In part one of our 2018 European adventure, I mentioned the questions we received when selecting our destination of Malta. When I said Denmark was our second destination, we received similar questions, but more like, why that random combo?
Malta was always our destination choice for this trip, but when you have family who happens to live in Europe, you hop a flight and stop by! And we happen to have family who lives in Denmark, the supposed happiest country in the world. So we made plans to stop off there, before we headed home. Dave and I had never been, so we were excited to explore an unknown country.
Day 11: Monday, October 22
When we last left off, we were enjoying linguine and clams in Malta in 75-degree weather. After a direct flight on Norwegian from Malta to Copenhagen, we were in for a rude awakening of COLD fall weather! But it put us back in the mood for fall weather and Halloween. Plus the weather was just like Pittsburgh, so it was an all-too-familiar feeling. I miss me some Malta weather…
We landed in Copenhagen in the afternoon and luckily chose a hotel that was right next to the train station. Picking the right train was a little stressful, as everything was Danish. People in Denmark all speak English but most everything is written and said in their language, so we had to ask a few people but we made it to the correct stop on the train: Copenhagen Central Station. We used Hotels.com and booked Copenhagen Plaza, which was super convenient to everything and very charming. The hotel had an old school vibe which we loved. And after Airbnb-ing it for over a week, it was nice to spend a night in a hotel. After getting settled in, we had drinks in the neat hotel bar and immediately made our way right across the street to Tivoli. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen was one of the coolest places we’ve ever seen! We’re not huge amusement park people, but this place did not disappoint. It’s the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world and opened its doors in 1843. Walt Disney even took inspiration from it before he opened Disney World. It’s got the charm and beauty of Disney World, but is the size of a smaller park, like Kennywood here in Pittsburgh. And it was all decorated for fall and Halloween. Walking around at night was very cool, and my husband and I took a solid hour walking the grounds and snapping tons of photos. We should have eaten dinner here, as there are a lot of restaurant options. Looking at their website now, it’s all decorated for Christmas and looks incredible. If you are ever in Copenhagen I highly recommend going.
After Tivoli, we walked through the city center and pedestrian area and saw all the amazing shopping. I was proud of myself for only going in Zara and H&M! This was not a shopping trip, but if I ever go back, there’s a ton more local shops to explore. We ended up having a few local beers at the Taphouse. And met an American woman traveling the world. By that point it was about 9:00 at night and we were starving, but realized a lot of the restaurants were closed, or only serving drinks. Whoops. We ended up at an Irish Pub for burgers! Another next time stop I want to try is Warpigs. Oh and watch the Action Bronson F*** That’s Delicious episode on Copenhagen where they go there.
Day 12: Tuesday, October 23
After a restful night sleep we woke up to a gloomy day. I think we brought the gloom from the ‘burgh, since it was so nice and sunny in Denmark looking at my weather app, up until we got there. Figures! But it didn’t stop us from exploring more of Copenhagen. After grabbing coffee and bagels/pastries for breakfast, we walked over to Nyhavn, which is what you picture when you think of Copenhagen.
These brightly-colored buildings are so Insta-worthy. After snapping 100 pictures, we took a boat tour on the canals and river, and saw lots of sites, including the Little Mermaid statue and Christiana. After the tour, we warmed up with Irish Coffees in Nyhavn, then headed back to the train station for the trip to Odense.
Odense (Oh-den-sa) is an island city and home of Hans Christian Andersen, and our relatives! Our cousin Sean (who traveled to the states five years ago for our wedding, he’s the best!) picked us up from the station and brought us back to their house, where we had a home cooked meal. After a week and a half, it was heaven! Sean and Tina have two teenage boys who we hadn’t seen in years, so it was neat seeing them and catching up. After an evening of food, chatting, and gin and tonics, we were off to bed.
Day 13: Wednesday, October 24 & Day 14: Thursday, October 25
The next two days were spent seeing the island with our tour guide Sean. He took us all over Funen, which this Wall Street Journal article describes well — with quintessential castles and twee towns. I loved the history and sites. We also had a Danish hot dog which was SO GOOD. They had little stands and carts all over Denmark. Their traditional hot dogs have ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw onions, fried onions and pickles. Yes, please.
We also explored Odense’s adorable area with restaurants, shops and a park. It is also home to Hans Christian Andersen’s childhood home, which I was excited to see. According to the internet, there are more than two times as many bikes than cars in Denmark. That definitely seemed to be the case! So many bikes. Denmark is such a cool country — very nice people, beautiful, and so clean. We really experienced hygge, which we learned is a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.
Day 15: Friday, October 26
We were up early on Friday and said goodbye to the family and headed back to Copenhagen airport on the train. We flew Wow Air through Iceland, and landed in Pittsburgh around 6:00 in the evening with the time change. (Wow was fine but definitely no bells and whistles — they don’t even have wifi. Also, get the upgraded seats for more legroom. Dave is about 6’3” and that was needed for him.)
After two weeks, it was so nice to get home (and have the whole weekend to adjust to the time change before going back to work on Monday). Our trip was only a few weeks ago but seems like it was years ago. Time to plan the next one! Thanks for following along.