Category: On Tour

The National Museum of Denmark and Christiansborg Palace

One thing you can always count on with a city break is there’s bound to be a museum you can visit. Visiting museums in different countries is a great insight to other cultures and it’s a great way to learn new things. For example, did you know that the term ‘viking’ is a relatively modern term to describe the invasions from various Scandinavian countries? I didn’t. I naively thought that Vikings were a thing!

Any way, on our second day in Copenhagen we planned to visit the National Museum of Denmark, which was completely free. Always a bonus! Upon arrival, it was quite surprised by the building. It was quite understated and didn’t look at all like what I expected. We were welcomed at the door, told we could leave our backpack in a free locker, take our camera and water with us. This surprised me, as I’ve visited a few places recently where taking pictures was a massive no-no (yep, I’m talking about Westminster Abbey where I got told off for taking a picture. Right by the sign that said ‘No pictures’!) Naturally, I went to town taking pictures! Here’s a small sample of the best bits.

Ganesh Elk St George Viking boat EgyptianDanish stained glass Danish art Hindu deityThe museum is really well laid out. It’s bright, clear and fairly modern. I found the Danish history the most fascinating, mainly because it was all new to me. It was amazing to see the progress made my humankind over huge chunks of time, whether it be through the materials they made clothes with, the items of jewelry they wore, the weapons they hunted with or the development and changes of dwellings. They even have the remnants of a viking boat and the body of a woman who died and buried in peat. The latter was quite fascinating, as quite a lot of her has been preserved so you can see quite a bit about how they used to live, what they used to wear etc. Even the way they buried people was fascinating, as they would often bury them with other people, babies, pets, objects or trinkets. This reminded me of how the Egyptians would bury the mummies, with so many things to get them to the next life. Can you tell I have a bit of a morbid fascination with end of life rites of passage?!

After a bite to eat at 42Raw, we headed to the parliamentary buildings. Pretty much all the buildings to do with the government are in one place, along with Christiansborg Palace. You can tour almost all the buildings, but as we were trying to be conservative with our cash, we had a look around the ruins of the original palaces. Yes, palaces, as there have been five palaces in this one place. Three burnt to the ground and the others were ruined due to war or were demolished. The ruins have been preserved in the basement, as much as possible. I do love a good ruin, so we opted to have a mooch around those. It was fascinating! (I’m such a history nerd!) Seeing the different changes to the buildings, the amazing history of the palace and how they had the worst luck with fire. There was a lot of information to take in, including a handy video with english subtitles. When we were done with the ruins, it was time to take a few pictures of the outside of the buildings, where we had watched Birgitte Nyborg strut to and from the car in Borgen.

Danish parliment Parliment buildings in Copenhagen Borgen buildingIt was amazing to be so close to the parliament, considering how distanced we are to the Houses of Parliament in London. There’s loads you can do here too, like visit the gardens and the stables. We didn’t do that, as it was bloomin’ freezing by this time, so we headed off to see if we could find some vegan friendly gloves for me, which we did, thanks to the Danish version of Poundland! Not quite up to my usual ethical standards, but needs must!

Vegan Food in Copenhagen

To say I was a little apprehensive about spending a week in a foreign country as a new vegan is an understatement. I find eating out in the UK as a new vegan slightly daunting so being in a country that I’ve never visited before made me slightly anxious. I packed a few vegan friendly flapjacks and bars, just in case but I also downloaded the Happy Cow app and spent some time having a look at the different venues available. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were quite a few vegan/veggie places in Copenhagen, and even some vegan specific places.

At the airport I bought an almond, banana and cashew shake from Pret a Manger and Boots had some individual Graze boxes so I picked up a box of the nuts and a pack of Starburst to eat on the plane, as we didn’t think we would be getting any food. It turned out we did, but as we hadn’t ordered anything, there wasn’t a vegan option so I sat back and enjoyed my nuts! After dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed out in search of lunch and we weren’t disappointed. We arrived at Astrid och Aporna and had the most amazing salad. It cost about £10, but Phil and I shared it between us. It’s based in a vegan shop, which pretty much blew my mind! I could eat everything they had! They even had some Go Max Go bars, so naturally I bought a few to enjoy while we were in Copenhagen.

