The instant you step off the train, you know that there’s something about Copenhagen. From the clock that sings in the same key as Greensleeves (E minor—apparently), to the buildings that look borrowed from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s no surprise that Copenhagen is an international cultural capital where creativity seems to just dance out of the pavement.
Our first ventures in Denmark’s capital lead us to an exhibition that celebrates the work of my favourite author and one of literature’s greats: Hans Christian Andersen.
(I queue for ten minutes and get shouted at by another tourist to get this pic.)
The Fairy-tale House exhibit is comprised mainly of timelines, story prints in German, English and Danish, and life-size scenes from Andersen’s most loved fairy-tales. Semi-lit perusing teaches me that the writer was a big failure before he was a big success, that The Ugly Duckling was indeed autobiographical, and that he wrote his own Swedish Cereal, I Sverrig, 165 years ago!
Hans Christian Andersen is now considered the most prominent Dane of all time. Re-energised by the reminder of his perseverance, we leave feeling assured that Andersen’s personal story is one that will keep encouraging the world’s hard-working creatives for years to come.
A true Danish pastry—which despite my dairy intolerance I would so eat again—and a strong coffee later, we wade through the dizziness inducing vibes of Copenhagen’s Freetown Christiania and head along Christianshavn to find lunch. (Shame we had to re-enter the EU when leaving Christiania.)
If you’re looking for lunch in Copenhagen, I have one place for you: Papirøen. As soon as we enter the fairy lit warehouse, our noses are assaulted by the world’s best street cuisine. Smells from Japan, America, and the Mediterranean entice us through the jungle of camper vans, but we’re so keen to see everything that we do the full circuit before making a choice.
When we reach the last stall, however, our choice is suddenly made. In the 4 months since we left England, me and Joe haven’t stopped thinking about fish and chips. And now, right before us here in Papirøen, Copenhagen, is a truck boasting that very fine British dish.
As you can see, it’s seriously pimped. Garden peas, creamy mushroom sauce, mushy peas, grated carrot, topped radish, dill, and a slice of lemon all join the bud-tingling fiesta. The cod’s batter is light but crumby-crisp, and the fish falls apart in your mouth. Despite having less saturated fat than dinner from your average British chippy, it hits the spot perfectly. Grungy world beats reverberate off corrugated walls as we scoff away in this mini paradise. We even go back the next day to enjoy a bite of Korea and Morocco, which is when we discover the boat bus you can take from the end of Nyhavn for less than 50 Danish Kroner return. (Get cash out for this; the ATM charges in Papirøen is its one down point.)
If you haven’t guessed already, it’s a vibrant city. More tips on Copenhagen’s great spots and chuckle-worthy quirks in my next post …