I don’t know what to write about Copenhagen! 😦
Oh wait, I do.
To be honest, Copenhagen was one of my least favorite cities from my 77 Days of Euro Trip. Please, no offense to any Danish or anyone who loves Denmark here – it is just my personal experience. And to be fair, it wasn’t really the city that made me feel this way. It was due to some confusion and some people (who were – please note this – not Danish!) that I encountered during my 2-night stay there.
However, despite all the bad experiences I had, in the end of the tunnel (of not knowing what to write about Copenhagen), I still saw a light and finally managed to think about the good (great) stuff that happened there – and how it actually made me think that it might be true what they said: the Danes are the HAPPIEST PEOPLE in the world! For more details on this statement, check here.
HEADS UP! If you’re not interested in reading my personal experiences in Copenhagen, and just here to check out some photos or get recommendation about what to see or where to go, TOTALLY FINE BRUH, you can go to my other post: Rainbows of Copenhagen.
So I guess before we go to the good stuff, let me share the bad one first so you can understand why I said what I said in the beginning of this post.
Finding out the fact that Copenhagen was not so clean
The moment I arrived in Copenhagen, I was shocked to see that the city was quite dirty… I really thought that all cities in North Europe, especially in Scandinavia, would be super clean. Turned out I was wrong.
Well, of course when I say dirty, it doesn’t mean that it is DIRTY dirty like in Jakarta or something… but Copenhagen was just not as clean as Helsinki and Stockholm, for comparison. I would blame it to the visitors, though. Recently Copenhagen has become more and more famous for its food scene, so I believe these people coming for a holiday or short trip in the city played a big part in littering. I’m pretty sure because the dirtiest area I’ve seen there was the one around the central station.
Getting frustrated twice at Copenhagen Central Station
Speaking about Copenhagen Central Station, I had very unpleasant time there. I took a FlixBus from Stockholm and when I arrived in the morning, we (the passengers) were dropped somewhere away from the station. It was really not in front of the station, let alone inside the station. I literally had to use GPS to track where the actual station is located so I could walk there from the point where I hopped off the bus.
On my departure day, I also had a hard time finding the spot where I should be waiting for my FlixBus. Unlike in Stockholm Central Station where they provided special gates for FlixBus (with all the direction sign and departure/arrival board), I had nothing that indicated FlixBus was even operating in Copenhagen Central Station! In the end, I found out (from someone who approached me at the station because I looked confused) that I had to go to the train tracks area, walk further away from the station, take stairs leading to a totally different road with a few bus stops – which again, had no clear signs. Some of them had signs but they were for local/city buses. Still, no sign for FlixBus. I finally found which stop I should wait my bus at after I saw more people showing up with big backpacks (looking like they’re definitely going to other countries/cities) and asked them if they were also going to Hamburg, Germany.
Should I maybe blame FlixBus for this lack of information provided at the station? But what about Stockholm Central Station that had gates for this bus company? I took so many trips with FlixBus during my trip, and in all other stations in other countries, they always had the FlixBus sign. So for this, I’ll still blame Copenhagen Central Station for not providing enough convenience for their customers. Not to mention, the restaurants and shops in the station also had this really crappy internet connection… so, ergh.
Staying at Generator Hostel Copenhagen
This hostel, was definitely the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in, during my Euro trip. The sad thing about it is: they’re so bad not because of lack or low quality of facilities provided, but because of the employees. Generator Hostel Copenhagen was full of unfriendly staff who seemed to be bored of their job, or angry about something, and always in a rush for I-don’t-know-what. Seriously, staying there after coming from Generator Hostel Stockholm, I was utterly disappointed.
I saw one guy from the reception who spoke to a guest and sounded so annoyed, just because this guest was asking him how to get to certain places. There was also another receptionist who wouldn’t even look you in the eye if you’re asking if it’s possible to check-in early. The people at the restaurant area were even worse. They barely smiled, and when they cleaned the dining area, they did it a way that made you feel as if you didn’t exist there cause they just threw things and made a lot of noise, even when you’re obviously sitting there. I’ll tell you the worst one: a housekeeping lady entered my room in the morning without knocking the door first. She didn’t greet me or the other guests in the room, and suddenly just pointed my room mate who was still sleeping and asked me (in an upset kind of tone) if he would check-out soon. I mean, for God’s sake, how the f*ck would I know? And was she even supposed to ask that? It was not check-out time yet! It was just so ruuude!