Astrid och ApornaI had thought that they sold vegan burgers and hot dogs, but they didn’t on the day we were there so settled for this epic salad and some chocolate cake. We noticed on the Happy Cow app that we weren’t far from a 42Raw so we stopped there for a chai latte and a juice. It was lush! On the menu, it showed that they also do a vegan burger, so we made a mental note to go back there another day.

42 Raw juiceWe hadn’t really planned where we were going to have dinner, but while we were on our way to Tivoli Gardens, we noticed there was a Wagamama nearby. As I knew they had vegan options, I was happy to try there. After looking at all the menus of restaurants and cafes inside Tivoli Gardens, and discounting them all, we were very relieved to turn a corner and find that there was an entrance to Wagamama from the gardens! We headed in and enjoyed some much needed hearty, filling food. I asked the waitress what I could have and she pointed out a few things. I opted for the yasai steamed gyoza and yasai itame. They were delicious and I cannot wait to have them again.

Yasai steamed gyoza Yasai itameThe hotel did a pretty decent breakfast buffet. There was lots of different breads and rolls to choose from, a huge variety of fruit and cucumber! I made sure I ate as much as I could, as well as helping myself to the generous pot of coffee on the table.

Breakfast at Island Hotel CopenhagenOn our second day there, we felt much more confident about food, especially as you can search on the Happy Cow app for venues near your location. After a morning of learning at the National Museum, we headed to another branch of 42Raw for lunch. This time, we had the burger and some sweet potato fries. I’ve never felt so healthy!

42 Raw burger 42 Raw sweet potato friesIt was quite an epic meal! They do such a good variety of snacks, cakes and drinks, its well worth going to. After a quick check on Happy Cow, we noticed that we were really close to Botaniq, which is a 100% vegan cafe. It had a lovely feel, though it was quite quiet when we were there, but that suited us as we had the pick of the tables. We both opted for a slice of the cheesecake and it was light and refreshing and washed down well with a cup of chai.

BotaniqAs we’d had such a big lunch, we didn’t need that much for dinner, especially as we’d bought tickets for The Martian and knew we were going to have some cinema snacks (and they had vegan sweets at the cinema, I kid you not!) we headed to the mall next to the hotel to see what they had to offer. We opted for something from the buffet at Indiana Mexican, mainly because it was the easiest vegan option.

Indiana Mexican restaurantLook at all that veg! While it was a decent meal, it was the low point during the week, mainly because the standard of vegan food was so high.

On our final full day in Copenhagen, we headed to Christiania, mainly because we wanted to try the veggie restaurant, Morgenstedet. It didn’t open until noon, but there were quite a few of us waiting to go in. It’s a small, quirky little place, but everything except one salad (and there were about eight salads available) was vegan. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was about to order a selection of the salads, when we noticed the previous customer receiving a vegan burrito, which came with two, that’s right, two salads! Phil and I both opted for this and it was the best meal I’ve eaten! Simple, filling, healthy and delicious. I still can’t get over how good it was!

morgenstedetI wish I could eat like this all the time, but my lack of food skills and imagination definitely holds me back! This was epic and kept us going all afternoon. If you’re even in Copenhagen, this is a must visit. That afternoon, we walked all the miles so we didn’t want to venture far for dinner. We headed back to the mall next to our hotel, as we’d spotted LêLê and after a quick check of the menu, we headed over.

lele curry with crispy tofuI had the curry with crispy tofu and spring rolls, and while it wasn’t as delicious as the meal we had had at Wagamama, it was still pretty good. Despite being in a shopping mall, the restaurant was surprisingly lovely. It was near closing and was fairly quiet, just what we needed after a busy day walking around the city. Considering the food we ate was incredibly healthy and the fact we walked over 40 miles in the few days we were there, I think this is the only holiday I’ve ever been on where I’ve lost weight! Being vegan rocks!

