Copenhagen? Copenhaged.

After my late and somewhat eventful arrival in Copenhagen last night, I get up this morning ready for my 2 days of adventure in one of the cities I have most been looking forward to on this trip. Copenhagen is after all known as the cycling capital of the world, and I couldn’t be more excited to ride like a local!

First stop is a wheeled device of a slightly different variety, a Segway tour of the city. I arrive at the shopfront of Segway Tours Copenhagen to be greeted by my exuberant tour guide “Are you David?”. I reply that I am and he informs me that it is my birthday… After a moment of confused looks (and checking the date on my watch) I ask him why, and he says that it’s just me on the tour this morning! I’ve ridden a Segway a few times before, up and down the steepest streets of San Francisco, so he asks if there is anything specific I want to see and we can maybe add in to the tour along the way.

The Segway tour is a great way to get acquainted with Copenhagen and the information from the guide is fantastic. We see a lot of the sights I wanted to see in Copenhagen, the first notable one is the Kings Gardens.

Another sight that is obviously touristy, but still a must see, is the Little Mermaid statue. The original fairy-tale story of “The Little Mermaid” was written by Hans Christian Anderson, a famous Danish author, and there is a statue in the east of the city built to honour him and his stories.

The next notable stop was the Nyhavn district, where the once struggling H.C. Anderson lived for most of his life. It is such a beautiful area, with canals like Venice, only clean! I took too many photos here, both 360 degree and regular, but have picked the best of each.

Once I was back on 2 feet, and my daily pre-requisite for caffeinated beverages had been fulfilled, it was on to Rundetårn (the Round Tower). For those of you who are playing at home, this is the first of 3 towers which require climbing in Copenhagen. The interesting thing about this tower is how it is a smooth spiral inside rather than steps! The view from the top is pretty great, mostly because this building is in the very centre of the old town of Copenhagen. Tower 1 complete.

Next stop is a walking tour of the colourful neighbourhood of Nørrebro. Once again it seems to be my lucky day as I am the only person on the tour. The Nørrebro district is famous for having over 55 different nationalities living within the area. The diversity makes it a colourful and vibrant neighbourhood, and although not a wealthy area, quite the density of hipster cafes and cultural spaces.

There is a narrow public park which runs down the middle of the Nørrebro district and is separated into 3 areas. The first area, the grey space, is a concrete jungle consisting of play equipment, graffiti art and monuments symbolic to each of the major cultures living in the area.

The second, the red space, is themed to exercise, sporting activity and harmony. The third area is the green space, which is obviously enough a parkland filled with trees and gardens.

The walking tour concludes at the Assistens cemetery on the border of the central city. As well as being the final resting place to many, including the famous H.C. Anderson, the cemetery is also a parklands area where people play, relax and enjoy the greenery.

From here I headed west to the Frederiksberg gardens, a large park on the edge of town.

As well as the Frederiksberg castle, the gardens also house the Cisterns, an underground art space. It was originally built as a water reservoir for the area and then enclosed, only to be come disused some years later. It is currently exhibiting “In is the only way out” by Jeppe Hein, containing a series of rooms.

The first is in complete darkness, except for a large flamethrower which activates and increases in size the closer you get to it.

The second is a series of rotating mirrors in various shapes, creating alternating illusions of never ending tunnels and solid walls.

The third room contains metallic chalices of various sizes and heights, which are struck sporadically by rubber balls in order to create a cacophony of sounds varying in both pitch and combination.

Pretty sure the next room is the chamber of secrets...

In the evening I head to “The Pump House”, Copenhagen’s 2nd most famous live music venue, to see Phosphorescent. Having only heard one or two of their songs before, I’ll admit I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was to enjoy the venue as much as the band and an excuse to go out. Turns out I found their music bland and their stage presence boring. Luckily the supporting act was a woman (whose name I didn’t catch) who used a looper system while playing keyboard and guitar to layer up various synths and sounds for her songs. If this wasn’t impressive enough, she also had an incredible voice and I enjoyed her style much more than the headline act. All in all an enjoyable night, but not for the reasons I would have expected!

The next day it’s time for me to get my cycle on, and I couldn’t be happier. I hire a town bike from the hostel with the plan to ride north out of the city and enjoy the countryside.

The ride is lovely and getting out of the city is as easy as keeping the water to your right. Once in the more suburban and then rural areas, the air is fresh and the sky is clear. It is a lovely day and after not too long I cycle through a small town called Klampenborg.

It’s a fairly relaxed Thursday morning and while cycling the water front bike path I see a family bathing in the cold water… naked… how very Scandinavian. I cycle on and continue to enjoy the freedom, as I feel naked myself- I’m not wearing a helmet!

As lovely as this ride is for the first 30km or so, I have to say that my idea of doing this on a town bike may have been ill-conceived. Normally a 40km bike ride is a casual 2 hour affair for me, but it turns out that 40km on a town bike is not the same as 40km on a road bike. Despite having muscle and energy to ride faster, it was severely difficult and uncomfortable to average much more than 16km/h, so the ride took longer than I expected and was not nearly as cruisy. Thankfully I got there in the end, a little late, but with enough time for a quick coffee and Danish before jumping on a train back to Copenhagen.

After reaching the city, my next stop by bike is Amager Strandpark, a beach island accessible by bridge across a shallow lagoon. There is bike parking everywhere and beautiful white sand (yes, I didn’t know they had that in Europe either!). Obviously the water is too cold this time of year but I can imagine that in the height of summer this would be the place to be.

Just south of the beach is the Kastrup Søbad, a pier which is part modern artwork and part practical sea bath. Again there is no one swimming here, but still a handful of people enjoying the sunshine and sea breeze on this beautiful autumn day.

I head back into the city and make my way to the 2nd epic tower climb of Copenhagen, the golden bell tower at the Church of our Saviour. What makes this particular bell tower special is that the spiral staircase is actually on the outside of the building from about half way up, so rather than just a view at the top, you get the experience of climbing it with a constant 360 view. Once you reach the top, the narrow steps get you surprisingly high and the view in every direction is more than worth the climb. Tower 2 complete.

From here I cycle to Reffen, a disused docklands area where a semi-permanent night food market has been set up built into shipping containers.

Let’s be honest, I really only came here because it’s called “Reffen” which is so close to “Redfern” that it’s not funny. Living in Redfern, the land of hipster cafes and small bars, I can tell you that the similarity of this place does not end in the name. I had some traditional Danish open sandwiches, while drinking an organic craft beer, which I’m pretty sure was made from 100% real hipsters.

As the sun sets on another epic adventure, I climb my 3rd and final tower of Copenhagen, at the Christiansborg Palace. Although less spectacular than the previous 2 towers, what made this tower worthwhile was that it is open until 8pm so I was able to take a parting time lapse as the sun sets over the city of Copenhagen. Tower 3 complete.

After 48 crazy hours in Copenhagen I decide to take my last evening a bit more relaxed. I do some much needed washing, grab a few take away beers from the craft brewery across the road, and hit the hostel lounge. Here there is a very pleasant surprise waiting for me, a communal hostel guitar. It might not sound like much, but at home barely a day goes by in which I don't play one of my various musical instruments. The last 4 weeks has been the longest I've ever gone away without taking some sort of instrument with me and I really was missing it.

Getting a chance to chill out and play a few random songs was the perfect way to finish my time in Copenhagen. I enjoyed it so much that I even decided to record a video for my YouTube channel "The Lonely Vocalist", my first ever in 360 degree! Feel free to check it out :)

After 48 hours, 3 towers, many wheels, countless sights, and one very out of tune guitar, I can definitely say I Copenhaged.