1 We landed at Copenhagen Airport, and I noticed one of my Egencia offices was in the airport!
2 So I went in, introduced myself, and met Ole, a fellow Egencian.
3 We arrived by metro in the Old Town, and picked up our key to our AirBnB apartment.
4 Inside, the apartment was airy and white and very Nordic.
5 The view from the kitchen windows.
6 The upstairs to the apartment
7 Our lovely Danish hosts, Signe and Anders!
8 We walked around the city- first up, the famous Marble Church.
9 The interior of the domed church
10 Artsy shot!
11 On the same street was the Russian Orthodox Church.
12 The gold spires were gorgeous in the sunlight.
13 Before we arrived in Copenhagen, we had purchased 2 Copenhagen Cards- passes to all the city's sights at a fraction of the cost. This is the first of many Copenhagen Card destinations on this trip! This is Amelienborg Castle.
14 The Marble Church is the Castle's church- it's right across the street.
15 Only 1 building of this massive complex is open to the public, and it's an art museum. But the square itself is really lovely. The palace isn't open to visitors because the royal family actually lives here.
16 Nyhavn ("New Port")- the most picturesque area in Copenhagen.
17 Nyhavn is even prettier all lit up for Christmas.
18 The port is lined with colorful buildings, and boats fill the canal. It's a lot like Amsterdam.
19 Enjoying the view :)
20 Canal boat tours run from Nyhavn through the city. Our Copenhagen Tourist Cards gave us free boat ride tickets, so we set off on a canal ride!
21 The boats were covered and heated, but yet still very chilly :)
22 It was such a gorgeous evening- perfect blue sky, and no wind.
23 Happy Nordic holidaymakers on a boat :)
24 The view from the boat.
25 The sun began to set in a SPECTACULAR sunset.
26 Sunset over Copenhagen.
27 A very tired and jetlagged Matt (we'd been up for 30 hours by now) braves the chill on the boat deck.
28 The sunset continued....
29 The boat had tiny earplug jacks to listen to an English-language tour as we sailed by.
30 The Marble Church from the boat.
31 A closeup of the Marble Church at sunset.
32 This is Copenhagen's fancy new Opera House. Built in 2005, it's one of the most modern, expensive opera houses ever built.
33 More sunset views.
34 In November, it gets dark around 4pm. This is about 4:15pm.
35 ...and then it got dark REALLY fast.
37 When we arrived back in Nyhavn, it was full dark, and all lit with twinkly lights.
38 Lovely Nyhavn
39 We took much-needed naps, and at 7pm, we were back out...to TIVOLI GARDENS!! I'm in Tivoli at Christmastime!!
40 Yay Tivoli! It is the second-oldest amusement park in the world, and a symbol of Copenhagen.
41 Tivoli goes all out at Christmastime with lights and holiday displays. And since Tivoli admission was included with the Copenhagen Card, we were gonna visit the sh*t out of this place.
42 Copenhagen has lots of lovely, snug little Christmas markets- and this is Tivoli's Christmas market.
43 Christmas trees in Tivoli's Christmas market!
44 The Arabian Palace in Tivoli, all lit up. Inside are some very fancy, Michelin-starred restaurants (that we didn't eat at).
45 Tivoli's Russian House, and the cute merry-go-round.
46 I love this shot!!
47 Copenhagen sells hot mulled wine with raisins and nuts called "glogg" at Christmastime, and these delicious chocolate-dipped gingerbread cookies. This nice Tivoli employee sold me my first fix.
48 Matt, his glogg, and one very big gingerbread cookie.
49 ...and I ate most of that cookie. Matt knew better than to take it away from me. :)
50 I thought this was hilarious, and oh-so-Danish. One of Tivoli's Michelin-starred restaurants, Kahler, is a "design concept" restaurant. You don't just order food. You order the CHAIR TO SIT IN to go with your meal. Awesome.
51 A skybridge view of the park.
52 There is a nightly Nutcracker Laser & Water Show on Tivoli Lake...
53 Whee!! Nutcracker Water Show!
54 Color me very, very happy at Tivoli. I want to LIVE here.
55 The next morning, Matt made a lovely hot gourmet breakfast in the apartment's kitchen. Dig those hot pajamas on that awesome chef.
