I absolutely loved our brief (2 nights/3 days) visit to Copenhagen in the half term and so pleased I went. It has made me want to travel more to the Scandinavian countries which have been on my list for years! I also want to visit more of Denmark too to explore more extensively. I loved many aspects of Kobenhavn and thoroughly absorbed the atmosphere there. I have just made a quick list of a few things I noticed when there – it is supposed to be a light hearted view : )
- There is so much history! As a history and archaeology graduate I loved discovering all the iconic places within the city (and when we popped to Sweden for the day!)
- Apparently it is a Scandinavian thing to wear dark colours especially black and grey – so me wearing bright turquoise looked a bit out of place!
- There is no word really used for please or thankyou in everyday conversation-a cafe owner told us this as we tried to say thankyou lots and lots after a super meal.
- Everyone of every age is encouraged to live an outdoors, healthy lifestyle. Even in the city there are loads of people exercising outdoors, with urban playgrounds, basketball courts and even these awesome little trampolines in the streets!
- There are cyclists everywhere! This is fantastic and I fully support this. However, I finally got the hang of the bikes being everywhere on the last day – having been almost flattened by enthusiastic cyclists many times…
- Even if you are very uncool like myself (turned up in denim dungarees, stripes, broken spoken Danish and a hoodie!) you instantly feel cool in Copenhagen. The city and feel make you seem alternative, hip and urban – I loved it regardless of how uncool I probably appeared to others haha!
- The lifestyle seems to be based around the outdoors and family. Lots of families were out walking, running and popping into the numerous parks and open spaces. being so close and surrounded by the sea creates a fresh atmosphere that helps to clear the head and energize young families.
- The active lifestyle and importance of relaxing, spending time with family and friends was fantastic. I liked this aspect of Scandinavian living – it seemed to spread across to Sweden too. We took the train (20 minutes) across to Malmo, Sweden for a day. There we went to an exhibition which included a gallery all about how young dads in Sweden get the most paternity leave and how it is positive for their childs lifestyle. This seemed to set a great standard that hopefully other countries will follow.
- The streets are very clean and there is recycling everywhere.
- I enjoyed visiting the palace to see the link between international guiding and the Danish Princess – Our Chalet guiding friends will know I cooked for her when I was working in Switzerland so particularly special.
- Cheese, pastries and bread! So many exciting varieties of cheese and pastry!
- the idea of Hygge I realise is a Swedish one but it seemed to extend to Denmark; with cafes and homes being cosy and homely for people to enjoy – including the abundance of candles, soft cushions and fur rugs.
- Self sufficiency isn’t an oddball thing there. Even people in flats and apartments have herbs plants, allotments and bake bread – wonderful. Here is me finding out about beekeeping in Malmo, Sweden.
- The iconic statue of The Little Mermaid from the story by Hans Christian Anderson is tiny! It took a long time to walk up the river to reach it, miles away from the rest of Copenhagen and it is so small. However, it was still a lovely view.
- A strong tea is very difficult to find. A British problem no doubt haha! Over the stay even when I thought I had ordered bog standard tea it turned out to be one of the following: white tea, green tea, peach tea and earl grey. This aside I did enjoy finding new herbal teas to try including ones with Elderflower and Lingonberry flavours.
- There are books and interesting things to attend everywhere! Culture is obviously big here and it is not seen as ‘hipster’ or pretentious but a part of everyday life for all – I loved the book shops in particular and the impromptu folk concert we witnessed in a church.
Overall, I look back at our brief trip fondly and am very glad we did it at the spare of the moment to immerse ourselves in the lifestyle and culture in Denmark. Even though I am sure many people will disagree it did remind me very strongly and positively of Switzerland. Having lived in Switzerland for 2 years I could see many similarities that I particularly liked: the ethos on healthy lifestyles, being outdoors, natural materials, politeness, kindness, learning through doing, responsibility to nature, trust, environmental awareness, helpfulness, travel, language, respect, hand made products, varied diet, family and friend importance and simple living and design.
All these things made me remember the lifestyle that I loved in Switzerland and how I can hope to integrate these lifestyles and ethos into my everyday life in the UK. Hope this has been of interest, I realise it is a bit off-piste from smallholding but just had to share! Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx