I’m off on another trip this coming weekend, which is really encouraging me to hustle through these next blog posts so I don’t get too far behind on sharing travel tales!Denmark was the Christmas trip that started giving, and then just kept giving and giving and giving. We’d planned to Christmas-market-hop for two nights and three days in the Nordic country’s capital, but six days later we were still stuck in Copenhagen due to a furious snow storm that plowed through Amsterdam while we were away. In theory, it sounds like a lovely extended holiday, but when you’ve got a lot on your plate work wise and a very limited supply of underwear, things can get a bit dicey! That said, the trip started off with lots of Christmas cheer, as group of our Amsterdam crew decided to make the celebratory trip together.
We booked this adorable place in Nytorv a day before our trip. Yes, the day before. We had booked another spot months in advance, and when they canceled on us last-minute we were left in a scramble to find a spot! Ah, the joys of traveling with Airbnb! Luckily we found a new place that wasn’t too pricey, and they were willing to welcome us last-minute (a Christmas miracle?!)Funny enough, this space was bigger and nicer than our original booking, so all’s well that ends well ;)We flew in after work on Friday evening, and were eager to hit the markets for dinner on our first night in town.
We kicked off our Christmas Market extravaganza at Højbro Plads Christmas Market. It didn’t take long for us to find gigantic sausages, mugs of mulled wine, spiced cookies, and lots of other mystery treats we dug into excitedly. When the market’s stalls started shutting down, we headed home, eager to get an early start the next day. We kicked our Saturday off at Democratic Coffee, who have some of the BEST croissants ever and a damn good coffee.Needless to say, when we got stuck in Copenhagen, we came back here daily and even worked from the cafe for a few days.
The majority of what we did involved markets – twinkling Christmas markets, huge food halls, and even a market within an autonomous anarchist district – yes, this is a real thing in Copenhagen!Nyhavan is Copenhagen’s harbor area, adorned with colorful houses and beautiful vessels.
This row of colorful houses is synonymous with Copenhagen. Along the water you will also discover one of Copenhagen’s most charming Christmas markets, marked with green garland strung high above the market’s stalls, and dozens of masts that rise from the harbor.Like all of Copenhagen’s Christmas Markets, here you will discover food stalls with numerous treats, mulled wine, handicrafts, and a sea of people indulging in the merriment.
From here, we walked to Christiania, an autonomous anarchist district within Copenhagen.As we walked into the district, I gaily snapped some photos (below) but not long after I saw a few other tourists scolded by a resident for taking pictures. Apparently the residents here wish to remain anonymous, which was easy to understand why as we wound further into the small village, and saw many street vendors selling drugs and paraphernalia.
While it might sound like a lawless asylum, many young people and artists reside in this area. There was a buzz in the air (or perhaps that was just the plume of smoke) that provided a stark contrast to the other Christmas markets we had just visited. While previously we were enveloped by carols and joy, we now found ourselves surrounded by art and alcoholics. This is also when the travel chaos began: one couple in our group were flying home early the next morning, and they received word that their flight had been canceled. Others in our group were on mid-day flights, while Kai and I were on a 6pm flight. One by one, we received notifications about cancellations and delays. Wonderfulllllll! And so we left Christiania a bit jittery knowing we might be in big travel-trouble in the coming 24 hours.
Despite the gloomy travel-news, we ended our Saturday food crawl on a high note at another market – Copenhagen Street Food – and were thankful for the heated nature of this foodie-haven. Although we’d been gorging ourselves all day, I couldn’t help but order a huge plate of Korean food – a cuisine that’s not so easy to come by in Amsterdam! We hung around a warm fire for a few hours, before hitting up one of Copenhagen’s biggest Christmas attractions – Tivoli Gardens. Around the holidays, this theme park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with food stalls, light shows, music and even rollercoaster rides! I sadly dropped my DSLR off at the apartment before we went into Tivoli, so I don’t have any photos of our magical evening. But we each had at least three more mulled wines (it’s the only way to stay warm!) and Kai went on his first rollercoaster ride – so suffice to say it was a truly memorable night!The next day, Kai and I went to the airport to catch our flight, only to find out it was canceled 30 minutes after it was intended to depart. We were re-booked on another flight, which was canceled, and then another. Three days and two countries later, we finally arrived back in Amsterdam at the tail end of the season’s biggest snow storm! So was it worth it?!
Having been to several Christmas Markets (here and here), I have to say that I think I prefer the Germanic version – there’s just something slightly more charming about celebrating a holiday in the land where fairytales and Christmas trees originated. That said, Copenhagen was such a diverse and beautiful city, and I would love to make another trip in summer to experience Denmark in the sunshine. Until then, Copenhagen!