48 Hours in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has always been high up on my bucket list. So when my friend Krista suggested we visit, I jumped at the opportunity to plan a trip!  Krista studied architecture in college so she compiled a list of must see buildings and I researched restaurants and shops.  

We arrived after a quick flight from Berlin and were greeted by a snow storm.  After a short train ride we were in the center of snow-covered Copenhagen, ready to explore. After a slushy walk and cab ride we were at our hotel, a Marriott that Krista had generously booked with rewards points.  Because of the heavy snow, we spent our first afternoon in Copenhagen browsing the shops and exploring Christmas markets along Strøget.  Some of our favorite shops were Hay, Samsøe Samsøe and Companys

Christmas Market, Copenhagen, Denmark

After our cold and snowy shopping excursion we headed out to dinner at a restaurant called Pony.  The food was fantastic and I can easily say we had the best dessert of our trip.  I had a delicious Chocolate dessert topped with poached pears and ice cream. 

Our waiter recommended a few bars worth visiting after dinner- since it was still snowing we stuck to the ones within close walking distance!  The first bar we visited was Duck and Cover.  We loved the “speakeasy” vibe and laid back atmosphere.  It was the perfect place start our night with a nice cocktail.  Because of the snow we decided to stay close when we selected our next bar, Lidkoeb.  The entrance to Lidkoeb is slightly hidden off to the side of a grocery store.  We loved that there were multiple floors of the bar to explore.  The top floor features a whiskey bar and the ground and second floors boast extensive cocktail lists.  Lidkoeb was the perfect place to avoid the snow and enjoy a laid back night. 

On our second day in Copenhagen the snow finally stopped and we got the chance to explore the city without constantly ducking for cover!  Our first stop was the Danish Architecture Centre.  From there we wandered along small streets, visited the Opera House, saw the “Black Diamond” library, strolled past the colorful buildings in Nyhavn, and explored the grounds of Rosenborg Castle.  The city was amazing and incredibly walkable.  

Krista in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Krista in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

For dinner we met up my friend from college, Signe, at Bæst.  Signe had heard fantastic things about the restaurant from her friends.   We opted to try the tasting menu and were not disappointed.  The pizzas, meat, and cheese were all fantastic, but the homemade mozzarella at Bæst was by far our favorite dish.  I will definitely be stopping here for a meal next time I’m in Copenhagen!

Although we had hoped to spend our final morning in Denmark at the Louisiana, the weather had other plans.  There was a large amount of snow just outside of Copenhagen, causing major train delays, so we spent our morning further exploring the city.  We climbed to the top of the Round Tower and loved the amazing rooftop views of Copenhagen.  After climbing the Round Tower we stopped by Torvehallerne Market.  We had some delicious coffee at Coffee Collective's shop inside the market and loved sampling the food at the various stands before heading out to the airport.  Our final stop was a brief visit to the National Aquarium right outside the airport before we headed out on our flight back home. 

Copenhagen was a very cool city and I will definitely be going back.  Its walkability, abundance of cool shops, and amazing scenery make it perfect for exploring in just a couple days.  I can’t wait to go back and hopefully make it to the Louisiana.  If not, the mozzarella at Bæst will do!

X Smack

View of the Opera House, Copenhagen Denmark

Bike near the Danish Architecture Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

48 Hours in Berlin

If you’ve read our article on quick trips, you know that we have an affinity for traveling to faraway places in a short amount of time.  So when my friend and I started talking about ideas for her birthday, fitting in a quick trip seemed like a perfect idea.  Our criteria was simple.  We wanted to visit somewhere affordable that neither of us had been to, and we needed flights that would fit in with our work schedules and budgets. We found a great deal on a Finnair flight to Berlin, so off we went!

Our trip started out chaotically. My friend flew to O’hare from Denver and there were major delays. Her flight landed about an hour before our international flight was scheduled to depart.  Fortunately, our flight was operated by British Airways, and the BA crew was incredibly accommodating and helped ensure we were able to make our flight.

