Copenhagen Diaries || Last few days in Denmark

I have finally gotten to my last Denmark post. 🙂 We spent our last Sunday in Copenhagen with the two nicest people I have met in Denmark. We met up at Joe & the Juice which is somewhat like Starbucks here in the Philippines, wherein it’s everywhere, only it’s more healthy than Starbucks. I ordered Sex on the Beach, mostly because the name is interesting, but one of the ingredients is ginger! J and I with our favorite colleagues! 🙂 Both of them bakes as well, and they brought us some scones and Vanille Kranse (translation: Danish Cookie Rings, not in the photo).

After some Christmas shopping at Fisketorvet Shopping Center, we went to Torvehallerne.

Christmas Caroling in the market.

We went cheese tasting.

We had lunch and (let’s call our colleagues A and U), A ordered some of this Paleo food. While U ordered pizza! I love the one with lots of potatoes in it! One of the best things about Danish food is it mostly includes potatoes and I could survive with potatoes (as long as it is cooked differently) every day.

We were so full after eating everything (this much food for four people had gotten my skirt so tight around my waist, I found it hard to breathe). We walked around to relieve us of that “too full” feeling. There were a lot of sweets and if I was not that full, I probably would have tried everything.

See the pastry that has a crown in it? The label said Galette des Rois – it is a popular flake French pastry filled with almond cream. There is a doll (or whatever you want to hide) called feve hidden inside and once served, only one gets a slice with the doll in it. It is said that whoever gets the doll will have good luck for one year (and will also get to wear the crown). I know all of this from memory because I watch a lot of pastry shows okay (so I may not have gotten every detail right). Hahahaha!

Chocolate covered marshmallow cream. I’m not sure if that description’s true but that is how it was when we tried it. There were a lot of flavors (plain, blueberry, mocha, etc) but it was a little messy to eat.

Sweets-inspired bath soaps! I wanted to buy some but I kept thinking that no matter how yummy the smell may be, I probably would not get around to using it. Hahaha!

Whenever I see flower stalls, I think of those movies where you’re roaming around the market with a guy (or you simply pass by a flower stand) and he stops to buy you some. Those are small gestures but it gets to me. Every single time. Maybe because it has never happened to me? *cough chicken boy cough*

A bought us take away dinner (which was a lot).. because we were not aware that U was also buying us take away dinner of fish and chips, and fish tacos, at the same time. Hello, piggies!

Funny how whenever we encounter an obstacle, we feel like we’re trapped between walls that are closing down. We get suffocated, and when things get tight, we feel like we have to give up. We forget that we have all been made to survive. And survive we did. Through hardships, pain, failures, rejections, long nights of crying.. I may not have gotten the “dream job” I had eyed for when I graduated from the university. And the rejection made me feel humiliated, and it seriously lowered my self-confidence. I can’t help but ask why I got everything else (and turned them down) but not the one I wanted. Now, I see the big picture. I was meant to be taught a lesson in humility. No matter how high you think of yourself, someone else will always be better than you. You have to keep your feet grounded and your head on top of your shoulders, not up high in the clouds. It’s okay to dream and aim for the moon, but nothing worth it ever comes easy. You have to work hard and keep going at it. The people who succeed in life are the ones who do their best and work with whatever that has been given to them. That is something I always have to keep in mind. And you know what, that saying “Being rejected is being redirected to something better”.. it’s true. 🙂 I may not have gotten what I wanted but I am somewhere unexpectedly good.

So thank you, current job, for the opportunity (via business trip and, well, mostly my nice salary) to see a small part of the world in the span of 2013 (Puerto Galera, Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and Macau), and for the medical benefit that has covered more than half of my mom’s hospital bills. I may hate it sometimes (especially when I’m tired and overworked) but I will always be grateful.

Copenhagen Diaries || Returning to Tivoli Gardens

Waking up to this view outside my hotel window has got to be one of those moments I will remember forever. Hello, Winter Wonderland! J and I spent our last Saturday apart. I was thinking if I should take the train to Sweden but I got a little scared to go to another country alone. Boo, self! I went and got myself lost in Strøget instead by going inside alleys, etc.

I found a Lego store! I bought C’s sister a key chain and went on.

I also went and explored the Christmas Market. I stopped in all the stalls that offered free taste and tasted everything I can! Hahaha! I then bought Hungarian sausage in a bun for DKK 35.

Found this quirky store where I would have bought everything I could afford and could fit in my luggage! I am serious in saying that. I was not sure if you could take photos inside this shabby chic shop, but I spent around an hour rummaging through everything!

