Copenhagen

THE SKY was the same milky white as the snow on the ground when I arrived.
A calm paleness that was in the buildings too: pastel pinks, yellows and blues offset with crisp-edged white windows.
Copenhagen suits the snow.
It's like the icing on the hindbærsnitter and the cinnamon bun I ate, the skyr dolloped at breakfast, the froth of the many lattes I drunk to warm myself up. It sits neatly on branches, lies on the ground still-white and unmuddied (the cycling infrastructure means no brown, slushy pavements). It rests on sculptures that, in the Narnia that Copenhagen becomes in the winter, seem frozen by the White Witch, waiting for spring.

I started my trip with lunch - an obscenely healthy but delicious one at Palæo (in anticipation of the many cakes, coffees and pastries I planned on eating).
Then coffee and that hindbærsnitter at a bakery while I got my bearings (for most of the trip I inexplicably could hardly work out north from south).
Under fading afternoon light, I made my way through the Rosenborg Palace gardens - serenely blanketed in white while the palace itself reached skywards with the trees.
At the lakes in the middle of the city - frozen and sprinkled with snow - geese and swans and black ducks gathered and swooped overhead. It was easy to see where Hans Christian Anderson might have got the inspiration for some of his stories.
Seeing other people playing on it, I stepped onto one of the lakes myself - sliding along on exposed patches - before walking along the path at the edge among hardy runners unfazed by the icy conditions (that Viking blood).
When I saw an Instagram post of the food at Grisen I knew I had to go there, so for dinner I huddled in its cosy candlelight for a rather epic burger drenched in shimmering gravy.  
I then settled into my room at the Airbnb apartment I booked - a sweet place overlooking the Assistens Cemetery, complete with apparently typical Copenhagen over-the-toilet shower that ironically was more powerful than the one I have at home.
The next day, at GRØD, I had probably one of the best breakfasts ever - porridge with a pool of dulce de leche (with almonds and apple and a green smoothie for, you know, balance): perfect food for embracing that Danish concept, hygge
Then with a warming latte in hand I strolled through the cemetery, walking between soaring poplars on the way to the grave of Hans Christian Anderson.
From there I visited the indoor food market, stopping to look at the tulips and fruit that tumbled brightly beside the snow.
Back in the city centre, I powered up the Round Tower, taking in the views of snow-dusted rooftops, before stopping in at the flag-decked town hall for a quick nose around.
I then went to the Glyptoteket, which I happily discovered was free on Tuesdays. The centrepiece of this museum is a spectacular indoor garden, where huge palm trees and a glass dome bring light and life (there's a cafe too with rather nice open-faced sandwiches).
Art-wise, there were rows and rows of sculptures (including a Rodin that does Beyoncé moves) and an exhibition of unframed paintings by Monet, van Gogh and a few others, that highlighted the techniques and physicality of the colourful artworks.
Another evening stroll back to the apartment then, where I had a lazy dinner of bread, luminous pink beetroot salad and liquorice ice cream. 
The next morning I ventured a little further down the city, walking smugly along Falkoner Allé and stopping to admire the ivy-clad Frederiksberg Church, before having breakfast at Granola - fuel for a little train journey to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Said to be one of the most beautiful galleries in the world, I could see why as, icy blue, the sea and sky stretched out behind a Henry Moore sculpture in the garden: a stunning backdrop - by turns calming and stunning - to the gallery itself. A sort of arctic Little House on the Prairie.
I was there to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, which, away from the serene snow, provided dizzying bursts of colour, mirrors and pattern. There were her painstakingly produced "net" paintings and a room decorated wall to wall with stickers (you're given one as you go in - where to put it?!) and her oddly pleasing giant pumpkins, two of which greeted you, dusted with snow, at the front of the gallery. I had a wander around the grounds and, I have to say, a bumpy go on a metal slide intended, I suspect, for people smaller-bodied than me. I had lunch (another open-faced sandwich, with mushrooms) at the cafe, took in the views once more then hopped back on the train to the city.
At night I feasted on pizza and polenta chips at Rossopomodoro in the sleek surroundings of Illum, Copenhagen's version of Selfridges or Harvey Nichols, which, in more hospitable conditions, has a roof terrace to drink in cocktails and views.


My last day in Copenhagen had come quickly - and with it the crisp, wintry blue skies I had been hoping for.
After my morning toilet shower, I stepped blinkingly into the sun and had breakfast again at GRØD, this time the barley, rye and spelt porridge with pear and liquorice sugar (my first time was in the cafe in the west of Copenhagen but here I cosied up in their branch at the food market).
From there I headed north through the Botanic Gardens, which, with its carpeting of snow, felt magicked into a film set - like the frozen zoo in Batman Returns.
But in the palm house, where the temperature jumped about 35 degrees, I was transported to the tropics. In the huge glass building, I clambered up the spiral staircases to rustle about the canopy.
Back in the bracing, cool air outside, I made my way to Leckerbaer - a bakery with exquisitely-made cakes and biscuits that you can see being made through the kitchen window at the side of the entrance.
Seawards now, to perhaps Copenhagen's most famous resident, the Little Mermaid. The statue is sometimes said to be one of the most disappointing tourist attractions ever, but, bigger than I imagined, I thought her sweet and, knowing the original and not Disneyfied story, she seemed quietly forlorn against the sparkling water of the harbour.
Coming back down to the city centre, at Amelienborg Palace I stumbled onto the changing of the guards who, after I walked away, seemed to be around every corner I turned as they marched through the streets.
Taking advantage of the clear skies, I went up the tower of Christiansborg Palace  (for free) for panoramic views of Copenhagen. Faintly in the distance, as if pencilled onto the sky was the Øresund Bridge, which connects Denmark to Sweden.
With my last few hours, I ventured across the water to Christianshaven. More colourful houses stood next to boats reflected in the canal, which, crystal clear, revealed a few bikes (they really are everywhere) which had met a watery end...
It's funny to think how a place, a city, changes over the course of the year, with the seasons, the weather; but how it will probably stay in your mind the way it was when you first saw it...
Before I went back to the airport, I noticed a bench beside the metro stop, frosted white. And on it, the words TODAY TOMORROW FOREVER, in the snow.






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