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Strøget: Copenhagen’s Shopper’s Paradise!

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Strøget. Taken by Dan Lundberg via Flickr.

Did you ever think of Copenhagen as a shopper’s paradise?

Well, add it to the list… Milan, Paris, and you guessed it, Copenhagen! In the heart of the old city you will find one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets known as Strøget. Beginning from the City Hall Square to Kongense Nytorv Square, you almost can’t miss stumbling onto to Strøget at some point during your trip, even by accident! (Which happened in my case).

Strøget. Taken by Dan Lundberg via Flickr.
Strøget. Taken by Dan Lundberg via Flickr.

A Success Story

In actuality, Strøget is the name of a collection of streets that have always been located in the heart of this city. The layout dates back to 1728 when the area known as Frederiksberggade was designed following a fire. Most buildings on this street date to the late 19th, early 20th century, though the oldest dates back to 1616.

For much of its history, these streets have always been known as some of the most fashionable of the city, so its no wonder why they would be considered the perfect candidate for conversion to fully pedestrianized once it became apparent that cars were beginning to dominate the old city.

The new pedestrian streets in Germany following the war inspired City officials, and during the 1950s they would close them temporarily during the Christmas time. In 1962, however, the change was made permanent and first section of Strøget was turned into a total pedestrian area. Initially, this decision faced harsh criticism, but after time the project quickly proved successful and the area welcomed more shoppers, cafes and a renewed street life. The network continued to expand to what it is today.

Shops on Strøget

This 1.1 km stretch of car free heaven is line with more shops that one could even imagine! From the typical budget brands and chains such as H&M or Zara to the international luxury brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Strøget has literally any shop for any budget. There are also a lot of local shops featuring Danish brands.

Strøget shopping street. Taken by Dan via Flickr.
Strøget shopping street. Taken by Dan via Flickr.

Eating on Strøget

Naturally, shopping is an exhausting activity. Refueling is a requirement and luckily that is no problem on Strøget. For a sweet tooth, you can find a wide variety of options from delicious cafes to famous patisseries such as Conditori La Glace (home of delicious cakes and baked goods) to perhaps Europe’s best cheesecake from DAILY.

Cheesecake
Black raspberry and key lime cheesecakes from DAILY.

If you’re feeling like you need a little more sustenance, check out some of the many restaurants with a variety of international options or perhaps one of Copenhagen’s most traditional options: the hot dog. Get fancy at the award winning DØP, where they serve only organic meat, with whole grain breads.

Hot dog from . Taken by Heather Sperling via Flickr.
Hot dog from DØP. Taken by Heather Sperling via Flickr.

If you’re on a budget (as in can spend less than 5 euros per meal) then check out many of the Kebab shops on the street or, probably an even better idea, head off the main drag to a smaller side street which is less populated.

What Else to See on Strøget?

Especially during the summertime, Strøget is bustling with people going for a stroll, busy shoppers and many street performers. As well, going down the many little side streets will bring some more interesting, unique shops and most likely a path to some of Copenhagen’s other attractive and popular sites.

Carnival on Strøget. Taken by Stig Nygaard via Flickr.
Carnival on Strøget. Taken by Stig Nygaard via Flickr.

[Visit Copenhagen]

Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid Is Waiting For You!

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Growing up, Disney’s animated movie “The Little Mermaid” was always one of my favorites. The little mermaid falls in love with a prince she rescues at sea and longingly wishes for the day they could be together again…

Disney's The Little Mermaid. Taken by jawavs via Flickr.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Taken by jawavs via Flickr.

And did you know that the story is actually inspired by the fairy tale of the same name written by the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen?

Perhaps you did.

But did you also know that this story by Hans Christian Andersen also served as inspiration for one of Copenhagen’s most famous sights and one of the world’s most famous little ladies?

The Little Mermaid

In 1909 Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, was fascinated by the ballet depicting the fairy tale story written by Andersen nearly 85 years earlier performed at Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre and aptly named “The Little Mermaid”. He was equally as enthralled with the ballerina, Ellen Price and was thus inspired to cement (or, in this case bronze) the memory in the form of a statue.

The young sculptor Edvard Eriksen was commissioned for the piece and Ms. Price was asked to pose. She agreed to model for the head, but refused to the model the rest in the nude. Thus the sculptors wife, Eline Eriksen was used for the body.

The statue is made of bronze, 1.25 meters high and weighs 175 kilograms. It was first unveiled on August 23, 1913 in one of Copenhagen’s most frequented outdoor recreational spots: on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade.

