Saturday, May 30, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS AND 36 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN

So just recently I was whisked away to Copenhagen for thirty-six hours and having not been to Denmark before I really didn’t know what was in store for me there. I hadn’t really looked into the city before I left, but I had watched a great video on YouTube, which had been produced by the New York Times. The video was clearly shot in the summer months, for it was a little cold, slightly rainy and to be honest a little dull when I arrived Friday afternoon. I checked into the Ascot Apartments , which were situated centrally and was really surprised at how lovely they were. It was located just around the corner from Town Hall, so I quickly grabbed a shower, freshened up and took a trip around the corner for a drink and some food with some friends at Rosie McGee’s, which is known as one of the liveliest bars in that part of the city.

After a few drinks there, I caught up with some more friends for one or two more before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. One of the guys had organised dinner at Retrogusto, an Italian not too far from the hotel. We started with a selection of breads, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; which was followed by Osso Bucco. Tender pieces of beef were enveloped in a rich red wine sauce and served with a selection of root vegetables on a bed of mashed potato puree. Dessert was a coffee and white chocolate semi-freddo, which came with a dark chocolate sponge and coffee sauce.

After dinner, which was sometime around midnight; I decided to head back to the hotel to get some sleep. You see my plan was to make the most of the following morning sightseeing as I had to be at the airport for my flight home at half three. So waking up at six in the morning, I got myself ready, got my bags packed, checked out of the hotel (leaving my luggage with the staff) and decided to walk around the city as much as I could, to see as much as I could in such as short space of time.

I started off at Town Hall. Its quite a building; absolutely gigantic and was a great place to start my journey around the city. Having visited so many places across the six or seven hours I walked around,  I've decided to list below a few of my top places to go in Copenhagen as I'd be here all week going through everything. 

Christinasenborg Palace
One of the first palaces I came across that morning was Christinasenborg Palace. Located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, the palace contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. Parts of the palace are used regularly by the Royal Family for various functions and events. The Royal Reception Rooms include The Tower Room and The Oval Throne Room where foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received by the Queen and the Throne Room gives access to the balcony where Danish monarchs are proclaimed. Its an absolutely incredible building and perfectly encapsulates the best of three periods of Danish architecture. Website: www.christiansborg.dk

Amailianborg palace
During my stroll around the city, I stumbled across Amailianborg Palace. As I made my way through the entrance I was startled by a number guards that were guarding by the entrance. Considering it was quite early in the morning I wasn't sure if this was a public space given the number of guards. Lets just say that when I asked one of them if I was allowed to walk through the palace I didn't get much of a reaction. So I just walked on, presuming it was okay to do so. Considered one of the best works of Danish architecture, the palace is made up of four identical buildings; Christian VII’s Palace (also known as Moltke's Palace, used as guest residence), Christian VIII’s Palace (also known as Levetzau' Palace, used as guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte), Frederik VIII’s Palace (also known as Brockdorff’s Palace, home of the Crown Prince family), and Christian IX’s Palace (also known as Schack’s Palace, home of the Queen and Prince Consort). In the middle of the palace square there is a statue of King Frederik V and in the Amalienborg Museum in Christian VIII’s palace you can experience royal life past and present. The museum there presents the private interiors of the most recent kings and queens and an exhibit on the monarchy today with its many traditions. Given how early it was none of the above were open so I just took in as much as I could on the way through.  Website: www.kongernessamling.dk

The Coffee Collective
I took a quick trip to Coffee Collective’s new coffee bar in Torvehallerne having come across them on Instagram. Housed in one of two modernist glass sheds, each house is a mixture of some rather amazing food stalls. The Coffee Collective is one of a handful of small-batch roasters with a global following on social media similar to St. Ali in Australia and 3FE in Ireland. I just happened to come across Torvehallerne throughout my journey that morning as its really close to everything and open from 8am on the weekends - which was great since I had been up from 6am that morning. Website: www.coffeecollective.dk 

ILLUM
LLUM is Copenhagen's premium department store. A skillfully decorated shopping paradise, offering everything from fashion and beauty to home décor and design. You'll find many in store shops in ILLUM such as Acne, Paul Smith, Armani and the rather impressive Saint Laurent all of which showcases Denmark's love of international fashion. A large Sephora is located on the ground floor and is full of all the international brands one would expect, as well as a large collection of organic Scandinavian skin products.  Established in 1891 by A.C. ILLUM, the store has become one of the leading department stores not just in Denmark but around the world. Situated perfectly in the heart of Copenhagen right next to the pedestrian streets Strøget and Købmagergade, means that ILLUM is the perfect shopping location for those seeking a luxury fashion fix. Website: www.illum.dk
 
The Little Mermaid 
At Langelinje Pier you will find one of Copenhagen's most famous tourist attractions: The sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Over a hundred years old, I made my way to see the sculpture first thing that morning and was surprised to see so many people were up and about doing the same thing. The sculpture is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, resting on her favourite rock in the water, she stares out towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her prince. It is one to the most iconic locations in Copenhagen and should definitely be on your list of things to see. Website: www.mermaidsculpture.dk
Nyhavn
Similar to the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn is another location that perfectly encapsulates Copenhagen and is another area that you must visit. Originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world stopped, today the beautiful period homes have been renovated into a mixture of restaurants, bars and boutiques. I visited the area in the morning when everything was closed and quiet but in the evening time this area is full of hustle and bustle and the perfect spot to have dinner, grab a beer and take in the beauty of the quayside. 

Magasin
Towards the end of my morning walk around the city, I came across Magasin, an extremely large department store which had one of the most fantastic beauty halls I had ever seen. Harrods was the only other beauty hall I could think of that could compare to the sheer scale of brands that Magasin stocked. But it wasn't just the beauty hall that had my heart racing, for just below was another floor devoted especially to food. Fine foods such as chocolate, organic fruits, vegetables and coffee was on offer, as well a magazine store which was tucked neatly into the corner of the basement level. Yes you read that right. Similar to Mag Nation in Melbourne, the store housed a mixture of Danish and international titles; from Danish Elle to British Tatler. A must visit for those like me who love the magic of the printed word. Website: www.magasin.dk


So that folks is a quick run down on some of the places I loved during my 36 hours in Copenhagen. I plan on visiting the city again later this year so let me know if you have any hotspots.

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