Copenhagen: my first impressions

At 530am local time (1230pm PST), Niklas and I arrived at Copenhagen Airport, 30 minutes earlier than our Singapore Airlines ETD of 6am. After completing our immigration check (two minutes!) and being warned of the cold by the lady immigration officer, we set out to pick our luggage and brace ourselves for the freezing cold. It’s 3 degrees, says Merete, Niklas’ mom, as she and Claes, Niklas’ dad, met us. As I prepared myself to cross the revolving door between the airport’s comfortable 22-degree temp and the ear-numbing 3 degree temp outside, I still can’t believe that we finally are here in Copenhagen, in Denmark, in Europe!

Just another street in Central Copenhagen
Just another street in Central Copenhagen

On the short ride home (15 minutes for 10 kilometers!), I can’t help but notice that the road seemed to be eerily quiet. It’s already about 630 at the time and yet, the city seemed to just have started stirring into life. Quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Manila where a 630 wake up time means two hours of commuter traffic.

By the time we got to Merete’s home, the sun still hasn’t risen (which happened only at 830 I think) but at least, the apartment building dwellers seemed to have started with their daily routine. While the car was being parked, I had a grand tour of the house, the one which Niklas grew up in. Rented by Merete for the past 40 years, the house built sometime in 1902-1906 (they couldn’t quite agree) was meant for a newly-wed family yet to have a child.

The Sitting Room - my favorite part of the house
The Sitting Room – my favorite part of the house

Of course I couldn’t believe that such was the case since the house is made up of maybe-more-than-adequately-sized-bedrooms (3 – Merete’s master, Niklas’ old room (used to be the Gentlemen’s room in the old days), the maid’s room (where a young man from the Scouts is staying)); sitting room, dining room, kitchen and T&B. But, after visiting Claes’ house, which I think would somehow have the same number of rooms just in a different lay-out (theirs is kinda circular), then square footage really must be an important factor in Copenhagen home living.

After a nice breakfast (with sparkling wine to celebrate our arrival) of breads and cheeses and jams and Niklas’ favorite liver pate, we had a quick nap to compensate a bit for the jet lag and set off in the afternoon for my very first Copenhagen walkabout. I think Niklas is just as excited as I am to show his city!

Christiansborg Palace, seat of Denmark's legislative, executive and judicial powers
Christiansborg Palace, seat of Denmark’s legislative, executive and judicial powers
Boersen Building, Copenhagen Stock Exchange back in the day
Boersen Building, Copenhagen Stock Exchange back in the day
Copenhagen - Nyhavn Selfie
Selfie Time! By the 400-year-old Nyhavn (New Harbor)
My first taste of Danish food while in Denmark
My first taste of Danish food while in Denmark – Herring (some kind of fat winter fish) on top of rye bread and topped with curried egg yolk (the marinated fish tasted like paksiw)
Copenhagen - Nodea Bank Complex
Nodea Bank, one of the most “modern” buildings in this old city (founded as a Viking Village in the 10th Century)

 

Some very noticeable things about Copenhagen:

  • Bikes – they say that there are more bikes than people (about 1.25 million); and these are everywhere
  • Traffic – really light to almost non-existent; there’s more foot traffic (walking) I think
  • Old buildings – way too many (yey!) and are in really good condition
  • Skyscrapers – way too few and are building of new ones are not that favored by the citizenry
  • Roads – paved and cobblestones
  • Water – it’s everywhere; surrounded by canals and harbors and ponds or lakes
  • Weather – very predictable (especially now which is only either cold or snowing)
  • Eating out – several restaurants but tends to be quite expensive (imagine a 100 krone/700 peso sandwich meal); but you’d be surprised, there are restaurants that are 200 years old!
  • Drinks – beer, wine and champagne, goes well with cheese 🙂
  • Shops – more boutique shops than malls
  • History, Arts and Culture – several museums, centers, Opera theatre, concert houses
  • People – generally nice, some strangers on the street even smile sometimes; more on this later

Anyway, these are just some notes on my first impressions of Copenhagen. This city will be our base and hopefully, I would have more entries in the next days. 🙂

Skaal!

 

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