Traveling is therapeutic but more so and an opportunity to connect with the rest of the world and see the wonders created by God. My trips usually start with me frantically packing last minute or rushing to the airport. But this trip was unlike the others, although there was an element of speed in getting to the airport there was no rush, I sashayed to Stansted airport my spirit calm, as I looked forward to the adventure that was Denmark.
This trip came at a great time, as I needed to get away I like the rest of the world had associated rejuvenation with having a vacation. Although breaks are necessary, for recalibration and fresh air and sights can shift your mood back into gear, I learned that as a woman of God, receiving revelation and a shift in spirit is not limited by simply going on vacation, because God is bigger than new experiences, you can be rejuvenated during chaos and feel the calm Jesus felt on a boat during a storm. But so often the noise of the world crowds our hearts from hearing his voice, it shakes our faith and if you’re not properly planted in his word and environment you will be uprooted and swept away by every situation this cruel world throws at you. And this was where I found myself, faith shaking like a flower being uprooted by the winds as the seasons begin to change, my last root of hope in God hung for dear life in the soul as my spirit cried out to the Lord for help, as the skeletons of my former self tried to haunt and torment me. So I choose to get out and seek the Lord, to get out and rejuvenate to get out and seek more fertile soil where my spirit can bloom as the Lord intended. I choose Denmark, one of the happiest places on earth, and that’s what this post is about the beautiful country and people of Denmark and how God has shown me, myself through discovering the remarkable country.
Make Denmark Happy Again
‘Make Denmark happy again.’ A slogan advertised everywhere we looked from the hotel TV to banners at the train station and posters in supermarkets and restaurants. It was apparent that contrary to my understanding Danish people where once happier than they are now, a concept I found hard to believe. Like all the people I had seen in Denmark wore smiles like no other and were always eager to help and apologised for not being kind. Although the advert got me thinking about my own life, as had been struggling with identity, slipping into bad habits and away from God, using my morning devotionals to soothe my sense of guilt while my, in reality, my faith was lacking. While I thought about it, God revealed to me time at university when I felt the same way lost, and how he embraced me like a warm hug from the softest thing in the world, God came and picked me up soothing my pain. Allowing me to let him take control, unsure of my future but having trust in my creator and showing up each day for God, and not myself, a reality the holy spirit nudged me to return too.
A lesson, I think we all can learn from, as there will be or has been a time that we will be weak and must remember whose we are and where God has brought us from and his power he revealed in us, as we overcame that place of weakness. See, I don’t doubt that there was a time Danish people were happier than they are, even though I see them now as happy people, I am glad the government is persistent on reminding them that they could and have been happier. The same way God shows us that with him we are capable of far more than we can imagine.
Small cities are always so quaint and cute, with modest boutique shops filling the cracks and cravats of the roads with cafes on every corner making a small city break feel like a 2000’s rom-com or soap opera where everyone in the city knows each other. Aalborg is no different, with your feet as your best form of transportation, exploring the city and getting lost is an adventure. Relax and take a stroll, walk down Boulevard street and be greeted by a selection of cafes and shops, from boutiques to mainstream retailers. If you’re like me head over to the Friends cafe, for a relaxing ambiance and good hearty meal, sit by the window read a novel or pull out your laptop and write and watch Aalborg come alive.
The Zleep hotel is perfectly located in the centre of Aalborg, sitting across the road from the bus stop direct buses to Copenhagen depart from every day, and a local supermarket and entertainment building, with a cinema and restaurants. Zleep is an ideal hotel, however, the hotel prides itself on being sustainable, so necessities like toothpaste is not free, there are no fridges in the rooms, water is provided by the tap although tap water in Denmark is filtered and fresh so don’t be alarmed. I would advise booking directly on the website, as there are lots of deals on there and discount for students.
From the moment we step into Denmark, we were recommended to visit Copenhagen, it was all the rage of locals in Aalborg, from taxi drivers to strangers in the supermarket, Copenhagen was the place we were told was a must-visit. So just like that, we booked a bus (Kombardo Expressen, this is the bus we used other buses are flixbus ) to Copenhagen, which conveniently departed from across our hotel every day. The journey is 5 hours, but luckily part of those hours is spent on a ferry so you can sit on a boat have food and rest for 2 of the 5 hours.
