The first few days were brutal.
During my first time traveling alone in Copenhagen, I slept about 3 hours each night.
I’m not sure if it was because I was jet lagged, tired, anxious, lonely, or maybe all the above. After tossing and turning in bed all night, it was 7:30 AM and I had not fallen back asleep. At that point, I got up and got ready to begin the day.
And after spending just a mere three days in Copenhagen, I could see why it constantly ranks as the happiest country in the entire world.
The moment I arrived, I grabbed a bike and did not stop biking until I returned to my hostel at sundown.
At first, it was intimidating because the Danish know how to bike. Like, they REALLY know how to bike. I saw women biking in heels. The elderly, women, men, kids, teens biked, and at times they coasted with both feet on just ONE pedal. People held hands while biking.
Entire lanes and highways are dedicated solely just to bikers. The Danes love biking so much and encourage newcomers to join as well, so I quickly caught on and felt at ease since they were so friendly and welcoming to tourists.
The roads were relatively flat, so I biked EVERYWHERE. As a result, I was able to explore many attractions in the city really freely and efficiently.
Pronounced “Hoo-Gah”, Hygge essentially means a feeling of warmth, cozyness and enjoying the simple moments in life. So whether that means taking a warm bath, reading a book in a room lit with candles, or just enjoying the company of friends and family, the Danes take this very seriously. This concept is a large part of their conversations and dictate after work plans, weekend activities, and the people they invite to gatherings.
For this reason, I noticed that locals kept to themselves as they preferred being in the company of people they have known for years versus inviting strangers to events.
“Work Life Balance”
I visited my friend Maria who works at the United Nations EU headquarters in Copenhagen (THANK YOU SO MUCH MARIA FOR FEEDING ME IN THIS EXPENSIVE CITY). And was surprised to hear about the work life balance here. If you work overtime or over the weekends, you’re crazy.
“You don’t have anything better to do with your time?”
An alternative society in Copenhagen. One that has established its own set of rules and principles, apart from Danish government. The commune has been controversial as the Danish government has tried to shut them down due to their liberal viewpoints and easy access to drugs.
The Glyptotek Museum
On one of the nights, I biked through a giant cemetery to the opposite end of the city just to get a sandwich. WHICH turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had!
On another night, I walked to a 711 by myself to grab beers and snacks for myself and my hostel mates
I felt safe despite doing these things at night and alone. And although I felt jet lagged and shitty in this beautiful city, I loved everything about it. The art, urban design, architecture, cultural and societal aspects of Copenhagen was truly amazing.
Copenhagen is a forward thinking country which only contributes to reasons why it has one of the happiest populations in the world. It’s very interesting to reflect on this coming from a country that values long and hard hours of work, but for what purpose?
For my first time traveling alone in Copenhagen, I was jet lagged and lacked sleep. However, I will say that it was off to a great start