Well, it’s been a little while since I shared a slice of my European adventure with you. Schooling and work got the best of me last week and I wasn’t quite feeling inspired to write anymore than I had to between presentations and assignments. Let’s pick up where we left off…
Not even home from Rome yet, sipping terrible coffee in the Valencia Bus Station, I decided I’d hop on the Ryanair website. Not like we just spent two weeks away or anything…but, much like my Grandmother, I just couldn’t pass up a potential deal! I try not to get my hopes up searching for flights, since ridiculously inexpensive fares one way are usually met with expensive return fares. They really know how to get us Friday-Sunday travelers. But it was my lucky day! Flights from Alicante to Copenhagen were 16 EUR there and 16 EUR return, to my surprise. I had the reservation filled out and was ready to click “continue” before Joey was even out of the washroom. He was greeted with “we’re going to Copenhagen next weekend!” – and just like that, we were going to Copenhagen next weekend.
We let ourselves get home and settled before we started researching where we would stay and what we would do. We soon realized that going to Copenhagen, Denmark meant we could easily visit Malmö, Sweden, as it was a short bus or train ride away. In fact, we chose an Airbnb to stay at in Malmö for a much cheaper price tag than the expensive core of Copenhagen. We’ve opted for Airbnb accommodations in almost every city we’ve visited, since it allows us the privacy of our own room, the benefit of a local guide, and a taste of the city’s traditional culture. We have yet to experience a negative Airbnb and would recommend finding a cool and truly local place to anyone traveling on (or off) a budget. To anyone looking to travel in the near future, feel free to use my frequent flyer credit for some sweet savings. Four days of classes and work flew by and before we knew it, we were back on a plane to Denmark. Since we were leaving sunny Murcia for the Nordic countries, we wouldn’t have as much daylight to work with. We hurried to our Airbnb from the airport by utilizing the train over The Øresund Bridge – the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe.
After checking in and freshening up, we immediately head out to explore the city of Malmö. We were closely connected by tram to the centre of town where we walked through Sodergatan Street – a street reserved strictly for pedestrians, which is proving to be common in major European cities. We wandered past the Malmö Castle, made our way to the “Turning Torso” – an artistic skyscraper and the tallest in Scandinavia, and at Joey’s request, visited Zlatan Court – a local football field, dedicated to famous footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimović. At this point, we had run out of daylight and were ready to try some authentic Swedish food. We weren’t very impressed by the selection of restaurants in Malmö, or lack-thereof. In fact, we weren’t very impressed with Malmö in general. It lacked character and offered very little in terms of tourism. Nevertheless, we found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on our way back to the apartment, which quickly became my favourite part of this simple, Swedish city. Naturally, we ordered Swedish Meatballs paired with mashed potatoes. They were delicious and definitely topped their Ikea counterparts! To top it off, we shared one of the best chocolate brownie desserts we’d ever had, so Malmö wasn’t all bad. When we got back to our place I hunted down a free walking tour of Copenhagen for the following day. We’ve always enjoyed the walking tours this company offers, especially the price tag!
The next morning we got up early to head over to Copenhagen. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from this small, Nordic capital of Denmark, but it proved to be one of our favourite cities thus far. We had an awesome tour guide who showed us through the bicycle filled streets of the city. Bicycles are a preferred method of transportation in Copenhagen, accounting for 17% of all trips in Denmark. If I remember correctly, our tour guide informed us that 400km of bike lanes exist in the 89km square city. We saw interesting architecture and bronze statues, like many European cities, but Copenhagen had a much different feel with its inner-city canals, colourful buildings in Nyhavn, large public spaces, and the artificial island of Christianshavn. The city also boats a beautiful harbour, completely restructured for pedestrian use, overlooking an enormous opera house and indoor market.
From the harbour, our tour continued to the Palace of Danish Royalty. The Palace grounds were oddly welcoming, open to the public on an official public roundabout. We were told the Royal Family of Denmark is often seen in town, mingling with locals and picking their children up from school on their bicycles. The city seemed to have such a rich history and culture of openness, the importance of family, and a need to help and welcome others. It was clear that we could not leave Denmark without biking ourselves, so after visiting the very overrated Little Mermaid Statue, we rented city bikes equipped with navigation systems and touchscreen controls. This tiny capital kept finding ways to amaze me. It didn’t take long to freeze our asses off on our bike ride and it was nearly time to eat (as usual). We wanted to check out Christianshavn before dark and had heard of an awesome burger joint on the island called Grillen. Despite the price, the food was delicious! We didn’t get around to trying any traditional Danish food, but we’d like to return to Copenhagen to experience it in its Summer glory.
We were nearly ready to catch the bus back to Malmö, but had some time to kill before making our way to the bus station. Strøget was the popular shopping district in the city and another pedestrian only street. We picked up some souvenirs – Joey has been collecting keychains, I’ve been collecting magnets, and we’ve both collected country patches throughout our travels. We meandered through a few more shops, saw a guy puke on the side of the street – which for anyone who knows me well, will know that threw me for a loop haha! We boarded our bus and obviously ended up seated next to a crazy drunk – why would we ever expect to get through a trip without a close encounter with an oddball? We’re convinced he was the reason the Swedish Police brought drug dogs on the bus, which marked the first time we had seen any type of border control entering or exiting a European Union country. Thankfully we made it through, fairly seamlessly. One quick look at our Canadian passports and border patrol was on to the next passenger. We had to be up for an early morning flight back to Murcia and relaxed in our Malmö flat the remainder of the night. Our Scandinavian weekend ended up being another one for the books!