Summer 2022: Funky, hipster, design-inspiring Copenhagen

Archipelago – check! Historical, charming Lund – check! Eclectic, diverse Malmö – check! A week and a half into our summer 2022 vacay roadtrip and it was now time to leave the country. It was definitely sad to have to leave Malmö, but as I said in yesterday’s post, we were headed to Copenhagen – and we were soooo excited about that. We ate one last breakfast at our Malmö hotel, then walked to the train station to hop a 30-40 minute ride across the water and into our beloved Copenhagen. It’s been way too long since we visited and we were so ready to explore a few new-to-us places. The summer vacay roadtrip continues across the water in Denmark!

Day 1.

Just stepping off of the train and onto the platform in Copenhagen I felt a rush of joy + some sort of feeling of coming home. We gathered our bearings, contained our excitement, and quickly discovered that our hotel was only a 2-3 minute walk just west of the train station. We splurged again and booked a funky hotel called Axel Guldsmeden in the funky, gritty district of Vesterbro, but we had arrived just a tad bit before check-in, so we did what we do… found a cool cafe nearby + grabbed a couple of iced vanilla lattes.

Re-caffeinated, we walked back to the hotel at 1 (our early check-in time) and were greeted with a receptionist saying these magical words to us: “Welcome, Elizabeth. I see here that they’ve upgraded you to a double superior room!” I have absolutely never heard that sentence before. Fun!!, we thought, especially since I’d booked us the smallest room for 2 I could. We may be splurging on the hotel, but we don’t need a big room – just the vibes will do. But, who am I to turn down a magical upgrade_! So, we rode the elevator to the 4th floor and dragged our suitcases down the narrow hallway, blipped into our room, and our jaws fell to the floor. The space was gorgeous. So lovely + calm + funky. But, wait… there’s a balcony! No way!! Oh my god, it was so beautiful. And there was a gorgeous, big tub. And the bed was perfect. And… the balcony!

Yeah. This was luck that we never have. The Copenhagen gods + goddesses were welcoming us home to Denmark (the country where we fell in love) in a most blessed way.

After picking our jaws up off the floor, we were ready to get out in the hot, sweltering heat of the day! There wasn’t going to be much exploring today, as we were headed straight for the biggest tourist street, Strøget, in all of Copenhagen. But, we wanted to see some design stores + Lina needed a new pair of Birkenstocks. So, we decided to “get this tourist trap out of the way”. As I’ve said, we’ve been to Copenhagen alone + together quite a few times, I even dated a Danish guy from Copenhagen a lifetime ago, so we did not need to really do the tourist things again.

It was hot. There were tons of people. But, the vibe was so good. We wandered through crowds of tourists, explored a few Danish design stores, drooled over the furniture, and settled into the city. After leaving Strøget, we found the Birkenstock store and realized there was a line waiting to get in. Covid precaution?! Nope. They were understaffed and it was a tiny store. So, we waited in the sweltering heat + sun, but finally made it in and had success. We walked maybe a block and ducked into some random dark bar for a cheap, cold beer. It was just us + the bartender. The bar had just opened at 2pm. This place was rough. I mean, I was certain that there were stories to be told about this place. In fact, once I started chatting with the bartender, I found out that this is the bar that’s open the latest in pretty much all of Copenhagen… 8am. And, yeah, it’s a rough crowd that’s there between 2am and 8am. So fun to find out!

After that adventure, we headed toward another district, Nørrebro. A multicultural melting pot of the city. Lina had found a place that focuses on natural wine – something we wanted to try and learn about. So, we started walking. Only, to find an open jazz bar serving beer to go about halfway there. Of course we ducked in, chatted with the bartender, grabbed a pint in a plastic cup and ran across the street to sit in a park for a bit. Like I said, we love spontaneity.

We finally made it to the natural wine bar, Vinhanen, and ordered some orange wine and food. We didn’t really learn much, but the orange wine tasted good. No worries – a mini education on natural wine was in our future. Since we were in Nørrebro, we decided to walk a bit. I wanted to literally stop and eat at every restaurant we passed. It was like walking through a permanent international street fair, only more authentic. And then, there were parks with street art, flyers for community rallies, concrete courts to play ball. I mean, I could have been in NYC.

We realized that we were getting a bit tired, so we took a long walk by the Søerne – 3 rectangular lakes curving around the western park of the city. The sun was setting, the air was cooling a bit, but it was still a tropical-feeling night. My legs + feet ached, especially after the walked we had done in Malmö the day before as well, but I was soaking it all in. On our way back to the hotel, we decided to pick up some Thai food and enjoy dinner on our little hotel balcony. What a day it had been. And I was so happy to be in Copenhagen.

Day 2.