Relieved to have both made it to Berlin, we headed from the airport to our hostel. We chose to stay in the Plus Berlin Hostel because it was affordable, located near the East Side Gallery, and had great reviews on hostelworld.  The hostel staff was incredibly helpful and we loved the grungy area.  We were also able to get an awesome meal at Scheers Schnitzel just a few minutes away!

Scheers Schnitzel, Berlin, Germany

Since we only had around 48 hours in Berlin, we decided to start off our first full day with a free Berlin walking tour. I usually like to explore cities rather than take tours, but because of the rich history and vast size of Berlin, we felt we’d be missing out by exploring on our own. Our tour guide Rob was awesome and he even pointed out a cool alley off Hackescher Markt where we could find local art and amazing graffiti. The tour gave us a great sample of the sites around Berlin and ideas of what areas to further explore.  During our explorations we stumbled upon a great casual burger restaurant, Hans im Glück.

Street Art Courtyard, Berlin, Germany

After consulting the front desk at our hostel, we decided to participate in the Alternative Pub Crawl to have a truly Berlin night out.  We began our night at a relaxed bar with a 70s vibe.  It was the perfect backdrop for meeting some of the other people on the pub crawl.  Some of the highlights of the night were a ping pong bar & swing dancing bar.  The pub crawl was definitely worthwhile.  We got to experience a variety of different bars with a great group of people.  

Our whirlwind trip to Berlin ended with sluggish morning spent strolling the East Side Gallery in the rain before hopping on a flight to Copenhagen.  We concluded our stay in Berlin excited to come back and see more.

X Smack

Brunnen 70, Berlin, Germany

East Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Can't Miss Icelandic Food

When I started researching Iceland, figuring out where to eat was my top concern.  To be honest, I had no idea whether most restaurants would offer a limited but delicious local selection or a variety of choices of all different cuisines.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that Iceland’s restaurant scene was the latter.

Planning well in advance was key because our group was nine people and many restaurants we were considering were small.  Our first group dining experience was at Tryggvaskali in the town of Selfoss, which we fit in as our last stop on the Golden Circle   We instantly fell in love with the eclectic decor of the restaurant.  Most of our group opted for a pre-fix menu special, which offered a starter, main course, and dessert.  I chose a fantastic lobster soup as my starter, lamb as my main course, and a chamomile cake for dessert.  Both the lobster soup & lamb were huge hits with our group.  The most memorable experience at the restaurant by far was conversing with the staff.  The bartender was awesome and advised us on how to have a true Icelandic bar experience complete with an introduction to Opal, a popular local spirit that tastes similar to American cough syrup.

Tryggvaskali Restaurant, Selfoss, Iceland

In addition to more traditional restaurants, Reykjavik has some amazing late-night options.   Some of my favorite food in Iceland was at the food trucks stationed in a square outside of the Reykjavik bars.   My personal favorite was the Icelandic Fish and Chips truck.  For the equivalent of 8 USD you can get the local catch of the day with sweet potato or regular fries and your choice of a ton of great sauces.  My favorite was the house cocktail sauce.  Another popular option with our group was Dons Donuts. Some in our group said they were the best donuts they’ve ever had!

We topped off our last night in Reykjavik at Resto, which was in my opinion our best meal of the trip.  The menu was comprised of a lot of fish and some vegetarian options, which were all delicious.  I ordered a salmon entree, which was some of the best salmon I’ve ever had.  To top it off, our entrees were paired with a variety of delicious wines.  I will definitely be back!

Although we only had a few days to sample the food of Iceland, the fresh selections and eclectic settings were a perfect complement to the country’s natural beauty.  I’m looking forward to going back and discovering even more amazing food.

x smack

Tryggvaskali's Lobster Soup, Selfoss, Iceland

Resto's Salmon, Reykjavik, Iceland