56 One of the (many) things I love about Copenhagen is that 60% of the residents bike to work year-round. This is a typical Danish parking lot.
57 What a parking lot at a Danish transit center looks like- all bikes!
58 A lovely church in Copenhagen
59 First castle of the day: Christianborg, right in the middle of central Copenhagen.
60 The entry has a grand staircase up to the exhibit rooms.
61 Christianborg was the royal family residence from the 1400s until the 1700s, when they moved to Amelienborg.
62 The top of the landing leads off to the viewing rooms. Notice that we were required to wear blue bootie covers to protect the floors!
63 The throne room of Christianborg.
64 Intimidating, yes?
65 Matt poses in one of the many ballrooms.
66 Another lovely sitting room. We are getting excellent amortization value from our Copenhagen Cards.
67 This piano was a wedding present to the king in the 1920s.
68 Matt takes a selfie of us in the palace's enormous entryway mirror.
69 All castles have tapestries- they were originally hung to block out the cold. But in 2000, the Queen wanted NEW tapestries. These modern-style tapestries took years to make, and reflect the history of Denmark.
70 Another view of the tapestries in the Great Hall.
71 Lovely chandeliers illuminate the tapestries.
72 This is the Dining Room. I hope it's just for special occasions- it's so ginormous that 75 people can sit here!
73 Matt in the dining room
74 Oooh! More ballrooms!
75 Another lovely sitting room with an exquisite ceiling.
76 The Palace has many floors, all connected by the grand staircase. Visitors are only allowed to see the 2nd floor, however. The Prime Minister of Denmark lives upstairs!
77 Another ballroom with elaborate chandeliers.
78 Another shot of the ballroom.
79 The Palace library!
80 The next castle up was Rosenborg, very near our apartment. The castle is surrounded by the lovely Kong Have (King's Garden), which is now a public park.
81 At Rosenborg, we noticed all these guards lined up in the courtyard, and a military brass band was playing. Turns out the Queen was there, and if we'd stuck around, we could have met her.
82 Inside Rosenborg, it is not as grand as Christianborg. It's more of a medieval castle.
83 But the Royal Treasury is there, and this is the King's Crown!
84 The amazing, ornate Crown.
85 Previous iterations of the Crowns of Denmark.
86 The Queen's Royal Jewelry.
87 Look! I'm next to the Crowns!
88 Matt tries on the Crowns for size...
89 After our Castle visits, we strolled the Stroget (the pedestrian shopping street) and discovered the Christmas Market!
90 Matt at the Christmas Market.
91 Oooh! Fake snow!
92 The Market sold Christmas gifts- locally made sweaters and hats, plus lots of yummy food and glogg.
93 Sausages at the Market! Or, as they're called in Denmark, "pulses."
94 Enjoying our walk on the lovely Stroget.
95 As we crossed the canal, we noticed a sculpture under the water!
96 It's called "Neptune and His Seven Sons."
97 Mmmm....one thing Denmark is famous for is pastry....I see CUPCAKES!
98 The items in the top left officially became my vice. Chocolate-dipped gingerbread. Mmmmmm
99 We next visited the Rundetarn, or Round Tower. This is Europe's oldest observatory. Instead of stairs, the way up is a spiral wooden ramp.
100 The view over Copenhagen from the top of the Rundetarn.
102 There was a toilet on the ramp- it is kept for viewing because Hans Christian Andersen had pooped here. :)
103 Our next stop was the National Museum.
104 It's a very Scandinavian, airy design- but not a hugely interesting museum.
105 We walked by Tivoli on the way back from the National Museum.
106 Across the street from Tivoli is a large statue of Hans Christian Andersen.
107 ....and he gazes lovingly at Tivoli.
