Well, we’re off for Malmö today, so in true Fishy fashion, I give you my summary of Copenhagen as a series of top-5s.
5 Things I Will Miss About Copenhagen:
- The pastries. The kage and bolle and snegl and brød. It is so easy to find tasty baked goods (dessert-y or otherwise) that I am actually a little worried about what I’m going to eat for breakfast in Sweden. I know, I should have more faith. Clearly you don’t understand how important tasty baked goods are to me, if you think that though.
- The amazing multi-lingual-ness of people. This is probably more common in Europe than back home (where we’re impressed by folks who can speak French and English), but despite the fact that all these countries are very close to each other, it’s still something else to hear a guide or waitress or whoever switch from English to Danish to German to Italian, all without breaking a sweat.
- The fantastic green spaces. Not all of them are even green! Copenhagen has no shortage of parks and gardens, fountains (with seats) and big open plads (squares) scattered merrily around, all providing people with welcome traffic-free places to stop for a bit and rest. (For anyone going, don’t miss the Botanisk Have; it’s beautiful.)
- The bicycling culture. The city has a collection of “free” bikes (they require a coin deposit of around $4-$5, which you get back when you lock the bike back up again) scattered throughout downtown and at most metro stations, and never have I seen a city better-equipped with bike lanes and traffic signals specifically for bicycle traffic. Considering The Boy and I walked most of non-suburban Copenhagen, we can attest to the fact that it really isn’t all that sprawled. It would be very reasonable for the average citizen here to bike to work or school… and it seems they do. Good for them!
- The ladybugs. The Boy asked if I would get sick of the ladybugs if, for example, we had a ladybug infestation at home, instead of earwigs. My answer is a hearty Hells No, since the cheerful critters eat other bugs and would therefore help keep my poor vegetables safe from arthropod predators. Besides, they’re so cute!
5 Things I Will Not Miss About Copenhagen
- The excessive public peeing. With the copious numbers of cafes, public toilets and pissoirs, there is really no compelling reason to be relieving oneself against a wall or a tree. People tend to be relatively discreet about it but still; eww. (It occurs to me this might be a European thing, not just Copenhagen; nonetheless, it stays on my list.)
- The obnoxious sidewalk hoggers. Sorry Copenhagen, but it’s true. As someone who has spent a goodly amount of time walking the streets of Toronto, Montreal, New York and even LA, no one compares in terms of complete lack of sidewalk etiquette like your citizens (and tourists), and you’re clocking at roughly 65% here. What angers me more than rude pedestrians though are the cyclists who won’t get out the way. Seriously, this city is built for cyclists — see things I’ll miss above — and yet there will still be the asshole cyclist mowing pedestrians down on the busy sidewalk when they could be unencumbered using the lane dedicated to their vehicle not 10 inches to the side. GAH.
- Tea served in (handle-less) glasses. It is possible that some people don’t mind this because they don’t like drinking their tea burning hot. Hence, by the time the glass has cooled down sufficiently to handle, the tea is also an appropriate temperature to drink. However, for anyone who has to move their glass of tea or who, like me, doesn’t mind drinking it piping hot but has delicate girly hands, this is just a big irritation. Want to serve tea in fancy see-through glass? Very nice. Just put a handle on it, jeebus; otherwise, use a mug.
- The insane over-priced-ness of fresh produce. I get that we’re in Europe and that while museums and admission to other historic offerings is cheaper than North America, food is more expensive. Fine. That doesn’t explain, however, our trip to the grocery store which yielded: cheese — around $6, fine; pate — around $3, eerily cheap, like most pork products here; bananas — around $3.50 for 5, kind of a lot, but they do need to be imported, and then $5-ish for 6 apples (slightly over 1 lb)? WTF.
- The bizarrely fecal-smelling street meat vendor stands. I don’t know why, whether it’s just unfortunate placement of the stand near a sewage grate, or if it’s the ingredients they’re using or what, but yuck.
5 Random Things About Copenhagen:
- Their restaurant examination system — none of this red-yellow-green stuff like we have in Ontario, oh no. The Danes have found a much more universal scale to measure restaurants on: the happy face scale!
- The pervasive cobblestone-concrete mix. While the roadways for cars and bikes is asphalt, all of the pedestrian areas are either wholly cobbled or have stripes of cobblestones and concrete bits. It’s fine for those of us who foresee a lot of walking (and boy was there ever a lot of walking), but I do wonder how this city feels for girls who choose skinny heels.
- Speaking of streets, their streetlamps. Copenhagen chooses not to clutter its sidewalks with lampposts, but rather, suspends them from cables into the middle of the street. One could argue that this doesn’t count down on the posts any, since there are conical metal posts periodically holding up the cables but in the more urban areas, mostly the cables seem to come off the buildings.
- Money with holes in. I know other cultures do this, but it never ceases to amuse me; so cute!
- The water. There is water everywhere here, whether the harbour(s), the canals, the fountains; you’re never more than 50 meters from a source of water and it’s kind of nice, once you get used to it.