Ever wonder what goes on in the head of a EuroCheapo Editor during a research trip? Wonder no longer. Listings Editor Vivien Kim Thorp self-administers a little Q and A here, giving insight into her favorite Copenhagen hotels, Danish licorice, and the city's parks, among other topics. Read away and discover if you, too, might just want to decamp to the surprisingly quirky Danish capital.
1. Favorite hotels
There's not a lot to the rooms, but the Hotel Bethel Sømandshjem is nonetheless great. It has a friendly, homey feel and a sense of history too. The Nyhavn location is perfect, too. Plus, I like to say the name, which is much easier to do once you realize that it just means "seaman's home."
2. Favorite thing about working in Copenhagen
I love Copenhagen. If I had my druthers, I would move there in a jiffy. It's pretty, compact, friendly, and a little edgier than Stockholm, that other Scandinavian metropolis. (On this point, I don't mean to start a war. Even Swedish friends of mine have seconded my opinion!) And I'm such a sucker for Tivoli Gardens, the nicest little theme park in the world. Having grown up down the road from the Disney World, this place just tickles me with its old-fashioned charm, slightly dated rides, and pretty greenery. There are concerts here every Friday, and sometimes the bands are surprisingly hip. I've been known to visit on consecutive days.
3. What surprised you about Copenhagen?
Given Denmark's design reputation, I am always surprised that the hotels aren't cuter. The first time I visited, I had visions of Arne Jacobsen chairs—or at least some acceptable Ikea-esque Jacobsen knockoffs—dancing in my head. Sadly, I've never encountered a budget-friendly Copenhagen hotel that showcases this sort of design experience. Apparently, Denmark's design heritage has not trickled down to Copenhagen's budget lodgings.
4. Funny story
A few years back, on my first trip to Copenhagen, I ended up buying a lot of snacks and meals at a convenience store. The same guy always seemed to be working behind the counter, no matter when I visited. Though I'm well aware that Danes tend to speak English very well, I still avoid launching into English freely, lest I sound presumptuous. So during my nightly convenience store stops, I was very sheepish while setting my purchases on the counter. I just handed my kroner over to him and kept conversation to the bare hej and tak minimum. At the end of the week, he decided to figure out why this semi-mute chick appeared to only know two words. When I told him I couldn't speak Danish and that I came from the States, he started laughing. He was originally from California, though he'd been living in Denmark for six years.
5. Favorite local food.
Licorice candy. Danes, like most Scandinavians, love the stuff. I've really worked on building up a tolerance, but it doesn't suit me. However, the flavor is, indeed, a cultural experience, so you should try it at least once.
6. Highlights of visit.
I love Copenhagen's parklands, particularly the area near the Statens Museum for Kunst. On the last day of my trip, I crashed out on the grass and people-watched for two hours. It was late afternoon, and the light shining down through the trees was perfect. I noticed this guy juggling off to my left. A few minutes later, another guy nearby started juggling too. And then a third! It was a perfectly quirky Copenhagen moment.