Cool and compact Copenhagen
"It's interesting because once you're on the bike, it's fine, but your take-off and landing are a bit..." Bo, my cycling tour guide waggles his hand, probably unable to find the Danish equivalent of diabolical.
But, although my cycling skills are abysmal, the cycling tour we've been on so far has been very pleasant barring almost running an old lady over on Strøget, the main shopping street.
In Copenhagen, over 50% of people cycle for leisure and commute to work, which is probably the most in any European city. It's well set-up for cyclists too - rather than cycling in the "left lane of death", as I call it back in England - the right-hand cycle lanes are very broad (almost twice the width in the UK) and they even have their own traffic lights.
As you might imagine of a city with so many cyclists, it is a fairly healthy tourist destination. Not in a Los Angeles drinking-wheatgrass-pumping-iron sort of way, but there are ways of experiencing the city that will offer you a good workout. You will also get a different view of the city than you would from a hop-on, hop-off bus.
As well as cycling tours like the one that we are on, you can also find running tours of the city, and later, we'll be taking to the canals in kayaks.
After whizzing through one of the oldest parts of the city, the Latin Quarter (also known as a gay hotspot which has a mixture of small boutiques and rather quiet bondage shops) Bo has taken us to Christiania, a fascinating area.
It's described as a hippy commune because it embraces a rather bohemian attitude to life. One example of this isPusher Street, where you are not allowed to take pictures because that's where people sell marijuana. The police turn a blind eye because the last time they cracked down on the hash-sellers, drug wars erupted on the streets of Copenhagen outside of the area.
Bright graffiti daubs the walls of the self-proclaimed "free state" and judging from the lack of activity on the street, it seems that the residents of Christiana operate on a slightly different time zone. Some stalls are selling the sort of ubiquitous tourist rubbish that can be found anywhere from Bangkok to Berlin, but the real draw are the homely cafes that sell wonderful-smelling coffee - and I could really do with a cup now.
The previous night, we dined at the Fiskebar in Kødbyen, the meat-packing district. Kødbyen was also playing host to a summer music festival and massive party called Distortion. The residents grumble about it (Bo tells us his friend was moaning about the noise on Facebook) but it's an amazing concept.
After a long dark winter, midsummer is celebrated in Denmark, with many Danes partying solidly for several nights in a row at various parties held in different parts of the city. Copenhagen is a walking city, so it's very easy to flit from one venue to another.
We picked our way past groups of partygoers (who looked relatively fresh-faced) and headed to Fiskebar, which is mentioned in Copenhagen from noma + momondo, a guidebook to the city written by employees of Noma (Copenhagen's most famous restaurant and crowned the best in the world) and travel website Momondo.
The meat-packing district, like 'trade' areas in other cities, has that slightly rough, edgy yet deliciously cool atmosphere about it. The slightly too-wide open spaces give way to some very swish-yet-rustic hangouts, and we've been told that we'll be trying wine developed by the owner of Fiskebar and Rene Redzepi, who co-owns Noma.
It is by far the best wine some of us have ever tasted (it mimics a sauvignon grape), and is proof that with a spot of expert biological tweaking, you can make good wine in a Nordic country. People are ploughing into oysters while perched on stools at the central bar, and we pause for a second to gawp at the giant fish tank before moving on to our private booth.
But as brilliant as the food is, it simply can't compete with our dinner the previous night, at Brdr. Price in the Tivoli Gardens. With white wooden lattice work, huge glass windows and ceiling, this restaurant, billed as a place where you get "grandma's" cooking, is stunning on the eye, but as we arrived we were paying more attention to Hillary Clinton who was dining there.
Shuffling past some Secret Service men who were balefully glaring at us, we insisted on trying the restaurant's signature cocktail (beautiful presented, very strong) at the bar so we could sneak peeks at her table. After a substantial dinner - which included a poussin, fish mousse with thin, crisp bread and a vast trifle - we were all relieved to be doing some exercise the next day.
Most people tend to return from city breaks a bit heavier in weight, but Copenhagen is so well set-up for sightseeing in an interesting and healthy way, there's no danger of that here. You can do running tours and KajakOle do tours of the canals in Nyhavn and the backwaters of Christiania by kayak, and it was the latter that brought us to the docks the following morning, struggling to get into a set of very attractive waterproof suits.
Nyhavn is so pretty to walk around in - brightly-coloured buildings topped in ornate fixtures line the waterfront and include the house where Hans Christian Andersen lived - that you wouldn't think it once was a hotbed for seedy prostitution dens and drunk sailors.
Built in the 17th century, it is doubly more attractive when seen up close from the water. Although the weather was not on our side that day, we passed the time very nicely paddling around the canals and stopping off for a restorative beer at a waterfront cafe.
All this exertion (and believe me, it's a challenge for even the most patient kayaker when you're paddling in tandem) will raise a hearty appetite This provides the perfect opportunity to try smørrebrød, the typically Danish creation of dark rye bread and toppings.
If you want a traditional take on it there is the superb Peder Oxe, a lovely, warm restaurant where waitresses in pinafores will serve you giant silver platters of smørrebrød piled high with fresh smoked salmon, lemon, lashings of Danish bacon and crisp salad leaves, by waitresses in pinafores. But currently in the city, it's considered far trendier to have 'smushi', sushi-sized versions of smørrebrød.
With high ceilings, tables crammed with cute designs that you'll lust after and dainty cakes on display, there are fewer places as pretty and welcoming as the Royal Café for smushi-sampling. A wooden board with some of the most exquisite open-faced sandwiches I have ever seen (and surely that's an oxymoron) was placed in front of us - some were heart-shaped with a quail's eggs at the centre, and others were surrounded in a complex nest of cucumber ribbons.
It's very fortifying for a post-lunch exploration of Strøget, Europe's longest pedestrianised shopping street.
The main stretch of the road has the usual suspects, but veer off down the side streets and you'll be rewarded with tiny antique bookshops, design shops like Hay, independent boutiques and Danish stores selling impossibly cool accessories and clothes.
In August (8 - 12), the city's fashion festival takes place, and thanks to the well-established gay scene, Pride in mid-August is really something to see.
Size is a factor when it comes to the length of city breaks, and Copenhagen's compact geography - the airport is a nifty 15 minutes away from the centre by train - means you can get a lot done in two days. On my return I was asked about whether the city was expensive, and although it is not as pricy as fellow Scandinavian cities Oslo and Stockholm, it isn't going to be a low-budget trip. Savings can be made however, if you know where to look.
For instance, a lot of bars such as Karriere in Kødbyen do a respectable happy hour (in the evening at around 7pm, rather than 4pm as happens in Britain). And really, when you think about it - with kayaks, cycles and your own two feet to ferry you around the city, think of all the money you'll be saving on taxis.
Sort it out: Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) offer direct flights to Copenhagen from Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Aberdeen starting from £74 one way including taxes and charges. For more information or to book, visit the website or call SAS on 0871 2267760.
Poorna travelled with Visit Denmark - for more information, visit the website. Or for information on Copenhagen specifically, click here.