Copenhagen Blog: An Unexpected Visit

Welcome to my Copenhagen blog! In this post I’ll share details about our recent – and unexpected – visit to Copenhagen. We traveled to Copenhagen for one reason only: to eat at NOMA, one of the best restaurants in the world. But while we were there, we also took the opportunity to spend a few days exploring the city.

Copenhagen Blog: Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle

One winter afternoon in Amsterdam, Daniel and I discussed our travel plans over a traditional lunch of Dutch stamppot. We were tired of the gloomy cold weather in Northern Europe and wanted to go to Italy. Neither of us had been there before. (This was weeks before the Coronavirus Outbreak in Italy). From the romantic Venetian canals and sun-drenched Tuscan countryside to historical Roman ruins and the stunning Amalfi Coast, Italy beckoned and we were eager to go.

But then, on a whim, I opened my phone and checked NOMA’s reservation system for any openings. Ranked as the Best Restaurant in the World in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, NOMA has long been on our bucket list.

Getting a table at NOMA, however, is notoriously difficult. The restaurant makes new reservations available only a few times a year and they typically sell out almost immediately. It was going to take some serious coordinated planning – or luck – to get into NOMA.

Well today was our lucky day! The restaurant happened to have an upcoming opening for a two-person table. Whaaaaatttt? Italy could wait! We instantly booked the table before someone else grabbed it and threw our itinerary out the window.

The Nyhaven neighborhood in Copenhagen
The Nyhaven neighborhood in Copenhagen

And that, ladies in gentlemen, is how we found ourselves unexpectedly traveling to Denmark in the dead of winter. Copenhagen is known as the happiest city in the world, after all, so we were eager to check it out.

We had a few days to kill before the big event, and so the next order of business was figuring out some things to do in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Blog Part 1: Rosenborg Castle

Originally constructed in 1606, Rosenborg Castle served as the official residence for the Danish royal family until 1710. These days the castle is open for tours and houses many interesting collections belonging to the royal family, including historical paintings, silverware, armor and treasure. The crown jewels are also on display in the basement, which the queen still traditionally wears once a year.

The gardens outside the castle are also lovely and free to the public.

Outside Rosenborg Castle

Copenhagen Blog: Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle as viewed from the gardens
Copenhagen Blog: The back side of Rosenborg Castle
The back side of Rosenborg Castle
Hello, lion!
Hello, lion!

Inside Rosenborg Castle

Copenhagen Blog: The Long Hall in Rosenborg Castle
The Long Hall in Rosenborg Castle
This throne is made of narwhal tusks!! They are supposed to look like unicorn horns.
This throne is made of narwhal tusks!! They are supposed to look like unicorn horns.
Copenhagen Blog: Bust of Tsar Peter the Great
Bust of Tsar Peter the Great
A portrait of Frederik VI and his family. I get a kick out of this picture. His eldest daughter looks like she's *so* over it.
A portrait of Frederik VI and his family. I get a kick out of this picture. His eldest daughter looks like she’s *so* over it.
Christian V, King of Denmark 1670-1699
Christian V, King of Denmark 1670-1699

A Minor Disaster at Rosenborg Castle

Disaster struck during our tour of Rosenborg castle – I dropped my camera lens-first on the floor. I shoot all my photos with a Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II – a compact little camera that takes great photos for its small size. Sadly, the lens cover broke into tiny pieces and was no longer functional after that.

Thankfully, the camera is still fully functional apart from the lens cover. I just have to be *really* careful to protect my camera’s lens going forward since there is nothing covering it. So far so good!

Oh no! I dropped my camera and the lens cover shattered. Thankfully it still works.
Oh no! I dropped my camera and the lens cover shattered. Thankfully it still works.
This is the first picture I took after dropping my camera. Pieces of the lens cover were still blocking the lens. I had to take those pieces out later.
This is the first picture I took after dropping my camera. Pieces of the lens cover were still blocking the lens. I had to take those pieces out later.

Copenhagen Blog Part 2: Tivoli Gardens

Located directly next to the train station, Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest amusement park in the world that is still operational. Walt Disney travelled to Tivoli Gardens in 1951, from which he drew inspiration when designing Disneyland.

Daniel and I spent a pleasant afternoon at Tivoli exploring the park and checking out the rides. I even managed to make it on three rides before I was too nauseous from motion sickness to go on any more.

Pro tip: visit Tivoli Gardens on a weekday afternoon in the winter if you want to avoid the crowds. The park was essentially empty during our visit so we didn’t have to wait in many lines.

Copenhagen Blog Part 3: Nyhaven and Inderhavnsbroen Bridge

Nyhaven is a lovely neighborhood comprised of brightly-colored townhouses that line the Nyhaven Canal. We spent a couple of afternoons walking around Nyhaven and exploring nearby neighborhoods across the Inderhavnsbroen Bridge.

Nyhaven

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Inderhavnsbroen Bridge and Nearby

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Copenhagen Blog Part 4: NOMA

Eating at NOMA has been on our bucket list for a long time – so when our turn finally came it was an almost surreal experience. NOMA’s chef and creator, Rene Redzepi, has almost single-handedly has changed the face of Nordic cuisine. All food served at NOMA is local or foraged, and many innovative flavors are enhanced with unique foods from his fermentation lab.

For a full rundown on our experience at NOMA, be sure to read Daniel’s blog post:

NOMA – February 4, 2020 (Copenhagen, Denmark)

NOMA doesn't have a big sign advertising its presence. This is it.
NOMA doesn’t have a big sign advertising its presence. This is it.
The NOMA greenhouse. This is where you wait to be seated upon arrival.
The NOMA greenhouse. This is where you wait to be seated upon arrival.
There are all kinds of interesting things in the NOMA greenhouse
There are all kinds of interesting things in the NOMA greenhouse. Photo by Daniel.
Copenhagen Blog: Walking to the main NOMA restaurant building.
Walking to the main NOMA restaurant building
We're finally at NOMA! Squee!!
We’re finally at NOMA! Squee!! Photo by Daniel.

Where are we now?

We are in Copenhagen! This photo was taken inside of Det lille Apotek restaurant.
We are in Copenhagen! This photo was taken inside of Det lille Apotek restaurant.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Dates: January 31 – February 5, 2020
Vagabonding Journey Status: Days 123-128

For more details on our vagabonding journey, see my previous posts:

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8 thoughts

  1. Loved this post! I go to Copenhagen every 3-4 months because my boyfriend lives there! I’m jealous you were able to see Tivoli for the winter season and of course eating at NOMA!

    1. Thanks Linnea! NOMA was incredible ☺️ . I’m glad we made it there before the whole world went on quarantine 🙄

  2. I’ve never heard of Noma, and now that I have I’m incredibly intrigued! Going to read Daniel’s blog post about it now.
    And Copenhagen looks beautiful. Definitely on my list!

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