Bridgette and I have traveled together countless times in the past 10 years, but it’s hard to believe that we’ve never taken a trip by ourselves. We’ve always traveled with others, or met up with others at a destination. The only mini mother-daughter trip we took by ourselves was when we had a 24 hour layover in Seattle en route to Hong Kong a couple of years ago!
So, when I spotted an incredible flight deal from SFO to Copenhagen, I jumped on it, and decided to make that our very first mother-daughter adventure. I had never been to any of the Scandinavian countries and was super excited to visit, especially seeing so many beautiful pictures on Instagram! Bridgette and I spent a lot of time researching and planning for the trip beforehand, which is a part of her homeschooling. She researches on the basic knowledge that we would need to know ahead of time, such as currency exchange, local cuisine, language, voltage info, public transportation, etc. We then read through a ton of blogs and youtube videos to identify what restaurants, landmarks, or activities we would want to prioritize when we arrive.
In September, as the rest of the world went back to school, we took our schooling on the road once again and flew 5487 miles to Copenhagen, Denmark.
The main perk of traveling by ourselves is that we had total freedom to plan our days out however we wanted to. We didn’t need to adhere to anyone else’s schedules, nor did we need to accommodate anyone else’s preferences on activities and meals. We could literally do anything we wanted, at any time, and it did feel quite liberating for our homeschooling because I could provide opportunities for Bridgette to learn at every corner.
We arrived in the evening, and took a bus from the airport to our Airbnb. Since we knew Copenhagen is an expensive place to visit, we tried to save money where we could. Instead of renting an entire apartment or house like we normally would, we settled for just a small bedroom inside someone’s apartment. Our host, Susanne, was extremely helpful in answering my many questions prior to the trip, and was equally hospitable upon our arrival. She welcomed us into her cozy Danish apartment with candles, soft music, and beer (soda for Bridgette)! After some casual conversations with Susanne, we retreated into our comfortable room for the evening, rehydrated our faces with some cucumber Korean facial masks, and slept quite soundly on our very first night.
Copenhagen is 9 hours ahead of San Francisco, so jetlag was inevitable. Bridgette and I woke up around 4am on our first official day there and lingered on our bed for some time before finally getting up by 6am. Our stomachs were growling and we were eager to have our first Danish meal! We took a bus from our Airbnb to Nyhavn, the famous canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen. It was very quiet at that time of the day, with many of the cafes/restaurants still closed. We used our trusty Yelp app and found The Union Kitchen, a cozy little restaurant in a small alley that served delicious brunch food.
We decided that we would take a mother/daughter selfie for every meal on this trip, so here’s our first one! 🙂
After the fulfilling breakfast, we strolled around Nyhavn and looked for the old home of famous fairytale author, Hans Christian Anderson. We even took a canal boat tour that took us past landmarks such as The Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Black Diamond Library, and more.
The boat tour was soooooo cold that we had to find ourselves some warm soup right after! 🙂
We were so jetlagged and tired by about 3pm that first day, so we took a bus back to our Airbnb for a much needed nap. Though I had every intention to keep the nap short, I still hit that snooze button after the first hour, and by the time we finally awoken, it was dark outside already.
Our amazing Airbnb host, Susanne, knew how jetlagged we were, so she cooked up a delicious meal and invited us to join after our nap. The lasagna in the oven smelled absolutely heavenly, and it was impossible to say no to such a wonderful invitation, so we happily joined her for a lovely home cooked dinner. It was especially nice to be able to chat with her, a local to the Danish life, for hours, as we got to ask all the questions that we had about the famous “hygge life” in Denmark!
The next few days were spent exploring Copenhagen by bicycle. The majority of the people in Copenhagen travel around by bicycle, so we were excited to immerse into their lifestyle by renting bikes of our own. I was a little nervous about Bridgette’s bike riding skills because even though there were bike lanes everywhere around the city, we saw bikers riding very fast during commute hours. However, Bridge proved to be an excellent bike rider on this trip. She knew all the proper hand signals and rode responsibly the entire time. I was really proud of her!
We must have biked at least 20 miles a day…or more! But it never felt overly tiring, as we made so many stops throughout the day visiting museums, historic sites, famous landmarks, and castles. Both Bridgette and I are foodies as well, so many of our stops were also at bakeries, restaurants, and food stalls!
Some of our favorite places in Copenhagen were:
–Hot dog stands (besides the usual fixings, they put this special remoulade sauce on the hot dogs with fried onions, and it is sooooooooo good!!)
–Stroget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, full of stores, cafes, and restaurants. We especially enjoyed the Royal Smushi Cafe, not so much for the food, but for it’s charming decor!
–The Round Tower, which is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It offers a beautiful view of Copenhagen from higher up, for a nominal fee.
–Nyhavn, a waterfront, canal and entertainment district that we kept going back to day after day, because we just loved the colorful buildings, large selection of cafes/restaurants, and the sunrise/sunset views!
On our last day in Copenhagen, we took the train about 1 hour north, to have afternoon tea at the Kokkedal Castle (see a video of that here). The castle itself was much smaller than what we had anticipated (based on photos we saw online while we planned the trip) but it was beautifully located in a quiet, serene area close to the water. The afternoon tea set was absolutely phenomenal! We sat in a cozy corner inside a elegant room with fancy wallpaper and sparkling chandeliers, and enjoyed one of the best afternoon teas we’ve ever had. I mean, the savory items included beef tartare and poached lobster, so you can imagine what a decadent feast that was! After the yummy indulgence, we took a really nice walk towards the water, and soaked in the lovely scenery surrounding us.
The delicious bite size beef tartare was such a tease for us, so when we took the train back to central Copenhagen, we ofcourse had to go hunt for more beef tartare for our dinner that evening! We found a nice little french restaurant in Nyhavn that satisfied our craving, and it was the best way to end our one week trip.