Red wine and coffee helped make us tired then wake us up again as we enjoyed the view from the train window. We had left Stockholm behind and were bound for Copenhagen. Endless green soaked meadows passed by as we got to know our fellow passengers. We sat next to two young Russians who explained that their holiday grew more expensive by the day as the value of their currency plummeted lower and lower. Our locomotive reached the small town of Lund and could proceed no further for unknown reasons. A chaotic rush to waiting buses then gave us a surprise tour of Malmö. We climbed aboard our new, smaller train for the final leg across the border, and across the Øresund Bridge which then turns into a tunnel under the ocean to Denmark.
We finally arrived and stepped onto the platform, it was grey but at least it wasn’t raining. We were staying at Generator Hostel, which is clean, modern and in walking distance to most attractions. A short walk found us at Nyhavn, the famous canal lined by brightly coloured townhouses, bars and restaurants. We passed bearded fisherman and seafarers as they tended to small boats moored along the canal. In the old days the area was notorious for drunken sailors and prostitution. The canal was actually dug by Swedish prisoners from the Dano-Swedish war that was fought between the two countries from 1658-1660.
A short walk two blocks north of Nyhavn found us at Amalienborg Palace. Built in 1760 for four noble families, the buildings are now the home to the Danish Royal Family. The palace is guarded day and night by soldiers from the Royal Life Guards. You can watch the changing of the guard at 1200 and watch them change posts every 2 hours.
We continued north past cafes and antique stores and soon stumbled upon a beautiful old Church, St. Alban’s, that sits just south of an old military fortress, Kastellet. The fortress resembles a star from above and was completed in the mid 1640s and consists of several historical buildings. Kastellet is still an active military base but the public may pass through.
The evening began in the bar at the hostel. We met a Scotsman who was visiting Copenhagen for the weekend and then decided to head to Kødbyen, also known as The Meatpacking District. Kødbyen consists of various dimly lit bars in old buildings once used by the meat industry. Many have live music and trendy warm interiors that make it harder to venture back out into the cold wind and rain. We spent several hours drinking in numerous venues before heading back to the hostel.
The next day began with lattes at Big Apple Café which is one of the best places to get coffee if you’re nearby. We had read a lot about the controversial ‘Freetown Christiania’, the self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood which is located directly east of the centre. After the military moved out of the area in the 1970s, squatters moved into the buildings which led to the founding of Christiania. Cannabis was openly sold until a drug dealer’s shooting with police in August 2016. We decided to check it out and mainly found dilapidated buildings and locals buying cannabis.
After Christiania we thought it was time to enjoy some culture. Copenhagen is famous for many sculptures and statues, including The Little Mermaid which is based upon the fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. English sculptor Thomas Brock’s ‘Kamp med en Slange’ (Battle with a Snake) can be found in the Rosenborg Castle Gardens.