I love this city.
Departing Sydney for Copenhagen, all the advice had me prepared for a reserved people, cold weather and depressingly short days. Fortunately it’s all turned out to be a load of nonsense. I love this city.
Whilst some had their eye on a typical Scandinavian winter, you’ll hear no complaints from me that Copenhagen is experiencing its warmest winter since records. It was only a couple of months into our stay when we found ourselves playing ‘football’ in the park and eating ice cream on the street.
The Danes certainly have a way, but at least those that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing have demonstrated a warmth and inquisitive quality. I’m lucky enough to live with a couple of Danes with whom I’ve become close friends. We sit and drink the horrendous Danish beer and eat the surprisingly enjoyable Danish liver paste.
I’d hoped to get through this blog without mentioning bike riding, but five paragraphs in I concede I should have known better. The bike riding – the most cliché take-away of a Copenhagen exchange – is unbelievable. I live on an island called Amager which is south of the city. Some folks would say Amager is way out. But on our bikes no distance is any further than a glorious peddle, often in exceptional company as we ride in and out of town.
So fond of the bikes are we that a group ride to Aarhus – a cool 110km away – is in the late stages of planning for the Easter break.
Being such a small country, excursions like this have been possible to get a broader sense of this Kingdom of Denmark.
One weekend saw myself and a few friends hire the only automatic car in Europe and drive south to the island of Møn, where we found the Colgate white cliffs which stretch around the island’s coast. We saw some of the unique scenery cosy Denmark has to offer, stayed on a quaint Danish farm and survived driving on the other side of the road.
Heading north, a short day trip on the train took me to Helsingør to explore what the Danes call Kronborg Slot and the rest of us call ‘Hamlet’s Castle’. Excursions like this, coupled with Danish movie nights organised by the local University of Copenhagen students have helped our education about Danish history and all their Kings and Queens.
There’s something about this experience that makes me feel like I’m learning twenty new things a day. Whether it’s around the dinner table or in the classroom the European experience has certainly thrown up new ideas about life, love and laughter and offered new perspectives.
Most exciting of all however, is that the best is yet to come. The weather’s been good, but just wait until the summer. The Danes speak constantly about the summer time: “Such and such place is beautiful in the summer” they go. “Such and such an activity will be a lot of fun in the summer.” There won’t be enough days or long moonlit nights this time around to experience all the Danish summer has to offer but here’s to surviving exams and soaking up as much of it as we can.