Sleepless in Copenhagen: Sunrise in Scandinavia
Sunrise summons my attention
As I soar above the Scandinavian skies
Half a day away from sun kissed scrapers
And fog-draped bridge
Of San Francisco.
170904 | Sacramento
Good Morning, Copenhagen!
I arrived in surprisingly1 sunny Copenhagen after a nine-hour direct flight from San Francisco International (SFO). I have only slept a cumulative total of about seven hours in the last 72 hours, and I did not anticipate sleeping for the next 232. I was also caffeine-free since SFO, as I committed to saying no3 to flight attendants’ offers of coffee or tea. The flight was pleasant, and the Scandinavian Air staff were exceptional: They arranged to have my checked luggage fly directly to Prague4, moved me to a row entirely my own, and provided excellent in-flight service.
I floated through a seemingly stress-free Copenhagen International Airport (CPH) and got through immigration in a breeze. CPH is big, but felt cozy and non-intimidating. There was something that initially felt odd about CPH – it was relatively quiet, especially compared to other International Airports. I didn’t hear constantly blaring announcements or other noise and the people seemed to have spoken in a much lower volume; this was wonderful. The immigration agents were friendly, cheerful, and welcoming; this, too, was wonderful. I believe they were evidence unfolding before me on why the city ranks high as one of the Happiest Cities in the World.
Foodie at CPH
A huge source of Danish happiness is perhaps derived from food; and Denmark has gained international acknowledgement for its food scene. This is evident even at the airport, where an impressive array of fine dining restaurants and shops cater to travelers. As a Sacramento local, I am spoiled to have exceptional airport dining options at Sacramento International and I get excited when I travel through an airport that also delivers exceptional dining options. Copenhagen International boasts of the world’s best food and beverage selection, and last year, the International Food and Beverage (FAB) Excellence Awards, the Oscars of international food and beverage distinction, gave CPH its grand Food and Beverage Offer of the Year award, recognizing CPH as the airport with the best range of coffee shops and restaurants. I was curious, so despite my excitement to exit the airport to see Gustav and the rest of the city, I quickly wandered around to preview the airport dining scene. It was chic, clean, and captivating. I thought of quickly getting something to eat and drink; but my excitement to get out and see Gustav was more powerful than my inner fattie motivations.
I chose to exit the airport and have my first taste of Nordic cuisine out in the city, with Gustav who was waiting for me. When I made it out, I remember being so happy to see Gustav rise from where he was sitting and approach me with his ever-radiant smile. It has been a couple of years since I last saw him in Los Angeles, and I was ecstatic to reunite with my good friend in his hometown.
Cycling and the City
We took a combination of escalator and stairs down to a train station right below the airport and boarded a train that could have taken us to Southern Sweden. We got off a stop5 and transferred to the Metro, which took us to city center. It appeared to be a simple process, and I could have easily learned it; but it was so cool not to worry about anything because I had a local guide. Gustav got me a bike and continued to cross things off the wish list6. I had always envisioned myself riding a bike in Scandinavia, and it was so fantastic to see how much cycling is integrated7 in Danish society.
Dream of a Danish Sunset
Before I met Gustav, I never really dreamt of visiting Copenhagen or Denmark, in general. All I knew of Denmark was that Hans Christian Andersen was born there and that there is an iconic statue of the Little Mermaid by the water. Since meeting Gustav and especially right before my recent trip, I discovered that Copenhagen is a charming city with a fantastic scene for foodies and beer lovers. I also discovered Copenhagen’s picturesque Nordic charm. With only 23 hours in the city, I had to prioritize what I wanted to do. I told Gustav that I mainly wanted to spend time with him and catch up; eat and drink; and see the Little Mermaid. As a romantic and since I saw sunrise in Danish skies, I also told Gustav it would be wonderful to dine by the water with a view of the sunset.
Stay tuned and see if I get my Danish sunset dinner.
Sleepless in Copenhagen is a series of tales from my recent 23 hour visit to the Little Mermaid’s other hometown. Each moment is unique, but connected together by friendship, food, wine/beer, and laughter.
- The previous weather forecast projected rain and gloom and it was a pleasant surprise to be blinded by the sun when I opened the plane shutters.
- My quick trip to Copenhagen was in a way, a gift from Scandinavian Air, which has many different layover options in the city. I selected the longest layover and was determined to make every hour eventful.
- In response to articles I read on exposes on airline coffee and tea pots.
- My final destination.
- I will update with the actual station name.
- A few weeks before the trip, I created a board where I posted elements of my itinerary from guides I have read and Youtube videos I saw on attractions, food, and wine/beer. Gustav created a list from the picture of my itinerary board.
- Anywhere you go, you could rent a bike, ride your bike, park your bike; and even take your bike on the Metro, which has specific cars with bike racks in them.