It was 25 September 2018, I had just come from attending the Gastech Energy Conference in Barcelona Spain and was still riding the highs of having met some awesome people who were also a part of the Young Gastech group. At this time, I was in Berlin, Germany trying to figure out what to do next with the free travelling time I had.
I was at this weird crossroad in my life. Although for most of my life I had been relatively independent especially having studied both of my degrees so far away from my parents, I still felt like I hadn’t made truly independent decisions for myself. For example when I went to study my Master’s degree in Iceland, even though applying there was my own decision, I still low key wanted validation from my parents and friends to confirm that it was the right decision. I realised this for a lot of decisions I have made, I’m the type of person who finds comfort in validation and confirmation before execution.
I was tired of that! Now I have to say that I am truly blessed to be surround by solid people like my parents and friends who have given me solid advise over the years, however, I wanted to make a decision that was purely my own and laced with a bit of crazy. The answer for me at that time was “Solo Travelling” and the place of choice was Copenhagen, Denmark.
I can’t tell you why that was the first place to pop in my mind but for some reason when it did I got this overwhelming feeling of euphoria and no I hadn’t had any coffee yet so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a caffeine high. Either way in that euphoric state I booked my flight ticket and accommodation.
The following is a recount of my experiences ending off with the 5 biggest lessons I learned:
The flight to Copenhagen via Norwegian Airlines was pretty neat, the guy that I sat next too was very open and talkative which was great for me as it helped me ignore the bubbling feelings of anxiety I began to feel inside. The geek in me was especially stoked to see the many wind mills as we began our descent.
Remember those bubbling feelings of anxiety I suppressed while on the flight? well when I arrived at the Airport and began to fully realize that I actually went through with this idea, for a moment I regretted coming. I also felt a pang of loneliness and jealousy when I saw the many groups of young traveler’s who came to explore the city together and here I was all alone.
However in that moment I thought to myself “What would Jessica Pearson from Suits do?“and I quickly snapped out of those feelings and walked out of that airport like the independent, sure of herself and confident woman I was pretending to be. Fake it till you make it right?
When I got off at the Central Train station I was smack bang in the middle of Copenhagen as I started walking around looking for the place I had booked my accommodation at, a wave of relief came over me. I did it! I made a decision, went through with it and now here I was living it, still scared but living it baby!!
WHERE I STAYED
The humble lodgings I picked for my short 42 hour stay in Copenhagen was the Copenhagen Downtown hostel at Vandkunsten 5 street. What I loved about this hostel is that its located right in the heart of the city and so alot of interesting sightseeing spots were in walking distance. It was also easy to find cause its about a 10-15 minute walk from the Central Train station which was great since I didn’t have access to google maps.
The retro vibes in the hostel and the surrounding areas really sold me and all the wonderful people who worked there and other fellow travelers were so welcoming.
I chose to stay in their 6 bed mix dorm room option. I was a bit nervous about this but later realized it was the best decision I made cause I ended up meeting and making some really cool and diverse friends. A tip to fellow Solo female travelers in your first few days of going to a new country book your stay at a hostel, you are more likely to meet other fellow solo female travelers and male travelers too (who can be great new friends and an extra form of security when you’re out).
WHAT TO EAT
EVERYTHING!..No seriously, I think one of the things I regret was not having a longer stay in Denmark because I didn’t get the chance to eat all of the wonderful Danish food the city has to offer but boy did I try.
First order of business was trying the infamous Danish hot dog with all the classic toppings mostly cause I also wanted to compare it to the Icelandic hot dogs I was accustomed to, for the sake of not wanting to start a food debate I will say that both hot dogs are really delicious. I got mine at a food truck called Dop or DØP, which is located right by the Round Tower and the Church of the Holy Ghost which happened to also be on my sightseeing list. This photo of the food truck isn’t mine I couldn’t find the one I had taken so I got this from Google.
