As this is my first time travelling abroad, just the preparing and packing for this trip was pretty overwhelming. I spent hours researching Copenhagen, places to go, even the route I’d need to take to get from where we were staying, Basecamp, to the university for class. Packing was stressful too, as it felt like I was bringing such big luggage, but it really felt like I would need everything I packed. Going into this trip, I really had no idea what to expect, as I’ve never travelled outside of the US. The flight across the ocean was a very interesting experience, because it was my first time on an overnight flight. I had planned to sleep basically the whole flight, but it ended up being almost impossible. My friend and I flew into Copenhagen a day early, so that we’d have more time to adjust to the time zone change and to explore, and we definitely needed that day for recovery.
We landed in the Copenhagen airport around 9:00 am, and immediately had to figure out the public transit system, which felt incredibly intimidating, especially with no sleep. Thankfully, Copenhagen’s train system is super organized and easy to use, but my phone service hadn’t started working yet and it was almost dead, so it felt pretty scary trying to navigate the city with no working map. Thankfully we finally made it to the AirBnB, and got to learn that pulling luggage over cobblestones is way more difficult than I was prepared for. My friend and I were determined to stay awake the full day to fix the jet lag, but we were both so tired we could barely talk, so we took turns taking super short naps while the other showered. After showers, we set off in search for a place for lunch. Walking around the neighborhood we were staying, it was amazing to see just how many bikes were parked all over the sidewalks, and how few cars there were. We found a small café with amazing burgers and fries, and the went back to take another short nap.
Finally around 5:00 pm, we both felt awake enough to explore, so we walked to a military fortress that was on the water called Kastellet. On the way there, it was again really crazy to see how many bikes were all over the place, and it was so cool how the city was truly designed so that pedestrians and bikers would be able to easier get wherever they needed, rather than it being designed with cars in mind. Walking around the fortress, we realized that the Tour de France time trial route went through the area, so there were tons of yellow flowers and Tour decorations everywhere. We also accidentally stumbled across the Little Mermaid statue, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Copenhagen, although it’s a pretty small statue for being as famous as it is. In June, the sun doesn’t set until around 10:30 at night, and it’s truly surreal to be walking around at 9:00 pm and it still being light out.
The entire first day, I had this really peculiar feeling, because Copenhagen didn’t really feel like it was crazy different from the US, but at the same time, you could also tell that something about the way people lived was very different from how most Americans did. I wish I could say I was so excited about getting to explore, check into our university housing, and experience more of Denmark the next day that I couldn’t sleep, but I really don’t think I’ve ever fallen asleep as fast as I did that first night. I guess people really weren’t exaggerating when describing how intensely shifting time zones can affect you.