Aarhus, first impressions.

Well, where do I begin?

It has been a whirlwind of a time since my last post: I have moved myself more than 14,000 km north from Singapore to this city called Aarhus, a city of just over 300,000 inhabitants, of which 10% are students of Aarhus University. Bringing just two (oversized) suitcases and a (gigantic) backpack (well maybe with a big handbag), I have now pretty much comfortably settled into my dorm room, put up some fairy lights (I am very proud of them), bought my bike, got drenched in the rain a few times, started classes and attended more social functions than my introvert self could handle.

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My new home.

Oh and I have managed to lose my wallet too. In a bar. And I miraculously got it back.

So all in all, it has been extremely eventful first 10 days here in Aarhus, and tonight is the first night that I have had some time on my own to sit down and take in everything that I have experienced so far about this city and my new life here.

Here are some of the more coherent thoughts I came up with after sieving through my brain for a few hours and having taken a look at all the pictures that I have taken so far.

Danish (and non Danish) people are awesome.

From the moment I landed on this land, not a single person has treated me less than awesomely. The Danes may look reserved, but they are unbelievably friendly and helpful. I have had people offering to carry my luggage, walked me to my destination when I asked them for direction, and urm, return me my lost wallet with the content still intact. Not to mention Danish classmates and buddies who have been incredibly enthusiastic in helping us find our way around the city. Apart from that, I have been incredibly lucky to meet wonderful new friends who gave me moral support when I was in dire need of it and provided me with directions when I got lost. I still am amazed by how amazing people have been so far, and that’s one of the main reasons I have been coping well here.

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Things to do in Copenhagen, personal favourites.

I have so far lived my life believing that I was born to be a jack (or jill?) of all trades. I would be interested in something, learn about it, be somewhat decent at it and move on to new things.

Until I found myself in Copenhagen more than five years ago and fell completely in love with the city. Since then, I found that I can be especially good at something, i.e. travelling back to the same city over and over again just to do the same things that I love.

Till date, I have travelled to Copenhagen on five different occasions, and I have met the Crown Prince of Denmark (here we go again), which is why I think I am properly qualified to give my opinion on what the best things to do in this city are.

So here are my personal favourites, in random order.

Take a stroll at Nyhavn

My absolute favourite place, and this lovely harbour has been featured numerous times in this blog. Walking to Nyhavn from Kongens Nytorv Metro Station is like finding a colourful surprise after a somewhat gray (albeit beautiful) stroll at the heart of Copenhagen.

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The mall directly on top of Kongens Nytorv Station.

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Copenhagen brunches.

In my opinion, Copenhagen is one of the most underrated cities in the world.

From time and again, I still get questioning look from people whenever I say that Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities in the world. Some even go so far as asking, “Where is Copenhagen again? Is it in Europe?”.

That’s how underrated this city, and Denmark is. The city where the famous statue of Little Mermaid is situated. The capital city of where the world renowned writer Hans Kristian Andersen came from. The city where Carlsberg brewery can be found (everyone must have heard of Carlsberg, surely!). The city which hosts the headquarter of Maersk, the biggest shipping company in the world. The capital city where LEGO, the world-renowned toy company, comes from. The city where Noma, the world’s #1 restaurant is! I mean come on people. Either I only care about things that no one else in the world cares about, or most people are simply ignorant, or Denmark has the worst marketing team ever.

And now, I shall add one more thing to the already long list of why Copenhagen is amazing: the city has many cafés with some of the best brunches that I have ever had.

Now, brunches aren’t really my thing, so I wouldn’t call myself a brunch guru. But I have had enough of them, especially in Singapore, where they are simply unimpressive. Brunches are always overpriced for the portion that they serve and most cafés, at least in Singapore, only focus on decorating the place and making the food presentation pretty (so they can charge a premium to it)  without paying much attention to how it actually tastes (there are exceptions of course).

But I remember being very impressed with Copenhagen brunches, at least those few that I have tried. Or perhaps I was just being biased about this city as usual. But who cares, here are the list of my favourite brunch cafés in Copenhagen (note: it’s all of them):

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Copenhagen architecture.

I’m going to cheat a little again and distract you from the lack of actual posts on the blog.

Just watched this video of Copenhagen, and makes me want to visit again! One of the main reasons is because I am dying to get the chance to stay in this dorm called Tietgenkollegiet, which was designed by award winning architect Lundgaard & Tranberg. You can see the student college shot for a second or so in the video.

Time for a sixth visit?

Halloween at Tivoli.

One of my favourite 8-acre areas in the world, Tivoli Gardens, get even better as they light up in orange-and-black lights over the Halloween.

I was there only once, five years ago now, and looking at the pictures posted by a friend of mine on Facebook of the Halloween decoration this year, things don’t seem to have changed much over the years. So I feel less guilty showing you pictures from five years ago and claiming as if I know what is going on in the Garden.

The thing that I like the most about Tivoli is that it is not pretentious. Halloween, for example, is a classic carved pumpkin affair with witches walking around the Garden and smoky giant cauldron that visitors can play with a giant ladle.

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Typical scene of Tivoli main entrance during Halloweens.
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I have never seen Halloween so pretty.

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The beautiful Copenhagen.

Whoever wrote this post about the miserable Copenhagen must have hacked into my WordPress account and written an entry in my name. No one in their right mind would ever hate Copenhagen.

I mean, how could you not love it when the people there are so nice? When I desperately needed some coins to change, a shop attendant went around the department store to find someone who had some coins for me so that I could buy my metro ticket from the machine. Or the friendly guy in Baresso who did not mind when I paid him using 1000 kroner note for a 48 kroner ice-blended chocolate drink and he ended up using up all his change for that morning. And he kept assuring me it was fine and wished me a great day after that!

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A drink from my favourite coffee chain in the world.

On a beautiful day, you will be treated with a view like this right in the city centre at Nyhavn, which happened to be my favourite harbour in the world.

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The miserable Copenhagen.

Note: I am in the midst of writing a very happy post about London, but really have to intercept with this little ranting just because I was having a very bad day. And publishing it to the whole world to see somehow makes me feel better. Strangely.

Perhaps it was because my closest friends here have moved out. Or maybe because the guy in the ticket counter was not friendly. Or maybe because my Airbnb host here was not responding to my messages at first. Or maybe because no one helped me in the bus when I could not pick up the umbrella I dropped because of my hefty luggage. Or maybe because it rained when I had to drag my suitcase down the street to find the correct bus stop. Or maybe because nothing seemed to work in the badminton stadium, from the WiFi to my own internet. Or maybe because the TV screen in the bus had to freeze and I ended up missing my stop and had to walk all the way back in the rain. Or maybe my heart has not quite settled from saying bye to some people dearest to me in London.

But Copenhagen seems to have lost its charm to me.

The metro seemed all too crowded for my liking and the facilities did not seem to hold for the growing number of people. The rain seemed much drearier than in London even though it was rarely sunny when I was there. The people seemed a lot less friendly than how I remembered them. I am watching badminton, my favourite and most well acquainted sports in the world, but everything and everyone seemed so foreign to me.

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