Monday, 21 October 2013

Copenhagen, Denmark


Arrival @ Copenhagen Airport (CPH), Kastrup, Denmark. Silver planes, silver columns, large panels of windows shows the sophistication of the airport. People lugging their luggages and shuffled around the terminals. Cabbed down to our Hotel. Communications wasn't a big problem as the driver knows how to speak english and is aware of foreigners touching down at airports.

Being in a car should not have ever been awkward. However, in the city of Copenhagen everything felt otherwise. Everyone else was cycling in the streets but no one was dressed for it. Ladies go on with wearing their skirts and dresses with high heels; men rocked their jeans or for the businessmen, suits. Bikes lined every sidewalk, stood two and three-deep against the old stucco and brick facades, and leaned against every lamp and signpost. The bikes seemed lonely, like a bunch of abandoned kids but then again they are already a part of the Copenhageners.

What was ahead of us was a beautiful facade flashed with white paint; alluring you with its purity.  The Hotel AlexandraAs i got off the cab and walk towards my hotel, lugging my bags when I heard, behind me, the jolly "jing, jing" of  a bike bell. Back home, bike bells are a pleasant way to give fellow bikers or pedestrians a gentle "heads up - coming through." Not so much in Copenhagen. As the cyclist swerved around me he muttered something about a "bike track". A second bell rang behind me and i realized that i was walking in a bike path that cut through the lane. I shuffled as quickly as I could out of the way, realizing that here, a bike bell should be taken as seriously as a car horn.  

Got our keys for our rooms. Surprised when they handled us something like a newsletter/newspaper with introductions and news about The Hotel Alexandra, pretty hyped to have a good read for it despite having only an one night stay here.  
Beautiful reception area, booked the 'Double room deluxe - Classic Danish Design room'. We were welcomed by the homey interior of the hotel, the lobby just speaks of the Scandinavian flavor. The neat and clean carefully well thought interior designed by the Danish. Allowing the furniture in the space to shine and speak for themselves with just white walls to reinforce the beauty. 

To be part of the Copenhageners for a day, cycling in bikes is a must. So these two were the buddies of the day for us. For many moments I was impressed by the ladies being calm and steady even with their skirts without revealing their delicates, almost like nothing ever affected them so I wanted to challenge that as well.

  Set off in our bikes to Cafe Europa at Amagertorv street for breakfast.
Delighted to get a window seat, looking out - the streets were busy for a morning. "Jing-lings" of the bells lingers through the cities so often I'm already getting used to it. Somehow it delivers a sweet anonymous tune to the city, i must say. The  facades reflects the clear blue sky from their windows which tells of its clarity. Aligning themselves in a way almost like greeting each other in the morning, "God Morgen"! (pronounced: good-more-gen) which is Good Morning in Danish. 

Inside, the floor is this great dark wood parquet, large windows between the exposed granite columns, worn leather seat cushions. The waiters and waitresses shuffled their way through the hustling cafe getting to the tables; roars of laughters were heard from the neighboring tables. Impressed with how much a morning person they could be, they have already had an earlier head start of the day than us. Back in Singapore, supposing this timing at the cafe I suppose things wouldn't have been this way

Set off in our bikes to visit the representative part of Copenhagen, Nyhavn
Being so used to the high rise buildings back at Singapore, the colored blocks building appear to be like miniature models with my naked eye from far that it almost seem impossible to be real. Sat by the canal and watch the sea flow, enjoying the breeze and occasional jazz music humming through the streets. It reminds me of how i used to look at illustrations storybook that narrate stories with such adorable houses, it was surreal to actually see it in real life. After cycling around the canal soaking in some Scandinavia sunlights, we headed up to The Royal Danish Playhouse which is just further up by the corner.

She is a fellow tourist touring around, we exchanged smiles when i see her touring around this three-wheeled cycle with a large box up front - Copenhageners call them Christiania bikes.

