10 December 2023

Copenhagen likes burning down, burning down

Copenhagen likes to burn down. That’s the first thing you learn if you do a walking tour of the city.

One of the best things about living and working in Europe is being able to see Europe! And there’s a lot of opportunities to explore the continent, even on a tight budget.



I won’t go into the details of doing so, because there’s far more qualified travellers who have already recorded their experiences. Some good reads include Nomadic Matt and The Broke Backpacker who have made a career out of travel blogging.

If you are willing to fly out of London Luton, or Stansted airports at (sometimes) inconvenient times, there are RyanAir and EasyJet flights – when booked a couple of weeks in advance – that can cater to a very tight backpacking budget. Likewise accommodation, particularly at backpackers hotel.

That little preface leads me into this trip to Copenhagen, which begins with a flight out of London Luton that costed £20.99 and ends in a £5.49 return.

Copenhagen likes to burn down. That’s the first thing you learn if you do a walking tour of the city. Mine started at the Town Hall, which in its third incarnation had moved from its original location. It was flattened by two big fires that destroyed much of Denmark’s capital (1728, 1795).


If twice incinerated is bad luck for a building, try the Church of Our Lady. It was a goner in 1314 (fire), 1530 (sectarian conflict), 1573 and 1585 (lightning) and 1807 (Napoleonic war), and that’s on top of the two Copenhagen fires.

Buildings that have only been destroyed once aren’t that interesting – according to my guide, Luis.

Copenhagen is very accommodating of bicycle riders, however they must be treated with extreme caution. Most roads have a designated bike path between the sidewalk and road where riders will navigate with very little caution. Bikes are parked all over the city and with the terrain very flat, it’s not hard to see why they are the preferred mode of transport.



They do however have to contend with the waterways. Something that this cleaning vessel showed quite clearly.



Denmark is a high taxing country, but the trade-off is its high social safety net including free education and health care, highly subsidised social services, and high pay rates with shorter working weeks. It explains why Copenhagen is not a cheap city.

Be prepared to spend a bit of money if you are eating and drinking out, or purchasing goods. But there is also a lot to do around the city that is free. The arts is embraced quite well with monuments and statues scattered around. There are also street performers. Entry into the national museum is at no cost and you can walk around the parliament and palace precincts without hassel.

Apparently, Australia’s Princess Mary is a regular sight riding her bike, and Crown Prince Frederick is known to walk the family dog around the area.



And there is Christiania.

The area, which has declared itself autonomous and rejects the European Union, has become a tourist spot but has a unique culture that must be respected. The first is that you are not allowed to take photos there and the second is you can not run. There are plenty of signs reminding you of those rules plastered around. I suggest doing some background reading before going. Also, walking tours don’t go into the area, but will finish on the outskirts.


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