After the Easter long weekend, I had even more to look forward to: my mom was coming to visit from March 28-31. Since she was driving 12 hours each way from the south of Germany, we only had two full days together – but I was determined to pack in as much as possible in that time.
The trip started out badly for my mom. Since I live in a pretty remote street, it took her forever just to even find me. Luckily I’d whipped up some Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps for her (no pictures because let’s face it, we were hungry) and Skinny Fruit ‘n’ Nut Bars for dessert (a beautiful creation that
we I devoured in no time). After all, I wanted to show my mom how domestic and self-sustaining I am now that I don’t live at home.
The only time my mom had been in Copenhagen before was when she dropped me off at the beginning of January, so any attempts to see the city then were interrupted by the cold and darkness. I had mostly divided her trip in two parts: on one hand, I wanted to show her some of the city’s most touristy sights, acting as a tour guide; on the other hand, I saw it as an opportunity to get a lot off my to-do list that I didn’t want to do alone.
We started the next morning off by biking my usual commute to work, giving her a glimpse of Islands Brygge. We then biked to Rådhuspladsen, locked up our bikes, and managed the rest of the day by foot.
Walking along Strøget, I pointed out Tiger, one of my favourite stores for pretty much everything. After touring the three floors and picking out plenty of things my mom could use for her 50th birthday party this summer, we continued along to Nyhavn, one of Copenhagen’s iconic sites.
I was starting to get hungry for lunch, so I took my mom to one of the spots I had wanted to eat at for months: Torvehallerne. There are so many shops and stalls here that I am always overwhelmed by the choices of delicious, fresh foods and can’t decide what to spend my precious money on. On this day we settled on pizza and a chocolate banana cake and lemon-marzipan cinnamon bun for dessert.
We took our dessert to go and walked through Kongens Have before heading to Kastellet so my mom could see The Little Mermaid. From there we walked to Marmor Kirken and Amalienborg (where my mom took a photo of a handsome palace guard), then to Christiansborg to take the elevator up Taarnet to see the city from above.
At this point, we were pretty beat, so we headed to the Danish Tim Hortons – Baresso – for a couple of flavoured lattes before taking the train home and watching Germany destroy Italy in a football friendly.
Tuesday had been beautiful and sunny so, in classic Copenhagen fashion, the weather on Wednesday was utter garbage.
I wanted to show my mom Frederiksberg Have after the beautiful first day of spring I’d spent there just a week and a half earlier. Sadly, the rain, fog, and insanely loud birds made the whole experience a lot eerier than I had planned. The highlight was finding a tree filled with pacifiers, accompanied by notes parents had written from their children letting the tree know they had outgrown their pacifier but appreciated their time with it. It was weird…ly adorable.
Thankfully, after the long day before we had decided to drive to the park, and once it started pouring rain we headed back to the car in search of our next destination: the Carlsberg Brewery. Since we had left without a map and no phone service, it was a great opportunity to show my mom how frustrating it is trying to read street signs and find your way in this city. Eventually we found our way to the brewery, where I finally got a behind the scenes look at one of my favourite beers.
The tour starts with a free Carlsberg and a view of the largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world. (While I do like to collect unique bottles, I can’t imagine ever leaving them unopened for so long. I mean, it’s beer!)
From there, you are taken to a written history of the company, which I actually found quite fascinating. It’s a lovely story of healthy father-son competition that leads to insanely fast growth in sales. Next, you get to see what life was like in the old brewhouse, including workers’ lockers and the testing lab. After a quick walk through the sculpture garden (which I’m sure is just lovely in the sunshine), you get a peek at the stables which still house horses today.
At the end of the tour our stomachs were grumbling for lunch, so we made our way to the Jacobsen Brewhouse and Bar on the upper floor. From there we could take a look at the current brewery – it looks a little less exciting but a lot more efficient than what we’d seen on the tour. The restaurant serves a wide variety of Carlsberg beers and Somersby ciders alongside local delicacies.
By the time we were outside again, the rain had stopped, but gloomy clouds were still looming over the city. At this point I convinced my mom to join me in an activity I’d wanted to do for months but definitely not alone: go to the cat café.
Café Miao is right along one of the busiest streets in Copenhagen, but if you don’t know it’s there, you might miss it – despite its bright pink awnings adorned with cats. I know a few people who have visited cat cafés around the world before and I had reserved expectations. I mean, cats are still cats. Even if they’re friendly enough to live in an environment occupied by strangers, they’re still going to forcefully ignore you if they’re not interested in any attention.
Luckily, on this day most of the cats were out, and a few woke up and were pretty social.
The café serves cat-shaped food, but since we’d just had lunch we each settled on a hot drink and a piece of cake – also with a cat-related touch.
Not seeing my cat is one of the hardest parts of travelling and living away from home, so I hoped being in the company of so many kitties would provide a short comfort that had been lacking since I moved. Of course, nothing can replace the familiar warmth of my own cat on my lap.
The weather hadn’t gotten any better by the time our parking pass ran out, so I showed my mom a few notable spots on the drive home. We ended her trip with one last group dinner at my house and a bottle of wine. The wine especially was a fitting preview as to how we’ll be spending our time in Germany this summer.