I have never instantly loved a city as much as I love and loved Copenhagen. I never imagined I would find myself in Scandinavia – it’s just so far north and completely out of of my culture zone that it never really crossed my mind. The most I knew of Scandinavia was ABBA from Sweden. Also, maybe that it was known to be really cold (I was correct), but that was about it. As soon as I stepped foot in the airport, my friend and I just looked at each other and said, “it’s so clean.” Everything was so sleek and modern, and the overall vibe was laidback efficiency. It’s like the Danes are so efficient that they can afford to be laidback. My friend Sharleen described it in the funniest way: “It always rains for like, twenty minutes a day, but then stops. It’s not heavy downpour though. It’s just chilling. Very Danish.” The country screamed, or said, since nothing is that intense, “contentment.” She also told me that Denmark used to be a huge empire, but it slowly lost power and land, and they know that they won’t have that power again, but they don’t really care. I asked if she could see Denmark rising again, but she said that they just don’t really want to be. Not power-hungry? What a concept. Especially because these blond visions of blue-eyed perfection could take over the world if they wanted to.
My other friend Zoe described her experience as “getting used to perfection.” (For more details on what perfection is, check her blog). That’s about right. Everybody is beautiful – my friends and I shamelessly stared at the male-model-esque Aryan paradigms of perfection. The city is the cleanest and most spacious urban environment I’ve ever been in. I even hesitate to call it urban because there are no tall buildings and I saw no hint of smog, only windmills in the distance. People don’t even J-walk – they ALWAYS wait for the light to turn green before crossing. Everybody bikes, through rain and snow – bikers have a place instead of being in the most obnoxious limbo between pedestrian and driver. It’s by one of the most beautiful bodies of water, sprinkled with houseboats and old viking ships. Everybody is incredibly nice, bright-eyed and attentive to your needs. They all speak the most beautiful English I’ve ever heard – not quite British, not quite American, just pure English. But they are able to remain modest. There is very little income disparity – no homeless people because the government essentially doesn’t allow it. Homosexuality and sexuality, in general, are far more progressive and non-taboo. Education and healthcare are free. Literal perfection. And yet, they remain modest.
The only thing that caught me off guard was that there is no staple culinary dish in Copenhagen. They eat a lot of herring, there’s smorgsbord (sp?), Danishes…but the focus isn’t really food. My friends and I told ourselves that we would be eating lots of fruit and vegetables, or just not eating a lot in general since we had gorged the past weekend at Oktoberfest, but obviously, we didn’t stick to that. I ate incredibly well there, as you’ll see.
Nyhavn – what you’ll find if you search “Copenhagen” on Google
Det Kongelige Bibliotek – the library was right by the canal, with reflective black surfaces and glass walls and windows. Very beautiful.
As I was saying before, it was easy to forget that I was in a city – everything was so green and quiet and serene
Canal TourHouseboatsI guess it’s only natural, but I found myself constantly comparing this city with Paris, my home base. Copenhagen is much cleaner, much more humble, spacious, kinder, progressive, etc., etc. and I’m super tempted to go back again, but I was still so happy to come home to Paris (how cool is it that I can call Paris my home?).
Now…food post to follow…