I have a rule about my travel photos.
Before I can take any new images on a trip, all the old ones from past excursions need to be edited and saved.
So, on the eve of escaping to San Francisco, Portland, and Washington, D.C., I am sitting on my couch hustling to edit these photos from my 2016 voyage to Copenhagen and Stockholm. These are supremely overdue, but I’m loving the nostalgia I’m feeling as I’m flipping back through these frames.
Copenhagen + Stockholm made up the tail end of my expedition to Europe in March of 2016, a trip I took with my former roommates Hallie and Lindsey, and Hallie’s coworker Brianne. We began this winter adventure in Norway, where we visited Oslo and Tromsø, and then sandwiched a few days in Amsterdam in the middle.
Norway brought the heat early on in the trip by showcasing a spectacular performance of the Northern Lights up in the Arctic on our very first evening in town, and Amsterdam supplied excellent opportunities for urban, cultural and Red Light District exploration. We were all looking forward to spelunking through two more Scandinavian cities, but also a bit skeptical that anything could top the Aurora Borealis and the strategic use of fresh bananas in live Amsterdam sex shows.
Copenhagen is essentially a postcard. It is the most adorable little city I’ve ever visited. You’ve probably put together a puzzle featuring the facade of those cute AF colored buildings on the waterfront, otherwise known as the Nyhavn. This is where I spent most of my time, cozied up with my Kindle on a sidewalk patio eating smørrebrød (delicious open-faced sandwiches with all sorts of different flavors).
Per usual, we started with a tour by my favorite company, Sandeman’s, to familiarize ourselves with the city. I promise I don’t work for them nor do I get paid for any of this promotion, but I’ve never been disappointed by a Sandeman’s tour. A+, 10/10, 100%. Every time.
It’s not a surprise at all that Copenhagen boasts one of the happiest populations in the world. It’s picturesque on every corner and dense with entertainment and activities without feeling overwhelming like some of the larger European cities. We definitely enjoyed our time here and were bummed to leave when the time came.
For our last stop of the trip, we ended up in Stockholm. To be honest, I don’t have many good things to say about the Swedish city. For whatever reason — it could have been the absolute shit weather (all rain, wind and clouds) or the fact that the city itself is fairly spread out over a handful of islands, providing a depressing, isolated feel to each of the popular neighborhoods — we did not quite enjoy our time in the capital.
I will say, though: the Swedes know their public transportation. This metro system takes the cake as the best I’ve ridden in the world, and I am obsessed with public transport. Their system even reigns supreme over the Parisian métro, a feat I had previously imagined insurmountable (I live for le métro). The trains were always on time and came just as fast as they left. Clean, efficient, available. A dream come true for a transportation nerd.
Finally, visiting this city would be incomplete without mentioning the music. Ace of Base’s The Sign album was my first CD that I ever bought when I was about eight years old, living in California. A few Swedish kids had moved into the apartment building that I lived in, and my god our parents must have hated us as all we did was sing their songs. In the car, at the pool, in our rooms: nothing but Ace of Base. We recorded their music videos onto VHS tapes to incessantly re-watch in order to master their dance moves and mannerisms. That CD never left my boom box, and to this day, I still know all the words to those bangin 90s pop jams.
We also stopped by the Swedish Music Hall of Fame (which, obviously, is in the same building as the ABBA Museum) one afternoon and geeked out at finding a Swedish House Mafia t-shirt and old newspaper clipping about the monolithic EDM group. We spent the better part of that afternoon trying to find anything with SHM branding on it for our friend Clark, whose love for Swedish DJs rivals my love for public transport. (That’s saying something, fam.)
At this point, a little over two weeks had passed and we were ready to return stateside. We’d had our fair share of shopping at H+M (there is literally one on every corner) and so we flew back to Denver via Icelandair (a dirt cheap way to get to Europe).
I’m so happy we all made this trip happen. To be able to take international trips with your best friends is the most integral part of living on this planet. There is very little else worth living for, and I hope travel to Europe or Southeast Asia or Africa or somewhere far, far away from this country is in your foreseeable future.
First stop: Copenhagen
What we came for: Nyhavn, the famous 17th-century waterfront canal full of restaurants, hotels and entertainment
In front of Amalienborg, the home of the Danish royal family
The Little Mermaid, a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen
View from the top of the Rundetaarn Observatory
Does McDonald’s have to ruin everything? Okay whatever, I love Big Macs
A man and his pigeons
A favorite frame of mine from the boat tour; the Church Of Our Savior in the distance
The metro in Stockholm! A public-transport-nerd’s delight
Honestly, if we had spent all of our time on this trip in the metro, I would have been 100% okay with that
Brianne and I spent a little time in this old-ass cemetery before hitting the ABBA Museum
Wandering through the narrow streets of Old Town Stockholm
My favorite image from Stockholm
Dammit Lindsey, get it together
View from the top of the hill near Fotografiska, a rad photography museum and my favorite part of Stockholm