16 Nov 2007
Q. Is it possible to get up at 4 am with a smile on your face?
A. Yes, it is...
...if you're going to Copenhagen, Denmark for a 2 day pre-Christmas shopping trip without boys. Which is exactly what my mother and I did on Wednesday morning. We caught the 7 am flight, and 1.5 hours later we were checking into our hotel in Copenhagen's city centre.
Ah, the life of a European jet setter! Here's the view from our hotel room as the sun was rising:
We quickly deposited our bags and caught the metro to Strøget, the shopping district in Copenhagen. Strøget is actually a collection of streets, all cobblestoned pedestrian walkways, anchored by Kongen's Nytorv (King's New Square) in one end. This lovely old square dates back to the 1600s and houses the Royal Danish Theatre and some of the city's high end hotels. At the other end, Strøget connects with Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square), which sports a large statue of Hans Christian Andersen and also the main entrance to Tivoli Gardens, the oldest amusement park in Europe, if not the world.
But it's what's in between these two squares that counts - a veritable shopping mecca of everything from good old H&M, Top Shop and EB Games to high end boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, D&G, Bottega Veneta and Chanel, as well as the illustrious upscale Danish shopping centre of Magasin du Nord.
As we arrived on Wednesday morning, building facades everywhere were getting a make-over in time for the holidays. Lovely, large balsam fir trees were being hoisted, while display windows were framed with fir garlands. Here's a shot of another up-market Danish shopping centre - Illums Boligvarehus - all decked out in time for the Ho-Ho-Ho...
I am a huge fan of modern, minimalist Danish design (think Arne Jacobsen) and could have bought everything in sight, but airport baggage limitations and strict security measures limited our spree to essentials, such as fabulous Christmas decorations [Mike secretly thanks the powers-that-be for said luggage restrictions]. Thus, we spent a fair chunk of our time in the beautifully decorated Georg Jensen store, and were able to check off several items on our Christmas lists.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," mother said:
Along Strøget are hidden little courtyards exuding peace and quiet, some with high fashion ateliers and artisan shoppes, and others with cosy cafes where cups of hot chocolate and freshly baked crepes beckon to tired shoppers needing an escape from the shopping frenzy:
Needless to say, we didn't need to be asked twice.
The food in Copenhagen deserves a blog posting of its own, but suffice to say that it was outstanding. We had a delicious lunch platter of open-faced sandwiches at a lovingly restored restaurant in a cellar off Strøget, with Danish staples such as herring, gravlax, shrimp, pates and roast meat. To take advantage of Copenhagen's decidedly international flavour, we also managed a bit of hot spice courtesy of a superb Indian meal, complete with raita and naan.
Burnt Almonds - The Preferred Snack of Christmas Shoppers:
Another stop was to pick up delicious Danish pastries, all flaky and decadently chocolate-y. Believe me, the 'Danish' pastry in North America doesn't hold a candle to these babies.
Two days in Copenhagen just wasn't enough, which is why Mike and I are hoping to squeeze in another trip in the spring. I may allow the boys to join in the fun this time, providing we survive the much anticipated cruise to Kiel this coming Monday!