…Once upon a time in Scandinavia…
In was December and it was snowing and snowing. It was so much snow, soon the only thing to be seen would be the infinite whiteness. This exact same time, there was a girl in Munich packing her small luggage for her first meeting with Scandinavia. It was a secret trip, she told her family she has to study. The truth was, she was going to visit her best friend, who was doing Erasmus in Sweden and who in few years would become her husband. But this, she didn’t know yet 🙂 For now, it was a weekend in Scandinavia and that opportunity she would never miss…
There is an overnight train from Munich to Copenhagen and then another one to Malmö and further to Lund, a small Swedish town full with international students. It is not the quickest way to get from Germany to Sweden but what can I say: you usually either have time or money 😉 In the train from Copenhagen to Malmö the overwhelming whiteness gave its way to the sea. Denmark consists of a peninsula Jutland and an archipelago of few hundreds of islands. Therefore if you are travelling by land on your left and right there is just sea and if you are a little bit lucky, the sun. The views are amazing and you immediately feel like you landed in a fairy tale.
Scandinavia comprises of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It is a huge and beautiful region. Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Kiruna… there are many places worth seeing in Scandinavia. But we are there just for one weekend, and our choice is limited by time, space and money.
Weekend in Scandinavia on a budget.
Where to stay
If your boyfriend / future husband is not doing student exchange in Scandinavia, it’s not the end of the world. Lund University is one of Scandinavia’s largest education institutions. Therefore, who you can definitely count on are students. If you are doing Scandinavia on a budget, it’s time to make some couchsurfing 🙂 Lund is as well a great base to make a one day trip to Copenhagen. It could be as well the other way around. Though I must admit, that the coziness of this small Swedish town was more appealing to me than staying in a bigger town.
What to see in Lund
You have just arrived to Lund with an overnight train, so first, you get few hours of rest / sleep. Then is already an evening, so Lund sightseeing we are doing when it’s already dark. Lund is small enough to walk through and see the most of the town in one afternoon. So, don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing, it’s going to be great.
One of the most popular tourist attractions here is Lund Cathedral founded in 1080. The church is built in the Romanesque style and has two 55 meters towers. Inside there is a pillar embraced by the giant Finn. The legend says that he was the one who built the church, but was not paid after the job was done. He got so angry, that he wanted to destroy the cathedral. Instead, he was turned into stone. Worth checking out is as well the astronomical clock from 1425.
Lund University was founded in 1666 and is one of the largest universities in Sweden. Some of University buildings are close to the cathedral, so you can easily check them out. Worth seeing are the University Library and the Lund University main building with the University Square.
But what makes Lund so special, are its tiny streets like Hjortgatan (Deer Street) with tiny houses. In winter they are all covered with snow and with delicate warm light coming from the windows make you feel like you landed in some very old winter novel. Perfect for an evening walk.
Lund is a very nice city to take a walk, so forget about maps and feel the Scandinavian spirit. If you have more time and decide to do sightseeing before the dark comes :D, you can visit the Botanical Garden, which has as well greenhouses, and Kulturen – an open-air museum with a collection of historical buildings from the past two centuries; it’s a second oldest skansen in Sweden.
Forget you are a tourist. If you took our advice and found some accommodation through couchsurfing, you probably landed in a students’ apartment. USE IT! Students can take you to the places you would never think of yourself and show you how the everyday life looks like. We for example went ice skating. It was during the weekend, so many families were there with us. I was surprised to notice that everyone fluently spoke English, even kids.
But let’s be honest, students’ life begins at night, so don’t full yourself that before the sunset anything will happen. And later on be prepared for some mystery. Apparently students clubs in Lund are kind of a secret society. You won’t really find them on your own and you need insider to get you in. Lund is like a wonderland with rabbit holes – full of surprises.
Goodbye Sweden, hello Denmark! Time to go home, but before our train leaves back to Munich, we will spend a day in the capital of Denmark – Copenhagen.
What to see in Copenhagen?
If you are in Copenhagen for one day, there are four must-to-sees:
• Tivoli Gardens,
• the Little Mermaid,
The Copenhagen Central Station is in front of Tivoli Gardens, but we are not visiting them as first. Our sightseeing we will begin with a walking city tour to Nyhavn. We start from the City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) and walk through a pedestrian street Strøget full with shops. But first let’s take a look at Copenhagen City Hall. It is one of the tallest buildings of Danish capital. There are tours of the city hall offered as well. But we are in Copenhagen just for one day, so we skip this. Instead let’s walk along Strøget. It is a largest shopping area in Copenhagen and it’s in the heart of the city. Apart from shops there are as well many attractions on the way: Helligåndskirken, one of the oldest churches in the city, and Vor Frue Kirke, where many royal family members’ marriages and funerals took place. Strøget ends at Kongens Nytorv – the biggest square in Copenhagen. There you will find the examples of 17th century architecture, Magasin Du Nord, the Royal Danish Theater, the Charlottenborg Palace, Hotel d’Angleterre and the Thott Palace. Few minutes walk from the square starts Nyhavn. This 17th century canal is one of the most popular tourist areas in Copenhagen. Wooden ships, colorful 17th and 18th century houses, bars, cafes and restaurants. Nyhavn definitely has its own unforgettable atmosphere. Just have a look 🙂
Christiana is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood, know as well as Fristaden Christiania. I guess you could find similarities to Užupis in Vilnius. Hippies, art galleries, alternative music, organic food, and … pot (the last still illegal in Denmark, so don’t get confused). If you have even a drop of a boho spirit in you, that is the place you should not miss.
The Little Mermaid
The sculpture of the Little Mermaid was inspired by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. In 2013 the Little Mermaid turned 100 years old. This bronze statue was done by Edvard Eriksen and is displayed on a rock in Langelinie promenade. Although the Little Mermaid is not a sculpture that impresses with its size, it is definitely an iconic statue symbolizing the city.
I have to admit: Tivoli Gardens were the reason I wanted to visit Copenhagen it the first place. It’s one of the most amazing amusement parks we have ever visited. Not only it is the oldest, the biggest etc. but has as well an amazing atmosphere. Even if you are not a fun of rollercoasters, you will definitely enjoy it. And in winter it is a magical wonderland.
…Once upon a time from this magic wonderland, a girl was coming back to Germany. This weekend in Scandinavia was definitely not the last weekend she wanted to spend there. But for the next trip she will have to wait until she marries her best friend, whom she visited and has an amazing daughter with him.
Not THE END….
Liquor stores: In Sweden they are regulated totally by government and open only in particular times. In Lund there is just one shop selling alcohol. At the cash always stays an additional person, who checks your ID and if you are not buying more than the limit. Why so much fuzz about it? Well, the explanation is simple. There is long dark outside, people get depressed, drink and commit suicide. Just one question: aren’t they even more depressed, if not only it is always dark but as well they have so many difficulties to get some nice wine or beer… There is an anecdote going around in Sweden, that people no longer ask what wine it is but how many percent alcohol it has 😉
Lund in pictures:
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Copenhagen in pictures: