"If I kept waiting for someone to come with me, I would have never left"
While I travel alone all the time in the states (hey I even chose to come all the way here by myself and not on the group flight and took a bunch of stops along the away!), I have been traveling with my friends to all the places I've been going to so far. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling with my friends. There's something about being with likeminded people who appreciate travel as much as you do that makes it so much fun. But even before I got here, I've poured my eyes over so many solo traveler blogs that I have always wanted to experience it myself firsthand. I always get asked the same thing when I rave on about solo travel: Are you not scared? Won't it be lonely? Isn't it unsafe for women to travel and stay in hostels by themselves? and questions of that sort. My answer to all those questions: no. Even before I left on my first solo trip, I already knew I was going to enjoy it. In fact, I was excited more than anything else. Maybe a tad nervous if I was going to have odd roommates in my hostel. Bottom line: my first experience solo traveling was beyond anything I expected (in a good way of course) and I can't wait to do it again.
I will blog about this in the future, but to anyone out there who wants to go somewhere but can't seem to find someone to go with you or someone who is interested in going to the same place: Just Go. It is a lot safer than you think and of course it is as safe as YOU make it. At least once in your lifetime, try traveling by yourself. I guarantee you, you will learn so much about yourself.
Now onto Copenhagen...
This trip was an interesting experience because my journey to get to Copenhagen (as well as my first solo trip) will always be something I remember because of all the struggles I had to go through to get there. Lesson #1: Do not book a flight that leaves 2 hours after your class ends :-) I always get to the airport less than an hour before my flight leaves in the US and I get through TSA in less than 10 minutes, easy. Not here apparently. Also the doors close here 45 minutes before boarding. So basically on the way to the airport, I placed my passport in my bag (I was in a rush) and when I got to the airport I thought I had lost my passport because I could find it. Turns out it was in a hidden pocket. This delayed me and I missed the gate by 5 minutes. Que pobrecita! Luckily, I was able to get on another flight out that day but the only catch was I had a 10 hr overnight layover in Belgium. Well, I didn't mind the layover, because I tend to always choose flights with layovers anyways but little did I know, the Brussels airport was dead. From 23h-5h it is dead silence. So I found a chair to sleep on and tried to sleep until the airport came back to life.
I finally got to Copenhagen at 11 and took a train from the airport to my hostel, Generator Hostel, which by the way was such an amazing hostel and definitely set the bar high as it was my first time staying in a hostel. The hostel was 8 bed mixed dorm with 2 private showers. I then rented a bike and went about my day. I started my day at the Rosenborg Castle Gardens and walked through the different parts. I got to see the Hans Christian Andersen statue! I then went to the Rundertraan (Round Tower) which was originally built as an astronomical observatory. There are no stairs, the whole building is just a spiral ramp going up to the top (which has an amazing view of the city). I then had a late lunch at Paludan Bog Cafe which is a very popular place to be for Uni students. After some pasta and rosé, I stopped by Conditori La Glace, which is a really popular pastry shop in Copenhagen. I biked around for a bit and admired the bike lined streets and colorful buildings and made my way to Nyhavn. From here, I biked through Stroget the longest shopping street that basically has every store in CPH and from there I went to the Town Hall. I then made my way to Tivoli Gardens only to find out that it was closed for the season, BOO! Neverthless, it was a beautiful night so I biked around aimlessly for an hour and in the process found a souvenir shop that had a cash register from the 50's! Around 10 pm, I made my way back to my hostel to rest up for the next day.
Rosenberg Castle Gardens + Hans Christian Andersen Statue
Going up the Rundertraan/View
Cash register from the 50's (still in use)
After just one day in Copenhagen I already found 3 reasons to love it:
Reason #1: They bike everywhere. Bikes line every street and is basically everyone's main mode of transportation. Biking is such a big deal here that the bike lane has its one actual lane and not just a line that separates the cars from the bikes.
My own lane!
Reason #2: Pastries, pastries, pastries. One of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Copenhagen is because the Danish are known to have amazing pastries and boy they did not disappoint. Copenhagen, you won my heart.
I stopped by so many pastry shops
Reason #3: Colorful buildings. They're everywhere! No wonder why the Dane's are such happy people.
København, I love your streets
I started my second day early because I had to leave to the airport by 6 that evening, so I woke up at 5:30 am (okay more like 6, I may or may have hit snooze one too many times). I checked out of my hostel and headed to my first stop: Marmorkirken (Frederik's Church) which was right by the Amalienborg Palace and I was lucky to catch it right at 7 am because the church bells were ringing! From here I started my hour long voyage into the suburbs of Copenhagen (during which I almost got run over by cars because of my lack of bike lane knowledge, oh Paula). Why might you ask did I bike for an hour? Simple. To get brunch. I know I probably sound crazy but I have an affinity for cute brunch places and I would not have been able to satisfied with my trip if I did not have a meal at this place (Mad & Kaffe). After a delicious brunch I made my way to Church of Our Saviour (the building voted to have the best view of CPH). After climbing about 450 VERY STEEP steps, I finally made it and proceeded to climb more steps to reach the very tip of the building. Good thing I'm not scared of heights. I stopped by yet another cafe for tea and Belgian waffles and then proceeded to the freetown of Christiana. I biked around Christianhavn for a bit and then proceeded to Christiansborg Palace where I got to see yet another beautiful view. I ended my day at Nyhavn with an ice cream cone which was a very symbolic moment for me.
Can I always start my mornings by looking at palaces?
Amalienborg Palace & Frederik's Church
Freetown of Christiana
When brunch looks this good...
Overall, Copenhagen was amazing. It is a place I have always wanted to visit and now it is definitely one of my favorite cities. There is just something about the city that makes me feel as giddy as a lovestruck girl. I have definitely fallen for this city and will be back soon. Already looking at plane tickets for winter break, haha.
Hasta la próxima vez,