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Copenhagen Serendipity

For leisurely walks, and just hanging out, there can be few places more inviting than Copenhagen. I read somewhere that Danes are the happiest people on earth. Sliding into the relaxed, friendly atmosphere of the Danish capital, I can well believe it.

Across the old harbor, just opposite Amalienborg, stands Copenhagen’s new Opera House, which opened 2005.
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Text & Photography: Bo Zaunders

Location, location, location. The familiar saying certainly applied to Scandic Front, the hotel where my wife, Roxie, and I stayed for a couple of days last summer. Situated on the waterfront in historic Copenhagen, it boasted a good view of the Opera House on the opposite bank. A five- minute walk, and you were at Amalienborg Palace, watching the changing of the Royal Guard; a couple of blocks to the south, and you found yourself in the midst of thousands of holiday seekers gathered along the 17th century waterfront canal and old harbor of Nyhavn. From there it was but a few steps to Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen’s largest square – next to Strøget, Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, which, in a rather meandering fashion, led to Radhuspladsen, the City Hall Square. In other words: the perfect location from which to explore the city by foot.

Kongens Nytorv, as I recalled from a couple of years ago, featured a sensational outdoor photo exhibit. This time around, the square had been turned into a market, with food from all over Europe. A little incongruously, a couple of American Indians in full regalia played flute and performed a little dance number.

Startled at seeing the number of people congregating in Nyhavn, I was relieved to find a couple of empty chairs in one of the many cafés and restaurants lining the sidewalk. Nyhavn just wouldn’t be the same without a light lunch, washed down with a Tuborg. Which reminds me of an occasion a few years ago, when I noticed an eerie glitter on the pavement. Closer scrutiny revealed hundreds, if not thousands, of beer caps – leftovers from good times in Nyhavn.
As usual, you saw a lot of children in this friendly, family oriented city. A common sight: the whole family united in front of an ice cream parlor...

Incidental Intelligence:
There are several opportunities to stay in both contemporary modern and classic luxury hotels in Copenhagen. We chose Front Hotel, which is located near the areas we wanted to explore. It belongs to the Scandic Hotels chain and can be researched through www.scandichotels.com/copenhagen.
A visit to the official tourist gateway will give you inspiration and information on a variety of hotels, activities and trip packages: www.visitdenmark.com or call the U.S. office at 212.885.9700
Almost every Danish restaurant in Copenhagen serves the traditional "open faced sandwich" called "smørrebrød" The two restaurants covered by photographs in the article:

Café Sorgenfri
Brolaeggerstraede 8, 1211 København K
T: +45 33 11 58 80 www.cafesorgenfri.dk/

Custom House
Havnegade 441, 1058 København K
T: +45 33 31 o1 30 www.customhouse.dk

Another of the truly classic smørrebrød suppliers and restaurants in Copenhagen is Ida Davidsen, famous for its list of 178 smörrebrød (close to two yards long and in Guinness World Records) and now run by the fifth generation of the same family, at
Store Kongensgade 70, København K (another location inside Tivoli)
T: +45 33 91 36 55 www.idadavidsen.dk/

Getting to Copenhagen and Denmark is easy. Pick any one of the Nordic Airlines; Scandinavian Airlines has direct flights every day from major gateways throughout North America, www.flysas.com, Icelandair allows you an additional stop over on Iceland but from there you can easily transfer to a long list of cities all over Scandinavia, www.icelandair.com

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