I went from bookstore to bookstore to find an English Hans Christian Andersen book that was not overpriced! And I found it here for DKK 249 (in some shops I found it for DKK 350).

To reward myself, I ate some more. Haha! I tried the Crepe Bike I have been seeing all over the place. Crepe Bike guy in action! The pancake batter was in a squeeze bottle for convenience, and while the crepe was cooking, Crepe Bike guy was slicing the banana. Banana Nutella Crepe. Om nom nom nom!

Dropped some of my coins over to the street performers. I have passed by them a couple of times already, but this was the only time I actually stopped to enjoy the Christmas songs they were playing.

Saw some pigeons and ran over to them just so they would fly away – just like in the movies! I bet I looked really silly doing so but I simply did not care. It’s not as if it was a scenario I could manipulate as much as I want to. 🙂

Went back to Tivoli that afternoon since Winter Wonderland + Tivoli + Christmas seemed like a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Went back to Svaneke Is to hang out for a while. I am in love with the glass roof. Drank hot choco and ate some of the Boy Bawang I brought with me to DK. 🙂

All those plastics you see are souvenirs! I went a little crazy and bought 4 big jars of jam, two books, ref magnets, stuff from H&M, special candies and chocolates.. I was actually undecided on buying a Pandora bracelet so I did not and now I regret that I did not. 😦 Snow may look nice but it turns into ice after a while. I walked slowly after seeing (and laughing at) a kid who slipped while running on the ice.

Trying to warm my hands with this although all I could think about whenever I see one is barbecue. I tried to get as many photos taken with anything that is covered with snow.

I saw Santa!

I did not have lunch, all because I got full from all the food tasting and from buying snacks throughout the day. J and I met up to have dinner together, again, at a Thai place. 🙂

Copenhagen Diaries || Losing my snow-ginity

Here’s another summary of my week, like the other one, this consists of my work days. The photos below are of our usual hotel breakfasts.

Remember how I said in another post that there’s a reason why we love warm food? Take a look at our usual lunch meals at the office. There was a day where the canteen served rice, but it didn’t taste like rice at all.

A photo from when we were working late again. It’s already dark outside.

So we had dinner with (literally) my favorite colleagues in Denmark. We had sausage in a bun with Cocio. Among all the nice people we have encountered, they were the nicest ones! This girl was the one who we had dinner with on our first Monday in Denmark. Matching glasses! 🙂

More Thai food for dinner! J and I made it a habit of exploring narrow streets (with the condition that it must be well lighted and does not look sketchy) to look for food whenever we get out of the office early. We almost always end up at Asian places.

And then there were days we literally end up at an Asian place! We met some guys who are originally from the branch in China and was staying in a nearby apartment. J cooked Adobong Manok while one of the Chinese guys also cooked. Food, champagne, and good company. Going to Denmark had exposed me to a lot of cultures. We had red wine, Chinese wine and tea (in separate glasses of course) when the champagne ran out. Yes, I was the youngest of the group, and everyone I’m within this photo (including the one who took the photos) are all managers. I did not drink that much since I make it a rule (for myself) to never drink more than two glasses of anything that has alcohol in it when I do not know the people I’m drinking with very well.

Friday finally came! Every morning, J and I check the weather conditions (via a weather app on her phone) so we could dress appropriately (I am not going to wear a skirt if it’s going to be windy, or J will wear her rain boots if it’s going to drizzle). However, the unexpected happened when it started raining little bits of ice. See those white stuff on the road? That’s ice!

Initially, we thought it was snow, but then the birthday girl (slash favorite colleague) explained that it was not. It’s just hale. Yes, she bakes too! She brings us snacks, gave me a huge set of cookie cutters, earrings from France for J and wished that we get to see snow for her birthday. Can you be any nicer baji (Translation: elder sister in Pakistan)? 🙂

We left early because we had to go to Strøget (again, I know right?) to buy something. The ice is still there! Put my hood over my head since all the ice falling from the ice has started to get my hair wet and I do not want my health to fail on me. We had Indian cuisine for dinner, before walking back to the bus stop to go home to the hotel. While waiting for the bus, it rained ice real hard! All the people were huddling inside the covered bus stop but we enjoyed every minute of it.