It was so nice to know that we had 2 more full days in Copenhagen, so we didn’t have to feel stressed or rushed. We went to a cafe around the corner from our hotel and plotted out our day – which existed of only discussing the fact that we were going to explore Vesterbro all day – the neighborhood where we were staying. I also spilled my coffee aaaaalllll over Lina’s legs, feet, and new Birkenstocks. Oops. Nevertheless, we were in good spirits, it was another super hot day and we were ready to explore!

We walked a short ways to a street that had a few shops we wanted to visit, just to look. Haha. We bought a couple of things and were already dying of heat, so we plopped down at a cafe and I ordered us two… iced lattes. Yep. We sat forever, people watching and chatting and looooving the shade.

Then, we had the energy to move on with our day. We had a destination. But, on our way there, we found ourselves strolling the street called Saxogade. Turns out, this street is part of an area of old working class Copenhagen that has been established as a socially sustainable cooperative filled with funky, hip food spots + markets + shops.

“The profits are used to create jobs and work experience places for people with social problems, and the stores give them a chance to get back into the job market and eventually find gainful employment. An NGO called Settlementet is behind the initiative, that has been engaged in social work in Vesterbro since 1911.” – source here

We spent some time admiring + soaking in the atmosphere and then headed onto our destination: a grocery market named Kihoskh. Of course this was no regular supermarket. It had a beer + wine cellar with tons of local, craft, unique tastes. So, down we went. It was a bit overwhelming, but soooo inspiring. We grabbed a few beers and a few bottles of wine to bring home and then we went across the street to their bar for a taste. I had another blueberry beer that was served with ice (who am I?!) and it was refreshingly delicious and low alcohol level. Perfect.

Of course, then we dropped by another funky outdoor place for a beer, Fermentoren, went to the famously and totally hip Meatpacking District (Kødbyen) for a little natural wine lesson at a tiny wine shop (Husted Vin), and found a delicious Mexican restaurant (Sanchez) on our way back to the hotel room to rest + drop off our purchases.

The night ended with a visit to Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park right in the middle of the city. A tons of fun for amusement park lovers and a beautiful spot for anyone to enjoy. We walked around, waited for the dark so we could see the lights, and then went back to the hotel where I fell into a deep sleep.

Day 3.

The heat had broken! There were glorious clouds above + it even sprinkled a little. Ahhhhh. First up – breakfast and then walk across town to take a boat taxi! Of course, we stopped and took pictures and explored some new streets on our wait to the taxi stop on the water.

We were headed to Reffen – a funky street food venue in an old industrial area on the very edge of Copenhagen. Think old industrial docks + warehouses now filled with food trucks, picnic tables, and breweries. And yes, the best way to get there is a ferry taxi that takes you right by and through the city. Reffen is actually the largest street food venue in the Nordic countries and we were super excited to finally visit.

It was totally a Liz + Lina vibe. We ordered from a few places and shared food + beer, so we didn’t get too full. We people watched, of course, took photos, and just loved the energy. It was a bit more family-filled than I imagined, but that’s cool. It wsa just a place where all kinds of people could be.

While we sat, we hatched our next plan – a visit to the Danish Design Museum. I mean, it was just a hop across the water on a ferry taxi! Denmark is known for its sleep, minimalist, also funky, cool, simple design. My love works with design and we’re both lovers of simple, funky, Danish design, so it was a no-brainer that we’d go get inspired!

In a building in the courtyard to the museum, I happened to look up and see a plaque that stated that “this was the house where Søren Kierkegaard died”. Kierkegaard was a philosopher and theologian, who I’ve read and admired for years. It just felt huge and soul-touching to see that place. Like a deep connection to something bigger than me.

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

We were mezmerised and inspired by the museum – it was truly amazing. I have no idea how long we were there – felt like hours and minutes all at once. But, we left feeling motivated + passionate about our own things in our own ways.

Back to wandering and not having a plan, we found ourselves at a super popular wine bar (Nebbiolo), plopped ourselves down, ordered two glasses of something “fruity and fresh” (they don’t have menus, but the servers match what taste you want with a wine) and then found ourselves having a very nice dinner at the bar of an Italian restaurant (Bar Poldo) on our way back to the hotel.

Feeling absolutely satisfied + filled, heart, mind, soul, and belly, from this day.

Day 4.

Our time in Copenhagen had come to a close, so the only to do was to pack, check out from our gorgeous (still can’t get my head around the upgrade!), grab a coffee + a muffin, and hop on the train back to Malmö. From there, we took the bus back out to the cottage to pick up our car, Luna and drive about an hour or so north to Lina’s aunt’s home on the west coast of Sweden.

So, the road trip is not over yet! Still some things to see + memories to make. So, stay tuned!

And, if you’re still reading after this super long Copenhagen post, then GOOD JOB. I’m impressed and ever so grateful. I love sharing my memories with you. And embedded throughout this post are links to the places we visited, in case you find yourself traveling to Copenhagen anytime soon.

I’ll be back there in mid-August actually for a work trip. But it’s just overnight – and work. Still, it’s my beloved Copenhagen!

xoxo. liz.

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