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Copenhagen rapidly climbed to the top of my list of New Cities I Love in Europe over the weekend. It’s cosy, there is delicious beer, it’s actual winter there at the moment, and their interior design is stellar. Oh, and you can buy a bacon-wrapped sausage for cheap on every corner. We stayed in a wonderful apartment (with a kitchen I will dream of for years) that we found on Airbnb, to rent for far cheaper than a hotel.

Dream kitchen, complete with kitty!

Dream kitchen, complete with kitty!

There is practically one thing, and one thing only, that I disliked about our time there. The absolutely freezing basement showers. I have only had one shower in my life that was colder, and when the hot water went out in a Valparaiso winter.

You should definitely venture to Copenhagen. You should definitely go in the wintertime, when the light is beautiful and having an extra beer or three doesn’t feel wrong because it’s so damn freezing outside. But beware the basement shower. Here’s how to survive your Copenhagen shower:

1. Make a hot beverage to steep while you freeze. Your core body temperature is likely to dip to near-hypothermia, so you’ll need a nice hot cup of something when you finish.

Peppermint tea, extra strong.

Peppermint tea, extra strong.

2. Suit up. You’ll need a good bathrobe, and some thick socks or slippers. Not every building has tiled flooring in the shower basement.



3. Walk down the stairs, being careful to leave someone to let you back in or take keys with you. No need to be locked out of an apartment in the snow, with naught but a bathrobe to protect you.

Into the basement…

Into the basement…

Down the stairs...

Down the stairs…

4. Mind your head, and try to find the light switch.

Dark and cold, I tells ya

Dark and cold, I tells ya

5. Enter the shower room and lock the door. Try to imagine that it isn’t near-freezing in there, and that it’s just a normal shower with heat and not icy cold.

Doesn't it look cute? Too bad I could see my breath!

Doesn’t it look cute? Too bad I could see my breath!

6. Turn on the water to ‘warm’ it. The one at our place had a timer built in, to be extra-environmentally friendly. This also means the water will stop if you don’t keep it pressed in. Make sure you put your hands in the freezing water to check if there is any change in the temperature. Start to think it’s warmer, then realise your hand is just going numb.

So cold!

So cold!

7. Decide that it’s gotten warm enough to shower, and remove outer clothing. Now literally nothing is between your exposed skin and the winter. Try to get in the shower. Realise the water is pretty warm. Surely you can turn it down a little and that won’t hurt?

Like tiny ice particles….but only in my imagination.

Like tiny ice particles….but only in my imagination.

8. Nope, your cries of cold can probably be heard a block away. Definitely keep that tap all the way on hot. Your hands should now burn with the blood rushing back in from the earlier testing.

The shower drain!

The shower drain!

9. Try to run some soap over your skin or something. Keep that timer pressed in, or the lukewarm water will turn off and leave you in the cold! Decide washing your hair can wait. Until you go home.

10. Let the timer run out, and grab frantically for your towel. Dry yourself haphazardly, trying to account for the shivers making it hard to control the towel. Curse the winter, the tile to which your feet are freezing, and the water itself if you must. Tell yourself that this ordeal has made you better suited to the cold outside. Run upstairs and grab your hot drink, before your hair freezes!

Congratulations! You’re clean!

I'm a little bit cold….

I’m a little bit cold….

2 comments on “Something’s Frozen In The State of Denmark: Anatomy of a Shower in Copenhagen

  1. mmonroe841 says:

    your shower face made me LOL!

  2. Nana says:

    Great photo of you after your shower.

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