Next up! Travelled down to Torvehallerne.
Torvehallerne is a covered folk marketplace with black columns supporting the roof, similar to those you might find in Spain, Italy, or even London. But since this is Scandinavia, everything here seems a bit more organized – and well designed. More than 80 vendors sell their goods inside, so the selection is breathtaking. There is fresh fish from the Baltic Sea, tiny cupcakes from famous bakery Agnes, and tons of specialty items from different Danish regionns.
The street is oozing charm and a relaxed atmosphere, the stallholders pushing cargos out of their way, several families with children and locals meet and hang out in the weekends enjoying the Frenchy charm. 

Got our bikes and travel further up the city to Elmegade, right at the beginning of the street is the Acne Archive. The narrowed alleys were often potted with colorful pots of flowers. We got in and shop a little.  

The Nordic gourmet have been flouring lately, hence we decided to go ahead with Manfreds & Vin restaurant to have a good taste of it for lunch. 

After gearing up our fuel in this cozy little restaurant, we moved on to venture out more little indie hip shops nearby the street. Just a few shops ahead of the restaurant, we came upon Karamelleriet
Karamelleriet makes handmade quality caramel. In the shop we can buy the goodies and also see how it is made by hand. Everything is made with care and only with the best ingredients. The staffs were very welcoming of us and allowed us to spend some time aweing over the process of making the caramel sweets. We picked up some packets of toffee, soft fudge and hard caramel back home as souvenirs.

Heading down to the Værnedamsvej street took some time, about 30 minutes. We were pretty exhausted by then and wanted to rest our legs after cycling the whole day. Thankfully we find ourself making our down to a cafe.

Impossible to resist the strong aroma of coffee that lured us to the cafe, Granola. The place reeks with nostalgia. There is a priceless old coffee mill in the middle of the room, colourful enamel signs, music from the 50s and 60s, and an old counter from the long gone days of colonial trade. We grabbed a cup of cortado each while we watched the Copenhageners go on with their life. Not forgetting to Instagram a photo of our cortado, the cliche ariel view food shot is a must when it comes to visiting cafes!
This nice and friendly Granola barista taught us a word created by the Danes “Hygge” (pronounced: Hug-geh), it roughly translated to something to coziness. However, Hygge has got to do more to with people's behavior 
towards each other. Achieving hygge generally involves being with friends and family, and eating and drinking. She then ended with, “Ladies, it has been hyggeligt to see you around!” before we bid our farewells. The short and sweet stay at the Granola cafe perked us up to continue the rest of our trip.

Enough of eating and shopping, we decided to venture down to the Trendy Meatpacking District in Vesterbro where several art galleries and trendy places are blooming in Copenhagen. The district is known for its vibrant nightlife as well. We managed to arrive at the V1 Gallery before it closes at 6PM. We are about to view some visual art, installations, video and sculpture from the young contemporary art scene.
The showing, entitled One Of These Days are works of the Danish artist HuskMitNavn. His drawings and painting are colourful, homorous and cartoonish style.

After viewing all the paintings and installations at the V1 gallery, feeling famished, we set out to get our dinner at Slagterboderne street. Trying our best not to get lost as following the maps weren't so easy here since there were many constructions going on with restricted roads.

Trendy Meatpacking District. 
This is the former red light district of Copenhagen, that has slowly been claimed by the hipsters as their nightlife Mekka. We happen to see occasional prostitute pass by, but behind the run-down facades, there are lofts and office spaces of media companies and fashion labels. This mix makes the Meatpacking district the most coveted nightlife area of Copenhagen, with tons of cool bars right next to each other in the old market buildings. We took advantage of the happy hour at Karriere bar, a spectacular space with tons of art installations from superstars like Olafur Eliasson. The barkeepers seemed to really know what they are doing hence we went ahead with a cocktail. The night streets seemed vibrant with youngsters crowding the street.
 We cycled back to the hotel to get prepared for sleep and the flight back to Singapore. 

- Map of the Journey spots           

No comments:

Post a Comment