There’s so much to do in Copenhagen and Denmark! I am fortunate to live in the heart of Vesterbro, which never far from the excitement. From my Residential Community, DIS/the city center is only a ten-minute bike ride away. I am close enough to Tivoli that I always hear the booms of the fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The west edge of The Lakes is two blocks away and is my favorite urban greenspace to run around. Søndermarken and Frederiksberg Have, two other beautiful and spacious parks for running in adjacent Frederiksberg municipality, are also nearby. There is a Netto grocery store right down the street, and several other grocery stores within walking distance when Netto doesn’t satisfy my baguette cravings. And it is easy to get around—there are several nearby bus lines, and Copenhagen Central Station is only a ten-minute walk away.
I shot this short video as I biked down my street after class:
Living in my Residential Community has been a great experience. I live with two roommates in an enormous room, with four other flatmates. We hang out before class and in the evenings as we cook, get ready for class, do homework, and just pass the time. Five of us also had a spectacular time on our own trip to the fjords of Norway on the weekend between Sessions 2 and 3. We can causally coexist or talk for hours about complex and mature topics. I have learned just as much from my flatmates as from my courses, as they all are from States in the U.S. I’ve never visited and have unique perspectives on worldly matters. I joke that my multicultural experience has been more with Americans from different areas than with Danes or Europeans.
At the same time, I have been lucky enough to experience a bit of Danish culture. By chance, my Danish next-door neighbors from home have been on holiday here in Denmark for much of the time that I’ve been in Copenhagen! Until she moved to California two years ago, they lived only a few blocks away from my Residential Community in Vesterbro. We walked around and Tina shared her local perspective of the neighborhood, from sidewalk poetry to a visit to her daughter’s former elementary school, where she ran into a family she recognized. I also was invited to join her family for dinner in her hometown of Holbæk, a coastal town about one hour west of Copenhagen by train. We had a classic pork roast and potatoes dinner with homemade custard and raspberries for dessert at Tina’s aunt’s sommerhus (summer house) right on the Holbækfjord, the potatoes and raspberries fresh from the garden. Tina’s aunt didn’t speak English, so dinner conversation was exclusively in Danish with occasional translation. While my Danish is limited to tak with different modifiers (ja tak, nej tak, mange tak, etc.), I was amazed that I could follow about half of the conversation and learn a few more Danish words. If the entirety of my seven weeks in Copenhagen were as immersive as those two hours, I imagine I would have a decent grasp of the language, but at least I got a brief intensive exposure!
I have also been able to explore a bit on my own. A friend and I visited the white beachy cliffs at Møns Klint, navigating a four-hour public transportation ordeal each way, which was quite an adventure for our first weekend in Denmark. A friend from home was in Copenhagen for a weekend and I was thrilled to show him around the city while also being a tourist to stop by the few sites I hadn’t been to yet, catch a concert at Tivoli during the jazz festival, and also explore Malmö and Lund, Sweden. And I made it a mission to stop by every major park in the area, ideally to run around, which was wonderful. Today for class, we biked to Jægersborg Dyrehave, a deer reserve north of town, the last major park on my list!
So these are a few of my favorite things:
Biking to parks and running around them,
Trying out different types of public transportation,
Traveling with friends to hike to great views,
Dinners in Danish where I follow the cues.
Eating a falafel lunch at DIS,
Walking to Føtex to buy a baguette,
Dabbling in photography at the perspective playground,
Obsessing at bike infrastructure all around town.
Thanks, Copenhagen, for being a great home this summer.