Sunday, September 14, 2008

copenhagen

I had resolved to go into Copenhagen on my layover once I had booked a ticket with a 6+hr layover. In the days preceding my travels, I had done a tid bit of research on the city: found out that I should go see the little mermaid, and got a general idea of the city layout and it's proximity to the airport. I also pulled out the pages of Copenhagen from my huge Europe on a shoestring travel book.

On Tuesday "morning" when I landed in Copenhagen, it was about 7am: to me, 1am. I had slept quite little on the plane despite taking Tylenol PM, so I was really groggy. Had I not already decided to go I might not have gone. But, carpe diem! I made my way out through customs and headed toward the metro, into a country where I could not speak one word - not ONE word - of the language. I've never done that. (But Danish isn't in my Central Euro phrase book...)

It took several tries, but I managed to decipher and buy a metro pass to get into the city. It was then that I discovered that Denmark doesn't use Euros...so basically I know nothing of this country. I was pleased to get a metro pass with a credit card, so I didn't have to take out cash at all.

On my way into the city I looked through a booklet on Copenhagen from SAS and found a useful map where I planned out a walking route through the city. I, of course, didn't know if it would be feasible to walk the distance, because there was no legend.

I popped up at 7:30am in the center of a busy city where most everyone was headed to work on bicycles. I used the sun to decide which was I wanted to start walking, and proceeded up the main thoroughfare. Until I suddenly saw a quaint side street and decided to aburptly turn. When I was nearly run over with a bicyclist. Except I didn't even - in my grogginess - know what was happening and I began to walk again into his way. The Danes seem to me to be very good-natured, and the man just called out something like pardon and whizzed on his way. And some onlookers chuckled. I had to laugh, and then make a deliberate point to look out for cyclists, which in my state of grogginess took a lot of concentration!
I came across something like a palace and the governor's gardens pretty quickly. It was really lovely. Many people were walking through on their way to work, or with their dogs. It was so much fun to me, to imagine everyone home in America, and thinking: this is what Danes are doing, while we are all tucked up in our beds. They are riding to work on their bicycles in great numbers, all with smiles on their faces. And today I get to see it.
I enjoyed the lovely flowers and unusual sculptures, and the sunlight, which was slowly warming up the city (and making me happy since I only had a light fleece). I was also amused by the young boys who were apparently learning to be guards for the palace door.
















I walked on north through some unidentified park which I thought from the map was a fortress because it seemed to have a moat. Instead there was a lovely old windmill, surrounded by canals. I rested there for a bit and read on a bench.
I was the only obvious tourist up till then. I just walked around with a smile on my face, because Copenhagen was so beautiful and pleasant to me. I should have liked to be Danish, I think. Then I ran into other tourists at the mermaid.
By the time I was back in the center of the city I was tired of walking and getting hungry. But I headed on through to the city hall. Then I turned and walked across the bridge toward another part of town, all the while looking for a grocery store where I could get lunch.
I was pretty exhausted, and my feet hurt. My carry-on wasn't exactly light either. But I found a store where I got some yogurt (hurray for European yogurt!) and chocolate and choco-covered rice cakes and a banana. And some treats for the niece and nephews, and a treat for Elizabeth and Milan. (And I figured I had gotten a decently priced lunch at 3x what my metro ticket was: I had no idea of the exchange rate. Not so! Denmark is expense! My short metro ride was $5, two times, and lunch $15! oh well.)

I got back to the airport with extra time: I was too tired to use my full time in the city. And in a few more hours, I was greeted by Elizabeth, Mark, Daniel and Anna!

2 comments:

Robyn said...

I'm so jealous of your adventures! I can't wait to read more!

Mother said...

I'm reading a biography of Jacob Riis, whom I have learned was a Dane (and a New Yorker) who loved his homeland. The early chapters of the book made me eager to see your pictures. Idyllic yes.