A winter weekend in Copenhagen

I must have been a really weird kid; I never saw the original Wizard of Oz, or Peter Pan, Lassie, or The Goonies – but I watched the 1952 release of Hans Christian Anderson a hundred times. The story of the man behind the fairytales, with a playful take (and some poetic license, I believe) on his creation of characters like Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. I always wanted to go to Denmark because of that, knowing absolutely nothing else about it.

Funny how something like that can stay with you. Back in September, reeling off the options for a pre-Christmas weekend break for two, Copenhagen had me at hello. Nostalgic (even though I’d never been there before), foodie, festive, and – fine, sue me – pretty romantic, by the sound of it, being lit up with a million fairy lights…

It was perfect. And not to take the lovey-dovey edge off it or anything but, being on a young London budget, it was a bonus that flights were cheap, a swish Air BnB wouldn’t break the bank, and we could walk pretty much everywhere. It meant we could spend our krone on the best investment in any foodie city: brunch. Thanks to a recommendation from our host, we devoured a whole lot of rye bread, whipped butter, avocado, eggs and spicy sausage at Moller, in Norrebro, returning both mornings (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) to see another day crossed off the Christmas countdown on the wall.

Advent calendars were everywhere; in shops, next to billboards, hanging from the church wall. And oh, the fairy lights, the Christmas markets, Tivoli gardens…

It was the kind of cold I can handle; wrapped up warm, drinking mulled wine and eating hot, cinnamon-covered almonds from the fayre.

On the final day, we walked some more. I admit, I grew so tired that I was really torn when we reached the pedestrian sign telling us The Little Mermaid was another 2.5km away (read: also 2.5km back). But I was with someone who knew me better and insisted we go – and I’m so glad we did. In hindsight, we could’ve just hired the Boris bikes, but you live and learn…

We ended up walking past the prettiest little stretch of houses I’d ever seen (and which I’d see again on the big screen in The Danish Girl a few weeks later), round the impressive, nigh-on-inescapable fort grounds, and finally: down to the tail fins of The Little Mermaid.

And little, she is – especially when swamped by a bus-load of tourists – but it was a moment, you know? I always think of the author in this situation; of course, that statue is nout much to do with Anderson himself, really, but wouldn’t he love to know that nearly 150 years after his death, some girl’s taking a minute to think of him, and how he spoke to her? You other hopeless romantics – and I know you’re out there – will back me up here.

So: do visit Copenhagen in December if you love Christmas, strong coffee, and/or Hans Christian Anderson. Expect London prices (but plenty of sights to see for free), a chill in the air, and super-chic fashion & interior design.


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