We took a flight from Brussels to Copenhagen, Denmark for our quick stay in this city. When we arrived we took the metro from the airport to Frederiksberg Centret, a large shopping mall in the Frederiksberg borough. The mall is really beautiful, but we weren't there to shop, in researching Vegan restaurants, we had found a couple of options that were located in the mall. We decided that was probably a good sign of what Copenhagen would have to offer in the way of vegan fare. I was in the mood for a burger and fries and Brandy didn't really know what she wanted. We decided to try Raw 42. I had the Raw 42 Burger with a side of sweet potato fries Brandy decided to try their Acai bowl. We sat and enjoyed our lunch, we had both made very good choices.
When we left the mall we took a bus to find our Airbnb. As we walked off the bus we stopped to check Google to get our directions to the Airbnb. A gentleman stopped and asked us if we needed help finding something and as we were talking to him a lady stopped to offer assistance too. We thought it was really nice to have two people try to help us, but we were just consulting our map. The gentleman explained that the stop we got off at was at the Assistens Cemetery, the very cemetery that Hans Christian Anderson is buried in. We decided to carry on to check into our Airbnb to drop our bags and get our bearings before exploring the landmarks and sites.
We arrived at our Airbnb which was in a grouping of row houses in a residential neighborhood. By this time, we had realized that most of the residential buildings in Europe are walk ups, but this time we were on the 5th floor. With our heavy backpacks on our backs, we climbed the narrow stairs to the 5th floor. This place would prove to add an additional challenge when returning from our long days out and about!
Once checked in and settled, we decided to head out and check out the cemetery and walk around the neighborhood for a bit. We headed back to the cemetery first to look for the resting place of Hans Christian Anderson. The cemetery itself was really beautiful and designed to be almost a thoroughfare for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists.
Speaking of cyclists, while Amsterdam is known as the bicycle capital of the world, I would argue that it might be Copenhagen. The streets are so bicycle-friendly with car-size lanes just for cyclists and their own street signals. At any one time, a hundred cyclists would make their way through the intersections and you better not be walking in their lane! It sometimes became a game of Frogger to move through the city with the number of other pedestrians, cars, buses, scooters, and cyclists also trying to get to their destination.
We found the Anderson memorial and continued to look around the cemetery. As we made it out the other side, we walked on with no particular destination in mind. We headed toward what seemed to be downtown and were in awe of the Danish architecture and ancient-looking cathedrals in the distance. As we passed by apartment buildings, we would decide which ones we'd want to live in. After we had walked around for a bit, we started our search for food. We decided to make our way to California Kitchen for a healthy dinner. That was the beginning of my "bowl" obsession. The place was so crowded that we took our bowls back to the Airbnb to sit and eat. The wind was really howling that night as we settled into our 5th-floor room. We didn't care as long as we were inside. With our bellies full and our legs aching we called it a night.
The next morning we got up early and headed out to meet our tour bus. I had purchased a hop on/hop off bus and boat tour so that we could take in as much of the city as possible in the short amount of time that we would be there. We boarded the bus, second level of course, and sat back to see all the sites of Copenhagen. First, we went by the Black Diamond Library which was beautiful and so much different than all the other architecture of the city. We stayed on the bus and headed on past many sites as we made our way to "The Little Mermaid" statue. It was here that we would "hop off" to walk down to the see the mermaid. We were told we had 12 minutes to explore the waterfront where the statue sits. There were so many tourists down by the statue taking photos that we had to wait our turn for Brandy to get her photos including her artsy yoga pose with the mermaid. As we headed back to the bus we realized it was pulling away from the curb.
Now, this would not have been a major problem, we could just wait for the next bus to show up, except for the fact that we had left some of our belongings on that bus. We panicked and broke into a run with Brandy leaving me in the dust. She was determined to stop that bus, and stop it she did. It was a good thing she did because we were not the only ones that were getting left behind. After we got chastised for being late (we weren't late!), we continued on with our tour. It was cold outside so getting back on the bus was our chance to get warm again. We decided to take in the rest of the sites without hopping off so that it might warm up a bit as it got a little later.
On the second time around we decided to hop off and take the boat tour. We boarded the tour boat and headed out onto the waterway and through the canals, one being the iconic Nyhavn Canal. When we traveled up this canal we were able to see the brightly colored water-front houses and businesses that are seen as typical Copenhagen. People own places next to the canal and some own houseboats docked in the canal. The boat tour took us out into larger waterway and between Amalienborg Castle and the Opera House. Copenhagen by water was a beautiful tour, however, it was pretty cold!! Luckily, the tour boats have roofs and retractable windows.
After we made it back to the tour boat drop off we disembarked and waited for the next bus to arrive. This time we would hop off by the Gefion Fountain. It was here we decided to make the most of hopping and picking up the bus in another area after taking in all the sites this area had to offer. We were able to marvel at the fountain, tour St. Alban's Church, Churchillparken and the Kastellet. Walking atop the Kastellet star fortress was really cool because we could see some of the cadets moving through to the dormitories and realized that this still an active military compound. From here we walked back toward The Little Mermaid to hop on another bus that would take us back toward the city centre.
We decided to hop off and walk a bit to check out more of the city. We walked toward Norresport Station to renew our metro passes for the morning. This is where our trip went downhill. Upon leaving the very crowded metro station and making our way to Torvehallerne for our afternoon snack, it is here that I realized my wallet had been stolen with my license, debit card, and credit card as well as US and Euro cash. We searched and searched the area to try to find my discarded wallet, but to no avail. We sat in the Starbucks on Fredericksborgade and canceled credit and debit cards but not before the thieves could put them to use and charge nearly $1000 US dollars to my accounts. This made my heart sink! I had enjoyed my trip up to this point and really felt comfortable here, I guess too comfortable, as I had let my guard down. It was at this point we decided to return back to our Airbnb and try to find out about making a police report and to try to put this event behind us.
The next day I woke up and decided to put my pic-pocket violation behind me and enjoy our last few hours in the city. We would be leaving soon to catch our flight to Amsterdam. One thing I would say about Copenhagen is that there is a lot of beauty there and the people really do seem to love the tourists and try to help in any way they can. Unfortunately, I crossed paths with persons that totally went against that idea. But, I must say, I learned a very valuable lesson in all that. As my son always tells me "head on a swivel, Melissa, head on a swivel!" That advice is just a good rule of thumb when traveling or wherever you may be.