The happiest country in the world (well, one of them at least) had been on my list of must-visit places for some time, and it turned out to be a wonderful trip. I will say, everyone was shocked whenever I mentioned Copenhagen is one of the happiest places in the world – especially Spaniards! How could a place so far North be that happy?
Well, lucky for us we went when the weather did not force us to answer that question. The sun was shining, the streets were clean, the people were out and about. Copenhagen marked my second Couchsurfing experience. While we didn’t spend much time together, it was nice to come back in the evenings and share stories of our day with our hosts. I spent my first day in Copenhagen alone. I have found I don’t mind time alone so long as I know it’s limited. As my friend was set to arrive that evening, I spent my first day wandering through some sights on my own.
I also made time to visit David’s Gallery, which houses Islamic art and has free entry! I killed three great hours there, letting old terminology learned in religious classes come washing back over me.
Once my friend arrived, we revisited many sights I’d already seen. As my friend is a vegan, we also had some interesting food experiences!
One day, we visited Christianshavn to climb the spire on Church of our Savior. TIP: Skip the Giralda and climb this church tower instead if you are physically able! It is higher up and further from the center, allowing for better views and a unique experience.
Next, we made our way over to nearby Christiania. This is a self-proclaimed autonomous area with a population of about 1,000 people. No photos are allowed here, but some other things are. Hint – it’s also known as Freetown Christiania, and has signs proclaiming itself the Green Light District. The air was thick with heat, special smoke and general indifference. We saw little tents set up, with men inside shrouded in black as they conducted business. We saw lots of people generally having a good time either wandering through a colorful open-air market, or sitting outside enjoying some beers under the sun.
Christiania presented a stark contrast to the incredibly neat and clean areas of Copenhagen we had seen until then. The area had its own charm, and I’m glad we had a chance to explore it.
Afterward, we made our way back toward Nyhavn. This was probably my favorite place in Copenhagen. As the weather was nice, loads of people sat out drinking beers at the edge of the canal. I joined in, substituting some incredible gelato for the beer.
Someday, I’d like to visit Copenhagen in the winter to experience it a different way. For now, I am glad to have had a pleasant first experience in one of the happiest countries in the world.
On a final note, I would like to share that everyone bikes around Copenhagen. Toddlers bike. The elderly bike. Pregnant ladies bike. And not as a fun pastime or for exercise either! Everyone bikes as a form of transportation. And it’s wonderful.