ornated swords, crowns and other pieces of valuable and precious jewelry. The interior has also stayed more or less the same for the last three hundred years which allows for an authentic experience of what royal life may have been like all those centuries ago. The crown jewels were beautiful, but the interior design was probably my favorite. Many of the rooms were furnished very darkly, but everything was very decadent and elegant – just like you would imagine a royal castle. 

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Another thing I loved about Rosenborg Castle? That while the interior has remained the same for hundreds of years, it has still gone with the time. Not only is there free wifi available (that’s a rare treat in Europe), but it also offers a audio/reading guide that you can easily access over your smart phone at no charge. Perfect if you’re curious about any of the magnificent objects or simply want to know more about the history of this place. And did I mention that Rosenborg Castle lays amidst a beautiful park in the middle of the city?

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3. Nyhavn

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Copenhagen is a harbor city as indicated by the Danish name, København. The city is parted by a broad canal from which multiple small canals branch off. Nyhavn is one of those branches and probably the most famous sight of Copenhagen – in fact, it’s one of the first pictures that shows up when you google this city! Nyhavn is lined with colorful buildings and a lively promenade on both sides with sailing ships peacefully drifiting on the quiet water. It must have been specifically created for postcards and picture books!

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4. Architecture

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Norway and Denmark share a fair bit of unfortunate history. For over 400 years, both countries were in a union which didn’t do Norway much good: Copenhagen was the cultural and political centre, while Oslo fell to the wayside and the consequences of this union can still be noticed today, two hundred years after its dissolution. For one, written Norwegiand and written Danish are very similar, probably because Danish used to be the administrative language in Norway during the union. The languages don’t sound a lot alike (in fact, I often had the feeling that people were speaking a sort of very un-understandable German accent… sorry Denmark), but everytime I read something it took me a second to realize that it wasn’t Norwegian.

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But the biggest indicator that Copenhagen was indeed the center of the Norwegian-Danish world is the architecture. For lack of better words, Copenhagen is grand. And no matter how much I like Oslo – the buildings don’t really compare. Not only are there multiple castles, but also many splendid churches and luxurious mansions and while I walked through the streets, I immediately recognized in which city most of the work and glory went all those years ago.

5. Health Food Movement

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This was probably the biggest surprise for me. Apparently, there are a lot of health nuts in Copenhagen – at least judging by the amount of juice bars I saw. Maybe juice is the new coffee? I certainly don’t complain! You may not realize this from reading my blog, but if you’ll ever meet me in real life, you might quickly realize that I can talk about food non-stop. Particular about food cooked from beautiful, wholesome plants. In other words, Copenhagen is kind of paradise for me.

I had lunch at 42 Raw, a beautiful raw food restaurant and juicebar in the city centre (right next to a Paleo restaurant. Am I the only one who thinks that is funny?). I had a raw cashew yogurt – it tastes a lot better than it sounds, I promise – and a great juice. Perfect for a light lunch. I also had some great juices at Joe & the Juice.

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This week, we’re also starting a new feature on Travel Tuesday. Every week, Bonnie, Tina and me are each choosing one post of the previous week that we especially liked to highlight on our blogs. Curious who Bonnie and Tina picked? Check out Bonnie's choice here and Tina's choice there

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This week, I’m highlighting Anna’s post ‘Why not ask a Londoner what to do inLondon?’. Anna is an expat living in Southern France with her boyfriend from New Zealand, but she originally hails from London. Everytime I read about her travel adventures on her blog Eat, See,Do I feel like a friend is talking to me – a really well-spoken and entertaining friend that is! I loved this post, because I could so easily resonate with it. As a local, you often have no idea what interesting things there are to do in your town or country. 

In fact, ask me about travel in Germany and I’m not able to tell you anything other than ‘I think Berlin’s kind of cool’. Becoming an expat made me go out and discover things that I probably wouldn't have found back home, simply because I didn't go looking. For Anna, meeting her Kiwi Boyfriend was the gateway to discover more about the touristic side of London. And for me, moving to Norway will hopefully be the thing that inspires me to see more of Germany once I move back there. Have you ever played tourist in your home town? What did it feel like?

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Now it's time for your post! Please make sure to read the rules before adding your post to the link up! 

Travel Tuesday

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