An impromptu backpacking trip around Scandinavia, at the age of 18, changed his life. Copenhagen, capital of one of the happiest countries in the world, made such an impression on him that he decided to call it home. Meet Giuseppe Liverino, an avid and curious traveller is an Italian who is truly and madly in love with Copenhagen. He is the Project Manager (Travel Trade & International Press) at Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organization for Copenhagen.
At the outset, we’d like to mention that we looked at your Instagram account and are stunned! You’re a fantastic photographer. We take it that photography is one of your passions?
Thank you so much! It’s just a hobby, but I’m really grateful to know that you like my pictures. I am not a pro, since I was a teenager I have been playing around taking pictures with the cheapest solutions available, and I still enjoy it. What I find motivating is to get good results by putting all my focus on the picture itself rather than spending money on expensive gear. Keep it simple!
Pictures from Giuseppe’s Instagram: instagram.com/tourbillondelavie/
By what we gather from your account and what you told me when we met, you are an avid traveller. Tell us a little about yourself and your love for travel.
My interest for travel started as a kid by reading Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. His description of Iceland and its beautiful desolation was extremely fascinating for me. Living in a busy town like Florence (Italy), it made me want to see the North. I started reading about Northern Europe and listening to Icelandic music – Björk was already big at the time, and Sigur Rós would follow after a couple of years – and when I turned 18, I decided to take an unplanned long backpacking trip around Scandinavia, which changed my life. During my trip, the city I loved the most was Copenhagen. I went back home and decided to learn Danish and moved here.
I am crazy about this city, and although I have been living here for 6 years, every time I see a coloured crooked house, a mirror-like clean canal in the harbor, a snowflake or stunning Danish architecture, I feel like I am still a tourist on a wonderful journey through Scandinavia.
What was your first impression of Copenhagen?
There were 3 striking impressions: happy people, a green city, and stunning architecture!
I was actually surprised by how nice people are up here. I had always thought that northern Europeans were cold compared to us Mediterranean, but no. I met wonderful warm people, and some of them are still some of my best friends.
What I also loved about the city was a great balance between city-life and green areas. Clean parks are everywhere, whereas in Florence we barely have one in the outskirts of our city center. The city felt also extremely clean due to the locals preferring bikes for commuting rather than cars – bikes were literally everywhere.
The Danish Modern architecture is wonderful, but what I found unbelievable was the ability of Danish architects to combine their historical buildings with functionality. In particular the Royal Library has been extended with a modern construction known as The Black Diamond. Imagine an old building of historical significance connected to a modern black granite construction with irregular shapes and a huge glass façade facing the water of Copenhagen Harbour. This combination makes the Royal Library one of the most beautiful buildings in Copenhagen. It’s all about balance.
Did you find Copenhagen an easy destination for backpack travelling – in terms of language, budget, accommodation, food etc.
It was extremely easy to get around – a metro connects you from the airport to the city center in only 13 minutes, and although the official language is Danish, everyone here speaks English – including kids and the elder ones! As mentioned earlier, people were extremely helpful, and I remember my trip to Copenhagen as one of the smoothest and easiest I have ever had.
You have been working with the Indian market for a while. Share with us some habits of Indian travellers…
I find it amazing to see how Indians are willing to try new things. I keep meeting an increasing number of Indian tourists biking in Copenhagen, and that’s wonderful. I believe that doing things as the locals do is extremely cool, and it makes me happy to know that promoting the Danish biking culture in India might have influenced tourists in Copenhagen.
Which are the places Indian tourists love to visit in Copenhagen?
- The statue of The Little Mermaid, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s novel…
- Tivoli Gardens – the second oldest amusement park in the World, which inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland.
- The Freetown Christiania – an old military village occupied by hippies in the 70’s, where people live an alternative lifestyle in natural surroundings
- The Canal Tour boat ride by Strömma, which takes you through the city’s canals and shows you outstanding Danish architecture blending in with old historical buildings
- Take GoBoat self-drive tour, where you can sail through the canals on plastic boat made with recycled plastic bottles, running on solar energy sans diesel
- The old beer factory at Visit Carlsberg
- The Copenhagen Streetfood market, where you can eat from 35 foodcarts from all over the World – including India, of course.
- The magnificent Frederiksborg Castle
- Shopping tax free on the longest pedestrian shopping street in the World, Strøget
What are the must-see places and must-do activities you’d advice your Indian friends…
a) travelling with family
Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid, The Blue Planet, Denmark’s National Aquarium, Canal Tours by Strömma, Indian dinner at Guru, Danish lunch at the food market Torvehallerne; Go biking with Christian from Cycling Copenhagen
b) backpacking with friends
Freetown Christiania; Goboat; go swimming in the harbor at Islands Brygge Harbour Bath; Dinner and beer at Copenhagen Streetfood; try the local microbreweries such as Mikkeller, Nørrebro bryghus, Himmelriget; enjoy nightlife at Meatpacking district – Jolene and KB18 are two of my favorite, together with Mesteren og Læringen; Concerts at Loppen and Vega; Off the beaten track: Explore Nørrebro, especially Second hand shopping on Jægersborggade and food on Griffenfeldsgade; go kayaking with Kayak Republic through Copenhagen’s canals – it’s easy and you will never forget the experience; rent a bike and explore the Harbour Circle route and The Red Square at Superkilen; go for a free ping pong game at the old church Absalons Kirke in Vesterbro – now a cultural center.
Which are you favourites in Copenhagen:
a) Hotel: We have many great hotels in Copenhagen, and I have a weak spot for the boutique style hotels in Copenhagen city center, but lately great youth hostels have been popping up – look Bedwood Hostel up, the location and the building are great! We even have a houseboat hotel, CPH LIVING, and I would love to try it – living on the water must be wonderful.
b) Restaurant: New Nordic Michelin Cuisine: Studio; New Nordic, mid-range price: Höst (best design restaurant in the World 2014); Veg Nordic food with a twist, for all pockets: Manfred’s (the menu “the chef decides”); Smørrebrød: Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik; Streetfood: Copenhagen Street Food and a street hotdog from the organic hot dog cart DØP – they also have a veg option; Indian: Guru; Indian takeaway: Bollyfood in the meatpacking district
c) Shopping zones: alternative shopping in Nørrebro at Jægersborggade and Elmegade, Bike shopping at Sörgeni, hipster shopping in Vesterbro in Istedgade and Sønderboulevard – do not miss the largest beer kiosk in Denmark, called Kihoskh
What tips would you give to someone travelling to Copenhagen?
Dare trying local cuisine, I have met hundred of Indians who were skeptical but loved it in the end
Travelling to you means…
Like the Danish author of the Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, Hans Christian Andersen, used to say: “To travel is to live”.
Lastly, tell us your thoughts about India as a travel destination… Where all did you go this time and what did you like and didn’t?
I love the colours of India, the people, its food, and the place I probably love the most is Pondicherry, I have a special feeling for that city – Auroville is a must see.