Visit Her Today

Seems as though her prince isn’t coming. She’s been waiting over 100 years at this point, but nonetheless, The Little Mermaid remains one of Copenhagen’s most loyal figures. It is also one of the most famous sites for the city’s tourists. And it’s the most photographed statue in Denmark, with over 5 million annual snaps.

The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid.
Closer look at the Little Mermaid sculpture. Taken by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.
Closer look at the Little Mermaid sculpture. Taken by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.

She sits just off the shore from the promenade, a short walk from the also famous Nyhavn area. Even on a cold winter day there were about thirty or so people standing by the windy waterside snapping photos of her. One guy even tried to stand on the rock next to her (someone that is strongly discouraged by the city as it could damage the statue) and he fell in.

Really… right before my very eyes.

Sad for him that he was now soaking wet in negative temperatures and sad for me that I didn’t get a photograph of that…

There are some ideas to move The Little Mermaid from her perch so close to the shore to discourage vandalism. Since she first took her place in 1913 she has been decapitated a few times, her arm cut off, paint poured on her and even blown off her perch (possibly by explosives). Each time, however, she is restored to her rightful spot, sitting on the rock, welcoming visitors to Copenhagen Harbor and patiently waiting until the day her prince arrives.

[Wikipedia], [Copenhagenet]

Nyhavn: An Iconic Copenhagen Site

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One of Copenhagen’s most iconic images is the brightly colored 17th and 18th century homes in the Nyhavn (New Harbor).

In fact, my motivations to visit Copenhagen began over two years ago, upon first seeing a picture of this quaint little area.

Busy Port ..To Desolation.. To Restoration

Like many other old European ports in coastal cities, Nyhavn was once a busy commercial port. Constructed under the rule of King Christian V from 1658 to 1660, it was once Copenhagen’s gateway connecting the sea to the bustling inner city, beginning at Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square).

Statue at King's Square. Taken by Loozrboy via Flickr.
Statue at King’s Square. Taken by Loozrboy via Flickr.

From the mid-17th century to the early 20th, Nyhavn was a lively area, full of cargo ships, goods to be bought and sold and fresh catches from the day. Also like many other port areas, it was known for rowdy sailors, prostitution and a plethora of alcohol.

As the ships grew larger, especially after World War II, land transport became more popular and small vessel ships (the ones the could fit in the Nyhavn area) become relatively obsolete. From that point on, Nyhavn became nearly deserted of ships.

In the mid-1960s the Nyhavn Society was founded to revitalize the area and in 1977 it was inaugurated as a veteran ship and museum harbor. It also became a pedestrianized area; the homes have been refinished while still maintaining the original designs and architecture of the 16th and 17th century construction and Nyhavn has become one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Copenhagen.

Nyhavn_02-compressed

Nyahvn_01-compressed

Though picturesque all year round, it is especially popular in the summertime. You can eat at one of the many restaurants facing the harbor or save some Kronor and buy beer at the local shop and sit by the edge of the water.

Nyhavn in summer. Taken by Bill Smith via Flickr.
Nyhavn in summer. Taken by Bill Smith via Flickr.

Even when I visited in January, there were tons of people hanging around, both inside and out, taking photos, eating some delicious looking food and enjoying the sites.

Popular Sites in Nyhavn

Within the area of Nyhavn, there are also some popular sites to see. Perhaps the most famous is the previous home of famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. From 1845 to 1864 he lived and wrote many of his most famous fairy tales at house number 67. Today, you can find a plaque in memory of the iconic Dane.

Also in the area is the Memorial Anchor. This is to commemorate the more than 1,700 Danish officers and sailors in the Navy that died during World War II.

By Mstyslav Chernov (Self-photographed, http://mstyslav-chernov.com/) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Mstyslav Chernov [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Furthermore, in the inner section of the harbor is the Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbor, which is lined with old ships. The south side of the canal is reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum, while the north side is for ships that are owned either by the Nyhavn Society or another private party, which are still usable. This even includes a Theatre Boat!

Lastly, you don’t want to miss house number 9, the oldest in the area, which dates back to 1681. The design has not been changed from that time, so it gives visitors an ideal example of what homes looked like over 300 years ago.

[Wikipedia], [Visit Copenhagen]

36 Hours in Copenhagen: 8 First Impressions

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Nyhavn in summer. Taken by Martin Nikolaj Christensen via Flickr.

My recent trip to Copenhagen was short and sweet…

Spending only 36 hours in the Danish capital was certainly not enough time to get a thoroughly developed idea of the city, however, I am quite proud of the amount of things I was able to see in such a short time!

