Back in January I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and happened to see that Ryanair (a budget airline) had a sale on. Knowing that some hard things were coming up in my life– which I intend to write about when I am ready to– I decided I wanted something to look forward to.
I spontaneously messaged my friend and within the hour she, my husband and I were booked to go to Copenhagen. My pals love travelling and in the end 12 of us booked to go. I thought I would share some photos with you and chat about what we got up to during our long weekend in Copenhagen.
Travelling with chronic illness is never easy and I had to give it up for a while when I was at my sickest. Travelling is something that I have always enjoyed and last year I came to the decision that if I waited until I felt better before I travelled again I was going to miss out on a lot.
I have written a post dedicated to travelling with a variable health so for now, all I will say is for it to be a success you need to plan ahead, adapt, manage your expectations and remember that there is no escaping from your health condition (your limitations still apply). There is no way I would have managed this trip if it wasn’t for the use of a wheelchair and some amazing pals.
We arrived in Copenhagen late on the Wednesday evening and after a quick look around our Airbnb accommodation, we pretty much went straight to bed as we were all exhausted. The house we stayed in was great and was only a short walk from bus stops and the metro, so it was quick and easy to get into the centre of town.
Day 1: Tivoli
On Thursday we headed to the centre of Copenhagen just before lunchtime. One thing I was immediately struck by was the architecture; there are lots of really amazing buildings in Copenhagen and it is a beautiful city.
It took me 3 days until I noticed this was a thermometer! Talk about observant. My friend was flying in from London and arriving early that afternoon (we all arrived on different days) so we grabbed some lunch while we waited and then went to meet her at Central Station.
Once we were all together we headed to Tivoli, which is a theme park located right beside the Central Station. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about going to the theme park if I am totally honest. I love theme parks but the last time I visited one was when I travelled to California and it was really, really hard going.
I had planned to just take it easy, watch everyone else on the rides and maybe go on a couple of easy-going rides if I felt up to it. Well, that plan went straight out of the window as soon as I got in the park as excitement took over!
We all ended up buying unlimited passes and I went on many of the rides there. I was really chuffed with myself actually and it’s definitely a sign that things are on the up for me. We had a great time and it was so much fun being there with friends.
Yes, I was exhausted. Yes I was in pain and I hit a wall after about 4 hours but it was worth it. I was incredibly thankful to have my wheelchair as it meant I always had somewhere to rest and I didn’t have to stress myself out thinking about managing my energy– I even had a quick nap in it!
Without it, I would have had to go home after the first ride. It made such a difference to be able to “keep up” with everyone else and not miss out.
Day 2: Freetown Christiania & Nyhavn
On Friday we headed out to explore a different part of the city and paid a visit to Christiania. Christiania is a large commune that is unique because it is a self-proclaimed free state that operates independently of the rest of Copenhagen with its own laws. As you enter you see signs saying ‘You are now leaving the European Union’.
It was an interesting place to visit and seemed very peaceful. I don’t have many photographs from there and you are asked not to take photographs of “Pusher Street”, known for its open trade of marijuana.
Marijuana is officially illegal and dealers insist on keeping a low profile– with many obscuring their faces with balaclavas– and they will not tolerate photographs. There are cafes (including a vegetarian cafe), workshops, art galleries, an outdoor music venue and lots of colourful artwork to be found in Christiania.
Afterwards, we ate lunch at Grillen Burger, passing by the Church of our Saviour (pictured above), before walking to explore Nyhavn. Here the buildings are very picturesque and colourful. We walked to the harbour area by the Royal Danish Playhouse where we enjoyed a drink in the beautiful sunshine.
Day 3: Rest day & evening out in Copenhagen
On the Saturday, I woke up with that horrible heavy, ill feeling and I was exhausted. I had done really well over the past couple of days but– even though I had my wheelchair– I was, of course, pushing myself to achieve what I did, exacerbating my symptoms.
I, therefore, had post-exertion malaise to deal with and spent the day resting in the house while everyone else went out exploring. They visited the Little Mermaid statue (which they found a bit underwhelming), re-visited Christiania and did some more sightseeing.
Normally I get frustrated at missing out but I was quite happy to stay in cuddled up on the sofa this time as the weather wasn’t great; it was really cold with some rain and snow showers.
After a day of resting, we headed out for dinner and to play a game of pub monopoly, similar to what we did in Amsterdam. As I had been resting all day I (stupidly with hindsight) decided to leave my wheelchair as I envisioned busy bars and didn’t want to be a burden to others (silly I know).
Unfortunately, I tired really quickly, didn’t feel very well and had to go home earlier than I would have liked to. I had a fun night regardless though.
Day 4: Christiansborg Palace
On our last day in Copenhagen, we visited Christiansborg Palace, which is located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen. Parts of the palace are used by the Danish Royal Family for functions and events.
Christiansborg Palace also contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State. If you purchase a combination ticket, the tour includes the ‘Royal Reception Rooms’, the ‘Royal Kitchen’, the ‘Ruins’ and the ‘Royal Stables’.
We had a great long weekend in Copenhagen but in terms of accessibility, I’m afraid I can’t give a full picture as I am very fortunate in that I can get in and out of my wheelchair. I use a wheelchair to help me pace as I suffer from fatigue and poor stamina.
I can walk short distances and I can manage some stairs. I also had my husband and friends with me who were a great help. I, therefore, got out of my chair to board public transport, to use public toilets and I also got out when we came across obstacles that made life difficult, simply because this was the easiest option. I, therefore, didn’t actively look for the alternatives if that makes sense.
Navigating around the city centre was pretty easy, as the streets are flat with ramps or lowered kerbs being present. The ramps can be tricky to spot at times as they are essentially tarmac, so the same colour as the road. However, as we headed out towards Nyhavn and also towards Christiansborg Palace there were a couple of kerbs that we couldn’t negotiate with me in the chair.
There are also a few cobbled streets– most had some smooth paving stones running along them– which was great but there were parts that didn’t and these were tricky to navigate; for some of them I got out of the chair as I found it was too uncomfortable to be in it and difficult for whoever was pushing me. I was using a transit wheelchair so I imagine the larger wheels of a self-propelled wheelchair may make this easier to negotiate if you took it slowly.
Tivoli was accessible as was Christiansborg Palace. In Christiania, there was one small area of cobbled pavement where I got out of the chair as it was too uncomfortable for me to stay in it. However, it would be manageable; you would just need to take it slow.
A couple of the restaurants we visited had stairs leading down/up to them or stairs to get to the toilets so I would advise doing your research in advance on the best places to eat. The metro, buses and regional trains are accessible. I believe you flag the driver and they come to manually put out a ramp but I didn’t do this personally as I got out of my chair to board and my husband lifted my chair on board for me.
Oh and a final note– the airport stupidly (to my mind) has some revolving doors, which made things interesting! Mind you, we tackled them easier than most on foot who didn’t seem to understand if you stood too close to the exit/entrance the doors would stop, which was quite amusing.
Is Copenhagen on your bucket list or have you visited yourself? Let me know in the comments below.
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