Finally, it was time for the last leg of our European adventure: Copenhagen, Denmark!
The flight out of Stuttgart was longer than I initially anticipated, but still manageable, with us arriving at 10:30pm. We weaved our way toward the metro platform quickly so we could get to our hostel and sleep. It was very easy getting from the airport into the city center and by far the most economical option, at only 6 Krone (the Danish currency). Despite the lateness of the day the metro was packed full, forcing Shannon, Bryant, and I to stand for the ride into town. The three of us hopped off the metro at the Forum stop and walked about ten minutes to get to our hostel, Sleep in Heaven. When checking in, we decided to go ahead and get vouchers to utilize the hostel’s breakfast for the following morning, although we came to regret that. The hostel itself was pretty cool and relaxed, but the breakfast spread was disappointing, so much so that I pushed the exact options out of my head since then.
During our trip-planning process before leaving for Europe, I found a great activity for us to do in Copenhagen, an hour-long boat tour through the canals – and it included entrance tickets to the Tivoli Gardens! I have wanted to go to Tivoli for MANY years now, ever since I watched Samantha Brown visit on one of her old travel shows. Thankfully, Shannon and Bryant were on board with the tour and Tivoli visit. We decided to go on the first boat tour of the day, leaving from Nyhavn, the most famous canal in Copenhagen… You know the one I’m taking about 🙂 We walked from our hostel to Nyhavn, finding that it was a very easy walk of about twenty minutes. The tour we chose left 9:30am and we bought our tickets right there (TIP: if the attendants don’t ask, make sure you mention you want the Tivoli entrance included, or they will simply sell you the boat ticket). Our boat was prompt and was very informative. We managed to get “window” seats, making it much easier for us to take pictures. In the beginning our boat wasn’t very full, but there is a second stop to pick up passengers about halfway through the hour, where the boat filled completely. Thanks to the canal tour, we were able to see many of the major hitters of the Copenhagen tourist checklist. As the Shannon and Bryant only had one day in Copenhagen (I had two), it was the perfect way to see as much of the city as possible and still have time to explore on our own.
When the hour was up, it was time for my most-anticipated activity, TIVOLI. AKA the inspiration behind Disney World! We walked from Nyhavn to Tivoli, taking a longer-than-necessary route to get there, but it was nice to see a closer look at some of the points we hit on the canal tour. Tivoli officially opened at 11am and we were just on time! As soon as we walked in, I got major Alice in Wonderland vibes. The park was still waking up, so we walked around a little, seeing if there were any good shops to get some souvenirs for later. I can definitely see how Tivoli Gardens was the inspiration behind Disney. The park looks seems like Magic Kingdom and Epcot squished together on a much smaller scale. Tivoli is not a very large amusement park, but they make wonderful use of the space they do have… Like most Europeans.
Rides are not included in park admission, you have to pay separately at one of the many kiosks throughout. Shannon and Bryant weren’t really feeling rides, so they bought enought tickets to go on one ride each. I bought the unlimited ride wristband, which was not as expensive as you’d think (only about 36 USD). The ride we chose to do together was for Star Flyer, the swings. It took us so high, that we had a wonderful view of the entire city! The weather that morning was a little foggy and gloomy, but it didn’t detract from the view. If anything, I thought it made Copenhagen look more beautiful. After that, I rode both of the roller coasters and a ride that takes you through many of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, all three rides were very enjoyable. After my rides, I joined back up with Shan and Bryant at a couple of the shops in the Asian quarter, and then we made our way back out to the bustle of Copenhagen’s shopping mecca, which was right outside the park. So many tourist shops, restaurants, high-end stores, all right outside the quaint and magical gardens.
We had eaten in Tivoli, so we only took advantage of the tourist shops to grab some souvenirs for our friends and family back home… And for ourselves, of course. The flow of traffic leaving Tivoli was headed to the main shopping street of Copenhagen, Stroget. We hit a couple of shops and wandered around, all the while I was looking for a post office to buy more stamps, with no luck. When we had all the souvenirs we could carry, the three of us took the long way back to our hostel (because we can’t help getting lost) to drop it off and rest before dinner. On the walk back, we had to cross the bridge by Peblinge Lake where there were tons of swans gathered near the edge. Of course, Shannon and Bryant had to get super close to take fifty pictures. I was just glad they didn’t hiss or attack us. By the time we got back to the hostel, we had made a nice big loop through the city, taking in as many sights as we could by 4:30pm.
I was thankful for the chance to clean up and rest for a minute, while we looked online for a good dinner recommendation. It didn’t take long to find one and it was relatively close to our hostel, right across the bridge towards Nyhavn. But when we arrived, we found that it had been closed for a couple of weeks, although it seemed to only be a seasonal closing? We may never know. At that point, we were all very hungry, so we walked toward the bustling streets, following the smells for a new place to eat. A couple of streets later, Shan, Bryant and I ended up at a basement pizzeria that smelled incredible. As it turns out, it was probably the best pizza I’ve eaten outside of Italy. I’m talking mouthwatering, and not just because we were starving. The pizzas didn’t take long to make, or eat, so the three of us still had a little daylight to take advantage of.
By that time, the sun had barely begun to set, so we set out back towards Nyhavn. It gave the three of us a chance to take some evening-time pictures along the canal. There was a perfect spot on one of the bridges, and we claimed it as our own for about thirty minutes while we had our standard photo-shoot. We made apologies to no one and went on to claim a bench and enjoy the beauty of the canal.
Our walk back to the hostel, shortly after, enabled us to stumble upon Kings Garden, which we had previously overlooked. Since there was still a remnant of light, we popped in for a few minutes. There were many groups of people hanging out on the grass, mainly teenagers and college kids. One group even had a sign stuck in the ground, reading “F*** Trump” (remember, this was back in September). The gardens were beautiful, which meant more pictures for us to take, but we didn’t stay for too long. We kept walking back toward the hostel, taking care to walk along one of the lakes on the way, mainly because the other two spotted ducks and couldn’t resist. Also, because the water looked magical when the sun finally disappeared.
Shannon, Bryant, and I spent a little time by that lake, not really wanting to go back to the hostel, because that meant our time together was actually coming to an end. I still had another day and a half in Copenhagen, but the two of them were heading out the next morning. We took our time on that final walk back, enjoying each other’s company. It was a wonderful, whirlwind of a trip and I am beyond thankful that they invited me to go with them. It can be very hard when you and your best friend live five states apart, so the only thing that makes sense is to meet up in Europe and country-hop. There is no doubt in my mind that however far apart we live, Shannon, Bryant and I will continue to have adventures abroad for the rest of our lives.