Saturday, 11 March 2017

COPENHAGEN | DENMARK

Copenhagen looks a lot like Holland. I love the colourful houses and canals. I personally would like to go back in the Summer to really enjoy the outside because while we were there I was wanting nothing more than to be inside! The people of Copenhagen are extremely helpful and helped us find our way to our hostel and other locations happily.

DAY 1
We arrived at our hostel (generator hostel) quite early as we had caught a very early flight from London. First impressions were very good. Modern and clean with a fantastic set out which instantly makes you feel at home in your own bed. You had your own ports and shields to cover the top of your body on the bed. They were also put into fours so it felt a lot less like a huge dorm and rather a cosy bedroom. It was however on this holiday that I have decided I won't be booking myself into any more hostels in the future. There were people snoring, someone in Y-fronts and someone who spoke in their sleep. For me, I feel I may be outgrowing the whole hostel vibe because I find it quite hard to sleep and I like having a bathroom all to myself. I also like being able to get changed without any kafuffle involved. 

After we had checked in all our bags we headed out for a guided walking tour of Copenhagen. I must stress - if you ever go on a city break - the free city tours are an absolute MUST. They're so informative, cheap (or free if you chose not to tip but I always do) and they're a great way to get your bearings and learn your way around quickly. The girl who did out tour (Rosie) was an absolute cutie - very charming, very informative and funny to boot. She walked us around and spoke about lots of the local architecture and told us about the cute little place that is Freetown Christiania, right in the centre of Copenhagen. 


"Christiania town was established in 1971 by a group of hippies (instant like from me) who occupied old abandoned military barracks and set up their own society rules, completely independent of the danish government. 

Christiania existed under special conditions for 40 years with constant conflicts and clashes between the local Christianites and the Danish state. After many years of uncertainty about the future of Christiania, an agreement was entered in 2011, which meant that on 1 July 2012, a foundation, the Foundation Freetown Christiania, was founded. The foundation now owns the entire part of Christiania located outside the protected ramparts and leases buildings and land on the ramparts, which are still owned by the state. Part of the money is raised by selling the symbolic Christiania shares.

Freetown Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature. It is still a society within a society, for example, you cannot buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it, and if successful, it is given to you. The area is open to the public – even with guided tours, run by the local Christianites.

For our own safety, we were advised not to film nor photograph in Christiania, especially not in the area in and around Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark. At the entrance you will find signs indicating 'do's and don'ts'" (VC, 2017) 

I found Christiania town to be quirky and adorable. I loved seeing things like the playground made from old boats and kooky little stalls. It had a bit of an Amsterdam vibe to it which I also rather enjoyed. 

DAY 2
On our second day in Copenhagen, we decided to go on a hop off hop on bus tour. I will always recommend these tours - especially in countries with extreme weather conditions. I have been on hop on, hop off bus tours a few times and I love that it takes you to all the main attractions so you know where they all are. It ensures you won't get lost and if you do it on your first day it'll mean you'll probably guarantee you will see everything that you intend on seeing. Below is a map and list of the stops that the bus goes to. We got off at Rosenborg castle (the national gallery and natural history museum are here also) and the little Mermaid. I did like some of the art at the national gallery but it used to be free and now they charge so that kind of tainted it for me. The little mermaid has a very sweet story behind her and I think that's why people go because she is smaller than one would imagine. 


DAY 3
We went on a guided boat tour - this was AMAZING and the girl who did it was lovely too. I love being on a boat and out in water - it makes me so happy. I think my love for it stems from my father always taking me on water so that will forever touch and melt my heart. I like seeing cities from a boat - it is so much better than seeing it through crowds of people and close up. I really recommend this hour boat tour that's sold by the same company (STROMA) as the hop on hop off bus tour. 


After a tiny bit of discussion my friend wanted to visit the Aquarium - but I complained the whole way around as you could imagine and I am sure she swiftly regreted asking me to go the poor thing. You can't take a vegan to somewhere like that. I hated it. It's horrible seeing creatures that have been broken in for human's entertainment. Animals that are supposed to have the whole occean to explore in tiny tanks that only humans think are big because they don't have the time to see it from another beings perspective make me sick and the fact they announced a dissection was the final straw for me. I haven't set foot inside a zoo since I was small for a reason and I won't be visiting anything like this - ever, ever again. Fish are facinating and beautiful and the amount of patterns and colours they come in is a wonder to me too but I feel we should be looking at them in their natural habitat - not like this.

THE VEGAN FOOD?
Well, my friend decided after the first night she did not want to eat out due to money (Scandanavia is super duper expensive for food and drink), so we opted for snacks from then on, but we did visit two places - a Chinese restaurant where I got noodles and vegetable spring rolls and a place called Boho which I wanted to buy a juice from but the girl literally ignored us for twenty minutes so we left. The hostel didn't have a kitchen which was disappointing but they did have a Beetroot burger and fries. Note that if you did happen to have a kitchen while staying in Copenhagen - ALDI had the best alternatives for vegans such as spag bol, meatballs, cheese, fake meats, and lots more. I was quite upset we didn't have a way of putting something warm and tasty together. All of the shops in Denmark had edible snacks for vegans such as:

Fruit
Hummus
Falafel
Gherkins
Tomatos
Bread
Olives
Crisps 
Peanuts
Cashews
Dried fruiit (apricots)
Fruit bars
Fries
Raw bars (my favourite was the coconut ones) 
Clif bars

FINAL THOUGHTS
I like many things about Copenhagen - the friendly people, the beautiful canals, and the fact that they are very eco-friendly and aim to get their carbon footprint down to a minimal with lifestyle changes such as riding bikes everywhere. Copenhagen has also taught me what I do and don't want from travel and what I do actually like doing. I will never go to another art gallery or aquarium again because one is cruel and I didn't want to anyway and the other is as boring as being in a box. I do love going out for meals but I also love saving money so I need the happy medium of a kitchen mixed with a couple of nice meals out. I don't like going to cold places anymore - I would much rather be in warmer climates now, but when I do go to a cold country - I like being out in the cold for short spurts of time - not the whole day so my hands and feet go numb. I won't be staying in a hostel after the next trip I have already paid for to Iceland because I don't like having to share with strangers who snore, sleep talk and walk around in indecent clothing. I'm also not fond of sharing a shower either. I have learned what I really want from a holiday. I want to see new and interesting architecture. I want go on tours that tell you interesting facts and alternative history about a place, have a chance to meet and talk to locals and fellow globe trotters, but most of all - I want to be out in nature. Be it a beach, a volcano, the mountains, lakes - take me there. No more city breaks.

If you would like to see more snaps of my trip to Copenhagen, I have done a photo diary here

Peace out Potatoes xo

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