Scandinavia is one of the most interesting parts of Europe. I have always pictured it to be a big family made of kids with different personalities. They all share the Scandinaveness (something I made up) which really revolves around the respect of nature and the focus on people ahead of material things. I have found that this uniqueness is so consistently obvious across the area. Now let's travel towards the northern part of Europe!
With these photos, I hope you have guessed we are heading to Copenhagen!
How to get there?
There is a multitude of choices available with at least 50 daily flights from London to Copenhagen. As far as I am concerned, my ticket cost £20 (A little more than a full fast-food menu - Travelling really isn't as expensive as many think), thanks to Ryanair. The flight is also relatively short - 1h45. The ball is in your court now...
Where to stay?
This is one of the rare occurrences when I did not use Airbnb. I went straight for a hotel on both destinations - See below:
I loved the Urban House Copenhagen by Meininger for its hippy design and the bubbly staff. Clearly, the name gave it away but I just felt the need to emphasise. They even offer bike rental, a very nice breakfast, and even a packed lunch for those intending to spend the day outside. The hotel is also relatively central so quite convenient.
Hippy, hippy, hippy!
Rate: 205kr (£25/€28/$33)
Credit: Urban House Copenhagen
I chose to stay at Hotel Astoria for its proximity to the old town and the main attractions of the city. The simplicity of their design made it quite attractive and the calm that surrounds the building, surprising.
This place is about 3 minutes walk from the hotel...
Rate: 605kr (£53/€59/$70)
Credit: Hotel Astoria
Definitely my favourite hotel from this trip and perhaps high up there on my list of favourite European hotels (You know by now that I avoid the large chains whenever possible). I initially booked a room with Loginn Hotel, a repurpose boat into a hotel. I was so excited to stay there but due to an administrative issue, on their end, there was no more room available for me. So, I ended up at the Hotel With Urban Deli, which I did not regret one bit!
The interior of the building has a funky style to it and made the hotel a landmark in its own right. I would advise visiting even just to have lunch or dinner...
Rate: 700kr (£62/€68/$80)
Our route will take us from Copenhagen to Stockholm, via Malmö. Prior to this trip, I did not know much about Malmö beyond it being the birthplace of the Swedish Legend Ibrahimovic. My style of traveling often revolves around landmarks and the history behind certain monuments and traditions.
Or Copenhagen in English is the capital city of the Kingdom of Denmark (Yes, it is a kingdom but is not always referred to as one). It is also the Easternmost and naturally the biggest city in the country. Of course, the river flowing through its makes it prettier.
Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid)
The world-famous bronze statue of a lady sitting on a rock, off the Danish shore is often mentioned as one of the main landmarks to visit while in Copenhagen. It was made by Edvard Eriksen, a Danish-Icelandic sculptor, who has used his as the model for the beautiful piece of art. It symbolises a mermaid becoming human and has been gracing us with her imposing presence since 1913.
And of course, I had to just stand in the way...
There is parking right opposite the landmark if you are driving
To get photos alone in these places, you have to either be patient or go at times most people are not outside
This is probably the second most famous spot in Copenhagen. Nyhavn (New Harbor in Danish) is a waterfront built by Swedish slaves during the 17th century and served in its early days as a gateway from the sea to the inner city. It was also a hub for sailors to enjoy themselves before getting back to the sea. Since then it has been made up of brightly coloured townhouses and bars along the side of the harbour.
Don't let the impression of calm fool you. This place is constantly buzzing and boats are frequently passing by...
I tried to match the colourful vibe about Nyhavn but may have failed greatly...🤷🏿♂️
Because most people cycle, you may find parking somewhat easier in certain areas
It can get pretty cold in winter so making a pitstop at the cafe right across the bridge can always be a good idea. For warmth and a treat.
Imam Ali Mosque
The mosque has been designed in the neo-Iranian architectural style and built in 2015. It spreads across 2,100m2 and can welcome up to 1,500 people.
I have not been to Tehran yet but imagining the Persian buildings to have the same sort of vibe...
The interior is as attractive as the outside.