Taking a bus from Aalborg to Copenhagen is an easy process, especially from Zleep hotel, as the bus station is across the road. Once you arrive at the bus station in Copenhagen, you will be right next to the train station and can navigate from there to your hotel, or catch a cab as they are local, although word of warning Denmark is expensive so when calling a cab from the road keep this in mind, taking a train is not a difficult task and comparatively cheaper than a cab.
Copenhagen as the capital has lots nice hotels, I presume just off the bases of it being a capital city. However, the hotel we stayed in, Avenue hotel is up there in the top hotels for city breaks to me, not only for the décor and ambiance but because of the service and level of care and kindness. Again, this might be a biased review as people in Denmark are sterotyped as the kindest on earth. Although, I believe the hotel caters for all types of people, for my wine lovers out their free wine hours from 5-7pm might be something to convince you that this is a top 10 hotel to stay in. Also if like me you love a good bargain and luxury then the price might just be what wins you over from as cheaper as £50 a night for a spacious double room equipped with a bath tub, tv, free organic breakfast and even a workout kit you can request at the reception. This hotel is one that is definitely not one to miss out on when visiting Copenhagen.
I would suggest also for all my travel on a budget baes, to look on Agoda.com when booking hotels as often their prices are cheaper than other sites. Another tip when booking holidays, in general, is to book in January as there are always sales going on in January and if you’re savvy enough on Skyscanner, you can find a return flight like we did to Denmark for five days at only £10!!!
Things to do in Copenhagen in one day
So, as Copenhagen was suggested by everyone as the city where it was at, we made wiggle room to visit but only for one night as we still had our hotel and return flight booked from Aalborg. And I am glad we did as I can confirm I will be returning back to Copenhagen for a longer stay, as the main purpose of our trip to Denmark was simple relax and unwind so this time one night was good enough for us. Here is a recap of what happened in those 24hrs
Once we arrived at Avenue hotel and checked in we went to unwind in our room and snack on a bowl of cereal as we are still kids at heart (I don’t care cereal is always a shout). After our cereal we relaxed and went downstairs for some complimentary wine hour, and much to our suprise the selection was not too shabby, with the choice of champagne, white and red wine. Like I said earlier this hotel will win you over whatever your style of living is, as for me I was won by the aesthetics and breakfast (I love a good breakfast). Going back to our room, with our glasses of wine, we get ready for the night, and begin to figure out where we wanted to go on the map we received at the horel of the must-see places and directions. The first stop on the agenda was the amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, located only 15mins walk away from our hotel, we set off to see the beautiful theme park, (see details below for things you need to know about Tivoli gardens) unfortunately, we didn’t go inside but we got to see its beauty and were told that it’s better to see it in the morning. Although, when I return back to Copenhagen this summer, I will give the full scoop on whether it is worth the hype.
After walking around the central and Tivoli, we took a cab to see a not so popularised attraction, but a place suggested to us and in the words of the lady who recommended it ‘a place to see what freedom looks like’. Now, as a born again Christian I will forewarn that my comments on the following are not to pass judgment, but to provoke thought. As I too in the past struggled with addictions to substances, and by the grace of God overcame my struggles and continue to overcome, as salvation is final but the battle is ongoing. My only intention is to encourage others struggling that you too can come out of the darkness into light. So, the place we visited was an area called Christiano, an enclosed courtyard in Copenhagen, were weed and other drugs are sold and are allegedly legal to consume. As we arrived in the taxi my spirit was shaken, as I stated I have journeyed to overcome such things myself, so naturally the enemy began to tempt me with thoughts of reverting to my former self and getting high, but the grace of God washed over my spirit keeping my mind at ease. While we walked through the dark alleyway that lead to the open courtyard, I began to look at the people surrounding the area, as the fumes of marijuana filled the air I looked into their eyes as we walked up the stairs to a restaurant. The emptiness and numbness in the eyes of everyone filled me with sorrow, breathing deep I asked God to reval to them the revelation that there is more to life, more joy found outside of marijuana and that this is not the end for them. After a lovely vegetarian dinner, we leave to explore the courtyard of this place, in my spirit I wanted to evangelise to the lost souls, but something kept me from opening my mouth, and as I write this now I pray over all those in Denmark that utilise that place, I pray that God will give them a new sense of fulfilment, that everyone reading this will know that joy and numbing searched for in substances cannot compare to the life and goodness found in God, which is freely yours to access today if you give your life to him.
