A few weeks ago we biked south east to Amager Strand to check out some more swimming options. It’s a bit depressing going over these photos, because it hasn’t exactly been swimming weather in the last few weeks, but who knows – maybe this post will shame the Danish summer into making another half-hearted appearance.
Amager is a reasonably big island just to the east of the centre of Copenhagen. It’s technically the first place most people visit when they come to Denmark, but only because the airport happens to be there. While the view upon arrival at Copenhagen Airport doesn’t usually make one want to visit the surrounding area, I can assure you there are nice beaches with some premium swimming pier action nearby.
Here is a quick checklist that will help you work out if you are at a Danish beach:
- the beach is littered with bicycles
- the horizon is littered with wind turbines
- the sea is littered with swimming piers
- either the sea and/or the air is very cold.
A small part of me really enjoys seeing so much wind power all over the place – every time I see a wind turbine I just think about how much the sight of them upsets Joe Hockey, and I feel a warm glow inside. I hope his next cushy diplomatic posting is to Copenhagen so he is constantly forced to see them dotted around the landscape. At any rate, it feels good to swap coal ships on the horizon for renewables.
Amager Strand faces the Øresund Sound, the stretch of water that runs between Denmark and Sweden. The beach itself is quite long, and is broken up into a few different sections with intermittent swimming piers, breakwalls and cafes all connected by a cycle path. This area of Amager seems to be on the up and up, judging by how many apartment towers were being constructed along the waterfront.
There are some really classic old school bathing pavilions at the northern end. They have a main area for swimmers-clad swimming, and then separate areas for men’s and women’s nudie swimming. I keep being caught off guard by their proclivity for nudie swims – it’s pretty awkward when you are trying to take a picture of the offshore wind farms and naked swimmers keep edging into the frame.
In stark contrast to the retro stylings of the northern end, the southern end of Amager Strand is home to the modern ‘architectural pearl‘ that is the Kastrup Sea Bath (Kastrup Søbad). It looks great, even though its main function is blocking the howling wind well enough to make swimming seem like a plausible idea (the sheer number of wind turbines just off the shore should be a giveaway that this is necessary).
It’s nickname is Sneglen (the snail), which I find adorable despite usually hating snails and all their kin. I might be easily won over by the name because I really love swimming off these piers and sea baths. It’s great being able to sit in the sun and dry off out of the wind after swimming. They are usually fairly overrun with Danish teens and pre-teens, but they seem to be a bit more tolerable than the Australian equivalents (maybe that’s just because I can’t understand 90% of what they are saying?).
I keep trying to work out why we don’t have anything similar in Australia, but then I realise it’s probably because we have nicer sand and less constant gale force wind… but still – I really applaud Denmark’s ability to make the best of the icy Nordic hand it’s been dealt.
Anthony, on the other hand, applauds Denmark’s commitment to diving platforms, and feels morally bound to jump off every single one of them.
I would hope all this beach action is making everyone back home super jealous, but I just checked today’s weather forecast for Sydney and Copenhagen and they are EXACTLY THE SAME (a very tropical 18 degrees). At any rate, I am grateful that life in the perma-chill of windy Denmark is made more tolerable by the protective embrace of Sneglen.