Bikes, hippies and food.

Copenhagen is a city of bikes. Bikes upon bikes upon bikes. Bike lanes on every single road in both directions, bike shops on every block, more cyclists than drivers or pedestrians, a sea of bikes parked outside metro stations, bikes leaning against every lamppost and shop window – the city is built for bikes. People don’t even seem to lock them up. Meanwhile in London bike thieves are chainsawing throughly hefty locks. I haven’t been on a bike in Copenhagen, mainly because I don’t have a helmet (most people don’t bother) and I can’t help but feel I’ve missed out on a vital piece of local custom.

Yesterday morning I had planned to go on the free walking tour of the city, but I really wasn’t in the mood for other people, so I walked around on my own and saw the sites. I went around the main centre and saw some nice buildings and churches, and the Latin Quarter which was full of book shops and cafés, and I sat and drank coffee and read for a while.

I took the metro to Christianshavn to go see Christiania, a hippy commune I’d been really looking forward to visiting. It used to be a military barracks but was taken over in the 70s and it covers quite an area. There is colourful graffiti and beautiful painted murals amidst ramshackle dwellings, outdoor space, cafés and market stalls. There was an activism day going on so there were crowds outside – people playing paddle ball and hackysack and walking their dogs. Taking photos there isn’t allowed as there are drug dealers everywhere, though the police do turn a blind eye to drugs in Christiania. I’d planned on having lunch in a vegetarian restaurant in the commune, but it was closed for the activism day, so I wondered back to the canal and had a smorresbrod (Danish open faced sandwich) in a little cafe. I popped back to look around an art gallery in the commune, which was in a dark and dingy warehouse and had some really cool and quirky pieces.

Back at the hostel, I had some time to relax and decide where to eat dinner, as I wanted to do something nice for my last night. Copenhagen is a culinary haven, and home to supposedly the best restaurant in the world, Noma. Obviously there would be no way I could eat there, but I’d heard there were a lot of ex-Noma chefs who now have their own, more affordable restaurants. After a bit of research, I couldn’t find any with spaces, so I booked at a more low-key New Nordic bistro called Madklubben. For the first time this trip I put on a dress and a bit of make up and headed across town. The restaurant was busy, cosy and nice without being overly fancy. The food was exceptional. It was very simple – just delicious, fresh, superbly cooked vegetables. It was a similar style to a restaurant I went to in London called Texture, which is Michelin starred and pricey, only Madklubben was very reasonably priced and I would say of equal quality. It was a lovely way to spend my last night.

So I’m getting ready to leave Copenhagen, after a delicious brunch at Cafe Auto. My flight is later this afternoon, and I’m sad the holiday is over. The whole trip has been amazing – the landscapes I saw in Norway were some of the best I’ve seen, and Copenhagen has been one of my favourite cities.

I’m just glad I don’t have long to wait until my next trip!