I fear this post should really come with a warning: Indulgent Post Alert! Photo Overload! Please bear with me. When my friend Abigail asked if I'd had a good time away, I said yes, it was amazing, wonderful! She said, was it wonderful because it was Copenhagen, or was it wonderful because it was a holiday and a break from everyday life? Well, it was both. It was so good to have that time with just John, being a couple, holding hands while we wandered around and enjoying long, leisurely meals together without asking for the children's menus. But is was also good because we went to Copenhagen, a truly lovely city that we had never visited before. A city small enough to walk everywhere but bustling and energetic enough to feel that you were somewhere else, somewhere vibrant. Here are my impressions, the best bits, the things I want to remember and share with you...
Blue skies: We were blessed with gorgeous weather and the sun shone constantly throughout our trip (which was just as well as it was rather cold).
Bikes: Oh, how the Danes love their bikes! I've never been to a more cycle-friendly city. Huge, wide bike-lanes dominate the roads; flights of steps have special bike rails so that you can easily wheel your bike up and down; at rush hour we saw as many bikes as cars queuing at traffic lights. And no-one wears a helmet and everyone seems to cycle in their normal clothes while looking impossibly chic and not breaking a sweat.
Hotel: A (very comfortable) room with a view of buildings, flags and sky, a view I loved to look out on each morning.
Borgen! Or the Danish parliament, Christiansborg Slot, to those not so obsessed with the Danish drama series as I.
Cafe culture: Tables outside cafes are full even when it's chilly. If the sun shines, people seem to sit outside regardless - cafes owners even put blankets on chairs for their customers to use.
SmrrØebrØd: Mmm, smØrrebrØd, the delicious open sandwich of rye bread, salmon, herring, eggs, pototoes and all manner of other lovely toppings, commonly served at lunchtime. Totally delicious.
Nyhavn: This picture-postcard area is full of cafes and restaurants which manage to cater for wealthy tourists while retaining some Scandinavian charm. We bought hot dogs from a van, sat on the quayside and people watched.
And very nice it was too.
Cranes: Much of the city seems to be under construction with cranes and building works at ever corner. I liked the yellow crane against the blue sky.
Cake: Oh, the cakes! Seriously, the Danish make good cakes. Really good.
Trees: There was little sign of spring on the trees, hardly a bud in sight.
Frozen: And the sea was frozen! Actually frozen! I had never seen this before - I guess it's an indication of how cold Scandinavian winters can get.
Buildings: The architecture is stunning, a mixture of old and grand, very modern...
...and very soviet, fortress-like design. The advert below is for travel insurance, I believe.
Flags: Oh, flags were everywhere! On every building and mast and corner, it seemed. I tried to remember if you see this many union flags in London; I suspect you probably do.
John: My travelling companion, on holiday and in life.
Tourist: We had such fun doing touristy things, seeing the sights - The Little Mermaid (she's certainly little!), Amalienborg, home of the Danish Royal Family, and watching the changing of the guard. I was struck by how similar some of these traditions felt to British ones.
Post: We didn't send any postcards, but I did like the postboxes very much.
Water: Copenhagen is a city of bridges, canals and waterways, and views and photo opportunities abound.
Hot chocolate: Oh my, and what a hot chocolate it was, which is just as well since it cost about £8 in a very posh cafe. John did say Hmm, what a clever idea, charging people double for what is essentially a do-it-yourself drink.
The Round Tower: A spiral, sloping, cobblestone walk to the top rewards you with panoramic views over the roof tops.
Streetlamps: Oh I got such a kick out of these! I took about fifteen photos of them. The Danes are just so stylish that their streetlamps are pendants which would not look out of place in a trendy magazine, suspended by wires over the middle of each street (trainers not available on every road).
Beer: It's delicious and everyone drinks it.
Tivoli Gardens: What the guidebook declared was the sight to see in Copenhagen was sadly closed for winter until mid-April. We had to make do with looking at the gate.
Are you still with me? Well done if you made it to the end. What else...it's very friendly, and everyone speaks English which was a relief as it turns out I'm not fluent in Danish after all, despite feeling that I really ought to be after all the hours of Danish drama I've watched recently. The residents of Copenhagen are a stylish bunch and make a winter coat, hat and scarf look like something you'd want to wear year round. It seems a very baby and child friendly place, even the bikes have these brilliant attachments for safely peddling little ones around the city. Eating and drinking out is pretty expensive in the main tourist areas, but cheaper the further out you get. The cost of things, and the fact that the Danish Design Museum was closed for refurbishment, were the only downsides to an otherwise pretty perfect holiday. And I bought some lovely souvenirs! They deserve a post of their own I feel.