Copenhagen

03/05/2011 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Before the trip to Denmark I never imagined that I would pay £5 for a coffee. In England such a large sum would be the stuff on nightmares but in Denmark it is the norm. Everything is hideously expensive which can take some getting used to. In the end though it’s best to just laugh it off and pay up because it isn’t something you can get away from. Save the crying for later when you’re alone and nobody else has to hear you.

Following a long journey from Hamburg we arrived at the ominously named Sleep in Heaven hostel on Sunday evening. Tired from a strenuous five hours of sitting down on the train/ferry we headed out in search of food. We settled on one of the first bars we came across but it turned out to be an excellent choice. The interior reminded me somewhat of the Scream bars in the UK only my feet didn’t stick to the floor and everyone was much better dressed. The bar itself was part bookshelf with the books organised in colour order giving the place a well educated and pretentious feel. Naturally Chris and I thought this was excellent.

Having translated the menu we ordered our food along with some “pints” of Carlsberg. The Carlsberg is Denmark is very drinkable and lacks the metallic taste of the stuff exported to the UK.

Upon leaving the bar we realised that there were a lot of drunk people staggering about the place which did seem very odd for a Sunday night. It is also impressive that people can afford to get drunk given the price of alcohol.

The next day we headed into the City centre. Copenhagen really is a beautiful place, the pictures which I have posted here do not do it justice. Upon walking through the City we realised that most shops do not open until 10am although some bars were open and people were already drinking. This is clearly an excellent idea and there is no justifiable reason why shops in the UK have to open at 9am.

We headed for the waterfront area at Nyhavn. Along here are plenty of bars and restaurants situated in pretty little pastel coloured houses. It was exactly how I had imagined Copenhagen to look.

The waterfront at Nyhavn.


Here we stopped for the traditional Danish delicacy, British style Belgian waffles with ice-cream, along with some not very good coffee. It was however very expensive so I forced myself to enjoy it.

We continued our walk along the harbour and had to compete with a freezing wind which cut straight to the bone. If Copenhagen can be this cold in May I dread to think what it is like during the Winter months. The sky however was free of cloud which made for some excellent views across the harbour to the Opera House. Our stroll took us to the Kastellet, which according to Wikipedia is one of the best preserved fortifications in Northern Europe. Here there is also a church and an excellent fountain of which Chris and I were able to take some excellent low angle “edgy” photographs.

Low angle photo. It's bare cool man!

Much of the afternoon was spend generally ambling about the City taking in it’s delights. A trip to King’s Gardens was followed by a visit to the very hip Latin Quarter. The area is mostly made up of bookshops, cafes and very trendy (and expensive) independent clothes shops. Apart from the main high street there seems to be little in the way of chain stores meaning that everyone is dressed differently and are therefore extremely cool.

Partly due to our lack of imagination, but also because we really liked the place Chris and I had our evening meal in the same restaurant we had visited the previous night. We tucked into a traditional Danish lasagne and chilli con carne along with some bottles of Jacobson beer.

Our second full day began with a trip to the Nationalmuseet. Here we took in the excellent exhibition on European Pre-History, which involved looking at lots of spears, axes, swords and well preserved human skeletons. After we viewed a collection of coins many of which were either far too large or far too small to be of any practical use. There was also meant be be a collection of medals although this had mysteriously disappeared.

Later as we wondered down Strøget we came across a Lego store. I had never realised before but apparently Lego is Danish. When you’re a child though the country in which your favourite plastic bricks are produced is not a primary concern. The place was pretty much a Cathedral for fans of Lego and brought back plenty of great childhood memories. Since I last experimented with Lego things have changed a lot. The range and complexity of the models is vast. You can get anything from a space shuttle or a pirate ship to a racing car or piece of contemporary architecture, although quite which child wants to build the kind of houses you would see on an episode of Grand Designs I’m not sure. Chris and I toyed with the idea of purchasing a model of the Imperial Death Star but it cost around 4,000 DKK (£482) and we didn’t much fancy the idea of carting it around the rest of Europe.

Upon leaving the Lego store the weather decided to take a turn for the worst so we darted into the nearest Café for some refreshments. After finishing our drinks the weather was showing little sign of improvement so we headed back to the hostel for the evening.

Somehow Denmark seems to have created an almost ideal society. My knowledge of the Danish political and economic system is extremely limited so I am not totally sure how they have achieved this. It may have something to do with the extremely high taxation. The highest earners pay 57% income tax, and VAT is charged as a massive 25% which explains why everything is so damn expensive.

Based on what little of the country I have seen everyone seems to be well off. People are well dressed, polite, excessively attractive and would seem to be happy with their lives. I hate to use the term, but the “underclass” and delinquents which we have in Britain don’t seem to exist. Either that or they’ve been hidden away somewhere so the tourists don’t see them.

Whatever Denmark has done Britain should take note. We should certainly copy the Danish economic model and immediately implement it at home.

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Entry filed under: Denmark. Tags: , , , , , , .

Hamburg Malmö

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