Apparently there are two ‘Happiest Places on Earth.’ And no the other one isn't Disney World. It turns out that in just about any poll you can find, Copenhagen is atop the list of happiest people on the planet and it's easy to see why... the people are incredibly friendly, well-mannered and helpful; everything is clean, buildings are immaculately preserved, and there is just a genuine feeling of respect, acceptance and laughter that is infectious. Plus, the automated efficiency this city rolls with is remarkable. Tram from the airport directly to the city? Yes. Bikes you can rent, equipped with iPads on them that provide directions, payment options and assistance if needed? Check. Cross walks armed with sensory intuitiveness that trigger only when needing to cross, otherwise letting the flow of traffic continue? You bet. Now all these fancy bells and whistles do come with a catch: Copenhagen is CRAZY expensive. So while it prevented us from going out to eat or drink, thankfully the apartment we rented came with a kitchen where Leah, A.K.A. “the Magician of the Kitchen,” whipped up Michelin-esque meals during our stay.
For those of you who are fans of Hans Christian Andersen he called Copenhagen home and had a ridiculously touristy museum of his work that we checked and kinda dug. Though his fables are a bit dark, he definitely left his mark on the city and even in the form of The Little Mermaid statue that hordes of people flocked to for pictures. We were actually able to avoid the crowd and instead saw it from a boat ride tour that was a fantastic way to see the city. The Baltic Sea and its tributaries that run through the city take you on an incredible ride of architecture, history, charm and beauty. Seeing some of the most popular sites from the water was an outstanding way to experience the magic of such an amazing city.
Another characteristic of Copenhagen we didn't know about is there has to be more bikes in the city than any 9 college campuses put together. Literally everyone is on bicycles and the city caters to it. So naturally it makes sense to have stalls where you can join the crowd and rent your own. As mentioned above, these bike rentals are futuristic where you can register and pay for your bike in one fell swoop. Complete with an integrated GPS system that gets you to landmarks, specific addresses, bike drop-off points and even assists you with the peddling over 22 km/h. The city is uncommonly flat, but still a nice perk when you want to enjoy the scenery.
The parks they have are also magnificent and the locals think so too: picnicking, sunbathing and sipping on some cold drinks. We got lost in a few of the spacious manicured greens because they are everywhere. Not as plentiful as aforementioned bicycle, Copenhagen's greenery is a site to see and is the cherry on top to an already gorgeous city. Speaking of greenery, apparently Copenhagen has an area that used to be an old military bunker and now operates as an independent annex called Freetown Christiania. This place was a site to behold where families, the young and old come to spectate on what it is that goes on here. This sub-community looks like a mini Height-Ashbury, which operates with its own rules, bylaws, culture and even brews its own beer. Pusher Street is where one of the illegal drugs is peddled and unfortunately doesn't allow for photos or even running because that causes 'anxiousness.' All in all, everyone was pretty friendly, but definitely an odd setup with an overwhelming aromatic in the air.
Quite the opposite from Christiania is exploring the historic downtown area of Copenhagen. Walking through the beautiful palace grounds, covered with manicured flower beds, fountains and ivy clad brick buildings, we made our way underground. The caves feature the evolution of the city where footings for each of the original palaces that were central to Copenhagen still remain before they were burnt down, three separate times! It's really incredible to see such a well-preserved piece of the city's history and get to explore it for yourself.
As we rounded the last lake during our last run of our stay, we were super bummed to leave. Perfectville, we mean Copenhagen, was such an amazing place and everyone who reads our blog should go check it out. Just make sure you save up before visiting to enjoy all it has to offer.