No matter how far it is from the United States, there’s something about Denmark that keeps me coming back for more. I always find it quite comforting because of its minimalistic culture, beautiful cities and amazing sceneries. The waterfronts and big canals are filled with sailing boats and fishing boats along the colourful buildings on the riverside. Perhaps, Danes love voyages in the sea or any open water. After all, it is the home of the Vikings. Also, I love their culture and way of living. If I would be given the chance, I would live in Denmark.
I have visited Denmark several times over the years but I only stayed in Copenhagen for the most part. It was not until this year that I had the chance to visit the neighboring cities and towns in the country. Since I had already glided around Copenhagen, I knew it was a fantastic idea. It also was a great opportunity to take a break from the city and be able to witness other emerging destinations beyond its capital.
Before I left Copenhagen, I spent a lot of time in the Black Diamond Library or in Danish, Den Sorte Diamant. This is a large-scale cultural building along the waterfront of Copenhagen covered in elegant black granite and asymmetrical angles giving it a slanted, prismatic shape which is the reference for its nickname. Aside from its main function as a library, it also facilitates an auditorium, a concert hall called Queen’s hall and other function rooms. In spite of its dark scheme from the outside, the organic light enters the atrium creating a naturally-illuminated interior of the building. Since I am a huge fan of great architectures, I couldn’t help but take a bunch of photos. Combine literature, architecture and history and I’m all yours!
The second largest city next to Copenhagen is known as the city of Aarhus. We arrived in Aarhus late in the afternoon. Our plan was simple; to take a walk around city and find a good place to eat. Surprisingly, we went to ARoS Aarhus Kuntsmuseum. ARoS has nine floors of sweeping curves, soaring spaces and white walls exhibiting spectacular displays of vivid contemporary arts. The best part of the Museum is the amazing top floor called “Your Rainbow Panorama.” The rooftop has a walkway that generously offers you a 360-degree view overlooking the city through its glass panes in all shades of a rainbow. It was beautiful!
Actually, the first city I visited was Kolding. It is a harbor in the southern region of Denmark. This is where I stayed the longest and felt how it was to be a local. Aside from walking around Koldinghus and Det Gamle Borgerhus, I fed ducks and tried several Danish cuisines. I also went to their grocery stores and malls, listened to contemporary Danish songs and talked to some locals. Beyond the success in terms of economy as a nation, the Danes always cherish their rich heritage. Although not as famous as Copenhagen, Kolding is another jewel of a place to explore and take on an adventure.
The next weekend, we went to the city of Odense. It is the third largest city in Denmark and is increasingly becoming a cultural hub. Certainly, there are lots of places in Denmark that look like the villages depicted from fairy tales or old story books. After all, this is the city where some famous children’s stories were first written and their author, Hans Christian Andersen, was born. We went to the check Hans Christian Andersen Museum and visited a small yellow house on the corner of Hans Jensens Straede and Bangs Boder in the old town which is believed to be the birthplace of the famous author. Along the cobble streets in the old town, you can find other quaint half-timbered houses inspired by the designs in the era of H. C. Andersen. We also walked around the city and had a lot of fun!
I have so much admiration for the Danes and their culture. If you want to experience it first-hand, come to Denmark to understand how and why they are one of the happiest people in the world!