After spending about two and a half months in Copenhagen I have started to get comfortable in my life abroad here…too comfortable. I’ve adopted a normal routine consisting of cooking, grocery shopping, going to class, going out, making it to the gym on occasion, traveling, and watching Netflix. Somewhere along the line I lost the passion to explore my surroundings and seek out all the amazing things I have at my fingertips in Copenhagen. This realization came with an overwhelming sense of guilt and worry that I was taking my short time here for granted.
So I decided to get off my butt and do something.
A friend was feeling a similar way and we made a plan to be spontaneous, that’s not too contradictory is it? We decided to simply get on the metro and ride it until we saw fit. Originally unsure of our final destination, we got off at the Kongens Nytorv stop and started walking.
This dropped us onto the longest pedestrian street in the world, Strøget. The street is packed with shops of all varieties, ranging from the more affordable stores like H&M and Zara to ones like Emperio Armani and Burberry that will make your bank account cry. I ventured into a few stores but even the “cheap” ones were pricier than I would have liked (remember how expensive Copenhagen is), and I wasn’t really in the mood to shop anyway.
This walking tour also took us to something called the “Happy Wall” which is an interactive art piece made of brightly colored wooden boards. Visitors can flip the boards between colored and black sides to create their own vision, whether it be a message, a picture, or a symbol. Many also sign the wall with happy thoughts and well-wishes. It is a really cool piece in the middle of the city and acts as a glowing representation of Copenhagen’s renowned happiness. If you’re not aware, Denmark was voted the happiest country in the world in both 2012 and 2013, and fell to a more-than-respectable third place standing in 2014.
For lunch we got sandwiches at a small shop that offered a student discount and took them to one of the most beautiful spots in the city. If you have yet to see the picturesque colored houses lining the canals of Nyhaven you have done a shockingly impressive job at avoiding Instagram. It’s practically a requirement for visitors to snap a photo of the vibrant homes along the water, and it’s not difficult to see why. Nyhaven is a stunning place that was bustling on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. We became mere faces in the crowd of both tourists and locals alike out enjoying the scenery on a nice fall day.
My favorite thing we encountered that day though, was an open-air photography exhibit called Copenhagen Green. Right off Kongens Nytorv Square, there were rows of pictures depicting scenic locations around the city where you can visit for free. There were images of water sports and nature centers as well as gorgeous cemeteries and parks. Not only are the people of Denmark happy, they are very eco-friendly as well. Denmark is one of the “greenest” countries in the world so the fact that their capital city boasts such beautiful sanctuaries was no real surprise.
The best part about this exhibit was that each photograph provided a description of the location. Outlining activities you can do at each place, the photographs made each look enticing enough to visit that day. Of course, our theme of spontaneity continued and we followed one photo’s posted directions to our next stop.
We found our way to Amager Nature Park, the last stop on one of the two metro lines Copenhagen has. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the exhibit’s photo showcasing curious deer-heads, but what we found was beautiful. The park was expansive and made home to many animals. On a backdrop of the silhouetted city, various cows, deer, sheep, and horses meandered around the spacious green and we could walk right up beside them. The juxtaposition of the wildlife with the nearby city was beautiful and I felt lucky that happenstance had brought me there.
As dusk approached it got a bit too cold to be outside, but we didn’t head back before witnessing a gorgeous sunset over the Nature Park. A flock of birds flying through the sunset made for a cliché day’s end but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the cheesiness. It was a great culmination to a day that successfully revived my curiosity and appreciation for the city I’ve made my temporary home.