This is my favourite spot in the country, even though I have not been anywhere else. I just love the story of Christiana. So this is an autonomous country within the country!
In 1971, a group of anarchists have taken over an abandoned military as a means of protestation against the Danish government's lack of effort to provide affordable housing. Since then, the inhabitants have come up with their own rules, independent of the Danish law. The rules forbid stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs, and bikers' colors but there are permanent stands that sell hash and cannabis.
I even saw people skinny dipping when I was wearing 3 layers to survive the cold...
In 2018, they were already defending the Uyghurs being abused by the Chinese government. Christiana is after all a statement in itself in believing in people's freedom to be who they are and believe in whatever they want, provided they harm nobody...
I made another rather awkward encounter while walking around the Christiana...
As I crossed the Dyssebroen bridge, I chose to follow a path instead of the paved way and almost regretted it. As I was walking observing nature while guided by the strong smell of coffee being brewed. A huge dog just started running towards me. I looked behind me and there was nothing but the river (at 5°C), so I stood my grounds and all the flurry being wanted was to play - How could I have known that?
Its owner was surprised I did not run away (ignoring the fact that I simply had no choice) and started chatting:
Him: You are probably the first one who doesn't run away when he starts barking
Him: He only wants to play but because of his size, he scares people
Me: Well, he's well-fed
Him: He's just big but a kid inside. What's your name?
Me: I'm Mouhamadou, you?
Him: Aksel. Do you want some coffee?
Me: Sure thing, I've been smelling it from the other side
Him: It's fresh, my friend. That's why...
I cannot even remember the names of the others but was welcomed to their open-air cafe as they knew me, that's what traveling is about...
They also had a very ingenious way to make coffee with the most basic utensils. The process involves just putting all the ingredients in a pan, mix it all together, let the bubble release the coffee then simply wait for the heaviest part to settle at the bottom before serving. So that's what Christiana is about, freedom and love.
Don't make much noise while walking around
Don't take photos of people without their consent
Don't stare at things you judge weird
Malmö is only 45 minutes away from Copenhagen, via the Øresund Bridge. This bridge in 1999 and spans over the 16kms that separate. It even goes underwater for 4km in transit.
.Malmö is the third-largest city in Sweden and when I visited was shaping into a big business hub with loads of multinationals setting up offices there.
Turning Torso is a residential skyscraper that is also the tallest building in Scandinavia. It was built in 2001 and is regarded as the first twisted skyscraper in the world.
It is the first thing you will notice as soon as you enter Malmö...
This place is a little wharf with loads of cute cabins and boats. It is also connected to a large park with loads of dog walkers and joggers - In other words, the perfect summer spot.
I liked the sunset photos so much I tried to do it again at Hundbadet Ribersborg but guess I came a little too late...🤦🏿♂️
Rubato is located by the live concert AB. This place is a multi-purpose venue opened in 2015 and housing Malmö Live Concert Hall is the home of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.
Malmö is just so quiet any time of the day is a good time for a walk or sightseeing...
You can barely tell it was cold...
Not the most known thing about the capital city of Sweden, but Stockholm is an archipelago made up of 14 islands. It is the largest city in Scandinavia and the main hub for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region. It also hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies. In short, a buzzing city with loads of things going on in all fields.
The Red Boat Mälaren
This a boat converted into a hotel. They provide you with pretty much all the standard hotel facilities. I do recommend a stay with them, even for a night. You can book your room here - You're welcome!😉
It somehow reminded me of Popeye, the sailor...
Rate: 495kr (£43/€48/$56)
Credit: The Red Boat Mälaren
This is a well looked-after open-air yard located 20 minutes away from downtown Stockholm. The place was opened to the public in 1943 and since then, has been offering a plethora of goodies ranging from saunas to Kayak rental. A perfect getaway from buzzing Stockholm.
Water and green, what else to ask for?
Standing in the way as always...
Some were courageous enough to go skinny dipping...
This trip happened to be my first one in Scandinavia and as opposed to what I advised to people, I had my own conception of Denmark and Sweden before even setting foot in there. Although positive, I think it often fails you to go to a particular country with expectations. Do better than me and just go with the flow...
Until next time