Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Over the summer we took a week to visit our friends Sonya and Anders in that modern city. It was amazing.
Firstly and most importantly, everybody bike rides in Copenhagen (and Denmark for that matter). Because of heavy taxation on cars and fuel, it’s the primary mode of transportation for many Danes. Which I assume is why so many of them are in such great shape and healthy looking. We were hanging with locals, so the first thing we did when we got there was rent a couple of bikes–ours were total beaters, which I think added to the experience. In Denmark there are very strict rules of the road for cyclists and everyone rides fast, so our hosts were a little nervous that we’d miss a cue and get bowled over by a well-dressed Dane. We rode everywhere! No part of the city went unexplored for us on our trusty steeds. Plus, I know head safety is important, but none of the Danes wear helmets… which means that we got to fly around the city with the wind in our hair. Nothing is more glorious than that.
We rented a “penthouse” apartment on Airbnb, which we thought was a steal until we got there and were informed that in Denmark, penthouses aren’t actually coveted apartments. Turns out, they’re pretty inconvenient because there are rarely elevators, so tenants of penthouse suites have to huff it up several flights of stairs. Ours was a fifth floor walkup. The apartment itself was gorgeous, sunny, high ceilings and decked out in sophisticated, minimalist Danish style. The tenants of the apartment were about our age and we think they probably posted the apartment up on Airbnb once a month or so to supplement their rent. We loved the place, it was just the right size for us and they had an awesome espresso machine that we made more use of than we probably should have. I’m now doing some pretty serious wishing for an espresso machine of my own here in Calgary…
The Danes have such a distinctly minimalist sense of style and decor. It seemed like everyone was dressed worthy of being snapped by a street style photographer, but they were still dressed practically enough to ride their bikes. Everywhere we looked we found crazy furniture, candlesticks, lighting fixtures, dishes and housewares, all of these items were very cool, but nothing was so trendy that it would go out of style. That just seems to be the Danish way, they like to live well, but simply. They buy very little, but everything is of excellent quality, well-crafted and will last a long time.
Another cool thing we learned that because winters in Copenhagen are long, dark and cold, the Danes have invented this concept called hygge, which basically translates to coziness. They invite friends over, light tons of candles and play board games or otherwise keep each other company during the dark months.
We had such an incredible time visiting Sonya & Anders in Copenhagen and left feeling that we should really adopt some of the Danish ways, they really have it figured out. I even spent the much of the summer riding my bike to work to try and preserve the spirit!