When I decided to join my brother in Ireland I presented myself with a new challenge, find the cheapest route there from South Korea. I've mastered the layover on many occasions, usually in China, and sometime not by choice, but I was about to set myself up for a whole new ball game. The flight I chose took me from Seoul to Bangkok, where I napped on a bench for a few hours before an early morning departure to Copenhagen. There I had time to get out and stretch my legs, 16 hours in fact. I've done this before in China, but was never too eager to get out of the airport and explore, the airport is generally an hour+ ride from the city, times are obscure and well, China. Copenhagen is different though, one quick metro ride drops you in the center of it all, which isn't too hard considering the overall size of the city. Not wanting to show up in London absolutely shattered I decided to book a bed in a hostel and make the most of this layover.
It helped that I've been to the city before, almost exactly two years before in fact, so I didn't feel the need to rush around and see a lot, but rather just enjoy what I could. I contacted the friend I had stayed with before, hoping a repeat connection would work, but unfortunately didn't hear back until it was too late. All hope was not lost though, while struggling between bouts of sleep at Survarnabhumi Airport I logged into Facebook, only to see a picture of another old travel friend, standing in front of the canals in Copenhagen. I wasn't sure if this was a real time update so I shot her a message to find out. Turns out she was in the city for a long weekend visiting and friend and was absolutely up for meeting me for dinner during my layover.
I chose to stay at Bedwood hostel, located just off one of the main canals it was convenient for transportation to the airport, but also tucked away from the noise. After tossing my bag and changing clothes I walked a few short blocks to meet Pooja, who had just finished wandering the area with a friend. It had been years since we had last seen each other and thus had a lot to catch up on. She lives in New York and juggles the corporate world with stand up comedy and a bit of writing, a pretty standard resume for a New York transplant; while I continued in the same patterns in which she met me, wandering around Asia, from one teaching gig and/or couch to another.
We decided to wander through the waterside market "Copenhagen street food" since it was just over the bridge and promised an array of different food. My body was still confused about what time zone it was in and what meal if any I should be eating. I knew it had been hours since I had eaten a proper meal, but was oddly in no hurry to do so. I was tempted by one of the Korean food trucks and barely resisted walking over to say hello, but decided I had to put that country behind me for the time being. Instead I wound up with an ostrich burger and sweet potato fries (the later being arguably one of my favorite "American foods"), neither of which was quite extraordinary, but not disappointing either. We wandered the market, Pooja with an obligatory "I'm on vacation" drink in hand and then after one more lap around Nyhavn parted ways, not sure when our paths would cross again.
Meeting with Pooja was a perfect layover activity, it gave me purpose in the city, kept me from wandering or holing up in my room, but also didn't require too much effort. We both shared some dating stories, mostly failures, but were at the same time filled with hope to our current prospects. Pooja has always stood on the line between committing full time to a life in the states and moving abroad, at least for a year, to mimic something along the lines of what I've been doing. By the time I was back to my hostel the exhaustion set in, just as my bunk mates were heading out for a night of fun, I was turning in with an alarm set for 4 am. I had almost forgot I was still en route, but the following morning I would finally reach my destination, at least for a few days anyway.
Deemed one of the happiest countries in the world, this small nordic country is full of life. From winding canals to notable architecture, you'll be entertained. Oh and bikes, don't forget about the bikes.