Ah, just two days in Copenhagen and we already feel like we’re fitting in. I think we’re ready to be issued our bicycles now. Each day, scores of blond and blonder fit Danes ride their bicycles past me with an inviting arm outstretched asking for a high five. Or they might just be signaling a left hand turn. I’m not quite sure. I know Brooke mentioned it before, but the amount of cycling as a means of transportation is inspiring and stunning. Eveywhere you turn, there are dedicated, large bike lanes spanning a flat terrain full of polite cyclists scooting about town. We’ve also seen a couple of guys on roller skates, but we’re pretty sure that just means that their bikes are in the shop. Thus far, it’s been a blast exploring Denmark’s capital city. It’s a compact area with a sea of orange, slanted roofs and low rises that emit both an old and modern look. In one small area alone, you can walk the serpentine path to the top of the nearly 400-year old Round Tower, shop in a late 19th century storefront or stroll past the modern “Black Diamond” – the striking Royal Danish Library. The city is entirely walkable with (yet another – we’ve seen so many) stellar public transportation system comprised of buses, regional rail and an expanding subway.
It’s easy to think of Copenhagen as a sophisticated, classy, old-world city. Clean, organized, and cultured. As for the locals, I think that the best way to describe the people we’ve met is engaging. Once you a start a conversation with anyone from the bartender to the guy on the bus, everyone is talkative and eager to share. It doesn’t hurt that just about everyone speaks English incredibly fluently as a second language and many speak a third or even fourth language. Reading scores in Scandinavia are higher in general since virtually all television is in English with closed captioning in the native language. Hence, the country’s youth is often reading while watching television.
We realize that reflecting on the food is becoming a common motif in our blog, but some delicacies are too good not to share. If there is one thing Copenhagen does well it would be bakeries. Storefronts loaded with freshly baked pastries, breads, tarts and more are almost as common as ads for Carlsberg. We’ve sampled the ware and they deliver the tasty goods. We also sampled the national mid-day lunch dish – Smørrebrød (don’t worry, we can’t pronounce it either) which is essentially an open face sandwich made of everything from meatball and pickled cabbage to roast beef. Available everywhere, we stopped in an unassuming lunch place to give ’em a shot. Delicious! Only problem was that we didn’t know the custom is to order two or three since they are a bit on the smaller side. Learning as we go.
Another sensational “local” dish we discovered is, believe it or not, hot dogs from a street vendor. In a land known for sausage, this is some of the best street meat we’ve had in months. Large, mouth-watering sausages wrapped in bacon loaded with condiments? More, please. These put (most) NYC hot dogs to shame. And, yeah, we’re going back for another round today. Copenhagen also lays claim to the “World’s Best restaurant” – Noma. How is it? Amazing and delicious…are the words that a world traveler who could dream of being able to afford to eat there might.
There is so much more to tell you about Copenhagen. Next time we’ll share stories of the Carlsberg Brewery, Christiana (the incredibly interesting community of squatters), and our amazing Air B ‘n B experience.