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

After a lovely mooch about Copenhagen, where we discovered some amazing vegan food places (more on that later), we headed to Tivoli Gardens. I wasn’t that bothered about going there, after all, it’s basically an amusement park and at 99dk (£9.90) entrance fee, I was worried it be a waste of money. Boy was I wrong! It was A Mazing! Every guide book, website and blog recommended coming here and I can see why. Everything about it was epic. It’s much more than an amusement park. There’s a theatre, a number of restaurants as well as loads of cabins selling food, knick knacks and everything you could ever need for Halloween.

Pumpkin head Pumpkins at Tivoli Tivoli Palace Giant pumpkins Giant pumpkin Halloween at Tivoli Gardens Jack Olantern pagoda pumpkins in the water Tivoli gardens at night Tivoli copenhagen Tivoli gardensWe were there as the sun was setting and it was magnificent. The lights from the different rides were spectacular and every where smelt of toffee apples and popcorn. We looked around a few of the shops that were there but mainly we walked and enjoyed the sights and the smells of the Gardens. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We didn’t go on any rides (not my thing at all) but because the Halloween decorations were so elaborate and the whole place decorated so beautifully, it was lovely just to walk around taking pictures.

About half way through our time there, and we were there for a good few hours, (making the most of our entrance fee!), we started getting peckish. Very few places had anything to offer my vegan diet, but we turned a corner and discovered a Wagamama so we ate in there, as I knew that there would definitely have some hearty vegan fare for us. It was the perfect dinner and helped us keep going around the gardens for a little while longer. We left with fully bellies and were suitably warmed.

The displays and celebrations change throughout the year and their Christmas festivities look fantastic. Wish we were going back for that! If you’re going to Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens is definitely worth a visit.

A few days in Copenhagen

Two things: Firstly, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to write my first post about Copenhagen. Secondly, it feels like it was ages ago that we were there!

A few months ago, we decided to go to Copenhagen during half term. We decided on Copenhagen, mainly because we had Avios points (air miles) we could use to go there, stay in a decent hotel and it wouldn’t cost us very much. Plus, both Phil and I have a huge interest in the Scandinavian countries and way of life. Plus, Borgen.

Heathrow Pod

Our flight was early Tuesday morning, so we stayed over night at the Thistle Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but it was perfectly fine inside. We were able to watch the latest The Walking Dead on my iPad episode anyway, so that was good! The bonus of staying there meant we could leave our car there and get a Heathrow Pod to the Terminal. They are environmentally friendly, running on electricity, cost £5 each way from the hotel and take less than ten minutes. A great way to start our Danish adventure. It had been ages since we’ve been abroad so going through the airport was immense fun for me! As we’d used our Avios points, we flew with British Airways and everything was fine during the flight. (I’ll write about my vegan food travel experiences in another post.)

As we’d got an early flight, we arrived in Copenhagen quite early too. The flight is only about an hour and a half. Once we arrived at the airport, we took a train to Copenhagen, which only took about half an hour. We then walked to our hotel, Copenhagen Island, which gave us a great insight into the city. My first impressions were that it was very clean, quite quiet and bikes rule the road! We’d planned to leave our bags at the hotel, but were pleasanty pleased to find we could check in. Our room was fine, despite the lack of kettle and our view of the main road. (We discovered later that we could have requested an upgrade, paid a bit more and been given a room with a view of the river and have a kettle. But by this point, I couldn’t be bothered. Missed that kettle though.) Then we headed out into Copenhagen in search of food.

River taxi Copenhagen carlsburg Copenhagen chai Christiania wallart Hotel view Copenhagen Cathedral Copenhagen boats

Over the next few days, we walked forty miles, spent loads of money on food, took too many pictures (is there such a thing?!), planned on moving there and just enjoyed being in such a lovely city. Everyone spoke great English, were very polite and helpful and everything seemed to be so relaxed. We spent a lovely evening in the Tivoli Gardens, explored the National Museum and the had a look at the Parliament buildings, wandered around Christiania and a few other places. At the end of our stay, I felt that we could’ve done with another day. We flew out on Friday morning and I had wanted to go over The Bridge to Malmo, in Sweden, and see the Little Mermaid, but we ran out of time. Oh well, this just means we’ll need to go back again!