PC had a few days off for Christmas, so we got the hell out of dodge. As much as we love Berlin sometimes we need a break. Listen, most people I have met here in Berlin are lovely, however, there is at least one occurrence everyday when I’m met with something totally rude or ridiculous. To be fair, most of this is probably due to living in a crowded city, and not in a national stereotype.
Whatever the case, my patience was wearing thin on incidents like for example this one at the post office: waiting in the typically long holiday line, I step up to mail off christmas cards. Some of them have photographs inside. Apparently, the weight limit for standard postage is 20 grams. The decidedly unfriendly employee “helping” me weighed every single letter, and if it was 21 grams, you better believe I was going to have to pay for the extra postage. This is the kind of overly thorough crap that drives me nuts. One bloody gram over the limit. At Christmastime. Jeebus.
I have long wanted to visit Copenhagen. In fact, all of those Nordic utopia countries have always called to me. Denmark was rated the happiest nation in the world in 2013 according to the UN’s happiness report. We were both ready for a change of scenery and attitude.
We ate very well on the trip. The world’s best restaurant, Noma, makes its home in Copenhagen along with 14 other Michelin starred restaurants. We didn’t eat at any of those, but the whole city seems to have mad food game. We opted for lunch at Torvehallerne Market. Filled with fresh seafood hawkers, creamy cheese mongers, and glistening pastries begging to sidle up to a cappucino, it’s easy to eat your weight in there. We split a couple of traditional Danish Smorrebrod, or open faced sandwiches at Hallernes Smørrebrød . One of them was the most incredible salmon sandwich we’ve ever had. I didn’t take a picture because I was too busy mowing. We also had this delicious roast beef sammy.
Making the rounds of the market, we sat down for some Danish style Fish and Chips which came piping hot with an herby, tangy tartare sauce.
After stuffing ourselves, we rolled into the city center to have a look at the shops. Naturally, we stopped into the Lego store.
PC headed back to the hotel, while I took a walk down to see the Little Mermaid. From Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, the statue has come to be a kind of symbol of the city. Apparently, it has been destroyed and defaced a number of times, but was completely in tact when I saw her. I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before Elsa and Anna get their own statue.
After grabbing some food and Glogg, we figured we should go on at least one rie. We jumped on Vertigo, voted Europe’s best ride of 2014. 5Gs indeed.
Our only disappointment was running around the entire park trying to find the lake for a special Christmas light show only to find the piddliest water/light show I’ve ever seen. California Adventure’s World of Color– it aint. However, they played a medley from the nutcracker over the speakers, and we simply enjoyed the music.
The next day, we started off correctly- with a Danish. Oh! and a cinnamon roll…and a scone…and two huge delicious coffees.
Now, Germans do many things well; cars, sausage, beer. However, I have, sadly, been underwhelmed by the pastry offerings. There’s no shortage of bakeries around, but they all sell mediocre commercial batch croissants and Pfannkuchen. Perfectly passable, but unremarkable. Perhaps it’s because they’re so into Kaffee und Kuchen (although I don’t rate their cakes either).
Denmark’s pastry game on the other hand? Primo. Holy moly they were so good.
This place, Lagkagehuset, which I absolutely cannot pronounce properly, is a chain, but it’s the kind of chain you want. Everything we had here was just delicious.
We’ve begun to notice a dearth of good chains here in Germany. Perhaps there’s an aversion to the Americanized low-quality connotation, but it seems a gap in the market.
After our healthy brekkie, we walked over to Christiania. It’s a self-governing commune, and kind of a hippie paradise. We walked through, but didn’t take too many pictures. In the Green Light District, where one can easily procure some marijuana from one of the many little kiosks, photography is strictly forbidden.
My mom used to love Carlsberg Elephants, so we had to take a couple photos. Disappointingly, the brewery had nothing to say about elephants. As it was December 23rd, there were no guided tours or beer tastings, however we were allowed to do a self guided tour which included 2 complimentary beers along the way. We saw the largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world.
They took great pains to explain the swastika’s original meaning of good things, well being and luck. Aaannnd they also stressed that the brewery dropped the symbol like it was hot around 1940. However, it’s still affixed to many of the brewery’s older equipment and bottles.
They had a fun exhibit tracing the history of brewing in Denmark through to modern day Carlsberg functions. My favorite was this gem.
We had planned on a nice dinner that night, but to our dismay, soon learned that most places closed down on the 23rd for the Christmas holiday. However, we lucked out and found a lovely little place by the canal. Every place we ventured into was well decorated. I mean, they are NOT kidding around about the Scandinavian sense of style.
Suddenly, it was December 24th, and time for us to take our forty minute flight back to Berlin to spend Christmas at home.
At the airport, we snuck in another coffee and pastry. How cute are the little Christmas trees? Another observation: Copenhagen seems similar to big cities in Australia in that, coffee is taken seriously, and almost any little place you walk into will offer a high quality cup of joe. I could get used to that. It was a much needed and much enjoyed trip. Copenhagen was all I hoped it’d be. The city beautiful and quaint, the food and beverage delicious, and the people just as friendly as I’d been told they’d be.
Back in Berlin, we found ourselves in a coffee shop searching for a seat. In polite German, PC asked if an older gentleman might mind allowing us to sit at one of the two tables he was taking up by himself. Saying no words, scowling derisively, the old man simply waved his hand at the spot as if to say “How dare you disturb me, I don’t care if you sit, but you better believe I’m not moving one inch”. In that moment, I chuckled knowing I was well and truly back in Berlin.