Find Myself a City
August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
I don’t plan on spending much time in cities on this trip. This little jaunt in Copenhagen ended up exceeding my conservative backpacker budget. But I fell in love with the city. I knew I would. I’m also glad that I took some time off before beginning my next volunteer assignment in Sweden.
That and how often do you get to have your birthday in a cool European city? Many of my previous birthdays fell around or immediately after my family’s summer vacations. My birthday once coincided with a “scenic” drive from Iowa to Illinois. True story.
From now on, when I manage to make it to the big cities, I’ll make sure to compile a set of notes.
So here you are. Sights, sounds, smells, and tastes I experienced as I traversed Copenhagen, primarily on foot.
–In the Jutland, sheep and cattle outnumber people. In Copenhagen, bicycles outnumber people.
–I sensed a good amount of Parisian flair, from the city’s old-world elegance, spacious public parks, and bustling cafe culture. Not to mention its abundance of bakeries. I came to think of Copenhagen as Paris designed by Danes, minus the stuck-up attitude. (Sorry, Paris.)
–It’s hard to go wrong bakery-wise here. Chain or independent, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good. Of everything I tried, Meyer’s Bageri (as in Claus Meyer of Noma fame) was by far my favorite. A whole grain, rye, pumpkin seed roll to start the day, paired with an americano from Coffee Collective across the street, and a walk through Assistens Cemetery this morning. A perfect way to start the day.
–Flowers grow in the most unilkely of places here. Especially along the sides of buildings. It exemplifies the city’s effortless mix of grit and beauty.
–On that note, graffiti covers the sides of even the oldest and stateliest buildings. But it still looks beautiful.
–As for the architecture, “Wow,” is all I can say. Minimal fronts, narrow frames. So much eye-catching color around every corner. A literal painter’s palette come to life, as trite as that might sound.
–I still can’t explain Denmark’s odd affinity for 7-Eleven. Seriously. It’s everywhere. Danish 7-Elevens are similar from the ones you find in the States. The only crucial difference? Danish 7-11s sell danishes.
–Christiania is Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA for aging burnouts and trustafarians. (Green Light District! Get it?!)
–In the US, riding a bicycle is usually a shameless status symbol. Here, bicycles are entrenched in the local culture. Pretty much everyone bikes.
–No, I didn’t see the Little Mermaid Statue, and I didn’t go to Tivoli.
–Black currant sorbet is best eaten in a large waffle cone, while strolling along one of the many canals in the city. Everyone eats these ice cream cones around here. That’s one tourist activity I can get behind.
–I’m a snob. Why? Because I refuse to drink at any bar that flogs Carlsberg, Tuborg, or Jaggermeister/”Jaggerbombs” (i.e. a hangover in a shot glass).
–Sitting inside an English-Danish pub, eavesdropping on a group of old men ranting about something to do with the Tory Party and comparing Swedish and Danish mannerisms with a Swedish traveler and the Irishman working the bar.
–A big chunk of hard Danish cheese; subtle, sweet Danish mustard; and samples of local brews (especially Evil Twin) at Mikkeller. This was my birthday dinner. And what a birthday dinner it was.
–Sicilian style gelato. In Copenhagen. With a Scandinavian twist. I sampled licorice and Sicilian pine nut flavors, along with a flavor inspired by a traditional Danish buttermilk-based beverage. The best gelato I’ve had in a long, long time.
–Irma, if you’re reading this, are you aware of how famous you are out here? They named an entire chain of grocery stores after you.