108 The Christmas Markets are even prettier at night, so we went back!
109 Happy Christmas Nordic Joneses.
110 And of course, nighttime Christmas Markets mean GLOGG.
111 The Stroget all lit up at night.
112 A pianist set himself up in the middle of the Stroget, and was playing Christmas carols.
113 A beautiful shot of the pianist on the Stroget with the Christmas Market in the background.
114 I love the Stroget street food!! Like...Nutella crepes.
115 I am eating the sh*t out of my Nutella crepe. And I'm not sharing.
116 The next day, we went on a day trip. We hopped a train 1 hour north to Fredericksborg Castle.
117 Fredericksborg is a royal "retreat," beautifully set on a lake.
118 The Castle reminded us of Heidelberg in Germany.
119 The spacious courtyard
120 Like any good castle, it had its own miniature model!
121 One of the features of the castle was the grand church inside.
122 The cavernous church inside Fredericksborg.
123 Matt hides in the organ balcony :)
124 A royal sitting room...
125 What a king's bedroom circa 1750 looks like.
126 Fredericksborg's dining room.
127 My favorite room: The ginormous ballroom. And, it featured a display of previous queens' gowns.
128 The Queens' gowns.
129 My personal favorite gown.
130 Another royal bedroom.
131 Another royal sitting room (royalty seems to sit a lot).
132 ...and another dining/sitting room.
133 Exiting Fredericksborg leads us over a bridge with a view of Hillerod, the nearby town.
134 Fredericksborg's turrets surrounding the Castle.
135 The next stop was another hour north to the town of Helsingor, to see Kronborg Castle...also known as Elsinore, Hamlet's castle.
136 On my way to see Hamlet!
137 ...and like all good castles, Kronborg also has a model!
138 Kronborg isn't really a castle. It's a battlement- Denmark perched it on the edge of a cliff, overlooking Sweden, to protect its borders and charge "passage" fees.
139 One of the castle's bedrooms.
140 And weirdly, the castle had a playroom, filled with, of course, Danish Legos.
141 Previous visitors' Lego projects line the window overlooking the sea.
142 The playroom also had paper dolls, and a huge castle dollhouse to put them in! This is my doll. ;)
143 A view across to Sweden.
144 The interior courtyard of Kronborg, with its steep spires.
145 In the basement of the castle is a HUGE statue of Holger. Holger is known as "The Sleeping Giant," and legend says that he awakens when the nation of Denmark is in trouble. Kind of like their Superman. :)
146 Matt makes a lovely Holger.
147 There is a stone plaque dedicated to Shakespeare in the courtyard. But, Shakespeare never came here- in fact, he never set foot in Denmark. He only based "Hamlet" at this castle because it was a fancy new building in Shakepeare's time.
148 We walked the fortifications in the very chilly, windy weather.
149 Saying good-bye to Hamlet!!
150 We hadn't eaten all day, and our guidebook told us to head into the town of Helsingor and find a cute little cafe called David's, housed in a creaky half-timbered home.
151 We ordered the "shopping lunch," which is Danish smorrebrod (literally, "bread and butter"). Smorrebrod is open-faced sandwiches topped with fish or sausage. Absolutely delicious.
152 Last stop of the day: While heading south back to Copenhagen, we stopped halfway at the world-famous Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Truly, it was a bore for me, but there was this AMAZING installation. This is a small room filled with tiny lights, and the walls are mirrored; the floor is 3 inches of water (visitors stand on a plank). The result is so cool, I had to take a selfie in the mirror.
153 THIS IS WHY I HATE MODERN ART. Seriously...this is an exhibit at the Louisiana. At $25/per person admission (though we were free with our Copenhagen Tourist Cards), I'd be mad enough to burn the "art" off the walls. Ptooey.
154 When we returned to Copenhagen, the buildings were all lit up for Christmas.
155 On the left is the Danish Opera House; on the right, a department store.
156 The Danish Opera House.
157 My absolute favorite light display in Copenhagen: The Hotel D'Angleterre, with an gorgeous Nutracker display.
158 Inside the D'Angleterre was a sweets-fest!
159 Lovely cupcakes and candies...but sadly not real. :)
160 The next morning, it was a clear, sunny, cold day. A perfect day to visit the Church of Our Savior.
161 Normally you would not find Joneses in churches. But! This church has an amazing spire, with a staircase wrapped around the OUTSIDE that you can climb. It's a gorgeous design.
162 Matt hikes up the outdoor spiral staircase.
163 The church's 19th century machinery can be viewed through the spire windows as you climb the outdoor staircase.
164 Climbing the staircase on a stunning Copenhagen morning!
165 A view from the top, over the rooftops of Copenhagen
166 The lovely copper stairs. I can only imagine what a deathtrap this slippery staircase is during rain, snow, and any icy conditions.