Of course, not all of the staff were like this, but unfortunately I’ve only met one among so many of them that I felt was really smiley, helpful, and responsible. It was a girl from the reception who helped me with the locker rental. I have a feeling that she was Danish, haha. And for all the other staff I mentioned before, I did observe (watched and listened to) them and I can tell you, they are not Danish. Thanks to these foreign employees, Generator Hostel Copenhagen is now a place where I’ll be telling all my friends and blog readers NOT to go to.
Feeling unsafe at Christiania
Christiania – or also known as Freetown Christiania – is Denmark’s semi-autonomous area in the heart of Copenhagen where the hippie community lives. Cannabis (marijuana, weed) is kind of ‘legal’ in this area, meaning that you can buy, sell, and use weed without getting into trouble here.
I personally visited Christiania during the day cause I wasn’t sure if I should go there alone in the night. I mean, I never visited a hippie neighborhood before, so excuse me for being a little worried about my own safety. Also, I was just interested to see the ambience and what was going there, and not into trying the weed. Okay, I admit that I finally tried weed during my trip, but it was in Amsterdam – so that’s going to be a whole different story (blog post).
When I visited Christiania, there was a local band performing with quite a gig, so that part looked fun. But apart from that, I really felt that there were a recognisable amount of people who stared at me in a certain way, making me feel uncomfortable. Thus, I didn’t spend so much time in this area. Later in the day, I found out that more or less 3 weeks before, there were 3 people including a police officer who got shot in this neighborhood. The young guy who did this, was shot back and killed by the police. It was believed that this guy was involved in a hash trade. This incident explains why Christiania felt so shady when I was there. You can read more about it here.
Forgetting my credit card at Papirøen
This is purely my mistake, though, but still… it made me feel so annoyed! I went to Papirøen (Copenhagen Streetfood) in the afternoon to buy some ice cream. Later in the evening, after I came back to my hostel (after a long day of walking around the city, feeling exhausted and all), I realized that I didn’t have my credit card with me when I was about to buy my dinner at the hostel restaurant. Well shit, I forgot it in the card machine at the ice cream counter in Papirøen 😥
I had no choice but to walk back to Papirøen (about 1.5KM away from Generator Hostel Stockholm) in a rush, hoping the ice cream counter wouldn’t be closed just yet, or worse: somebody stole my credit card from the machine. The machine was under the counter table, so even the seller wouldn’t be able to see it. So if the next person after me paid using card as well, saw my card was still inserted in the machine, and had a bad intention – he/she would just take this card away and use it.
So what happened when I got there? I’ll tell you later.
Meeting a very disrespectful guy through Couchsurfing
Hang on. I’m not blaming Couchsurfing for anything by making this statement. I’ve been a member of Couchsurfing for years, have hosted and been hosted or simply met (in a gathering) a lot of great people. Friends for life! For me, Couchsurfing is still one the best things that’s ever invented for travellers, but sadly there are people who misuse this platform to do strange or bad things.
Here’s the story. Before I arrived in Copenhagen, I made a public request to see if any host would invite me to stay in. Considering that I couldn’t find any host in Stockholm, even after I tried sending personal request to 5 hosts, I didn’t wait too long to decide whether I should just book a hostel or not. One hour after I posted the public request and no invitation coming, I booked Generator Hostel Copenhagen right away. To my surprise, a bit later after that, I received 2 invitations. One is from a Danish girl who grew up in Taiwan and lives in a city not far from Copenhagen. Another one is from a non-Danish guy who claimed to have been living and working in Copenhagen for 8 years. I declined both of their invitations as I have booked the hostel. The Danish girl then asked me if I wanted to join a party in a night club that very same night, or join a salsa class the day after – while the non-Danish guy asked me if I wanted to just hang out then.
For the first day, a simple hangout would do me better, as I was feeling tired and having a little bit of headache after my first night bus (from Stockholm to Copenhagen), so I decided to go with the non-Danish guy’s invitation. Btw, I’m not gonna reveal his nationality here as I don’t want to make this story look racist. The thing is that, I actually had a not-so-good feeling about meeting this guy already, remembering that he is from ‘that country’, but I told myself not to hold a prejudice towards someone I haven’t even met. I sincerely wanted to think positive about everyone, regardless of which country they come from.
