Tips on how to be a better tourist

I know that tourism is very valuable to cities but as a resident of a popular tourist city it can get a little tiresome when the city is full of tourists who seem to have not experienced humans en masse before. Every summer I find myself grumbling under my breath when yet another tourist has knocked me heavily with their giant ‘day’pack, stopped dead in front of me as they suddenly look at their phone or take a photo with an iPad. I become what the Brits would fondly call Victor Meldrew so I thought why not take the grumbling to a new level and write about it on The Huffington Post! Just to say I do practice what I preach when a guest in another city!

You can read my moans here! 

On another note about the summer, the school holidays started here on Friday and my son proudly finished Year 1 with a great school report and sense of tiredness. We have six weeks off and plan to relax as much as possible (I’ll still be taking relocation clients during this time so do get in touch if you need to) but I will be popping up here on the blog as and when the whim takes me. I’ll return to regular posting in August.

In case you think its a bit quiet here you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (where I post up new blog posts).  Have a great summer!

Danish Summer makes me wish for autumn

I know it sounds weird but the average Danish summer, such as we are having now, makes me wish for autumn and even winter. There is that joke that started going around on social media last year – the Danish summer is the best day of the year!

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Danish summer is a confusing beast. Two days ago it was so hot and humid that I was falling asleep in the afternoon and then the next day it was breezy and chilly. I dashed out of the house this morning in cotton trousers (which was fine)  and a coordinated  T shirt, feeling pretty good until I realised that a long sleeve or jacket was really needed. The sun may be shining but it’s still blooming chilly.

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Yesterday I found myself saying to my son that we should stand inside the station to keep warm – it’s almost July and this isn’t what I should need to say!

With Autumn and Winter you know where you are and there are no weather surprises. I know the expression is that there is no bad weather just bad clothes but I like to know what section of my wardrobe I need to raid rather than wearing clothes to cover four seasons in a day.

I hope, as we go into the school holidays, that the summer will stop being so schizophrenic and stick with warm and sunny with a light breeze – lets hope the weather goddess is listening!

Ready for summer cloud bursts

After a rainy few days we are aware that risk of heavy summer rains is always a present  in Copenhagen. In the time we have lived here we have experienced flooding in our apartment buildings twice. IMG_4976I can’t forget the floods of 2011 when, as you can see from the poor quality photo below, the basement in our apartment building in Frederiksberg was severely flooded when many centimetres of rain fell in just a few hours. The water came up from the drains and sewers and left our basement under about a metre of putrid water. Like many places across the city we were left with a poisonous sludge in our basement and many of our neighbours’ belongings stored in their lock ups were ruined. Once we realised what was happening late in the evening (an example of when being nosey pays off), myself and another neighbour (all the other younger residents where at the Roskilde Festival) pulled out what we could save. The next morning most of the water had subsided and we were left with a big clean up. The sewage that had come up through the drains left a smell that took months to disappear.

flooded basement

There are precautions you can take. If you store your things in basement lock up, invest in plastic storage boxes and shelving to keep the boxes a few feet off the ground.

After 2011 many apartment buildings invested in making sure their basements were as robust against floods as possible. However, the Kommune gives this advice if there is a heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding.

  • Keep doors and windows to the basement closed and put weights onto the top of drains.
  • Remove flood water as soon as you can.

Tips to take care of yourself

  • Do not stay in a basement when the water is rising. It can suddenly go faster than you think.
  • Remember the risk of infection – use rubber boots and rubber gloves if you remove the water yourself or when you clean up the basement after flooding.
  • Avoid touching your face while you work, do not eat or smoke.
  • Take care if you have open wounds.
  • Be aware that rats may come up with the sewer water.

Stay off the street is there is flooding, again it can rise very quickly and also drain covers can be dislodged and can be dangerous. Watching this video from 2011 shows the extent of fast flooding. For more advice check out this information.

