She has always been a fan of stories written by Hans Christian Andersen. When she shares the names of some of her favorites — “The Little Mermaid,” “The Nightingale,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Thumbelina” — you realize you love them, too. “They are more than entertainment,” she explains. “There isn’t just one moral; each story inspires us to find some meaning within ourselves.” You ponder this: “find meaning in myself? Is that possible?” For her, you’ll try. You love that she opens your mind, so you begin to read Andersen’s stories more seriously. One day you know you’re ready to pop the question. “Life is a fairytale,” you tell her quoting Andersen, sure (or, at least hoping) you’ll impress her. She nods. She knows the quote. It’s at that moment that you’ve never been surer. You ask her to marry you: “Let’s make our own fairytale,” you suggest. Lovingly, like a princess from one of Andersen’s stories, she takes your hand. “Oh, let’s do,” she says, with a grin.
It is later as you plan the wedding together that life seems a frenzy. All those details and decisions begin to overwhelm. That’s when you think of Andersen again, taking a virtual vacation. Who needs to linger over tuxedo styles, when you can muse about the metaphysical meaning of The Ugly Duckling? This leads you to another form of distraction — honeymoon planning. “Life is a fairytale. Life is a fairytale,” you mumble to yourself, embracing the mantra. That’s when the idea strikes: why go for a conventional honeymoon, complete with sunburns on the beach, when you could cavort in Denmark, Andersen’s homeland? Wouldn’t that be the appropriate way to get that fairytale off to good start?
You’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen, after all. Add in that you’ve just heard about a new museum opening in Andersen’s birthplace, a charming town called Odense, on a Danish island called Funen, about an hour’s train ride from the big city. It’s meant to celebrate Andersen, but not in the conventional way. Designed by Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma, the HC Andersens Hus (aka H. C. Andersens Odense) reinterprets the story of Andersen’s work with state-of-the-art exhibits, which combine special effects, historical artifacts, interactive fairy tale experiences and re-imagined theories about Andersen’s works and his life. The museum, a bucket list destination for travelers of all ages, seals the deal. You waste no time booking the tickets. You can’t wait to surprise her.
Neither of you truly understood the meaning of hygge, Denmark’s exclusive word for that atmosphere of contentment and conviviality that can exist between people or in special places, until you arrive in Copenhagen. But the seaside city enchants with its characteristic architecture, cobbled streets, pedestrian streets, legions of cyclists (and their bikes) and sunbather-thronged quays. Of course, you’ve studied up on the food scene, a culinary range that runs the gamut from towering smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches) and Noma’s creative, Michelin-starred new Nordic cuisine. You plan to eat well. You’ll also pack a picnic and rent a boat, playing captain along the way. You’ve heard they actually offer some vessels with hot tubs on board. Now, that sounds like a true fairytale happy ending — at least for today.
Where to Stay:
On the edges of Tivoli Gardens, this hotel dates back more than a century as a social outpost. Lavish, with Moorish flourishes, a rooftop pool, oodles of antiques and art, and sumptuous service, Nimb embodies enchantment. Choose either a suite in the older wing for its fireplaces or the newer suites for their amble terraces.
It’s not just for kids. Tivoli Gardens is the essence of Copenhagen. With everything from rides to games of chance to upscale bars and gastronomic restaurants, this is Copenhagen’s heart.