In the words of Danny Kaye, ‘Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen’. We’ve had another great day in this beautiful city.
Having orientated ourselves yesterday, we found it much easier to find our way into the city, despite having to take a replacement bus for the first two train stops due to weekend engineering works – just like Scotland in that respect! First stop was coffee, and we found a charming cafe called Grotte Cafe, which was anything but grotty. The Danes do things really well – they call it Hygge. It’s the little tasteful touches that really make the difference. We sat outside, but the interior of the cafe was just lovely – very plain simple decor, but so typically Scandinavian, with muted grey and whites and distressed wooden furniture. Upstairs was a typical student haunt, with students at computers eeking out their coffees for as long as possible.
Duly refreshed, we headed off into the city, and ended up by the jetty that runs the boat trips. Since yesterday we had purchased a ticket, which unknowingly at the time, lasts for 48 hours – we decided to get our money’s worth. So on we jumped for another cruise around. Everywhere we looked, there were National Danish flags flying. The guide explained that is was the anniversary of the liberation of Denmark from the Naxis, and every public building, and many more, had hoisted their National flag in remembrance.
It certainly seemed that the whole of Copenhagen was celebrating the fine sunny weather. Everywhere we looked, people were perched on canal walls, lounging on deckchairs by the water, relaxing in cafes or sitting in boats on the canals with a drink in their hands. It did strike us, that for a country that pays a phenomenal tariff on their alcohol, it certainly didn’t seem to be stopping the Copenhageners from drinking a huge amount. We wondered, therefore, what effect the newly imposed minimum alcohol pricing will make in Scotland, if what we witnessed today was anything to go by. We passed by a group of about ten youths on a ‘Beer Bicycle’. It appeared that the faster they cycled, the more beer was pumped up from the barrel into their glasses. Others had rented boats with tables set in the middle. One poor soul was allocated to steer the outboard motor, whilst the rest of the party were consuming large quantities of alcohol, and often singing. But it was all terribly good humoured. The whole day, we never witnessed any real unruly behaviour, and remarkably, we never saw a single policeman or woman, in sharp contrast to the other cities we have visited on our trip. It was all the more surprising, since this weekend Copenhagen is hosting the European Ice Hockey finals, and there were supporters of many of the teams touring around the city, in their team colours. Everyone was just incredibly civilised and good humoured.
After our boat trip, we stopped for a cool drink and some Smorrebrod – yummy! Then we went for a long walk along the canals, and ended up, you guessed it – at The Little Mermaid statue. Now I know I dissed it yesterday, but in reality, you can’t really come to Copenhagen without at least seeing it!
We returned back to the city centre on our ‘Hop On, Hop Off’ canal boat ticket, and Howard had to drag me off, for fear that I would want to go around again. We returned to our lovely cafe for a quick supper, before catching the train and bus back.
I have really fallen in love with Copenhagen. It is a stunningly beautiful place, made better, of course, by the lovely sunshine we saw it in. Generally, I am not a great fan of cities – but there is something quite special about cities that sit by the sea or water – San Fransisco, Cape Town, Vancouver, Boston to name but a few. For some reason, they always seem much more relaxed to me, and take every opportunity to maximise the vistas. Copenhagen has done this remarkably well – leaving huge expanses of open spaces next to the water for the public to enjoy. I just hope that Dundee’s newly developed waterfront takes some lessons from its Scandinavian cousin.
So, for me, Danny Kaye is right – ‘Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen for me’! (Words from the song in the 1953 Hans Christian Anderson film, for those of you too young to remember!).