Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Happiest City in the World

In mid-February I managed to take self care to a whole new level and traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Christiansborg palace
Scientifically, Denmark is the happiest country in the world and, by default, Copenhagen has been named the happiest city.

Immersing myself in a world of  happiness seemed perfect for my Romeo Project. When Sarah suggested the trip, I immediately saw the link between a relaxing holiday and my self-improvement programme. Why not just say 'yes'?
Joined by three lovely ladies, I headed out on an adventure with very little knowledge of what to expect when it came to currency, weather, or sightseeing.

But the trip couldn't have gotten off to a better start. We awoke on our first morning to snow, adding a whole lot of magic to our first full day in Scandinavia.
We traipsed into the city via Central Station and hit the trail. Throughout the mini-break we somehow managed to squeeze in all the top tourist destinations. From palaces to gardens to designer shops to churches and monuments, we headed up to the Little Mermaid statue and all the way down to Christianshavn and Little Amsterdam.

The people seemed calm and for the most part friendly. The city was welcoming. It was a good recipe for happiness.
With a canal cruise and Nyhavn's colourful streets, we were fully invited into the city with open arms. The boat trip helped us to get our bearings in the city. Just what we needed to kick start our weekend adventure.

No matter what your age, there remains something magical about fairy tales. One of Copenhagen's most famous sons is Hans Christen Andersen, the author of The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Princess and the Pea, The Tinder Box, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor's New Clothes. So many of the monuments, shops and trinkets in the city are dedicated to the great man and his famous works.
Listening to Hans tell me some fairy tales... 
Our Valentine's Day breakfast was appropriately themed
On Day Two, the foursome spent Valentines Day in Malmo, Sweden having taken the train across the sea. The Sweden to Denmark bridge, the ├śresund, is one of the world's most famous bridges.
So not only was one Scandinavian country ticked off the bucket list, but two! We even managed to squeeze in the local Sunday football game into our busy schedule (which I am proud to say Malmo won).

But back to Denmark...

Rosenborg Castle
The city is filled with spectacularly designed buildings, with no expense spared - truly the city of monarchs. One could be quick to link the impact of the numerous royal palaces, including the stunning Rosenborg Castle, to Andersen's inspiration for tales of princesses and castles.
But perhaps more fitting is the continuing theme of 'the outsider' in his stories. Take the Ugly Duckling for one. Rejected and cast out from the beautifully elegant swans, the duckling struggles to survive. However, while in this tale the duckling gets his happy ending, in many of Andersen's fairy tales the protagonist does not. Perhaps in a city filled with richly furnished castles and preserved buildings, often inscribed with gold lettering or finished with marble, there was a sense of contrast between the depiction of the city's wealth and the reality of everyday life for many of its citizens.
The Marble Church
I have discovered over the last year that adventure is what really appeals to me in life. I like experiences, and to experience new things. I like to see the sights, places of historical importance, and pieces of art. And traveling is a perfect way to achieve this life calling.
But traveling gives me serious anxiety and there were a couple of tough moments on the trip (goodbye Zoe's well grown finger nails during the trip to Sweden). But the highs vastly out-weighed any worries I had. I was reunited with my friends. I took many, many photographs. And I got to visit two countries over 4 days.

Despite my moments of anxiety, visiting Copenhagen made me extremely happy.
Over and out

Happy Diaries

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