After a restless night in the Barcelona airport, I arrived in Copenhagen to a sweltering 20 degrees Celcius. I decided to wander the city aimlessly to see what I’d come across.

I’d just decided that I’d head back to the hostel and grab a jacket before dinner when I came across some gorgeous street art and a sign, “_______.” Intrigued, I walked into the semi-autonomous region of Christiania, and idly wandered, snapping pictures of all the lovely artwork. I had just thought to myself that it felt a little like Haight Street in San Francisco when I came across a sign: “Have fun. Don’t run–it causes panic. No photos–buying and selling hash is still illegal.” I read the sign again, and wandered where exactly I’d found myself. Turns out Christiania is the unofficial green light district of the city, filled with absolutely stunning art on the sides of the building and a very chilled vibe.

Everything in Denmark is expensive, but I managed to find myself a meal for 59 kroner made by a friendly Slovakian at a small deli consisting of salad bowl with salmon, avocado, pasta, and bread on top. On my way back, I realised that the graveyard next to my hostel was home to Hans Christian Anderson, and to a hedgehog, who I met.

With four Californian girls I met at my hostel, I set off the next morning to find a free walking tour of the city. On this, I met a fellow Bay Arean and we spent the rest of the day exploring.

The Town Hall had, to my amusement, a really cool art gallery. I was particularly intrigued by one piece that had gun-shaped cutouts from a map next to another piece that also had a map with each continent being connected to a bucket containing things that they had brought to the world.

After the tour, we went by the legendary Little Mermaid, which was not very spectacular but did have a spectacular number of tourists making amusing poses. Trivoli, on the other hand, was cooler than I imagined–though we didn’t enter, it was an amuseument park in the center of the city that, through the railing, looked quite quaint.

The Christianborg Palace is next to lovely gardens where I’d spent some time the day before, and also to a tower which is free to enter and got one of the best views of Copenhagen one can get. (Not to say that it was a mindblowing view as not many buildings in Copenhagen are particularly tall, but it was a pretty good view.) The National Museum of Denmark, also, was free to enter, so we went fifteen minutes before they closed, obviously. I could definitely have spent several hours roaming around.

We spent a few hours watching the sun slowly sink sitting at a lake in Christiania, and then got food from a supermarket (which still was too dear!) and sat by the river watching the reflection of the lights across the street over the water and the few stars twinkling above.