However you best believe I still have the photo I took of the hot dog itself. It was so satisfying and great fuel to continue my day.
After some sight seeing I sat down along the Nyhavn for a little break and when I looked up, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 – Andante began to play in my mind as I realized that I was sitting close by to the Rajissimo Nyhavn restaurant and the sweet scents of dessert and chocolate filled my nostrils.
I decided on getting their yummy churros because I didn’t get the chance to have them when I was in Spain which is saddening since its their country of origin I hear.
I don’t have photos and I can’t remember the names of the bakeries I went to but let me just say that traditional Danish pastry is beyond words, I’m even salivating just writing this and remembering it.
That evening I decided to take myself out for dinner at one of the restaurants along the Nyhavn and yes I know how expensive it is but it was something that was on my bucket list. The two older woman I sat next too were amazing company and gave me such golden nuggets of advice like “your youth is fleeting enjoy every piece of it before children ruin it”. Again I can’t remember the name of it cause I just randomly picked it and forgot to take a picture of the store front, I’m a newbie to this blogging thing and sucked taking account of everything.
For my last night, I had my dinner at the hostel because they had a special event/concert happening and I wanted to hang out with my roommates and meet other fellow travelers.
There were so many more foods I wanted to desperately try but by nature I unfortunately get full really quickly which prevented me from trying so many dishes I had on my bucket list. I have never been more disappointed in my digestive system.
WHAT I SAW AND DID
Nostalgic walks down the Nyhavn which used to be a commercial port back in the days. It exceeded my expectations especially the bright coloured 17th century townhouses that line both sides of the canal. Just chill vibes all around.
Amalienborg Castle, home of the Danish Royal family. Watch the changing of The Royal guards at 12:00 (noon) was spectacular, you can also watch it at the same time everyday.
St. Albans Church. See the great architecture and if anything moves you light a candle too.
The Tower located in Christiansborg Palace, the highest tower in Denmark which is owned by the Danish Parliament. Unfortunately on the day I went the Tower was closed off.
On my final day in Copenhagen, I decided to get intentionally lost and I also didn’t take photos of that walk because I wanted to be fully immersed in the whole experience,so it was mostly just a day of walking around and doing a bit of shopping.
In the evening however, I met up with my hostel roommates, a few other hostel residents and I invited few other Danish people I met the night before for dinner & drinks of which the night ended at a Karaoke joint I happened to notice the night before. We had so much fun singing and dancing at the karaoke bar that even though a few of us had early flights the next day we pretty much stayed up all night and at the end only went back to the hostel to get our luggage and sprint to the train station to make our flights. An Epic final night in Copenhagen indeed.
The Karaoke place was located right next to this Beijing Chinese food take out spot. I can’t remember the name unfortunately.
I want to thank all the amazing, funny and welcoming people I met during my short stay. You all truly made my trip spectacular beyond words and I still giggle to this day remembering some of the weird and wonky things that happened. I don’t want to post pics of you all due to privacy but you all know who you are ;).
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: The vibe I got from the various travel blogs I read talking about Danish people was that they are quite closed off, however, this wasn’t the case for me, now I’m not sure if my experience was maybe an outlier but I literally made a connection with a few Danes (the same ones I hung out with on my final night) on the same day I arrived which I was pretty happy about. Maybe my experience was odd in comparison to how things usually are but maybe it was also the fact that despite everything I read I still walked in with an open mind that my experience would be different.
I realize that this post is really long so I will make a separate post detailing the 5 most important lessons I learnt from this trip. My Solo trip to Copenhagen was life changing and I know one way or another I will get another opportunity to not only better explore the city but also travel to other parts of Denmark. That’s my next travel mission.
Copenhagen will always have a special place in my heart. Arg when did I become so cheesy lol.
Let me know about your travel experiences whether it was to Denmark or any other place in the world, especially if it was a solo trip what advice do you have and what major lessons did you learn?
Never forget to carpe all the diems