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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Travel Writing – Cities- Copenhagen (I)

Copenhagen is an easy city to love. Maybe it’s the fact that I went in June when the temperature approached 27°C and the sun shone so brightly that several of my colleagues were the colour of London buses by lunchtime on the first day. But as I’ve never heard anyone who’s visited the city say they dislike it, no matter when they’ve gone, I’d be inclined to city it really is just a lovely city.
London is a hard city to love, even if you live there. In fact, it’s hard to love especially if you live there. Paris is either loved or hated by everyone that has visited it. These cities bring about strong emotions in people. But Copenhagen, when I was there, brought a general feeling of calmness and comfort.

The pace of the city was very slow which probably had a lot to do with the weather but also the lack of crowds in the city. We stayed less than 10 minutes from the central station and there was none of rushing and general busy attitude one would expect from such a central location. Even on a Friday morning when everyone would be expected to be at work.  Maybe a lot of people were on holiday. Many Scandinavian companies have summer holidays. The logic is understandable since the winters and long and people would want to make the most of it.

It is not a cheap city. Perhaps on par with London and in some cases more expensive (though an exchange rate of 9 Danish Krone to 1 GBP definitely aids in the expensive nature since the currency seems to be a bit overvalued).  But for the expense of the meals, the quality was very high. One weekend isn’t a large sample size and perhaps we were lucky in choosing our restaurants but I did not have any bad meals in Copenhagen. Every meal exceeded expectations to the point where the price seemed apt or even undervalued. 109DKK for a brunch that was almost large enough to be two meals and easily managed to be one of the best breakfasts I’ve had all year seems like a solid investment.
Cover charges are a point where the expense can be a lot (but I don’t go out to bars and clubs that much in London so maybe it’s on par) since I think 100DKK without a drink included is quite a lot for entry. Especially compared to Lisbon on last year’s trip €12 for entrance came with 4 beers. But considering we found places close to Nytorv, which seemed to be popular amongst a younger crowd, it’s not surprising the prices were hiked up. There’s no exaggeration on it being a younger crowd. Most people in bars on the first night we arrived in Copenhagen were wearing the studenterhue hat signaling graduation from high school.

On the first morning in Copenhagen we awoke to the news that the U.K. had voted to leave the European Union. This was hardly the most auspicious of beginnings and due to the divisive nature, the entire topic was agreed to not be discussed. To not discuss such an important event could seem willfully ignorant but really it was impossible to know what was going to happen (it is still impossible) and discussion would just cause arguments and disrupt the holiday. In another city it might have proven difficult to stay away from the topic. In Copenhagen, there was more than enough to keep everyone distracted.

Unexpectedly for the majority of us, Copenhagen’s waters were warm enough for swimming. Even more unexpected was the fact that Island Brygge baths, located right in the harbor, was a popular spot for swimming. Located in the narrow channel of the harbor, with a backdrop of industrial buildings as well as stylish Danish architecture, it seemed an area that would be more inclined to riverside activities but not actual water sport. Many residents could be found sunbathing on the lawns as well as barbequing and drinking beer.

Beer seems to be popular in Copenhagen. It might just be a summer thing but pubs were open as early as 9 a.m. and people were already having pints on a Friday morning.

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