So, last October during half term my partner and I finally went to Copenhagen! Being the bona fide Scandiphiles that we are, our visit was a long time coming! After a year of buying a house, spending the summer months getting the living room and kitchen sorted we really needed a break. We could have chosen any of the Nordic capitals but Copenhagen seemed to have it all to suit our interests and budget! We booked flights in August but found that all the hotels and hostels were quite expensive so we turned our attention to Couchsurfing.com and found a nice chap in central Copenhagen who suited our needs and time frame.
We went from Monday to Friday (but leaving in the morning), so we had four solid days to explore, which were ample. Any less and we wouldn’t have felt like we’d seen enough – and that was without seeing some of the really touristy stuff like the Little Mermaid! Our first impression of the city was of its exceptionally organised and reasonably priced public transport with which we became intimately acquainted as we got lost several times on the way to finding our host’s flat! Fortunately we had the rest of the afternoon to explore the city.
Copenhagen is flat and easily manageable on foot but by bicycle it really comes into its own. More than half of all traffic is by bike and the bike lanes themselves take precedence over everything else – look out cars and pedestrians! Having said that, our stroll into the centrum took about fifteen minutes and brought us to the intersection where Tivoli meets the city hall. We popped around the corner to the Radisson Blu SAS (and ventured in to see the Arne Jacobson designed building & interior). It was amazing seeing my most revered pieces of design in the context for which they were created. So many of the design classics of Jacobsen were made for this hotel, namely the Swan chair & sofa, the Egg chair, the AJ lamp. It was a real pilgrimage.
We’d planned jaunts for the other days so this late afternoon stroll was purely an exercise in soaking up the city.Our stroll took us through the main shopping district and began with the flagship Tiger store – all three floors! It was amazing. It had so many products that had long gone from the UK ones, or that seemed exclusive to Denmark. I was hoarding as much as I could carry, not thinking I’d have to somehow get them home. Round the corner on Østergade, were so many of my favourite design houses. Georg Jensen, Royal Copenhagen and HAY HOUSE. I was in heaven!
HAY HOUSE, especially caught my attention. The Danish brand has a store in the UK, in Bath, but sadly as of yet I haven’t had the chance to go. The interior of the place was amazing, with its white walls highlighting the amazing design of the furniture and accessories inside. Plus, with its big panel glass windows, gave an amazing view over the street below.
After scaling through all my favourite shops and new ones such as Illums Bolighus, it was time to start going home. Illums Bolighus which, like Skandium here in the UK had all the big Scandinavian designers in one place, but this one had more, such as Bjørn Wiinblad porcelain. However, on the way back to our host’s apartment I managed to find a few more shops to slink into, such as the amazing Søstrene Grene. Like Tiger, SG has a wide variety of products from Jam and tea to cutting edge design and it’s so cheap too! Back home I was shocked to find out that there isn’t one at all in the UK, In Dublin weirdly, yes and In the Netherlands, France and Spain- as well as the other Nordic countries :(. I’m glad I bought as much as I did. Tom wasn’t though, he could see me being sidetracked shop after shop, and the Krone kitty was depleting, so, he steered me in the right direction home. We ended the night with amazing Vietnamese take out with our host, Theis. I had beef pho and glass noodles. Salty, hot & sour.Amazing!