167 The entryway to the viewing deck on the roof had a very strange nautical-like porthole design.
168 Copenhagen from the very top!!
169 Enjoying the view.
170 I love the way the old city runs for miles- there are no ugly 1970s concrete buildings to ruin the view, or modern skyscrapers.
171 After our visit up the spire, we went to Christiana. This is a former military barracks that was taken over by hippie squatters in the 1970s. Free love and commune and all that...except for the $9 coffees they sell to tourists, and all the garbage strewn about. Nasty. We left after 15 minutes.
172 Nyhavn on a lovely, chilly morning.
173 Locals on a crewing team rowed through the canals.
174 This is a weird shot. See, Copenhagen has all these cute "liveability" things hidden around the city- it's the world's happiest city, and most liveable, for a reason. So what is this? Along the canal promenade, the city built TRAMPOLINES. You can boing, boing, boing from one to another, just for fun. I love to bounce. However, I nearly tore a hamstring on the rebound. Tons of fun.
175 Enjoying the morning stroll!
176 Copenhagen is expensive. Absurdly so. Observe: This is what a $4.50 macaron looks like. THIS is what someone who will PAY $4.50 for a macaron looks like.
177 Walking along a quiet side street.
178 So not only is Copenhagen the most liveable city, and the happiest, it is also home to the world's best restaurant (2011, 2012, 2013): Rene Ledzepi's famous Noma. Matt obviously required a pilgrimage here. Note that we did not EAT here- lunch costs about $500 per person. Did I mention Copenhagen is absurdly expensive?
179 Noma sits on the pier in Christianshavn, and faces the Old City across the canal.
180 Possibly my favorite shot of Nyhavn. The colors, and the light, were amazing.
181 Happy (and cold) travelers.
182 Matt's best shot of Nyhavn in the noontime sun.
183 Oooh, artsy angle.
184 And a visit to Nyhavn without drinking glogg would be tragic. Since there are no open container laws, you can happily drink your warm adult beverage and wander the pier. Mmmm.
185 Denmark is home to famous Carlsberg Beer, and since our Copenhagen Tourist Cards included a visit, we obviously hit the brewery!!
186 One thing I did not know: The Little Mermaid statue, the symbol of Copenhagen, was commissioned by the Carlsberg family. This, the original cast of the statue, sits inside the brewery.
187 I had assumed that since Carlsberg Beer is a Danish national treasure, that the brewery tour would be exceptional. I would be wrong. BUT! It had an adorable brewery cat!!
188 The tour was basically a self-guided nothing, filled with boring 1980s PowerPoint displays. And some empty bottles. But they have a CAT!
189 ...and a HORSE!
190 The best thing about the tour: Once we finished our 10-minute self-guided tour and petting zoo, our admissions included 2 free beers each. Score!
191 Me have beer! Me in Denmark! Color me excited.
192 The final Copenhagen Card visit of the day, as it was getting dark at 3:30pm: The Carlsberg Glyptotek. The Carlsberg family really liked sculpture (aside from The Little Mermaid), and they donated their sculpture collection (called a "glyptotek") and this stunning Art Nouveau building to the city.
193 Sculpture in the Glyptotek atrium.
194 So apparently the Carlsberg founder was a PATRON of Rodin's. Yes, that Auguste Rodin, the famous Parisian sculptor of "The Thinker." This is a version of "The Kiss" that Rodin made just for the Carlsberg Glyptotek.
195 A small original cast model of Rodin's "The Thinker."
196 All good days end with Danish sausages from an outdoor cart. It's a national rule.
197 The Copenhagen Rathaus (Town Hall).
198 It's nighttime! That must mean it's time to break out the Copenhagen Cards and head back to TIVOLI!!!!
199 Cheers and Merry Christmas Beers from Tivoli.
200 Matt in the twinkly tree forest of Tivoli.
201 The Joneses are damn happy to be there.
202 We even got our annual Santa photo (this is #21 in a series) at Tivoli! This is a real, live Danish Santa.
203 After our photo was taken, Santa asked us from where we were visiting. We said Seattle, and because we were the first and only visitors from the west coast of the USA, we got to insert our Seattle pushpin into Santa's map!