To make a long story short, turned out my instinct was right. He was not a respectful guy, and clearly he used Couchsurfing just to find ‘victims’, or as if it was Tindr. At the beginning the conversation was still okay, as we were just introducing ourselves to each other. He told me he’s working in a grocery store as a bagger, and before Copenhagen he used to live in Vienna, Austria. Out of the blue, he suddenly asked me if there’s a lot of gays in Thailand. This question surprised me, but I replied “Well, yeah, but there’s a lot of gays everywhere in the world. Even here, gay marriage is legal right?” He started telling me how he’s really against it, cause he just can’t comprehend how men would want to have sex with other men, and bla bla bla. I told him, “In Thailand, it’s not an issue, and they even have ladyboys there.” He asked me what a ladyboy is, and I answered. He laughed and continued speaking out what he had in mind about homosexual people. I said, “Well, you couldn’t even tell right, if I was a ladyboy or not?”
I realized it was a mistake to ask him this question, as after that he couldn’t stop asking me if I was really a woman or not. When I tried to move on from this topic by asking him to go somewhere to have dinner, he suggested that I go to his place and he would cook for me. This time, I was already sure that he had some intention there. Finally, I told him I didn’t want to have dinner and that I wanted to just go back to my hostel as I had a severe headache (which was kind of true, too). He insisted to walk me back even though he should have just gone the opposite direction of the street if he wanted to go home straight away. He said it wouldn’t be good for a girl to walk alone. WHAT?! Well, I wouldn’t be good if I walk with you, bro! LOL.
On the way back to the hostel, again, he kept asking if I was a real woman or not. I kept my patience until he said, “I know what we can do to prove that you’re a real woman. You know what I mean.” Eeeewww… GROSS! I was SO DONE. I kept my hand to myself (like Selena Gomez’s song) so I didn’t slap him for saying that. I continued walking fast to my hostel, and this guy – God – in front of my hostel, he asked me to kiss him!!! Such a lame jerk. I went inside straight away, leaving him begging in front of the hostel.
I opened my Couchsurfing app later on, after I calmed down, to write him a bad reference. Turned out there was already a new reference added, from an American girl who was supposed to stay at his place with another girl friend. She wrote that she and her friend finally left his place in the middle of the night after this guy got drunk (or pretended to be drunk) and jumped into her bed. She protested but he said there’s nothing wrong for a man and a woman to sleep in the same bed, and because he already let them stay for free at his place, then he could do whatever he wanted. Sooo creepy! I forgot to write him the reference that night, and then when I checked back the next day, BOOM… his account was already deactivated. I’m sure this bastard would just create a new one to find more girls. Eew!
Please always be careful when you’re planning to use Couchsurfing, either for looking for a host or just finding a friend to hang out with! I barely had bad experience with Couchsurfing, but this time was just no good. Always go for someone who has a clear profile, has some references (also check the accounts of the people who give the references!), preferably someone who doesn’t have bad reference at all (unless you think the bad reference is a little bit unfair, and more because of the fault of the referee rather than the person), and a member who’s verified. Most importantly, use your instinct, cause it tends to be right! I ignored my instinct that time, and look what happened: disaster. Oh, and do be careful as well when you’re planning to host someone.
Enough with the bad ones already! Now I’d like to tell you how these following good experiences had turned around my perspective about Copenhagen.
Enjoying the music played by the best busker I’ve ever seen in Europe
Spotting buskers in Europe is quite easy. Unlike annoying buskers in Indonesia who normally don’t even put effort or quality in their performance, buskers in Europe sometimes are unbelievably good. Okay, I gotta make an exception here, though. Years ago, I’ve seen one busker in Ragusa, an old ice cream parlour in Jakarta, the capital city of my home country – and he truly got one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard live. He played guitar really well, too. I felt like watching a senior singer in a nostalgia music show.
Okay, back to the buskers in Europe. So among all the buskers I’ve seen throughout the 18 countries I visited, the best one was definitely the one I’ve seen in front of Helligåndskirken (Church of The Holy Ghost), located at the shopping street of Strøget. It was an old man, and he brought his own keyboard and speaker and he played classic to pop songs, so beautifully. I didn’t take his photo but I recorded him playing while filming two cute dogs in the street, you can check it here. There was even an old woman giving him standing applause and requested some songs from him.
