This time last year we were in the lovely city of Antigua in Guatemala. Although it was fun, 25th December isn’t celebrated in quite the same way in Central America as in the UK. Easter is the biggest religious celebration in Antigua and Christmas tends to take a backseat.
There are some magical night-time parades that take place and firecrackers are let off continuously, but generally it is quite low-key. The sun was shining and we went on a Christmas morning stroll to the plaza. Most of the restaurants were closed and we had a perfectly nice time eating cheese and biscuits and watching Netflix in our hotel room on Christmas night.
Back in the UK, we have decided to embrace the festive season this year. To get into the mood we spent a couple of days visiting Copenhagen, a city known for its seasonal delights and Christmas markets.
After a flight of one hour and forty minutes, curtesy of EasyJet, we found ourselves at Copenhagen Airport. A twelve-minute ride on the metro took us to Cristianshavn, a picturesque area criss-crossed by canals. Our first stop was at nearby hippie village Christiania, a short walk from the metro station. I noticed that cycling is the most popular method of transport in Copenhagen – there were bikes everywhere!
Christiana is an independent self-governing area full of incredible street art, galleries, eco-houses and vegan eateries. The aroma of pot hung in the air as we explored the main drag of Pusher Street. I have always had an interest in alternative culture, so found it fascinating to spend a couple of hours wandering around enjoying the chilled vibe.
We strolled through the city via a couple of Christmas markets to the famous Tivoli Gardens. For the few weeks prior to Christmas, the gardens transform into a winter wonderland. Nordic huts, snowmen and Christmas trees are strewn with snow (fake – we were a few days too early for genuine snowfall).
Restaurants and cafes served up festive fare including hot caramelized almonds and warming glogg (Denmark’s version of mulled wine). Shops did a roaring trade in tempting Christmas decorations and gifts. The gardens are also home to one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. As the sun went down, the lights came up, making the gardens appear even more spectacular.
The next morning we headed to the colourful street of Nyhavn. Vibrantly painted houses and restaurants line a canal. Wooden huts were setting up selling festive snacks, hot drinks and locally made produce. We couldn’t miss out on visiting the Little Mermaid nearby, Copenhagen’s most well-known statue.
The afternoon was spent window shopping in Stroget. It’s a lively area and shopping opportunities range from stylish department stores to small independent shops hidden away in the narrow lanes off the main drag.
Copenhagen makes a great weekend break from the UK, especially in December. Assisted by a combination of copious amounts of glogg and lots of Christmas sparkle, I returned to the UK full of festive spirit.
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