14 Oct Loft Travels : A modern day fairytale / Copenhagen
A high GDP per capita, laudable environmental standards and low start-up costs are just a few reasons why Copenhagen consistently finds itself amongst the Happiest and most Liveable of countries in international polls. Summer draws in millions of tourists to Denmark, and naturally, to its capital. Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park in the world, ushers throngs of children and adults alike through its gates, and into a world of happiness not unlike that of Disneyland. Come mid-afternoon, a dizzying array of outdoor umbrellas provide a haven of sorts to cafe-hoppers scattered along the vibrantly coloured waterfront of Nyhavn.
Over many years, Copenhagen was home to renowned author Hans Christian Anderson, who has penned fairytales with the likes of ‘Thumbelina’, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’. The latter is even memorialised as a bronze statue, one of the most recognisable within Copenhagen. Despite numerous incidences of vandalism over the years, which has even resulted in the loss of her head thrice, there she remains, perched precariously on rocks, staring wistfully out over the waters.
For history enthusiasts, Copenhagen is an open textbook which can be studied simply by taking a stroll. You can find statues of war veterans, politicians, individuals recognised for outstanding contributions in their field, and even mythical or literary figures. This is their way of honouring and remembering the things past and keeping them unforgotten in the generations to come. These statues stand tall and majestic in streets, parks and neighbourhoods, the weight of their presence speaking volumes to even the most unaffected pedestrians. There they will stay, forever immortalised, even as the seasons pass by.
Copenhagen is a beautiful place to behold. The general architecture of Copenhagen has its roots in 17th century old-world storybook charm, and has grown to include modern 20th century exploits. While stunning in Summertime, winter provides a unique landscape which sparks off the imagination. One is constantly surrounded with surprising textures and muted colours which are made brilliant by their cohesiveness. The sun rises upon surreal snow covered streets, roads and parks, like a whitewashed affair made possible by a generous dollop of white paint. Come midday, the snow dwindles down to a pensive sprinkle; a sad but not sorry trodden state. In the course of the night, like a magical reversal in time, this blanket of snow is once again replaced for a brand new day.
An interesting Danish concept is that of ‘Hygge’, pronounced as ‘Hue-ga’. While there is no direct or precise translation for this Danish word, it generally means coziness or warmth. However, it is not to be taken literally, as the Danish see ‘Hyyge’ as a way of life intrinsic to Danish culture. A warm and cosy atmosphere, the glow of candles (which the Danish are especially fond of), a simple home cooked meal enjoyed by friends and family, heartfelt conversations by the fire. ‘Hygge’ is grace and hospitality extended to others, a sense of community, a genuine feeling of contentment from within. It is a Danish way of enjoying Life as it happens, to take the ordinary moments and make them extraordinary in meaningful ways.
Here is a glimpse of Copenhagen in winter, when locals gather indoors by fireplaces to achieve a little ‘Hygge’. Here is, literally, one of the happiest places on earth.
Safe travels always,