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If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’m on a whirlwind trip around Europe right now. I mentioned this in an earlier post but my sister and I have decided to apply to one-year business programs in Europe for Autumn 2015 (and yes, I plan on being a perpetual student). I have a really strong political science background but want more of an economic/business background to complement my previous studies.
My sister and I started our journey in Scandinavia. We flew into Copenhagen (Denmark is officially country #26 for me!) and spent a day there before heading to Lund, Sweden to visit a friend who is doing a one-year master’s in Management. While I wish we had more time in Copenhagen, we managed to fit everything we really wanted to do into 24 hours. And your bank account will thank you for only staying in Copenhagen for a day!
Start your morning out with a delicious breakfast from Oscar Bar Café. I had scrambled eggs, spicy sausage, a yogurt parfait, fresh fruit, cheese, and bread along with a yummy latte. The perfect way to combat my tiredness from having to wake up at 4:30 am! Plus, my sister and I managed to snag comfy seats by the fireplace. It was very tempting not to leave!
After checking in at our adorable hostel, Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, we meandered to Christiansborg Palace which houses the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Danish government. It is actually the only building in the world that houses a country’s three branches of government.
We then walked by the Old Stock Exchange of Copenhagen, built in the early 1600s. It is one of the oldest buildings in all the city and King Christian IV had plans of eventually turning Copenhagen into one of the major financial and economic hubs of Europe. The coolest part, and probably most iconic part, about this building is the spiral-shaped point jutting into the sky from the rooftop.
After walking through the very sunny, but very chilly weather, we arrived at the harbor with all the famous colored houses! This area, called Nyhavn, was really as stunning as I had expected. After meandering through the harbor area and taking as many pictures as possible (which still didn’t seem like enough!), we passed by the Danish World War II memorial commemorating the sailors and officers lost during the war.
Earlier in the day, my sister and I had snagged last-minute, student discount tickets to The Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli, a huge amusement park and garden that is converted into a Winter Wonderland during Christmas time. I absolutely love The Nutcracker so this was a special treat for the two of us! It was also interesting to note that the costumes were designed by the Queen of Denmark who absolutely adores ballets (and was a dancer herself). This version of The Nutcracker incorporated aspects of Danish culture and the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, so it was definitely a unique but wonderful experience.
After the ballet ended, we wandered around the Tivoli while eating delicious hot dogs and drinking yummy hot chocolate. We were determined to hunt down the special cups created just for the Christmas market (and succeeded!). Look at those happy smiles above :) We also watched a light/water show on the lake in the Tivoli choreographed to The Nutcracker music.
Before leaving for Lund, Sweden around noon the next morning, my sister and I managed to hop over to Amalienborg, the winter residence of the Danish Royal Family as well as Rosenborg Castle, an old residence of the Royal Family. Since the early 1700s, Rosenborg Castle has only been used twice by the Royal Family (and both times were during emergencies). The castle is now owned by the state and houses many famous artifacts including the crown jewels. The surrounding park and gardens are supposedly breathtaking during the summer months when everything is in bloom.
+ The cold! Guys, I’m from Michigan and Copenhagen was freezing for me! I asked my sister to rate Copenhagen on a scale from one to cold. She replied, “Siberia.”
+ The prices! Everything was so so so expensive. I had initially wanted another day or two in Copenhagen but am glad we only stayed a day. I don’t know how I would have afforded it.
+ The sunset. I’m used to seeing very little sunlight in Michigan and Germany during the winter months. However, Copenhagen was on a totally different level. I mean, the sun set by 3:30 pm!
+ Eat: Oscar Bar Cafe and Ida Davidsen (closed on weekends but they serve 250 different sandwiches)
+ Visit: Christiansborg Palace, the Old Stock Exchange, Amalienborg, and Rosenborg Castle
+ Stay: Copenhagen Downtown Hostel
+ Photograph: Nyhavn and the colorful houses!
+ See: The Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli (and make sure to explore the Winter Wonderland/Christmas markets afterwards)