204 Naughtiness at Tivoli.
205 Ding ding! It's the Tivoli train!!!
206 What bathrooms look like at Christmastime in Tivoli.
207 Giraffes!! On the merry-go-round!!!
208 Our favorite Tivoli bar for many reasons: 1) It is in a secluded part of the park. 2) It is weirdly FAR cheaper than the rest of the bars in Tivoli. 3) The sign above the bar has naked boobies, which you'd never see at Disneyland.
209 For our final day in Copenhagen, we splashed out for the Kong Arthur Hotel on the canal.
210 Our lovely room.
211 The next morning, it was another cold, sunny, beautiful day in Copenhagen.
212 We headed to the windswept waterfront. At the end of the promenade was this lovely church.
213 We went to this out-of-the-way waterfront on the northern tip of the city to see the symbol of Copenhagen: The Little Mermaid statue. As you can see, many other tourists were braving the cold to do the same thing.
214 Me and the Little Mermaid.
215 Matt gets his photo op with her.
216 The statue was commissioned by the Carlsberg Brewery family, after seeing a ballet of The Little Mermaid.
217 Joneses in Copenhagen, beeyotch!
218 ....and this is my favorite photo of the whole trip: When Selfies Go Wrong.
219 After our visit to the Little Mermaid, we went to the Danish Design Museum. Scandinavia is the capital of modern, sleek design.
220 To me, the museum felt like row upon row of chairs. And ironically, there was nowhere for bored visitors to sit.
221 Next stop: The home of Denmark's most prized export. The Lego Store!
222 Matt at his mecca: The Lego Store on Copenhagen's Stroget.
223 Very cool life-sized Lego sculptures lined the entranceway.
224 Legos AND bikes? Truly there's something for both of us here...
225 A Lego display of Nyhavn!
226 So many Legos, so little time...
227 Amazingly enough, we got out of there without buying anything.
228 For our final evening in Copenhagen, we had a stunning sunset over the canal.
229 The next morning: To Sweden!
230 Happy travelers en route to the train to Sweden.
231 In 2000, this amazing bridge opened that is a high-speed link between Copenhagen and Malmo, Sweden. The entire ride is about 30 minutes. And we forgot to pay, so for us, FREE!
232 Look! I'm in Sweden! Bork bork bork!
233 We checked into our hotel, which was right off the main Stroget plaza. It was creatively named Hotel Plaza.
234 Some interesting design choices inside Hotel Plaza. But they had free cookies all day in the lobby, so we're good!
235 We strolled Old Town Malmo. This is the main square.
236 Matt at Rathaus (City Hall).
237 Quaint Old Town with half-timbered buildings. It wasn't what I expected. Honestly, I expected a lot of IKEAs....
238 And just like Copenhagen, the Old Town was divided by a river.
239 The city was just putting up the Christmas tree in time for this photo.
240 Enjoying a very cold (25F) day in Sweden.
241 Old Town had some charming sculptures. I loved this one.
242 It's beer o'clock in Sweden!
243 There really wasn't much to do in Malmo, despite its being one of Sweden's largest cities. So we parked ourselves in a bakery and had cake and coffee.
244 Last Swedish kroner purchase! Yay gingerbread!
245 We took the train back to Copenhagen (we paid this time), and continued west to Odense on the island of Funen. We checked into a very Danish budget hotel- CabInn. The rooms look just like train bunks!
246 Odense Rathaus (Town Hall).
247 Some odd public art next to Rathaus.
248 The odd public art next to the town Christmas tree!
249 This is one of the oldest buildings in Odense; creaky, leaning, and half-timbered.
250 The entryway to the shop, which has been unchanged since the 17th century.
251 Inside the shop is a weird attic/junk vibe. Everything was crammed in and dusty.
252 More old half-timbered buildings.
253 So why are we in Odense? It is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Throughout the town are small whimisical touches, like this public bench.