Mini street food place in Teglholmen

There is a new street food pop up market in Teglholmen for the summer before the area will inevitably be built on with more new apartments. There is a small beach area outside with deck chairs, picnic tables and the old warehouse behind has a number of food trucks (and it looks like more are coming) and a bar. It has only been open a few weeks and as the Danish summer has gone AWOL, it has been a little quiet over the last week or so but there is definitely potential there for when the sun does shine again.

It is not on the scale of Copenhagen Street Food and probably isn’t a destination for those living beyond Teglholmen and Sluseholmen, however this is an area with a lot of high density apartment blocks but with very little amenities as yet so this place is certainly meeting a need in the area. Why not stop off here after a swim in the harbour baths at Sluseholmen?

To see more about the place and what is coming on their calendar visit their Facebook page here.

Amager Strand at Femøren

Before we moved to our new place we usually went to Amager Strand at the end closest to the city. As we are now within walking distance of the opposite end of Amager Strand close to Femøren Station. We’ve been up there every warm weekend so far – flying kites, paddling and eating ice creams.

The swimming bath, Kastrup Søbad, is a wonderful addition to this end of the beach, although we’ve not been brave enough to take the plunge. The sea temperatures of 10 degrees c are not appealing at the moment, although that doesn’t stop the fearless Vikings. The other plus points of this end of the beach are that the beach is very shallow, perfect for families and it doesn’t get that busy (so far). I don’t want to encourage too many crowds but it is definitely worth travelling a few more stops down the Metro!

PostBox – culture oasis

A few weeks ago I received an email about a forthcoming pop up project in the city centre close to the main station, called Postbox. I headed over there with my son last week and we loved it. It is reached by a long open corridor from the back of the main station as well as in the street below. I was amused to see some tourists looking at the signage curiously but when they saw us walking down the ramp they followed and I later saw them enjoying a chilled glass of rose.

Postbox is billed as a new temporary culture oasis between Vesterbro and City focussing on art, design and culture. The post office – the area between Bernstorffsgade and the railway station at Copenhagen Central Station – has been closed to the public and the site has been empty for the last couple of years. In the coming years, the area will be transformed from industry into a new neighborhood (but I’ll save my thoughts on this until I understand more about the plans, which incidentally you can see visuals of along the walkway to Postbox).

Meanwhile, the large car park at Postgrunden has been transformed into a temporary creative haven in the city. Over the past few years, Designerspace, the group behind Postbox, has focused on pop-up design markets for talented artists and designers but now they have transformed the large car park on Postgrunden into a temporary creative culture in the heart of Copenhagen. The vision is to create a city space that emphasises community through activities, design and culture.

The PostBox project on Postgrunden will consist of loads of containers with creative workshops, shops and showrooms. In addition there will be dining and drinking places as well as a lot of cultural events such as Dovne Sundays with brunch and children’s workshops, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, ThursdayChill, Rita Blue’s flea market.

There is a little sandy area, deck chairs, a rose wine bar and an area where hops are being grown by Byhumle

Take the chance, before the area will be closed down and becomes a building site from 2018, to enjoy stroll to a huge and hitherto ‘hidden and forgotten’ area in the center of Copenhagen.
PostBox on Postgrunden runs from 6th May to 22nd October and is open Thursday-Friday 14-22 and Sat-Sun 11-22.

Blue Monday – what’s it all about?

We were in Tivoli this Monday, a day of the week we rarely go there, and it will packed with young teenagers feasting of sugar and calories and having lots of fun. It was interesting to see that the pinnacle of bad behaviour we saw was a group of boys messing about on the kiddie vintage car ride and being asked to get off, which they did willingly.We were curious as to why there were so many kids about until we were told it was Blue Monday (Blå Mandag) something I hadn’t come across before. So heading to the trusty Google I found out.

We are now in the thick of confirmation season here in Denmark, where teenagers are confirmed in church as a rite of passage to adulthood. This happens at the weekend and the Monday after is known as Blue Monday, where the newly confirmed teenagers enjoy a day of fun with their friends after the solemn family occasion the day before. They go shopping, to the cinema or to Tivoli or Bakken. Some schools give this as day off but not all.