By 9 PM that night, I was safely tucked in bed, watching MTV’s reruns of Awkward in my sweater and tights when J sent me a message in Viber that said: “Look outside your window!!!!!”. When I did, I immediately piled on clothes (over my sweater and tights) and the two of us ran outside. YAY! It does not show in the photos, but it was windy and our faces hurt. The people are all running towards the hotel, and the two of us were running outside. I kept trying to hold on to my hoodie. Remember, I was still recovering from the flu. I look like a kid who just found out Santa is real! And we threw snowballs at each other. Thank you baji for your awesome birthday wish. 🙂 (video is at the end)

Copenhagen Diaries || Tivoli Gardens

After exploring Rosenborg Slot, we looked for a place to eat around Central Station. Fortunately, we found a nice Thai place. Yay rice and warm food! It may seem weird that we are so obsessed with eating warm food but our usual lunch in the office is bread, cold cuts, and salad. The only hot thing you can get for breakfast is tea or coffee.

After lunch, we found our way to Tivoli! I’ll let the photos to do the talking. DISCLAIMER: All the snow in these photos are fake and simply sprayed on the displays.

The Nimb Hotel.

Both of the times we were in Tivoli, we always go here – mainly due to my insistence. This is how I want my future cakery/coffee shop to look like!

I didn’t have any protection over my head (yes, no bonnet whatsoever) which I think is the main reason why it took so long for my flu to go away. I kept trying on bonnets but never really buying anything.

See you next weekend, Tivoli. 🙂

We passed by Copenhagen City Hall on our way back to the bus stop.

We didn’t know what this was for, but there were a lot of people going around and there was even media coverage.

Copenhagen Diaries || Rosenborg Castle

We took a bus from the zoo to Rosenborg Castle. Like I said in a previous post, thanks to our Copenhagen Card, we did not have to pay the entrance fee (DKK 80). We did have to pay DKK 20 to be able to take photos inside. If you do so, you will have a sticker to put somewhere the staff can see so they would let you. You can also use this sticker in Amaliensborg Slot. This castle is smaller than Frederiksborg Slot, given that this is only used as a summer house.

They have a lot of detailed drawers and clocks, I just want one for myself. Haha!

Can I just say that this was one of my rooms? Flora and fauna themed stuff! Give it to me!!!

The Iron Throne. Hahaha!

Jewelry boxes. Can I please have one?

They also keep the Crowned Jewels in a heavily guarded underground room in this palace.


Copenhagen Diaries || Copenhagen Zoo

Thanks to our Copenhagen Card, we still get to do some more touristy stuff! And if it isn’t obvious yet, I enjoy doing touristy stuff in colorful touristy clothes. Walking towards the correct bus station is like having a photo walk. Because this place is so damn photogenic. The abundance of the Christmas beer during this season though is unfortunate, but I’ll keep on smiling even if there is vomit in the bus stop.

Off to Copenhagen Zoo, we go! J and I were a big hit with the kids in the zoo. We’re very colorful as well!

I was not able to see any elephants. Where are they anyway?

It was that cold that penguins can stay outside. They were close enough to touch but I didn’t (just so you know). Fun fact: when a penguin finds “The One”, they stick to it and never let them go.

And yes, even the polar bears. No worries, unlike the penguins, they are pretty far from the viewing deck. Fun fact: A polar bear keeps its body in a real high temperature, which is why they can survive living in the cold.

If I could take this giant stuffed toy home, I would have.

Copenhagen Diaries || Frederiksborg Castle

For our second weekend in Copenhagen, we opted to buy a 48-hour Open Copenhagen card. This card costs DKK 449 (the 24-hour one is cheaper at DKK 249, but we had two days to spare so might as well buy the 48-hour one), and you can use it in all public transport (buses, trains, etc) and to gain entry to most of the attractions in Copenhagen (and outside, as we went to Hillerød for this castle).

First stop is Frederiksborg Palace (Frederiksborg Slot) in Hillerød. This castle is located in Hillerød. To get here, take the train to Hillerød and then ride a bus. We found out that there’s an alternative way, but more on that later.

My first word when I saw this.. Wow. I sincerely wished my eyes could take photos because I just could not quite capture how I saw it in real life.

What I honestly love about castles, now that I’ve seen one in real life, is the splendor of it. Every room inside the castle must have taken a lot of time to work on because the details are impeccable. Even the ceilings are decorated – in each room! Even the hallway ceilings!

Even the palace chapel is amazing. If I remember correctly, there was a fire and this survived. The chapel is kept as is from the day King Christian IV had it built.

We went outside to view the Frederiksborg Palace Garden. I bet this garden look amazing during Spring and Summer.

