My best friend and I recently had a 10 day tour of Denmark, a country rich in literary history, architectural style and design. As backpack travelers, we always plan out our next adventure. We chose Denmark, a country famous for being one of the happiest places on earth. After going through all the process of acquiring a Denmark visa and necessary arrangements with our travel agency, we headed off for our Denmark tour, excited, and ready to be captured by its old fashioned charm.
The first 4 days were spent exploring Copenhagen; I can’t help but be awed by the beauty and simplicity of New Harbor. The cobble stone paths added to its allure and character. We took the canal boat tour, and had a fabulous view of Copenhagen from the water, we marveled at the exquisite architectural design of the Copenhagen Opera House. It looks lovely from the outside. We got constantly entertained by a lively tour guide who gives informative bits of history about Copenhagen. We saw colorful buildings and docked sailboats that line the canal. The water is extremely clear and you can see straight to the bottom. I noticed how much of the city actually sits on water, in and around it.
The boat tour also brought us to The Little Mermaid Statue. It was a sight to behold, the beautiful statue incarnation of a Hans Christian Andersen tale. It is a must see tourist spot .Watching over the Copenhagen Harbor since 1913, she is small and ordinary looking. Every tourist wants to have a picture taken beside her. It was such a hassle to take a single picture especially when busloads of tourists keep coming in. We managed to have lots of picture taken beside her by standing on the pathway across the statue. We tried out one of the cafes facing this harbor and snack on buttery Danish pastries, it tastes like heaven! So unlike the imitation Danish cookies we have back in America. Then we’re off on our boat tour. It was a good day tour of Copenhagen.
The next day our bus tour took us to The Christiania, the third greatest tourist attraction in Denmark. A famous community around here, dubbed as Denmark of the Slums. Strolling around gave me that 70’s hippie feeling. Street art/ wall graffiti’s and the pulsing beat of reggae and hip hop pulsing music ruled the air. We walked along the waterfront side and it was amazing to see little houses built on water, amusing creativity! We entered a local bar that offered beer in half the normal price. What surprised me was that marijuana and hash are openly sold in The Pusher street. We chose not to mind the ongoing activity, lest we get ourselves into trouble. Roaming around, we saw lots of signs plastered on walls, saying NO, DOGS, NO PHOTOS/CAMERAS allowed. Smoking is also not allowed inside bars. Still there’s a lot to explore around Christiania. We bought scarves, trinkets, shirts, caps and bracelets from a cute craft shop.
We decided to enjoy the nightlife in The Christiania Jazz Café, a great place to chill and hang out with the locals and tourists. There was fun, music and dancing, the place was teeming of young lively people enjoying the so called “free zone town” in lively music and happiness. We guzzled on cheap beers and joined the merry crowd. It was fun meeting new people from all over the world. That atmosphere of freedom and fun was an awesome experience, an interesting look into the other side of Copenhagen. We also tried out Café Nemoland, which offers a huge outside area with benches. We sat and hang around for a smoke. Across our table were young danes who drink and play board games, they offered us drinks. We made some friends and even exchanged contact numbers with them. All we did there was to chill, eat and just simply enjoy. We rode a taxi boat by midnight to bring us back to the New Harbor to retire in the comfort of our hotel room.
The last day of our Copenhagen Tour covered a trip to The Tivoli Gardens, an old entertainment park with beautiful garden and amusement rides, an ideal place for family and kids. It was fun seeing The Tivoli Boys Guard, 8- 16 aged garbed like little Royal Danish Guards complete with bearskins, they look so cute! I also had a good view of Copenhagen from a ride called The Golden Tower. There are lots of things to see like The Pantomime Theater with free shows, the exquisite Glass Hall, the Japanese Tower at night, and many more… We were drawn into the Open Air Stage, where a ballet performance was going on. We did not miss getting inside The Tivoli Concert Hall and watch a classical concert. Over all it was pretty and fun, something very soothing to heart n soul. We then decided to spend the rest of the day watching the spectacular fireworks at 9pm. The place looked even more magical as the evening falls, when everything lights up, elegantly illuminated and fully decorated.
The next day we took a 20 mile bus ride to Roskilde to attend the Roskilde Rock Music Festival. We did not want to miss seeing and being a part of Europe’s biggest musical attractions. We spent 4 days here, enjoying great music and food, every night we used get into the crowd of sweating bodies gyrating to the music. Beer freely flows and that festive spirit all around, there can’t be a better place than this. Our favorite rock band Slipknot performed when we’re there. It was quite a memorable experience being a part of the crowd. It’s also amazing how music can unite all sorts of people despite different cultures and nationalities. Just try to picture this; 80 thousand people, enjoying a huge party for four days, yes! That is Roskilde festival! The fun, the energy, the music and the tons of happy people all around…
On our last day we headed next to the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, Odense, the capital of Fyn, to visit Egeskov Castle. This is a millennium old castle which is located in the middle of a small lake. From afar, the castle looked like it rises directly out of water; the reflection of it on the water is majestic indeed. Entrance is free; pictures are allowed to capture the beauty of this old Oakwood castle. A park surrounds the castle area with an extensive 15 hectare English gardens and topiaries. We lose ourselves on the 200 year old four hedge maze. A 3-meter sundial garden can also be found in the middle of the park. On the castle, we were lead to museums of horse drawn carriages and antique cars, really vintage ones. Another door leads to a motorbike collection. The castle actually has many secret entrance doors that lead from one room to the other. It has 3 floors of authentic furniture, and old paintings. It also houses the flying collection museum, helicopters, and airplanes, all vintage too. It even has a Falck collection, a variety of emergency vehicles and ambulances. We also checked out the Treetop Walkway and had an amazing view of the castle.
Packing and preparing to travel back home, if I can sum it all up, Denmark is indeed a country you will fall in love with. Romantic fairy tale settings, smiling people, great food and the nice weather that welcomes us in every place we explore, I can say it is like heaven on earth and I am proud to have made this tour with my best friend.