Sunday, 7 June 2015

A weekend (and a bit) in Copenhagen

After a string of long weeks, I had two days of calm to do such life admin as buy wine glasses and sleep. (I would've been making my offline map for Copenhagen but I had the foresight to do that last time I was bored in Birmingham.) So my second break of the year ended up being fortuitously well-timed. To Copenhagen with the Explorer! As with all my recent holidays, I basically could've been in London except that everything was much calmer and more reasonable. In fact, I had an epiphany while waiting for the (clean, civilised) bathroom in the Torvehallerne street food market. Why are we fooling ourselves that London is such a great place when we could be having the same fun and making more money with better dressed people in Copenhagen? Yes? We're idiots.

This is where we went for dinner on the first night. It was a little castle on one side of the river of Christianshavn, tucked away behind some groves. It was so beautiful - the inside rooms had huge hanging frames of art and there was a garden at the back full of herbs. Herbs contributed to our dinner. My beef was so bloody good, I understand why some people always order steak. The carrot velouté was all smeared daintily across the plate and scattered with little cubes of beet. (Unfortunately a little too salty.)
My Torvahallerne epiphany came the next afternoon when I was all day drunk from the cava bar, our rest stop after a morning of waking along the five lakes and pretending to go antiquing. We chased it with burgers and sausages from a stall which translates to something meaning 'around' because all the food was locally sourced. And so up the Round Tower we traipsed full of bubbles and meat. After a brief stop at Conditori La Glace to pick up breakfasts for our remaining mornings, we napped. I wanted some lemongrass to wake us up so we went to a Vietnamese place which had been described as both 'cheap' and 'street food'. It was neither. While it was probably the most intricately flavoured Vietnamese curry I've had, it just wasn't what I was in the mood for. We chased it with a visit to Mikkelbar, a fun brewery / pub with dozens of beers all of which are largely lost on me. 

Morning came and instead of pastries from Strangas, we had brunch on a cute little street in Vesterbro at Granola. It doesn't look like much but the food was on the higher quality end of yuppie brunch food. We then walked for TWO HOURS to see the little mermaid. Frankly, worst thing about the whole trip. Especially galling was the fact that we were so tired in our last leg of the mission that we barely got to enjoy the nice castle park around it. Would've been a much more enjoyable use of our time. What next? Designmuseum. Having a sit and a drink along the super touristy stretch of land with all the boats and overpriced wine. Then we had fancy pants dinner #1 - at Cofoco.

I could see exactly what the Explorer was thinking when the first plate, 'snacks', came. He was thinking - why are we paying for a slate with small raw vegetables and crispy chicken skin on it? Good question. Well, for a plate of cold vegetables, it was delicious. However, it did feel a bit ridiculous and like there was an element of fanciness of the sake of it. However, credit where credit's due. The plate of guinea fowl that followed it was so crispy and earthy and deep, I can remember what it tastes like even now. And the Explorer's beef gave the beef of the first night a run for its money.

OK - as it's taken me three weeks to write this, I'm really struggling to remember what happened after now. I know we started with my favourite meal of the trip: a gourmet pork and crackling sandwich at Meyer's Deli. After - I think we went to an art museum where I decided I liked Gijbrechts and the fun stuff he does with painting things to look like they're on others things that he's also painted. I struggle to remember what else but it may have involved hanging out in Rosenborg Castle again. Which, by the way, is incredible and has beautiful kept, free to access grounds. We saw a few emo kids wearing clothes they'll regret in future and felt glad that we're no longer teenagers even if it means having to work for your own dolla. To finish things off, we went and saw Christiania, Copenhagen's crusty, unkempt answer to Camden. The main difference being that there is actually a street where you can go and buy weed but the dealers are all wearing balaclavas in stalls covered with army camouflage gear that makes them so much creepier than secret drug dealers despite being out in the open. Christiania is supposedly the most visited tourist attraction in Denmark and, like the Little Mermaid before it, is only worth going to to tick something off a list rather than actually being a fun and worthwhile use of one's time.
To try and forget the horror, we headed to the meatpacking district. It has lots of whitewashed, blue-roofed empty warehouses where previously they slaughtered animals. Now, it's full of zuzhy street food stalls and classic cars. (I don't know why I'm saying that with minor disdain when I love that shit.) We enjoyed a delicious bottle of unfiltered prosecco at Kodbyens Fiskebar with a portion of fish and chips which made tasted like Bird's Eye would love you to think their food tastes like. So flaky and moist. Probably in joint first place with Ship on the Shore as the best quality fish I've tasted. Well done Copenhagen. You've shown that yes, all European city breaks are largely the same and basically like being in London but in a different place where you have time to enjoy the perks. But also that that's a great way to spend a holiday.

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