When you’re in Copenhagen and life is making you lonely- you can always go Downtown. Petula Clark aside, I recently hopped over the channel for a short trip to Copenhagen. Now, I have several points I would like to make to any reader.
First, plan a trip as far in advance as possible. I don’t mean to create an itinerary. I’m actually more of a fan of a “fly by the seat of your pants” approach. No, I’m talking about buying the tickets, making that leap. It is a little nerve-wracking to plan something months in advance, but not only will it be less expensive, it will ensure that you make as many little trips as you possibly can.
Second, make sure you go for the package deals. All the cheaper travel websites have a flight and hotel option. This simpler option is designed for those college students, like me, who are on a budget. .
Third, if you are traveling to Copenhagen, I recommend the Downtown Hostel.
I had never stayed in a hostel before; I was a little nervous for the experience, especially since it was a last minute decision to go to Copenhagen. While I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia and Danish people are supposed to be some of the happiest on earth, traveling can be quite intimidating. What is more, this marked the first time I was making a trip by myself, or at least by myself and not intending to meet up with anyone. I was coming in late at night, and I started to imagine the hostel as a decrepit old building falling into a marsh.
I should add as a side note that even last-minute trips should be researched. When I chose this hostel, I read reviews and found the location in regards to the city center. My fears were more a product of travel anxiety and darkness than actual ignorance. They were also completely unfounded; when I arrived, there was a colorful eatery filled with chatting youngsters playing games, drinking, and eating. I actually lurked outside for a few minutes, convinced I had come to the wrong place.
There was a strange Bohemian atmosphere. Everyone had their own journey, a story for how they got there. They were eager to share their stories and hear mine. Somehow bunking all together and sharing the status of a wanderer made everyone open and friendly. I had only just placed my bag away and introduced myself to the guy in the top bunk when we were joined by another roommate who invited us all out on the town.
In the short two days I was there, I meet more than a dozen people, all of them wonderful. Since names were tricky and hard to remember, we referred to each other by nationality. Germany, Italy, India, France, Brazil, even Canada, all around the long table waiting for our free dinner. The big bowls full of potatoes and stew were passed down, as we all turned to the person next to us and discovered them. It was a very honest crowd. We had no reason to lie to each other, we were never going to see each other again.
Within a few hours, I felt like I had known them all my life. We were cracking jokes and poking fun at each other, like old friends. We shared advice for where to go and what our plans were. I was the youngest of the group, making me the “baby,” while the elder Tim had to take care of us as we wandered the city.
In the end, I explored Copenhagen, went to the museum and saw the rune stones. I found a small antique fair and visited the palace. But what gives Copenhagen a warm and fuzzy place in my heart is the people who pulled me out of my lonely room and unassumingly took me in. Staying in this hostel placed me among people like me, who were just here to see the world. Their absolute lack of judgment or agenda left a purity to the memory that I will always cherish.