My First Impressions of Copenhagen

1. It’s really expensive.

This is an understatement and frankly the first thing that smacked me in the face when I arrived and ordered a tea that cost me 5 Euros. I spent an average of four Euros per coffee or tea, 10-15 Euros each for meals (typically the cheapest I could find that wasn’t Kebab), 5-7 Euros each for beer and even 7 Euros for an order of French Fries! I’m sure there are more budget friendly options outside of the city center, but you may have to scope them out.

2. It’s very cold.

Snow in the park in Copenhagen.
Snow in the park in Copenhagen.

Shocker, right? Luckily, the sun was shining all day, but it was still super cold. I suppose that’s exactly what I get for heading up north in January. Which leads me to my next point…

3. You should visit in the summer.

Nyhavn in summer. Taken by Martin Nikolaj Christensen via Flickr.
Nyhavn in summer. Taken by Martin Nikolaj Christensen via Flickr.

From what it appeared, Copenhagen is a great city to visit in the summertime. With tons of water, a beautiful harbor area (Nyhavn) and lots of outdoor spaces it would be ideal to visit when you can relax and enjoy the warm sunshine.

4. Copenhageners are very cool.

Perhaps it’s the way they casually zoom past you on the bicycle, or the way they speak perfect English with hardly an accent or maybe even the way they make winter wear look so damn chic- there is just someone about the people of the city. Oh, and did I mention they were super friendly and helpful too?

5. It’s one of the world’s most livable cities.

Cold weather and high prices aside, Copenhagen is one of the world’s most livable cities- fact. Voted the European Green Capital in 2014, Copenhagen has planned and implemented great measures to make life easier for its citizens as well as cement itself as a pioneer of the sustainability movement including an ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2025.

6. It’s a great place to shop.

With one of the longest shopping streets in Europe (Strøget), Copenhagen is a shopper’s paradise. There is everything from low budget brands such as H&M to luxury ones like Louis Vuitton.

Strøget shopping street. Taken by Dan via Flickr.
Strøget shopping street. Taken by Dan via Flickr.

7. The food is delicious.

You almost don’t mind paying 7 Euros for a basket of fries when they taste so good! I didn’t eat a single thing that that wasn’t absolutely delicious, and that definitely includes this mouthwatering Black Forest Cheesecake from DAILY (also a whopping 7 Euros per slice).

Black raspberry and key lime cheesecake from DAILY.
Black raspberry and key lime cheesecake from DAILY.

8. The Monarchy is still a large part of the culture.

Amalienborg Palace with the Royal Guard.
Amalienborg Palace with the Royal Guard.

This may not be true for the daily lives of residents, but it did appear that there were lots of references to the Royal Family throughout the city. From the Changing of the Royal Guard at the Amalienborg Palace to the Exhibit to the Queen’s Birthday at the SMK (National Gallery of Copenhagen) to the various royalty-related sculptures and statues throughout the city, you still felt the presence of the monarchy throughout.

Over The Öresund Bridge To Copenhagen

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The Little Mermaid. Taken by News Oresund via Flickr.

After spending the afternoon in Malmö, I’ll hop across the Öresund Bridge to the Danish capital of Copenhagen, located on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager.

Like with all my trips, I don’t want to set a strict itinerary, but rather just a list of some of top places that I would like to see. Of course, I want to be open to heading off the beaten path too!

Nyhavn

Nyhavn. Taken by Greenland Travel via Flickr.
Nyhavn. Taken by Greenland Travel via Flickr.

One of the most iconic images of Copenhagen, this area used to be a commercial port packed with ships from all over the world. Today, Nyhavn is an ideal spot to hang during the summertime (sadly for me). However… I’ve read that it’s really beautiful around Christmas time as well, when the old homes have been decorated with twinkling lights.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid. Taken by News Oresund via Flickr.
The Little Mermaid. Taken by News Oresund via Flickr.

Located at Langelinje Pier, is a tiny little lady inspired by famous Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. It was sculpted in bronze and granite by Edvard Eriksen and has sat in the same spot since August 23, 2013. For over a 100 years she’s been sitting by the water welcoming travelers into Copenhagen Harbor and I’m excited to see her!

Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace. Taken by Robert Cutts via Flickr.
Amalienborg Palace. Taken by Robert Cutts via Flickr.
Changing of the Royal Guards. Taken by tsaiproject via Flickr.
Changing of the Royal Guards. Taken by tsaiproject via Flickr.

This collection of four identical buildings (Christian VII’s Palace, Christian VIII’s Palace, Frederik VIII’s Palace and Christian IX’s Palace) is considered on of the greatest works of Danish Rococco architecture dating back to the 1700s. Though I probably won’t head inside, I may make it for the Changing of The Royal Guard ceremony which takes place each day at 12:00 noon. Depending on which members of the Royal family are home, the types of watches varies.

