hoo hah, not homeless
So, let me tell you a little something about finding a place to live in Copenhagen.
First, you have to figure out all the housing websites. They all have different policies, and only one is free. The others you pay anywhere from a reasonable $4/week to the exorbitant $65 for 2 months. This payment allows you to see the contact information of possible rentals.
Once you've paid at multiple websites, you find that only half of the listings actually have a contact number. The others are email addresses or links to other websites where you have to pay again.
There are quite a few postings, but only a few are actually nice, close, and 'reasonably' priced. You must reconfigure your idea of 'reasonable' here, as a single room rented out in an apartment shared with someone else can cost upwards of $750-850/month. Often times that is just the room, not including the shared facilities. These places are almost impossible to secure unless you already know someone, as the Landlord will get about 50-70 phone calls from possible candidates, all of whom want to come see the place. The Landlord therefore has his pick of whoever he wants, and the chances of your getting in are slim.
Finding an apartment is harder in some ways than finding a room, as there aren't as many listed. Or rather, there are, but none of them are affordable. Almost every apartment is in a beautiful place, with wood floors and lovely furniture, but these are all upwards of $2000-3000/month. To find something that is 'affordable' (i.e., in the $1200-1500/month range), you must be very quick.
If you can find a place you like that is in your price range, it is likely that 10-15 people have already called or found a way to make it there before you can. One place we called at 9:30 in the morning already had 6 people arranged to come see the place that morning. The likelihood that you will have an opportunity to see a place is not that good.
The market is therefore arranged in such a way that if you ARE lucky enough to be on the initial list of viewers, you must be prepared to say within an hour whether or not you can take the place. This doesn't afford you much time to look for anything else that is better, cheaper, or closer to where you want to be.
We were the 3rd or 4th people to look at a bachelor apartment in Norrebro. But we were lucky; we had a slightly larger window of opportunity as the other people were not going to let the landlady know until the next day. So we had several hours to actually think about our options... As it turned out, we must have struck a friendly chord with the landlady, because when we phoned her in the evening to tell her our decision, she was very pleased and has been helping us to find used furnishings for cheap.
The apartment is on the top (6th) floor of an apartment building in Norrebro, near a train station and the main cycling street of Norrebrogade. The area is known as an immigrant area which has cheaper rents and more cultural variety in shops. We like the area a lot, not just for its relative cheapness, but for the mixture of people and loveliness of the homes. There are many churches and grand old buildings in Norrebro, and it is very close to the 'downtown' area of Copenhagen. We are close to parks and good cafes.
The apartment itself is about 47 m2, or nearly 500 square ft. It has a reasonably sized kitchen with lots of cupboards and clerestory windows. There is a table with chairs attached to the wall for a sort of 'eat in' kitchen. Next to that is the bathroom, which contains a shower immediately when you walk in, followed by the toilet at the other side. The main room is actually quite large, with tons of windows and opening into a large balcony the full width of the apartment that overlooks the south of the city and directly into a courtyard. On one side of our building is a senior's complex, and directly across is a kindergarten. The apartment is painted white from floor to ceiling. It is lovely.
We have arranged to go pick up a used bed tonight, which we will take to the apartment in preparation for our move tomorrow afternoon. We need lots of things to get started, but at least we have a base point for now, from which we may be able to find something larger and better. Sigh, it just feels good to have a nice, clean, well-located apartment to live in.
I am really enjoying the city, especially being on a bike again. Despite the fact that there is a steady wind from the south at all times, it is one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen, both old and new parts are equally fascinating to me.
Well, I'm going to check out the 'Bilka one-stop' --a store much like a European Walmart I suppose? Must get linens for the bed...