Before I left I registered the known part of my trip with the US consulate STEP program. This way, should something happen in a city I’m in or going to they’d alert me, and they’d know how to reach me if necessary. The very first email alert I received was about Copenhagen, saying to exercise heightened awareness if visiting the neighborhood of Nørrebro due to a recent increase in gang violence. Fine.
But when I was mapping out all of the places my friends and research told me to go, you can guess where they were. So to Nørrebro I went, and wouldn’t you know it, I loved it.
The Danes have a word, hygge, (pronounced “hooga”), that doesn’t translate well into English. It’s like a coziness or warm feeling, and finding hygge is said to be one of the reasons Danes are so happy. It could be the way your home is furnished to provide a warm atmosphere, your daily cup of coffee, a club that you’ve joined, whatever it is that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling. So after a rough start in Copenhagen, I decided to try to create the most hygge day I could.
My first stop in Nørrebro was Mirabelles. When you google map this place it actually says “cozy” below the name. I sat down with a chocolate croissant and a coffee and watched the Danes come in masses for Sunday brunch. I was starting to sense that hygge feeling…
Next on my Nørrebro tour I walked around the Assistens Cemetery. You wouldn’t think of a cemetery being a hygge place to hang out, but this cemetery is actually quite beautiful, and many families and groups had set up picnics or were sunbathing right amongst the burial sites. The most notable plot within this cemetery is Hans Christian Anderson.
Next I walked along this street called Jægersborggade (no pronunciation available) with tons of cute shops and eateries…when trying to find hygge, why not eat a second pastry?
On my way back from Nørrebro I stopped by Torvehallerne, another food hall, and got a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich (smørrebrød). 9 out of 10 options had herring… having had my lifetime’s worth of herring in Stockholm, I chose the 10th, which was roast beef, mustard, pickles, and some other things that I honestly could not tell you what they were). It was good!
After lunch I hopped on a Netto boat canal tour, a 1 hour guided boat tour for $6. Yes! The same price as my Espresso House single latte! Maybe hygge can come from finding great value for money too… It was one of those boat tours where I clearly chose the wrong side of the boat to sit on, but with the tour guide repeating every sentence in Danish, English, then German, I wasn’t really paying attention anyway. Nevertheless, the sun was shining and I was happy.
I was feeling sleepy after the canal tour (vacation is exhausting!) so I headed to Ofelia Plads, a public space on the water with tons of recliner chairs, and took a nap.
To round out the day I met up with a guy from my dorm for yet even more Copenhagen street food (falafel bowl not pictured, sorry!) and watched a beautiful sunset that my camera phone does no justice to.