Interview with Copenhagen Local Karina
Curiosity is what led Karina Kold to venture and explore the far corners of the globe, and it is also the main motivation for her to pursue a career in journalism. After traversing across six continents and checking off many countries in her 20s, Karina is back in her hometown of Copenhagen, Denmark, where she is a broadcaster, photographer, StandUp Paddle enthusiast and a conveyor of the Danish city lifestyle. Born and raised in Copenhagen, she's the perfect candidate to showcase the city's true colors, which has led her to collaborate with Favoroute on her 'Copenhagen City Guide.' We spoke with Karina about traveling experiences that have nurtured her way of life, the aspects of Copenhagen she's come to cherish, and how other travelers can get a similar taste of the city as well.
"If you're curious, there is always something new to be discovered in the backdrop of your daily life." - Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.
Q: Describe Copenhagen in your own words.
To me Copenhagen is home. It’s the feeling of riding on my bicycle to, quickly and freely, get to where I want to be with fresh air blowing through my hair.
I’ll describe Copenhagen as hip and laid back. Danes are straightforward and friendly. In summer we love to hang out in the sun with a cool drink and music. In winter, it's the opposite, the Danes cosy up with warm drinks, candle lights, and have a sense of Danish “hygge.” In spring the grass gets greener and flowers bloom, and in autumn the tree leaves change colors to beautiful orange nuances. Every season has its own charm. And all year round Copenhagen boasts great outdoor and indoor events. Film festivals, fashion weeks, street parties, food markets, free outdoor cinemas, sand sculptures, kayak and boat tours, light installations, interactive art exhibitions, pop-up bars and much more. Copenhagen is on the beat. There’s always something new to explore.
Q: What is your favorite route to take in Copenhagen?
I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind taking a detour just to explore a path I haven’t tried before or seen in a while. However, I really enjoy walking or skateboarding the Amager Beach Promenade or going for a stroll in Fælledparken’s green grass. For shopping, the cobblestone street Jægersborggade is a treat and the Botanical Garden is another favorite detour route of mine. In the autumn, I collect newly fallen chestnuts by the Lakes in Copenhagen and grab a warm coffee to go.
Q: Finish the following sentence: On the weekend, I am most likely...
…doing something outside with my friends, attending an event or a party. I love surfing and since we don’t have waves in Copenhagen, I’ve started to SUP (StandUp Paddle) in the canals by the Opera House in the city and the ocean by Amager Beach (both included in the Copenhagen City Guide). On Saturdays, I enjoy going out for dinner and drinks, and my Sundays are often spent with friends at a breakfast café or with a coffee (to go). Copenhagen has a great variety of cozy cafés, interesting restaurants, and cool bars. I've included my favorite ones in my Copenhagen City Guide.
Q: With your background in journalism, and your work in reporting the latest news story, how has this shaped your approach on traveling or travel writing?
I’ve always been very curious, and I ask a lot of questions to the locals I meet along my way when I travel and when I’m at home too. I’m curious about people’s everyday life in different locations of the globe, and I like listening to people’s different approaches to life, its challenges, and joys.
Q: You can add 'World Traveler' to your resume since you've globe-trotted across six continents in your lifetime. Does traveling across the world affect how you come to see your hometown?
Yes, my travels have a huge impact on how I see Copenhagen today and how much I appreciate this cool city of Scandinavia. Travels widen your horizon, and it can make you long for those beautiful beaches and palm trees as well as feeling very thankful for living in a peaceful country. I’m both proud and thankful that the education in Denmark is free and that Danes are raised to be innovative and brave. However, in general, Danes could be better at starting a conversation with a stranger, and sometimes we’re very direct in our language and not so polite (sorry guys, we mean no harm). After visiting cities with heavy traffic, I’m more appreciative about living in a capital where so many people commute to work by bicycle. It might sound silly, but when I travel, I always miss the freedom of riding my bicycle in Copenhagen.
I also appreciate that we have high production value for public service television in Denmark and we try to make the constructive news. I like that some of the Danish television channels don’t show noisy commercials and that political parties don’t control our news stations. Most Danes take that for granted, but I believe it’s an important part of our democracy and development.
Q: Now we wanted to unpack a Danish cultural phenomenon. The word 'hygge' translates into the state of feeling coziness and overall satisfaction and has earned its place across the globe for those seeking comfort and well being. When are you often feeling hygge within the city?
It’s hilarious to see how the Danish word and phenomenon “hygge” is traveling the world as if it is a cuddling global citizen. Danes probably say “hygge” as often as an English-speaking person says “good” or “nice.” For example, if you meet a friend who’s been somewhere you’ll ask, “Var det hyggeligt?” meaning: did you have a good time? And your reply can simply just be the statement “hyggeligt,” which translates to "that sounds really nice and cozy and fun." It’s impossible to translate the Danish word directly, but “hygge” is about being good to yourself and others in a very relaxed, open-hearted, warm and fun way. It can involve warm drinks and cake- but not necessarily. “Hygge” is a very positive word and state of mind so I’m only happy that we can export this way of being Danish.
Q: Why did you team up with Favoroute to write your guide about Copenhagen?
Carrying a heavy guidebook around isn’t as easy as having an interactive map on your phone that works offline too. It also contains local travel tips that you’re always trying to find when you arrive somewhere new. I teamed up with Favoroute because they’ve come up with a really great idea for a travel guide app. Something that I’d have liked to use myself when traveling in South America or South Europe where I didn’t speak the language fluently but still wanted to get local tips and experience the countries true culture and not just the overpriced touristic stuff. It’s a shortcut to the real deal.
Q: What can readers expect from your guide?
Readers of my Copenhagen City Guide. can expect more than a hundred photos and descriptions of quality points of interests in the coolest and most vibrant neighborhoods of Copenhagen. I’ve really enjoyed making the Copenhagen City Guide because it’s full of the recommendations that I give my friends, family and colleagues. Now all those travel tips to Copenhagen are neatly collected in a smart app that is easy to use even when you’re offline.
I’ve made sure to include both those sights that I know many visitors enjoy exploring in Copenhagen as well as my personal favorite cafés, independent shops, green parks, events and hidden gems. I hope you like them too and that you will take good care of these places, especially the smaller establishments so that they’ll continue to make Danes and visitors happy in the future.
Q: Tell us something that people don’t know about you?
People who only know me from my writing won’t know that I’m almost 6ft tall. If you do know me it’s quite obvious, haha.
Find all Karina's favorite cafes, activities, restaurants and spots in the city in her written travel guide 'Copenhagen City Guide.' available for €4,99.