Lan and Jane 'do' Western Europe travel blog

The Nielsen family (plus dog)

We woke early to get to Gatwick for our flight to Copenhagen. The old airport is twice as far away from the city as Heathrow, so involves a bit more travel time. Fortunately the Gatwick Express goes regularly and gets you there quickly. The airport was extremely busy - it’s the main hub for cheap European airlines - but is fortunately quite small and quite navigable.

We were flying Norwegian, which has won best budget airline in Europe several times. And indeed the flight was very comfortable, with roomy seats, free wifi and good communication when the plane was delayed due to passenger number inconsistencies.

We booked to stay in an apartment in Nørrebro, a trendy area north of the city centre. Although we found it on, not AirBNB, it is an apartment in a normal residential building, and it’s big! We were surprised to find that there were two (small) bedrooms, a large sitting area, another large area with two desks, a reasonably spacious kitchen and a tiny, tiny bathroom! We revelled in all the space, especially after the very squashed apartment at Studios2Let!

Shortly after we had settled in, our niece Sam, and her lovely boyfriend Stefan came to pick us up for dinner with Stefan’s family. We met his parents Pia and Flemming a couple of years ago in Melbourne and we got along very well with them, so we were really looking forward to catching up again.

Pia and Flemming live about half an hour south of the city in what is called an “allotment”. When Copenhagen was growing rapidly at the beginning of the 20th century, residents who had to move into small apartments bought small pieces of land outside the city so that they could still enjoy gardening. Often they built small houses on these allotments and even lived there during their summer holidays. The government now supports this system, and Pia and Flemming have benefited as they have recently sold their large family home and downsized to their allotment, which is also just across the lane from their daughter Mette’s home. They have built a lovely new home that suits them well, with the added benefit that they can see their grandchildren easily.

It was lovely to see them again, and we picked up right where we left off two years ago. We also met Mette and her partner Christian along with their lovely children Theo and Lily. Flemming cooked us a wonderful Danish meal, frikadeller (fried and crumbed meatballs), with superb cabbage in white sauce. Delicious! This was followed by several desserts, including a lovely strawberry tart brought by Sam from Ole & Steen Lagkagehuset, a fancy pastry company.

We spent a very pleasant evening chewing the fat and were delighted that Sam has landed in such a warm and inviting family.

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