The idea of Blue Monday goes back a long way. In Denmark, the confirmation was originally intended solely as a religious festival. But already by the 1700s, young people from the Copenhagen bourgeoisie met in the King’s Garden at Rosenborg Castle to show their gifts at the time of the few who could afford things like a cigarette case, a parasol or other grown up things. Blue Monday was in fact an important day because it was the first day you even owned some of the things that belonged to adulthood. In today’s society that could be a new iPhone.

Reading around the subject on Danish website it is a bit scary (as a mum) to read about advice about drinking, sex and fighting on the day considering the age of the kids but as far as I could see in Tivoli it was all pretty tame.  In fact one boy gave my son some fairground money he had won on the whack a mole so my son had a little more towards yet another soft toy. Also kids are warned not to take too much money or expensive gadgets in case they get robbed.

Whilst it is a lovely experience for the young people, I think I’ll stick to visiting Tivoli on other days of the week, if nothing else the queues will be shorter!

If you are interested in reading a little more about the confirmation part of the tradition , this is a good link.

Amager Strand {from the archives}

I have always loved living by the sea and my university years spent in Swansea right on the sea cemented this love. It wasn’t until I moved to Copenhagen that I was able to live so close to the sea again.
The harbour in the city is a great way to enjoy the proximity to water but in just a short Metro ride you can be breathing in the real sea air at Amager Strand. This man made beach and lagoon can be reached by a short walk from three metro stations – Øresund, Amager Strand and Femøren.

The beach is almost five kilometers long and has a Blue Flag so if you are brave enough it is a super clean place to swim. A long boardwalk runs along the length of the beach and you can stroll, run, cycle or roller blade your cares away. There are a number of toilet and cafe blocks along the beach for that all important ice cream or bag of peas. There are lots of sporting activities on offer – their website has a list of events.

There is a fantastic view of Middelgrunden Wind Farm and Sweden in the distance.

{Originally posted May 15 2013}

Paddling Pools in Copenhagen

Now we are into the real summer months here in Copenhagen the Kommune run paddling pools (or soppebassin or soppesøer) will now be filled on hot days. Here is the main link to all the locations.fælledparken

Here is a rundown of some of the best in the city.

Skydebanehaven – this large paddling pool in this fantastic playground in Vesterbro is filled by spring water. {Free}

Bermuda Triangle in Nørrebroparken – again a large paddling pool in an interesting playground. It is close to the trendy Stefansgade and Jægersborggade in Nørrebro. {Free}

Soppesøen in Fælledparken – this is probably the best one in the city with a water maze and water cannons that shoot for 5 metres. This one is not supervised {Free}

Enghaveparken also has an unmanned paddling pool. {Free}

All four of these may be filled from the 1 June. Check on this Facebook page to see which ones are open on any given day.

Lindevangsparken in Frederiksberg has quite a deep paddling pool but it is only filled during the school holidays.

There are, of course, some rules for using these pools:
Paddling pool is only to paddle in
Take drinking water from the nearest tap
Children should wear swimwear or swim nappies
Keep dogs out of the water.

There are also some outdoor swimming pools offering play sections:

Bellahøj Open Air Swimming Pool and Bavnehøj Open Air Swimming Pools both have a play sections with water slides and a grassy area to sit in the sun. {Paid}

The perfect place to cool off with your kids this summer!

 

 

 

Koldskål – the taste of Danish summer

The weather here in Copenhagen was glorious last week and like all good Danes when the sun shines, I hotfooted it to the supermarket to get some koldskål, kammerjunkere and strawberries. Koldskål literally translated means cold bowl and it is a typical summer dessert (or snack or breakfast – there are no rules as far as I can tell on its consumption) of cold buttermilk soup with other ingredients such as egg, vanilla and lemon. It has slightly tart taste which is counteracted by the addition of little crispy biscuits, kammerjunkere, made specifically for koldskål and fresh sweet strawberries. CIMG6495 It is possible to make your own koldskål but it is widely available in cartons in all supermarkets through the summer months but when the weather is hot is sells very quickly.blossom breakfast 2