jc travels

72 hours in Copenhagen

Copenhagen. The city of all my design dreams – from the architecture of buildings to the decorations they’re dressed in, the monochrome color palettes and sans-serif font faces, the beautifully designed bikeways (Google: Cykelslangen), the street art, and even the food is beautiful (see: Aamann’s smørrebrød). Simplistic yet sophisticated design that is refreshingly pure and unexaggerated. What can I say, this place is easy on the eyes.

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Behind the beauty is efficient, innovative functionality. Driverless metros that come every 4 minutes, protected bike roadways designed with elevated foot rests for cyclists and intercity “cycle super highways”, a contained, autonomous community of alternative cultures and free artistic expression, and more. On top of that, Copenhagen is an incredibly environmentally-friendly city – the first carbon neutral capital in the world, in fact!

The only downside? Everything here is going to tear up your bank accounts. It is crazy expensive. And to be honest, after living in Berlin, I’ve become quite reluctant to shell out more than 3 euros for a beer, let alone 10! But hey, I’m finally in Copenhagen. So we splurged. We’ll recover eventually.

We stayed at a nice flat in Amagerbro, conveniently located by both the airport and the city center. Public transportation makes everything so easy to get to around here, but really traveling on bike or foot are just as easy. It’s a walkable city, for sure.

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day one
Den blå planet

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Nyhavn and canal side

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Smørrebrød at Aamann’s – After trying several different smørrebrøds, I’ve concluded that Aamann’s does it best. It is a little bit more upscale and modernized, but the flavors are well-thought out and incredibly complementary in all their subtleties.

“Christiansøpigens sild” – herring, horseradish, rye crumbs, chives, poached egg, butter, pork lad. Decadent and rich in all its fatty deliciousness.
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“Nye kartofler” – new potatoes, fried chicken skin, almonds, ramson. This was so light and delicious – tasted like what you’d imagine a mini organic farm would taste like (I mean that in the best possible way).
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“Laks” – raw salmon, fresh cheese, radishes, apple, red onion. This one was my favorite by far – Aamann’s does not skimp on the salmon portion. A generous, thick cut steak of salmon that literally melted in my mouth. Yum.
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“Tyndsteg” – grilled sirloin, new onions, green peas, tarragon, fried onions. This was my least favorite – sort of reminiscent of a roast beef sandwich and Funyuns (remember those?).
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Coffee at The Coffee Collective

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Superkilen, Vesterbro

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Dinner at Madklubben – This place was amazing – from the food all the way down to the service. And it might have been the best bread and butter I’ve ever had. I could have ate only the bread and butter and been totally satisfied with the meal. We ordered the rotisserie chicken and was served as a whole chicken on a large wooden board for us to carve at the table. Tender, fall-off-the-bone perfection. In the background, a tasteful selection of 90′s hip hop played. Can you say throwback? Surrounding us were lively and conversational tables, exuding positive vibes.

In Denmark, “hygge” is an important part of the culture. “Hygge” roughly translates into a concept of warm, cozy atmospheres where people enjoy each other’s company and the good things in life. This restaurant is the epitome of that.

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day two
Torvehallerne (indoor food market) – Located right in the center of the city, we found ourselves at Torvehallerne at least once a day. Whether it be a quick smørrebrød run or getting my cinnamon roll fix at Laura’s Bakery, this indoor food market has just about anything you may be looking for. Coffee Collective, Grød, produce, meat, seafood, cheese, chocolate, and more. And most amazingly, I found mangosteen here. I’ve been searching for this fruit since my last trip to Thailand over a decade ago.

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torverhallerne

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torvehallerne_redmeat

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Lunch at Manfred’s – This was the most disappointing dining experience in Copenhagen. Small, incredibly overpriced plates with a less than mediocre flavor. I will give some credit to their beef tartare though – I still get a bit squeamish about raw beef, but I was actually able to eat this one (and enjoy it), so that’s saying something.

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Grundtvigs Kirke

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Walking around the Royal Danish Library

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dome

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Tivoli Gardens – The second oldest amusement park in the world, with a delightfully whimsical atmosphere of a vintage circus / carnival.

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tivoliride

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Dinner at Mother’s – We originally had dinner reservations at Paté Paté, which was just around the corner in the meat packing district. But we found ourselves at Mother’s for some stone-oven pizzas. Delicious and simple – I’d say somewhere between an American and Italian pizza.

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day three
Back around Nørrebro

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Botanisk Have (Botanical Gardens)

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Kastellet

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Lunch at Grød – If you’re looking for a more affordable but still delicious meal in Copenhagen, I’d definitely pay Grød a visit. Grød, which means porridge in Danish, serves well – exclusively porridge. Savory, indulgent, and cheesy goodness (though there are sweet ones too). Eating this made me feel a sense of nostalgia about a childhood filled with Danish porridge every morning (although oddly not my childhood, but I was feeling nostalgic about it nonetheless. I guess that’s how good the porridge is).

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Mikkeller & Friends – Just down the street from Grød is Mikkeller & Friends. A cozy, low-key space decorated in quirky art pieces, where you can enjoy some locally brewed beers.

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Freetown Christiania

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Vor Frelsers Kirke – Climbing up this building’s spiral staircase was not for the faint of heart – especially those who are afraid of heights, like myself. It was ridiculously windy at the highest point of this church, and the only thing keeping me from falling down 300 feet was a creaky metal railing. Not an ideal situation – but the stunning views of the city made it worth it (almost). I was impressed that my jelly legs were able to carry me back all the way back to the bottom.

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