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens Entrance. Taken by Joe deSousa via Flickr.
Tivoli Gardens Entrance. Taken by Joe deSousa via Flickr.

Founded in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is an iconic amusement park that is not only an national treasure but an international attraction. Sadly I won’t be going on any of the rides since I believe that section is closed for the season. However, I hope to check out some of the architecture and historic buildings. Also, during the Christmas and New Year season the park is super decorated, so maybe I can catch the end of that. In case everything is over, I guess I’ll have to go back in the summer!

Strøget Shopping Street

One of Europe’s largest pedestrian streets, Strøget is in the heart of the city, running from the Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) to Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square). While this section is most famous for shopping, I probably won’t be doing much of that. Instead, I plan to just stroll along, perhaps stopping on one of the side streets to check out some of Copenhagen’s beautiful sites.

Any suggestion for what is a must-see? Any tips or hints for places off the beaten path?

[Visit Copenhagen]

European Cities to Visit (Wish-List #1)

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Traveling Europe has been a passion of mine for the past four years, and even though I’ve visited many places, there are still many more European cities that I’m dying to see!

Here is the start of my very long wish-list of destinations:

Lisbon, Portugal

I’ve heard great things about Lisbon. From the relaxed culture, to the tasty traditional cuisine to the rich history– this is the next number one “must see” European cities on my list. I love the idea of strolling through old city streets, exploring antique, intricate architectural structures, stopping for glasses of local wines and especially warm weather!

Lisbon city streets. Taken by K.Kendall via Flickr.
Lisbon city streets. Taken by K.Kendall via Flickr.

Plus, just outside of Lisbon is Sintra, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural landscape full of ancient Roman architecture such as beautiful old palaces, castles and mansions.

Pena National Palace, Sintra. Taken by Peter via Flickr.
Pena National Palace, Sintra. Taken by Peter via Flickr.

Sicily, Italy

I realized that Sicily is an island, rather than a specific city, but I can’t just pick one place to visit there! Growing up watching the Golden Girls, Sophia’s hometown of Palermo, Sicily has long been on my radar. (But, seriously). I love the idea that Sicily has so much to offer visitors- beautiful scenery, tons of natural sites to explore, city-life, fresh local seafood with a touch of Mediterranean and Arabic flair, and ancient ruins and architecture, such as the Temple of Concordia, dating back to 430 BC in the province of Agrigento in Sicily. It is considered one of the best preserved among the Doric temples of the Greek world.

Temple of Concordia, Sicily. Taken by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.
Temple of Concordia, Sicily. Taken by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.

I love this photo from the city of Cefalù!

Cefalù, Sicily. Taken by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho via Flickr.
Cefalù, Sicily. Taken by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho via Flickr.

Plus, Sicily is known for having some seriously amazing beaches like the Mondello, located just a kilometer from Palermo, what could be better?

Mondello Beach, Sicily. Taken by Andrea Calcagno via Flickr.
Mondello Beach, Sicily. Taken by Andrea Calcagno via Flickr.

Copenhagen, Denmark

I’ll have to save up for this trip, as Copenhagen is one of the most expensive European cities to visit, but either way, I’m sure it’s worth it! I’ve also heard great things about Copenhagen and since it’s so close to where I’m living now in Hamburg, it would be a waste not to go! With picturesque pedestrian promenades along the water, great sustainability infrastructure (what I’m currently studying) and tons of cultural activities I have to keep it high on the list!

Nyhavn Harbor, Copenhagen. Taken by Roman Boed via Flickr.
Nyhavn Harbor, Copenhagen. Taken by Roman Boed via Flickr.

Venice, Italy

Albeit one of the most touristy European cities, and from what I’ve heard, very expensive, the uniqueness and romance of Venice has always been a draw for me. I love cities on water like Amsterdam, Annecy and even Hamburg, so I can only imagine how magical Venice will be! I would love to be able to visit there during Carnival!

Venice canal, Italy. How cool!? Taken by Artur Staszewski via Flickr.
Venice canal, Italy. How cool!? Taken by Artur Staszewski via Flickr.

San Sebastián, Spain

Like Lisbon, I’ve only heard great things about San Sebastián. I visited the northern Spain region a few years ago, but never made it to this coastal city and it’s been bugging me ever since. San Sebastián is renowned for gastronomy, especially the pitxchos, beautiful beaches and great nightlife, all with a cool, relaxed beach vibe. Perhaps I could even learn how to surf here?

Streets in San Sebastián, Spain. Taken by Eoin McNamee via Flickr.
Streets in San Sebastián, Spain. Taken by Eoin McNamee via Flickr.

Featured image from Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho via Flickr.

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