It’s just as well some things are booked far ahead because if you left them until the last minute, they would certainly never happen.
Last Thursday night, mum and I arrived at Super Sister’s house ready for an early flight to Copenhagen. SS and I somewhat frazzled at walking out of our hectic lives for a few days.
But when you feel like that exactly what you need is a sneaky getaway – so wasn’t that lucky?
The reason for the trip was mum’s 75th birthday – an excellent excuse.
Here’s what I learned:
You don’t need a dictator to make the trains run well. Denmark’s public transport system is efficient and easy – on time and clean. We didn’t get lost or dismayed once.
Get a Copenhagen Card for an easy win. The tourist office sells a card that gets you in to almost everything, including the public transport. This will save you money and free you up from having to make the it-costs-a-bit-we-need-to-stay-a-while-in-this-museum calculations.
The woman in the pink coat will be a tourist. Sweeping generalisation disclaimer. Danish people don’t go for colour much, their wardrobes appear to be subtle and muted perked up with a funky haircut or statement necklace. But they achieve good looks without being boring.
You don’t need to find pastries or bacon to find delicious stuff. In fact, we didn’t find either yet everything we scoffed was exceptionally well cooked and tasty. Menus are small but perfectly formed.
Hygge is huge. This is a singularly Danish thing and roughly translates to “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things”. As far as I can see it’s the holistic interpretation of “any fool can be uncomfortable” and this country is far from foolish. It’s also about candles and doing things that make you feel good even if you can’t explain why they make you feel good.
Candles are hot. Everyone in Denmark burns candles everywhere. They’re significantly hygge. You’ll find them in the pub loo, half way up the stairs, on the street, everywhere. It’s a bit strange for those of us who live in a “don’t leave your candle unattended for even a nanosecond” society.
Christiansborg Palace burned down… twice. And so did a bit of Kronborg Castle. May or may not be connected to previous point.
The Dutch don’t have a monopoly on bikes. Sweeping generalisation disclaimer. Everyone cycles. It’s flat, there are lots of places to park your bike and an extensive cycle route system. Why wouldn’t you? Also they do that sensible thing of not bothering with special clothes to go cycling, makes it much more accessible.
Design is the thing. Everywhere you look, the place has been well-thought-out and put together beautifully. There’s nothing of the carbuncle about the new – sheets of Perspex will complement the red-brick walls of an ancient castle or innovative lighting will make an urban waterway glitter.