Home > Blogs > Robert Study Abroad, Spring 2007 > 26, 27, & 28 April 2007 - Copenhagen Denmark

26, 27, & 28 April 2007 - Copenhagen Denmark

Posted by admin on April 28, 2007

In America we ("we" being the stereotypical college student) go south for spring break. So what do Mitch, Rowena, Jasmine, and I do while in Europe? We go north! The four of us spent our week and a half off from classes in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

We arrived in København (hereafter "Copenhagen", the English spelling, as it's faster and simpler to type since it doesn't contain the "ø") midday on April 26th. I was immediately impressed by the airport. Copenhagen's airport arrivals terminal was very nice, complete with hardwood floors. We didn't stay in the airport long, though. We collected our baggage and hopped on a bus to take us into the city. Our first mission of the day was to find our hostel, Sleep-In-Heaven.

After half and hour on the bus and a short walk we arrived at the hostel. The hostel wasn't exceptionally far from places within the city, but it was just far enough from the main streets to be in a nice and quiet neighborhood. Check-in went well and we stowed our luggage in lockers.

We had heard that the city's church parks were impressive, so we set out to the park nearly adjoining the hostel. Let me explain these church parks for you. They're basically a cemetary that's used as a park. Some portions of the park look like a normal cemetary - regularly spaced graves with marked walkways. Most of the park, though, consists of clusters of graves with large open spaces in between. In these open spaces you can find people having a picnic, reading a book, taking a nap in the sun, or simply out for a stroll (complete with baby carraige). Even though people weren't hanging out on top of the graves, I don't think I could go for a picnic in a cemetary. That'd just be weird.

We did get to see Hans Christian Anderson's grave. The park had signs directing visitors where to find it, but the site itself wasn't anything special. There were no plaques or overly-ornate headstone. And I liked that. Someone's final resting place shouldn't become a gaudy tourist attraction.

After visiting the church park the four of us set off to find Copenhagen's famous Little Mermaid statue. Along the way we walked through the Citadel, which is one of Europes oldest actively-used barracks. Walking along its walls gave us a great view of the city and harbor.

Jasmine and I made it to the Little Mermaid first. We had just enough time to get our pictures of the statue before a bike tour mobbed the area. It was rather amusing to see so many people on matching bikes, with matching helmets, and matching waterbottles. The sight screamed "tourist!". After 10 minutes or so of watching the tourists crowd in front of the statue they got on their matching bikes and rode off to attack their next destination. They moved down the street like an amoeba on wheels.

The bikes in Copenhagen were much better than the average bike in Delft. Here in Delft most of the bikes are single-speed, pedal brakes (where you pedal backwards to brake), and usually quite run-down looking, too. The Danish bikes were much more like what I'm used to seeing in America. They had gears (oh, to be able to shift gears again!), hand brakes, and were in great condition. Many bikes looked new, too.

Copenhagen also has a pedestrian walkway filled with crowded stores. This street was lined with designer stores...and Burger King. Quite the combination. And like any retail area in a large city, the stores were expensive, very expensive. Burger King wasn't even cheap, either. Being as I'm not a fan of crowds and cities this part of Copenhagen didn't have much appeal to me. Luckily, we were on our way to a pretty cool park within the city.

Christianshavn (Christiana) is an area of Copenhagen that used to be a social experiment. While still technically part of Copenhagen and Denmark, Christiana was given permission to be self-governing. Naturally, drugs and prostitution become quite prevalent before reaching a sense of equilibrium. As a result, the area has been tamed-down in recent years. For example, one of Christiana's streets used to be known as "Pusher's Street" due to the prevalence of drug dealers and has now been cleaned-up.

North of Copenhagen is Helsingør (Elsingor), home to Kronborg Castle. Kronborg Castle is the setting for Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and used to be an important Danish military post as it sits at the entrance to the sound between Denmark and Sweden. Ships passing through the sound had to pay a tax to the Danish king and lower their topsail as a sign of respect when passing Kronborg Castle. Danish sailors would also anxiously await the call, "Kronborg on starboard!" when they were on a trip since that call would mean that they were nearly back home in Denmark.

After dark much of Copenhagen looks like any city. A few of the streets, though, were very picturesque. Unfortunately my pictures didn't turn out well because of the combined effects of a slow shutter speed required to get a bright enough picture and my inability to stand perfectly still in a brisk breeze. One of these streets led up to the Carlsberg brewery gates. The gates themselves were also quite elegant with four elephants carved into the stone as if they were carrying the archway.

Our stay in Copenhagen ended on the 28th when we flew to Stockholm. Other than our plane leaving a few minutes late we got out of the city just fine and were on our way to Sweden.