I awoke to the captain announcing that we were preparing for landing. I checked my phone and noticed that slept through the entire discography of Death Cab for Cutie and the majority of the 7 hour flight. Before too long I would be stepping foot in my first foreign country. I still wasn’t nervous, perhaps because I was still very sleep deprived since it was an overnight flight. And anyone that has ever traveled before knows that plane sleep is never good sleep.
I made my way through the airport to the ticketing station for metro tickets.
“Hi, one ticket to downtown please.”
The lady behind the counter made a few taps on her computer, “that will be 36.”
I gave her a blank stare, “dollars?” I naively asked. She looked back at me sternly, “No, kroners.”
What the fuck are kroners. I had 200 euros in my wallet prepared for this trip because I thought everywhere in Europe accepted them. But APPARENTLY Denmark has their own currency just to make things a little more confusing.
Embarrassed, I quickly whipped out my credit card and tried to hand it to her. She proceeded to point to the credit card machine before me. She sighed as I struggled trying to put the card in the right way so it would read the chip on the front.
Finally, she handed me my ticket and proceeded to the exit towards the metro station.
I remembered a friend telling me before I left for Denmark not to worry because everything in Denmark is in English. Well, that friend is a liar. As soon as I got on the metro, everything was in Danish. And not like in America where they say and write everything in English and Spanish. It was all only Danish. Luckily there was a board that displayed what stops were next so I knew where to get off to meet my host.
Her name is Signe, and she would be my tour guide for the next few days during my stay in Copenhagen. I met Signe from one of the best websites on the internet, CouchSurfing.com. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it is basically a way to connect travelers with hosts to stay with across the globe. You simply create a profile and post whether or not you have a couch available for someone to crash on.
Signe was very welcoming and took me all around Copenhagen. I was amazed by how colorful everything was there, it was like something straight out of a fairytale.
Once we got back to her place she offered to cook me dinner as I slept off my jetlag. I awoke to a a fish dinner by candle light. Signe was a truly amazing host I must say.
The next day we did more exploring but this time on bicycles. And I would just like to mention that holy crap are there a lot of bikes in this city. In this city it is more uncommon to own a car instead of a bicycle. The city is completely flat which makes riding an ease and they have SOOOOO many cyclists that bikes have their own road (not a bike lane, no, an actually build up road just for bikes) and their own traffic lights.
We spent some time in a small area of Copenhagen known as Christania. As stated by their website, the objective of this community is “to build a self-governing society where every individual is free to express themselves and be responsible to the community.”
I wish of could of taken pictures of this area but they are very strict on a no photography rule. If you are caught taking pictures then you will be escorted “back to the EU.”
The reason for the strict no photography rule is because they sell marijuana throughout Christania. It’s not exactly legal but since the community is self-governed and don’t pay taxes then the city turns a blind eye to what goes on.
Later on that night Signe took me to a small bar that only the locals knew of. A small bar tucked away in a narrow street completely secluded from the rest of Copenhagen’s nightlife. The kind of place that you would only know about if you are a local. This bar was so secluded that I don’t even think it had a sign on the door.
We walked into a tiny front room with a small bar area, got a couple drinks, and walked through a doorway to another room. Couches and comfy chairs lined the walls of this tiny room. It was about the size of an apartment living room, which makes sense because I later learned that the bar used to be an apartment. It felt more like I was hanging out at a friend’s place than at a bar. The music was low so you could actually hear conversations and everyone was getting along with everyone. A pretty incredible place to say the least.
Signe and I grabbed a couple seats and began sipping our drinks. A moment later a girl walked in holding a balloon filled with air between her fingers and took a seat on the couch. She inhaled the balloon and seconds later began laughing uncontrollably. What the hell is going on. I turned to Signe, “what just did she just inhale?”
Signe explained that the balloons were filled with Nitrous oxide , or laughing gas, and you could buy a balloon full for about 20 kroners (3 US dollars). “Do you want me to get you one?” She asked after explaining it.
I just had to try it. When else would I have the opportunity to enjoy laughing gas without it being followed by getting teeth ripped out. I inhaled slowly and held my breath like the bartender advised me to do. Within seconds my mouth went numb and I began laughing hysterically. It almost felt as if I became instantly drunk. Less than a minute later the high wore off and my mind returned to normal.
A few moments later a couple other guys came sat down near us with a balloon each in hand. They were both from Copenhagen and home for Easter break. They invited us out to a casino. Signe had to work the next day but I was up for anything. After all, every day is Saturday for me!
We hailed a cab and set off to the casino. The guys were really cool, both of them perusing a masters degree in economics.
Since I am on a tight travel budget I refrained from gambling and instead, enjoyed watching them play roulette for a couple hours before we headed back.
To say the least, Copenhagen is amazing and I have a strong feeling this wont be my last time I visit.