Afterward, we were supposed to go back to the train station and visit some more tourist spots. But the bus took too long to come and we were bored so I suggested that we walk. Besides, it was only four bus stops aways! But we got lost in Hillerød. Fortunately, there was a burger joint to answer our grumbling tummies. Fun fact: either I drink San Pellegrino or elderflower. They have generous servings for everything – except fish and chips at Nyhavn. Haha!

We found our way back though! Getting lost was not so bad after all even if it was already dark when we got back and ended up calling it a day. 🙂

Copenhagen Diaries || Why I’m in Denmark

The person who has the highest expectations for me is – me. I know it’s a good thing, but I tend to pressure myself to be the best version of me. And that includes making a good impression on our Danish counterparts. So, hello “first” day of work! But my luck was running low that day. Sigh. We are expected to be in the office by 8:30 AM every day. The travel time from the hotel to the office is around 45 minutes. Since we needed to be punctual, we left the hotel by 7 AM. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong platform and boarded the wrong train. It was going the other way. It was already past 8 AM, and we were still waiting for a train. J (my colleague) previously stayed in a different hotel which is one of the reasons why we got lost.We got there past 9 AM, and our teammates were very worried since they thought we might have gotten ourselves in danger (or something similar).

All in all, it was a good day. It was nice to finally be speaking face to face with people we only conversed with via e-mail and messenger. One of them was nice enough to bring us to a Thai place and treat us to dinner! Hello again, rice! I’m not a fan of spicy food but it really does the job of keeping me warm.

Fun fact: you can bring your bikes inside the train! They have an area for that too, along with a quiet room wherein nobody is allowed to make noises inside the carriage. So cool! (you are not allowed to bring bicycles on trains here in the PH and it’s always very noisy inside) However, there was this one incident where a drunk guy sat beside me (because a lot of people actually drink beer in the train at night) and started talking to me in Danish. I politely excused myself then J and I transferred to another carriage, only to be followed by the guy we’re avoiding. We got off at the next station and waited for another train.

Sleeping on the train because we always have to wake up early for work.

There were also times where I stood out in the sea of navy, black, gray, brown and all the other dull winter colors because of my outfits.

Being on a trip for work meant that we still had the same workload. We worked until late hours (there were two consecutive days where we worked past midnight), in some ways, it’s just like working at a different workstation. On days where we didn’t have time to explore, we ate at the nearby mall – Fisketorvet Shopping Center. And yet again, we had Asian food.

I guess there’s a reason why I got sent to Denmark.. I need to finish what I started. Even if it meant, staying up at the hotel lobby in my sleepwear to work.

There were days where a fellow Asian who has migrated to Denmark (and also a colleague), goes out of her way to feed us more Asian food. Asians unite! We ate at an Asian franchise, Wagamama is in Tivoli. I just love elderflower! I drank elderflower every time I get the chance to do so.

Not only the Asians are friendly – even the Danish were! We get invited for dinner and wine at their homes and get driven back to the hotel when it’s late. I also got a real bad case of the flu during our first week due to the cold and I immediately get offered a cup of tea whenever I cough. Good people, I tell you. 🙂

Last outfit photo for this first-week-in-DK-summary post, and the same outfit, only I’m all bundled up and ready to go outside.

Copenhagen Diaries || Touring Copenhagen

Our first full day in Denmark was a Sunday! I woke up real early – 3 AM early – knocked on my colleague’s hotel room and found out she was up as well. Hello, jet lag! It is awfully windy in Copenhagen, but whatevs. Nothing is going to hinder me from wearing dress/skirt + tights, and colorful clothes! We walked towards the train station (Central Station) again, aimlessly wandering around, trying to think of where to go first.

Fortunately, we saw a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour in front of the train station. However, since we haven’t had any breakfast from 3 AM, we bought chocolate croissants and hot chocolate from the nearby 711. Boarded the bus after paying DKK 190, only to find out from one of the tourists later in the afternoon that they only paid DKK 150 for it! The bus had audio plugs where you can connect your earphones/headphones for a guided bus tour in the city.

The bus passes through nearby tourist spots and iconic must-see sights, such as the Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid). The writer of the beloved children’s story, The Little Mermaid, is Danish guy Hans Christian Andersen. There were a lot of tourists that went down near the statue, but we did not. Since we were near a body of water, every time the wind blew, I literally felt a chill in my bones. Unfortunately, this is also where I lost my pink gloves.

