Passionate about getting the most
from your outside spaces

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in     by Joyce Bullock 24-10-2015

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

This year I have been trying to get the work life balance right.  Whilst I do regularly have long working days and often work weekends, I do seem to have done well on the holiday front!  Some landscapers have pointed out I’m always away.  Oh well.  You have to make life how you want it don’t you?

Last weekend we were lucky enough to have a few days in Copenhagen.  I love all things Scandinavian and am a big fan of ScandicNoir TV.  I loved The Killing, The Bridge, Wallender and especially Borgen, the Danish political drama.  Any chance I could get to geek just had to be taken

Now, I don’t just like TV, there are plenty of other things that tick my box.  I like holidays, nice times with friends, gardens and green spaces, interesting quirky artisan made things, food, the odd gin or dry white, a bit of culture and a fair bit of seeing and doing.

On the whole Copenhagen fulfilled my criteria.  Actually, I really loved it.  That it is accessible on foot is a real bonus but the bus and rail/metro system are very efficient too.  Or take a bike.  It’s great to see SO many people using bikes and everything catered to them.  There are tarmacked bike lanes on all of the roads.  It seemed the pedestrian was priority, but only when the light was on green!  No jay walking!  Then the cyclists seemed to come next, lastly cars.  Everywhere had huge spaces for bike parking and the carriages on trains and Metro accommodated bikes too.

It’s a foodie place too with world renowned Noma.  We didn’t go there but we did eat at some nice places.  I did my research and with my DD’s help produced an interactive map so we could easily find our way to pinned attractions.

Everyone had said that it would be expensive and I guess it was.  Or at least, not cheap.  But then all European cities are costly.  I have paid £7.50 for a glass of wine in Bath, I don’t think Copenhagen was any more expensive.  If you get off the main tourist tracks and maybe go one block back or take a side street, you can often find real gems.

Copenhagen is, apparently, one of the greenest cities.  We made a point of walking through parks, alongside the canals or waterways when we could.  And of course visited the fabulous Botanical Gardens.  The planting beds along Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard were still looking good, with geraniums, lavender and alyssum still flowering away, despite the autumn temperatures.

Here are my highlights:

Best meal:
Found in a most unlikely place, the Post & Tele Museum, on Købmagergade, a main shopping street.  We nipped in for the loo and a hot chocolate after the boat tour, the food looked so good we stayed for lunch.  The 5th floor café is a real gem, I would absolutely recommend it.  The website does say the museum is relocating in 2016 though :-/

We also ate at the old custom house, alongside the canal at Almanack.  This was one of my ‘places to eat’, the man would refuse to go again I think!  He liked the red deer main course but winced loudly at the prices.  I decided to forego a dessert in favour of a second glass of wine, at £12.50.  They don’t give prices for bottles.  On the basis that if you need to ask the price, then you can’t afford it, we stuck to glasses.  I liked the smart casual vibe but with hindsight we could have eaten just as good, for less.  Like at Peder Oxe, where we ate the night before. It’s in an old monastery.  A lovely place, nice buzzy vibe, interesting people to watch, great service and a fire in the corner.  Great.

Best green space:
The Botanical Gardens of course.  Free to enter and with glorious old glass houses which are toasty and warm, ideal for respite on a cold day.  The shop there was just a delight, there were barrows outside with corms and bulbs for sale, beautiful botanical prints, plants, seeds, paraphernalia etc.  We had a good walk round and enjoyed a coffee overlooking the central lake.  Something about botanical gardens makes me want to volunteer!  Wouldn’t that be a fabulous thing?  A week or so (or maybe longer…?) working on the herbaceous beds, heaven.

The park at Amaliehavn and the bastions around Christianshavn were lovely too.  If you lived in Copenhagen, you’d want to be near one of their glorious open spaces.  Great for walking and jogging.

Best shopping:
We didn’t got to shop, but you do sometimes want to bring something home.  There was a super shop with all manner of everything, ribbons, stationery, kitchenalia, Halloween things and so on.  I treated myself to some cake tins.  They are just gorgeous and I know not an ideal thing to bring back on a plan, but hey… Sostrene Grenes

Best place to visit:
Torvehallerne.  This was very much a Joyce place – lively, foody, trendy, buzzy and open daily.  An artisan market with food, plants, veggies, coffee, teas, breads, cakes, chocolates.  You can grab a stool on the outside wall and buy noodles/sushi/burgers/cakes or whatever you fancy with a cuppa and watch the world go by.  We saw a load of guys pile out of a bar over the road, have a ciggie break, and then pile back in after half time.  Rather like being in England.

Best tourist trip:
The canal tour.  We took the Grand Tour on the canals in one of the necessarily low, wide boats.  The area is flat and the bridges are too – great for pedestrians and cyclists but not so good for boats.  It’s a really interesting, seeing the place from a different perspective.  The boats have audio commentary and take you past many of the sightseeing musts.  The Christianshavn Kanal was particularly lovely, with stunning houses and cafes lining the canal side and beautiful house boats moored on the waterway.

Best bit of humour:
We saw lots of evidence of Danish humour, including a sign outside a nightclub saying “you shake your ass, while we shake the cocktails”.  We loved this bar sign too:

Best Building:
The Black Diamond, the super duper new library was really interesting.  A big open space, with café and waterside views.  I thought it sat wonderfully next to the historic buildings nearby.  The buildings that form the seat of parliament and Christiansborg were very impressive.  You are able to wander through the spaces between buildings, seeing the horses from the Royal stables taking exercise or watching the guards in their bearskin hats. There are many beautiful and striking buildings, such fab architecture.  It is all inspirational.

Best memory:
The bikes!  The cyclists with trolleys, baskets, trailers, containing shopping, office equipment, children, tools, anything and everything!  It was a joy to see so many people using a bike for so many of their day to day journeys. Oh, I mustn’t forget the flock of Segway’s we saw too.

We had four-ish days in Copenhagen, arriving Friday lunch time and leaving Monday evening.  We could have filled many more.  If I could go back, I would spend more time at the Botanical Gardens, venture into Christianshavn more, visit some of the many museums, trek a bit more off piste and more than anything, I’d go when it was warmer.  Rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm or stop us doing anything but everything is so much nicer in the sun.