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Where We Are: Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark | Hello from Copenhagen, where the buildings are bright and the bike game is strong!

It feels so good to be writing again! Things have been pretty non-stop since we left Greece for Israel in July. We had a 12-day tour in Israel/Palestine/Jordan, three weeks in Italy with my parents, a packed week in Disneyland Paris, and then a week in the French countryside for our friend’s wedding where we basically had no wifi.

This most recent leg has just been a completely different pace than our first year on the road. We’ve spent way more time with other people, which is definitely not something we’re used to. Our schedules are often out of our hands or modified to accommodate other people. It has been a lot of fun, but it just has us feeling off of our routine. Hence why I’m so behind on everything.

Fall in Copenhagen
Fall in Copenhagen

We finally caught a breather when we landed here in Copenhagen. It’s the perfect place to refresh and power us through our last few weeks of travel. (That’s so weird to actually say!) The weather in mid-September is basically the definition of sweater weather. Between the cool temperatures, cloudy skies and pumpkin spice lattes finally available at Starbucks in Europe, the Fall vibes are strong and I am loving it!

Our friend, Angelica, recently moved to Copenhagen for school and we jumped at the opportunity to visit. She’s been in town a few weeks, so she has a good handle on a lot of the things to see and do, but she hasn’t actually had time to do them all yet. It’s been fun to explore the touristy sights together and to get a glimpse of what her life will be like in Copenhagen.

My girl, Angelica, in her new home of Copenhagen!

We’re here for eight days and are truly looking forward to writing some blog content, catching up on a work and enjoying our first week of Fall.

First Impressions on Copenhagen

It’s expensive. Like, really expensive! We most recently came from Paris and Italy, which aren’t necessarily cheap places, but we were still completely taken aback by the prices here. It started off with our $5 McDonald’s veggie burger (compared to the usual $2 or $3), followed by our $7 tall Starbucks latte (versus the expected $5). The assault continued with $10 draft beers (not even craft beer), $15 street food, and $23 entrees at an Indian restaurant! Fortunately we’re at an Airbnb with a great kitchen and the grocery store was very reasonably priced. We spent $20 on groceries and have had sandwiches and french onion soup for the past three meals.

Kastellet is a star-shaped fort that has been preserved and partially converted into a public city park. Though still an active military location, the area is mostly bustling with park-goers enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views.

It is a very livable city.  Other than the fact that you have to be a millionaire to live here (I kid … but really), the city immediately feels like home. Copenhagen has tourists, but it doesn’t feel like a touristy city. There aren’t souvenirs shops on every corner or overpriced crappy restaurants — just overpriced good restaurants. Instead, the streets are lined with unique local shops, charming beer gardens and lots and lots of bikes. It’s full of life, easy on the eyes, and just feels like a place you want to be.

It’s perfectly walkable. I love a city that has public transit but doesn’t require me to use it. The city is pretty small, and you can cover most of it on foot. We walked through much of the heart of the city — Frederiksberg, Nørrebro, Østerbro, Indre By, Christiania and Vesterbro  — in a single day. It was amazing.

Hans Christian Andersen is a Danish author famous for writing The Little Mermaid, among other classics. The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen has been an icon of the city ever since it was erected in 1913. Scuttle even popped in to say hello!

What you need to know — Copenhagen:

  • Population: 500,000
  • Altitude: 1 – 91 meters
  • Temperature: September average highs are in the 60s, lows in the 50s
  • Exchange Rate: 6.42 Danish Kroner to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: Danish & English
  • Walking Tour: We have no plans for walking tours, though there certainly are some.
  • Time Zone: Central European Summer Time, UTC +2 (7 hours ahead of US Central Time)
  • Taxi: Yes
  • Uber: No
  • Public Transit: Trains and buses
  • Emergency Number: 112
  • Running: We went for a few great runs in Park Søndermarken. It’s small (just over one mile loop), but it made for some nice five-milers. We will also be running the Copenhagen Half Marathon which just so happened to be the weekend we’re in town!
  • American Football: YES AND WE’RE SO EXCITED! We’ll be watching Sunday’s games at Southern Cross Pub which looks like it’s going to be pretty great.
  • Starbucks: Yep!
  • Local Starbucks Specialty: Nope.
  • McDonald’s Veggie Burger: They actually have two different veggie burger options! The one we tried was quite delicious (with lots of ketchup and mayo, yum), but expensive.
  • Coffee Price: About 35 DKK (~$5.50 USD) for a large cappuccino or double espresso.
  • Beer Price: Usually 60 DKK (~$9 USD) for a pint of local draft beer (not craft)
I was kind of obsessed with Nyhavn and the pretty canals and houses.

The Journey Continues

  • Where We Came From: Italy
  • Where We’re Going: Spain

Frank Melgreen

Sunday 30th of September 2018

All of the Nordic countries are very expensive as so much must be imported and wages are set so even a McDonald's employee can live. Taxes are also quite high if you work there. Yet they are consistently ranked as the happiest countries. Overall beyond the sights they are not tourist countries due to the expense. They really require living there to fully grasp all they offer. People buy differently. Far more quality purchases and maintenance (careful maintenance of everything from small things around the house to infrastructure is part of a national mentality) to take care of things rather than our routine disposable purchases or later I will buy something better mentality. Nordic society is more socially home centered with both family and friends. With a maximum 37 hour work week and an average of 33 hours (with high productivity) people have the time and energy for hobbies, interests, outdoor activities, friends and family.

Glad to see on FBook you are now back. It will be an adjustment.


Sunday 14th of October 2018

Wow - this is all such great info! Your analysis is on point. I didn't even think about the "disposable purchases", but now that you mention, looking back that REALLY stands out. That is such a good observation. And thanks for pointing out WHY things are so expensive. I didn't look that much into what caused that, but your points make total sense.

While I adored the Nordic countries and I can see why they are happy there, I think we (Americans) still have to be very careful when comparing their countries to America. I think we can learn SO much, but I also think the sheer size difference and cultural differences (specifically that they have next to no diversity) makes it hard to even compare. That's just something I've been thinking about lately.