Next stop, Rosenborg Castle (Rosenborg Slot). This is actually where they keep the Crowned Jewels! More details on another post since we did not go inside because the entrance itself cost DKK 80. We reserved it for the day we’re buying an Open Copenhagen Card (again, this will be for another post). Since the buses have a gap of around 15-30 minutes before they arrive in one of their designated stops, we decided to walk back to Strøget with another tourist. We bought some pastries from a coffee shop we passed by to fill our tummies a bit.

There was a Christmas Market in Strøget.

We walked some more until we got to the Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke). You can actually climb up the tower but we didn’t since it was real windy. Having just lost my gloves in 3° weather, my hands have started to feel numb already. We went inside the church though, and it was way different from the churches I have visited in the past.

We proceeded to Christiania after. Fun fact: weed is very much legal here. Unfortunately, picture taking is not. So here is a quick photo from the entrance (literally – we asked the tourist we met to whip out the camera, take a photo, then we started brisk walking away. Hahaha!).

Christmas in Nyhavn. I was so hungry at the time, I forgot to take a touristy photo of the colorful establishments and the canal tour boats! We finally had lunch at one of the restaurants. It was overpriced in my opinion (I had fish and chips for DKK 98 and they charged us DKK 5 for a glass of warm water), but maybe it was just me? I come from Manila, where DKK 103 would have gotten me 250g-300g steak from a decent restaurant. We gained a tourist friend from the bus tour! She’s originally from London but she currently resides in Dubai. We spent the rest of the day with her, mostly walking around the city.

After lunch, our new found friend treated us with some waffle sticks! This stall can be found everywhere, I tell you. See that I’m now wearing gloves again? Fortunately, my colleague had an extra pair with her (I left my extra pair at the hotel).

Hotel d’Angleterre. Apparently, staying here will cost you a lot – as per our jet-setter friend.

..and we’re back to Strøget. Illum’s display window was my favorite sight in the shopping street.

Last stop is Tivoli! Here is where we parted ways, she had an early flight back to Dubai the following day while the two of us had to go to work. This photo is taken just past 3 PM – winter season is amazeballs (still, tropical countries are the best!).

Copenhagen Diaries || Stepping foot in Europe

If you asked me when I got this job (last 2012) if it crossed my mind that I would ever get to go to Denmark – or Europe, in general – in the next year, I probably would have laughed at you. Come on, I’m 22. I don’t come from a rich family. And even though I aspired to go to Europe, I was thinking more of 2015 at the soonest. Aside from that, it’s common knowledge at the office that you would need to reach a certain level or tenure to be qualified to go to the HQ in Denmark. I am still in a graduate position and have only been working for a year, so when it was announced that two from a team of six (where I obviously belong) was to go, it wasn’t anything exciting – at least for me. For some weird reason, one of the senior test developers refused to go.. and the weirdest thing was, when he closed that door, it opened for me! (#JustMyLuck) Sure, it was short notice. I went and panic bought heat tech clothes from Uniqlo, squeezed in half of the winter clothes I have been buying from thrift stores for a while (they said I was crazy for buying cold weather clothes knowing I lived in a tropical country – but who’s laughing now? Hahaha!), and my Schengen Visa was released eight hours before our flight. After 9-10 hours of sleeping on the plane to Dubai, a two-hour layover in Dubai (we went via Emirates Airline) and another 6 hours of sleeping on the plane – I finally got my feet on European soil!

I lived in Wakeup Copenhagen for three weeks! Nothing fancy, the room I stayed in was smaller than my bedroom but no complaints, I’m in Denmark, yay! 🙂

Due to the time difference, even when we left Manila 12:40 AM on a Saturday, we arrived in Copenhagen by noon that same day. No time to waste! We checked in, left our luggage at our rooms and went to Copenhagen Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård, København H). To be honest, we just went there so I could ride the train and see the biggest railway station in Copenhagen. The colleague I went with has been to DK before so she let me experience all the touristy stuff.

Afterward, we walked to Strøget (we sure did a lot of walking here). It’s a long street full of boutiques and souvenir shops, from cheap ones (some are full of clothes with no brands) to high-end ones (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, etc.). I honestly only brought one pair of shoes/boots with me, so when I saw a huge SALE sign outside ALDO, we went in and bought boots! It got dark pretty fast, and the 2° weather was quite chilling even with all the layers of clothes I had on.

More posts to come! Fair warning though, I didn’t bring a camera with me, so most of the photos I have are photos taken by my mobile phone or my colleague’s mobile phone. Sucks when your camera breaks while you’re in Puerto Galera. Haha!