How we calmed the tides

I was raised in temperate climes. In Wellington (okay, fine, Lower Hutt) the weather always seemed to be not-quite-nice-enough down to actually-quite-chilly but I made it to 32 without ever seeing a frozen pond let alone heavy snow in city streets. Then we went to Copenhagen and my life was never the same. 

Landing in the afternoon to snow absolutely everywhere, our first thing was to add as many layers as humanly possible and head back out to the streets. It was late afternoon and the sky was darkening but I was in a country I’d never seen before.

 There were a lot more people on the streets than I had been expecting, the people of Copenhagen are a hardier sort, and the bicycles chained outside office buildings made me wince with the thought of sitting on the seats after they’ve been chilling in the sub-zero all day.

Our favourite thing to do is to sit outside a pub and people watch. We were not beaten by sub-zero temperatures in Geneva and we were not going to be beaten by sub-zero temperatures here. We found an Irish pub on a pedestrianized shopping thoroughfare, wrapped fleece blankets around our legs and managed two pints before the cold got the better of us.

 (We ended the night watching Labyrinth in Danish. Maybe alcohol affects you more in sub-zero temperatures)


It snowed overnight; our tiny little hotel room looked out over the entrance to an apartment building and there were footprints fresh in the snow.


So it turns out that in Denmark there exists quite possibly the best aquarium I have ever visited. And I have visited a lot. It was pitch perfect, enough stuff to keep small children absorbed but also, and this is key, enough information to cater to curious adults.

We saw puffins and otters and ridiculous fish. We’d checked our coats and the sea otter viewing area was outside, on the edge of the endless sea. The freezing cold was exhilarating.

Den Blau Planet (the blue planet) is at the edge of the city. We caught a bus back into town and bought coffees to warm our hands as we walked around the Kastellet (a star-shaped fortress built in 1662, as you do).

Rosy cheeks & frozen tundra is my new aesthetic. 


We were headed to the Little Mermaid because, I think, it’s illegal to not visit the first time you’re in Copenhagen. And yes, it is much smaller than you imagine, and in front of a highly industrial area, and really really quite out of the way. On the other side of an ancient fortress and all.

(it occurs to me now that we really didn’t stick to the city proper, the next place we visited was closer to Helsingborg, Sweden, than Copenhagen central)

 One of the best things we did in Copenhagen and actually probably one of the best things I have ever done was visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on a Saturday night in Denmark. By the time we made it out to Humlebaek it was already getting dark. Unfortunately this means that I have no idea what it looks like from the outside and as it’s right on the shore of the Øresund Sound, I can’t imagine it being anything less than spectacular.


We were there because they had a Yayoi Kusama retrospective and, well, she is one of my all-time favourite artists. The exhibition was the best one I’d ever seen (and I have seen a lot) purely, I think, because there was so much space. Instead of focussing on one of her many eras, it covered work from her early life through to New York and back to Japan.

Our final day in the frozen north was spent, surprisingly, outside a lot. We walked through the (frozen) botanic gardens to Rosenborg Castle, walking the (frozen) streets looking for the Design Museum and crossing a (almost frozen) canal. I’m surprised we made it back with any extremities at all.


If you are ever in Copenhagen, the design museum is an excellent time. 

(If anyone knows where I can get a print of this poster pls let me know)

I’m not quite so surprised that we’ve already booked to go back – this time in Summer. I loved it so much.