I think buskers in Europe really take it seriously when it comes to performing their talents. They do it to express themselves, not necessarily to earn money. I love to see how people voluntarily give money because they like the performance! I remember those days when I used to hang out at Kali Code, Yogyakarta during university years, and every other minute of a group of buskers would approach me, sing and play their guitar horribly, and just didn’t wanna stop and move away until I gave them money! Gosh! Of course, I always gave them ridiculous amount like 200 IDR or so, cause they were just ridiculous. They should learn how to busk without making people feel irritated and ‘forced to pay’.
Having my credit card returned at Papirøen
Still remember that I left my credit card at an ice cream counter at Papirøen, right? I walked back there in the evening, hoping so much that they would not be closed yet, and I was so lucky that it was, indeed, still open! Thank God. I asked the girl at the counter (it was not the same girl I bought my ice cream from earlier that day) if she saw my credit card cause I left it inserted in the card machine after making the payment. The funny part was she grabbed a pile of card from her back shelf, LOL! So turned out I wasn’t the only one who was so dumb to forget a card after getting a delicious ice cream, haha! She asked me what’s my name and what’s the color of my card, and I told her. She found it quickly and gave it back to me. Gosh! I was so grateful! This experience absolutely made my level of human trust increase 🙂
Unexpectedly making a new friend while having dinner at Papirøen
Since I came back to Papirøen that night, I decided to just have my dinner there instead of in the hostel, so I ordered pasta from an Italian food counter. Oh, just in case you’re wondering how this Papirøen looks like, you can see the photos in the other post I mentioned before. Actually, even though it’s called ‘streetfood’, it is an indoor hall that has a lot of food trucks selling so many options of food. Not only Danish food, but cuisine from many different countries. Papirøen also has outdoor area, which is on the riverside. So it’s more or less like a food court, and you can choose to sit inside the building or by the river – which is much nicer during the day when it’s warmer.
I just started eating when suddenly a guy who was sitting next to me at the shared table talked to me. At first he said something in Danish, but then he realized I didn’t understand so he asked me if I spoke English. I said yes. He then started asking me for my opinion on him changing his name! Wait… what?
Yes! Changing name! So he had a friend who is a numerologist, and he consulted with her about the possibility of changing his name (like, officially – in ID/passport and all) to get ‘better luck’. Not that he didn’t feel lucky, but he believed that carrying the right name would make his life much better in so many aspects. In the first few minutes I was just stunned, and I listened to him explaining me about the numerology stuff, and that he was given a list of names that he could choose for his new identity. His real name is Christian Vej, and based on the calculation of his birth name and birth date, he’s thinking of changing it to Christianx Vonx – if I’m not mistaken. I told him it sounds like a rapper name, LOL!
I got a feeling that some of his friends thought he was crazy for even thinking about doing that, but for me, his plan was interesting. I actually remembered a friend that I had when I was a little girl – she was sick so often and finally her parents changed her name, and boom, she became healthy ever since. This is some kind of a belief in my country. Sick kid = in need for name amendment 🙂
I told this to Christian and he seemed to be excited to know I have encountered a similar thing in the past. As for me, it was so cool to know that this guy Christian actually owns a shop in Copenhagen called NoEnd that sells jewelry from Bali! What a coincidence (my husband and I have a house in Bali)! He said the name of his supplier (and artist) in Bali is Gusti. Sure 😀
We had a fun conversation and one thing I remember the most was when Christian told me about the salary taxes in Denmark. Normal employees (office workers, etc.) will have to pay 50% of their salary to the government, while self-employed or business owners like him have to pay 70%! That’s INSANE! But hang on, this is also why Danes can be the ‘happiest people’ in the world. With this amount of tax people pay every month, the government provides really good education system and health care – which are very crucial things for someone’s future. The corruption rate is also very low here. Few have too little, and few have too much. When happiness is measured by social equality, then no wonder why Denmark is always ranking high.
If you have made it this far and really read every single story I shared in this post, THANK YOU – so much. I hope you can learn something from my experiences – and that you are not discouraged to visit Copenhagen! I look forward to visit this city again someday, but with my husband (who’s a chef). Cause as I said, recently Copenhagen has become more famous for its food scene, and this is because there’s a significant growth of the number of unique bistros and even Michelin-star restaurants there… So if you’re a foodie, Copenhagen is definitely a not-to-miss when you visit Europe! xxx