(If you want to give your life to Christ declare the prayer below out loud, and email me if you want someone to talk to, we are all journeying in this thing called life one step at a time).
Later, as we walked away from the chaos and numbness of the courtyard, we were happy to see a black man in a taxi cab lined up amongst other drivers. The familiar face and friendly smile brought us a form of comfort as we cruised in the taxi, with the sweet melody of afrobeat’s playing in the background. We conversed about our culture and food, receiving suggestions of where we can eat African food and quizzing the taxi driver about his culture as a Ghanaian. Once we arrived at the hotel, we had received a location for African food and anew afrobeat song to jam too, these are the benefits of supporting black people, good food and even better vibes.
Once we got to the hotel, the only thing left to do that night was sleep. The next day we set off for a breakfast fit for a goddess at the hotel before checking out, and going to explore the streets of Copenhagen, the first stop on our agenda was the famous mermaid statue. Although, due to the rain and lack of time we skipped the mermaid, and opted to take the metro which is easy to operate and again, the country is filled with lovely people so asking someone is no problem. We stopped at the centre of the city after catching the metro which was a 5mins walk away from Avenue hotel (again this hotel just keeps scoring points) the metro is called Forum and is easily accessible from all stations.
From the forum we took a train to Norreport station, instead of the intended Kongens station and ended up having to walk to the famous Nyhavn street. A street filled with colourful houses and buildings that are reminiscent of a childhood favourite tv show Balamory (90’s British babes know). As we walked to Nyhavn we spotted a lot of cool cafes and artwork, that would have been missed had we stayed on the train, so I suggest walking, also you get to really embrace Danish culture, witnessing parents riding their kids in buggy bikes and all sorts. At Nyhavn we took pictures of the view, walked into a museum filled with ancient mosquitoes and wondered around Copenhagen as that area also has a large square, with offical buildings surrounding it and designer shops branching off the roads, a great location for photo’s and Instagram stories. As we were rushed for time, we took camp in the museum to figure out where the nearest African restaurant is so we could eat familiar food before our bus back to Aalborg.
Once we had discovered the Congolese restaurant was closed, we went with another African restaurant, and first time experience for me Ethiopian food; specifically injera, a bread-like open dish with meats, peas, veggies, curries and all sorts placed on top of the flatbread. The experience was new, the restaurant was nice and quaint, with afrobeat’s penetrating the walls as you walked in, and the aroma of spices filling the air of the restaurant, it was a place worth visiting, although personally, I found the injera tasted a little sour however the vegetarian things ontop tasted bomb! I love trying new things, especially exploring more African cultures, it’s fascinating how similar but different we are as a continent, talk less of the differences from regions east, west, south, and north. As a proud West African Nigerian woman myself, I’ve made it a point to explore more of my beautiful motherland Africa and look forward to sharing some of my experiences in the future with you all. So, as for Ethiopian food, I think I will reserve my judgement until I try it in Ethiopia.
Finally, once we finished eating we walked and found nearest station luckily without any maps, and took a train back to Avenue hotel, where our bags were safely stored in their storage, took a taxi to the bus station in good time to catch our bus (Kombardo Expressen) back to Aalborg. Where we relaxed for the remainder of the trip, strolling around Aalborg and sleeping.
Final thoughts about Denmark
Considering this trip was extremely spontaneous with a sole purpose of being purely relaxing and rejuvenating adventure, I was presently surprised at the beauty that is Denmark and the kind hearts of its people, though all countries have their glitches. As expressed by our taxi driver a North African man “as a foreginer the city is nice to visit but once you live here you realise that you are not one of their own.” A statement I understand, as the kindness we experiences is the expected norm,towards tourists visiting other countries, however, it is not always the same experience for expats living in the country, as whilst I lived in China I too experienced this difference. Although, I think living in any country that is not your birth country, it is hard to fully intergrate into, yhat being said, home is where you make it.
Regardless, Denmark overall is a clean, lovely and environmentally conscious country worth visiting. I certainly will return to Avenue hotel in Copenhagen soon, as I didn’t experience the city to its fullest. However, if you’re looking for a quick trip to get away from the noise of London, then Aalborg is a great relaxation spot, though there is not much to do in comparison to Copenhagen. But if like me reading and writing in aesthetically pleasing cafés, with great food then I would suggest Aalborg.
All photo’s are not mine, unless stated otherwise