254 This artwork incorporates many pieces of Andersen's stories.
255 Sitting with Hans himself.
256 Sprinkled throughout Odense are Andersen-related statues. This is my favorite.
257 The picture-perfect Danish street where the Hans Chistian Andersen Museum is.
258 The Hans Christian Andersen Museum.
259 The Museum, located in one of Andersen's former childhood homes.
260 Andersen's face is painted onto the side of a building near the Museum.
261 My favorite Andersen touch: The very subtle crosswalk lights show Andersen in sillouette.
262 The Hans Christian Andersen "Walk" light in Odense!
263 Andersen's birthplace in Odense, now a UNESCO Heritage Site.
264 Though the town is proud of its most famous son, Andersen HATED Odense, and fled as soon as he was old enough. He went to Copenhagen, and never returned.
265 The Hans Christian Andersen memorial at the Odense Cathedral.
266 Odense has a lovely central park, and I loved this "paper boat" sculpture on the lake.
267 Finally! I get to ride a bike in Denmark!!!
268 We went on a hunt around Odense for Andersen story statues. This is my favorite: The Emperor's New Clothes, found in a market alley off the Stroget.
269 Rathaus as the sun goes down, and the Christmas lights turn on....
270 The holiday lights over the Stroget entrance. "Jul i City" means "Christmas in the City."
271 The next day, we returned to Copenhagen in the early afternoon. We checked into the new flashy European hostel chain, The Generator.
272 We couldn't believe how nice this hostel was. Our ensuite room had a view, tons of sunlight, and lots of hygge (Danish coziness).
273 My company has a major office in Copenhagen, and we had just shipped a major Nordic product the day before! So we stopped by Egencia Copenhagen for a tour.
274 Egencia Copenhagen! The office is fabulous- airy Scandinavian design, and 2 blocks from Tivoli.
275 My Egencia colleagues recommended we hit the Torvehallerne for lunch- an upmarket food hall.
276 Some of the tasty stalls in the Torvehallerne.
277 For lunch, we settled on a French stall selling duck confit sandwiches with glasses of red wine.
278 A lovely flower stand in the Torvehallerne.
279 The next day was American Thanksgiving. We resolved to celebrate the sh*t out of our day while spending as little money as possible. So! We hit the National Gallery, which is free. The Gallery itself is a beautiful Art Noveau building, but recently built a modern extension. This is the stunning enclosure linking the two buildings.
280 Statuary in the new building, overlooking the city.
281 I loved how the 2 buildings were connected by so much light and space- it felt like a city street.
282 After the National Gallery, we set out for Norreport. Walking over the bridges, it was another stunning Copenhagen day.
283 Enjoying our last Copenhagen day.
284 At the tip of Norreport is the Assistens Cemetery. I love cemeteries, especially lovely ones with dead famous people.
285 The grave of Kierkegaard, one of 2 celebrities buried here.
286 You don't get much more "Scandinavian Design" than this guy's headstone.
287 And the big celebrity draw of Assistens: The grave of Hans Christian Andersen.
288 Danes have a Christmas tradition: Julekefrost, or "Christmas Lunch." It is a multiple-course buffet with beer and aquavit, and goes on for hours. Since it was Thanksgiving, we scoped for a restaurant that would offer a mini version. We ended up at Restaurant Zeleste in Nyhavn.
289 Our hygge little table in Zeleste.
290 This is what Julekefrost looks like, baby. Shrimp in bearnaise sauce, smoked salmon, herring, and duck confit rillettes. And of course Carlsberg beer.
291 Color me very, very excited to eat my Julekefrost.
292 ...and I ate it all, baby.
293 Phase II of Julekefrost: We did like many locals do, and had our post-Julekefrost dessert and wine on the Nyhavn pier. I am once again partaking of Denmark's Christmas gingerbread dipped in chocolate.
294 Matt enjoying our wine in the late afternoon.
295 And finally, Phase III of Julekefrost: Denmark is famous for pastry, and Copenhagen is filled with amazing bakery cafes. One of the oldest, and finest, is Conditori Glace (Sugar Bakery). This very old-school cafe has marble tabletops, silver tea service, velvet cushions, and very high-end cakes. I was so full I could only order coffee, but Matt ordered the daily special: A blueberry, caramel, and licorice cake. Ick.
296 Last Danish kroner purchase: M&Ms. And we're off back home to the USA.