Our second stop in Scandinavia was just as cool as our first! Similar to Stockholm, Copenhagen is a biker’s paradise and we took full advantage of it by renting bikes! About 50% of the citizens commute by bike and it is a completely green city (Fun fact: Denmark actually imports trash from other countries to recycle)!
We met up with a couple friends in Copenhagen: Troy Suter, a friend from Notre Dame who moved here in January, and Byron, who has been a frequent visitor on our trip. Troy was an amazing host and showed us the city. It was great to reconnect with him and hear about what living in Denmark is like. Byron, as always, was great to be with and made it fun!
We had a number of really unique experience in Copenhagen, so we decided to highlight those...
The first things we will say about Noma is that it is an EXPERIENCE. And we went into it with no expectations.
Four months back, Marykate put her name on a waiting list for the world famous restaurant. Two weeks before we arrived, she received an email that two seats opened up at the communal table. Done! Noma had been named the best restaurant in the world four times. They moved to a new, larger location and opened Noma 2.0 in February 2018. When the reservation page opened up in November 2017, the restaurant booked up for the first four months of openings. Needless to say, we were lucky to get a seat.
There is no sign at the entrance and the directions are very vague. We actually walked right by it! A woman standing by a chain link gate to a gravel path asked us if we were looking for Noma, happened to be the hostess and showed us to the entrance. She asked us where we were from and we told her it was our first time in Copenhagen. She then asked if we came just for Noma. Surprised, we said "no?" As you walk in, the entire staff stops what they are doing and makes a welcoming line for you. We had no idea, so MK was still outside taking pictures. We were very surprised to see all 90 staff members standing there. MK's reaction was hilarious - she started waving as if she were Meghan Markle at the royal wedding! We were seated at a long table with 16 other people for the next four hours.
The set menu was 20 courses and this season's menu was all fish. Each dish is crazier than the next in terms of presentation and taste. The weirdest had to be the jellyfish that we both ate for the first (and maybe last) time in our lives. As the meal went on, we made friends with the folks on our sides. To one side, two Danish men who were celebrating a business win. We really loved talking to them about Denmark and their experience at the old Noma. On our other side was a couple from Paris. Remember when we were asked if we came to Copenhagen just for Noma? Well, that was the story for this couple. They flew up just for the night and seemed to be elite foodies.
After 4 hours, we finished with a plankton cake and a tour of the facility. The restaurant served 72 guests that night and had 90 employees preparing the meal. Yes, 90! In a week, the staff all works four very intense, long days and has the other three off. Looking back, the employees, the restaurant and the food truly made it an experience. The space itself was absolutely gorgeous - very minimal and cool. We don’t consider ourselves foodies, but we loved the whole experience of it all.
USA vs Sweden in IIHF World Championships
The International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships were taking place in Copenhagen. We just happened to be there during the final four and Team USA made it that far. In addition, our friends Anders Lee was playing and his fiancé, Grace, who went to Loyola Academy and Notre Dame with MK, was traveling with him. MK connected with Grace and we met up with them one night for drinks. The next day we scalped tickets and went to watch the Semifinal matchup between the US and Sweden! Although it didn’t turn out in Team USA’s favor, it was an awesome experience.
Sweden was the best team in the tournament and ended up winning the whole thing. As if they didn’t need more of an advantage, it was practically a home game for them (Sweden is 30 minutes drive over the bridge from Copenhagen). The arena was a sea of yellow! And the Swedish hockey fans are passionate. They were loud, intense and pretty funny throughout the game. We had a blast just soaking in the atmosphere. The Swedes really love their hockey!
Sunset Boat Cruise
Copenhagen is built around water and the city does a remarkable job with their waterfronts. Whether it is a food market or a swimming spot, the whole city seems to be hanging along the waterways on the weekend. We decided to rent a little electric boat and have our own booze cruise on Saturday night. It was a beautiful way to take in the city and the 9:30pm sunset!
Overall, Copenhagen is a spectacular city. We loved the food, hanging out on the water and biking everywhere. As we left, we couldn’t help but feel jealous of Troy as the summer here is just starting. This is definitely a city we will come back to!