Sam Takes Scandinavia

My dad travels a good bit for work. And I don’t mean “Oh, I’ve got to pop over to Kansas City for a few days.” I mean the kind of traveling where I don’t know what country he’s in at any given moment. He acts like it’s a huge inconvenience, but secretly he loves it. 

Anyway, he gave me the option of joining him on a trip this spring, and I chose to go with him to Copenhagen and Malmö. Yes, I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia, and yes, there are a lot of cool things to do in Copenhagen especially. But my decision was really made by one question: “what city is my father visiting that I would be unable to afford without him?” The obvious answer was Copenhagen. 

Let me tell you guys, I adored this city. Copenhagen is the perfectly sized city: big enough to have everything you could possibly want and need a public transportation system, but small enough to be walkable. We went in February (brrrr!) but the sun was out, so while cold it was actually quite beautiful. 

For dinner one night we went to a street food market, and it was probably the coolest place I’ve ever eaten. It was inside, but it was a warehouse lined two stories high with food stalls, stands, and even trucks. There were picnic tables set up in the middle with string bistro lights hung across the space. We had sausages, pork fat fries, duck confit, and crepes for dessert. Not to mention the incredible beer, of course. 

The next day we wandered around, seeing the University of Copenhagen’s botanical gardens (very pretty), the Little Mermaid statue (crowded, overrated, and really far from everything else), the Danmarks National Museum (free, and has a really cool “toys” gallery and a Viking exhibit that let me explore my ancestry a bit), and the Bibliotekshaven (the library, which I will be moving into immediately).

We then hopped on a train and sped across the Øresund to Malmö, Sweden. The train ride was especially cook because we were on top of the water instead of underground, and there are some cool wind farms in the middle of the Øresund. 

Malmö was cool but very small. Its only real claim to fame is a twisty tower that I didn’t even bother to take a picture of. We had a good meal at Bullen, with loads of traditional Scandinavian food presented in decidedly non-threatening ways (because honestly herring is a bit out of my comfort zone); but other than that we mostly just slept in Malmö so my dad could be there for his meetings the next day. 

Except for the library. 

If you thought the Copenhagen library was cool, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE ONE IN MALMÖ. It was so beautifully designed, and we caught it just as the sun was setting. It was truly magical. 

And when we went in to take a look around, one of the first books I saw was one of my favourites, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in Swedish. I couldn’t read it, but I sure could appreciate it (and pose for a cheesy picture with it, obvs).

The next day I went back to Copenhgen to catch my flight, and during my extra time in the city I decided to visit the HC Andersen museum (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY HERE) and ate at the Paludan Bogcafé, a little place near the university that is a bookshop/cafe hybrid and served surprisingly delicious and fancy food. 

All in all, I loved the library at Malmö but mostly just adored Copenhagen. I will definitely want to come back, preferably in the summertime when there are more people about. I can’t wait to ride a bike along the water and eat again at the street food market, and maybe if I’m not with my dad I’ll visit the Free State. 😁

So here’s to pretty cities and future trips to revisit my Viking roots and take the rest of Scandinavia! 🍻


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