Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Copenhagen, Day One (and only)

We woke up at 4:30 in the morning for our 7 AM flight from Dublin to Copenhagen. When I left my hostel room, barefoot, I stepped in something very wet on the carpet. I really hope it was water. I really really hope it was water.

There's a note I took that just says "Alternative Men's Toilets." This may have been in the Dublin Airport, or it may have been in Copenhagen. I can't tell. In any case, I thought, at the time, that the mere existence of something called Alternative Men's Toilets, and what men were supposed to use them, was worth jotting down. So there you go.

The safety instructions on the flight were given in Danish. There is no Danish phrase, apparently, for "fasten seatbelts," since those words were definitely not Danish.

Q: What would the New York Post headline be if something crooked happened in Scandanavia?
A: "Scanda-lous"


The Copenhagen Airport is the cleanest airport I've ever seen, without much competition (making the European Airport of the Year Awards pretty unsurprising). Beautiful dark wood floors without a speck of dirt or trash. Comfortable seating. Good lighting. There's a poster which instructs that shouting in the airport isn't allowed. These people are civilized.

Perhaps too civilized. We went into a post office for one of my friends to get a phone card. There were no other customers. He went to the window. They wouldn't serve him. They told him to take a number from the machine. He took a number. Three second pause. They rang a bell announcing that his number was up. He went to the window. They served him.

You take numbers for everything in Copenhagen.

They also have really wide bike lanes built into all of the roads. They like bikes here.

They also like Hans Christian Anderson. There are plaques throughout the city explaining how wherever you are standing relates to something Hans Christian Anderson did. And you can also call a phone number (I am not kidding) to hear Hans Christian Anderson talking about whatever it is the plaque is about. I'm guessing it's some actor reading words Anderson wrote, but who knows. In a less civilized country, this would just be some really filthy Hans Christian Anderson phone sex line, or something like that.

There was a nice park we walked through, with trees and a man-made lake.

Then we went to Rosenborg Palace, which had a museum with the crown jewels of Denmark, and another building where you could tour the old living quarters. Palaces are big. I have nothing much to say about this except that it was a cool museum, and a nice complex of buildings, but didn't stand out especially.

The city itself is gorgeous. Lots of ships and old yellow buildings and nice flowers and it was fun to walk around and see things. We were told the "famous mermaid" was underwhelming, so we skipped it. We also skipped Tivoli, the amusement park, because we were time-limited.

There was a foreign couple perplexed about the difference between "entrance fee" and "entrance free" on whatever map they were looking at. I'd never realized that there's just one letter different, and it must indeed be confusing for people trying to decode the language.

In the evening, we took a train across the sea, about 35 minutes, to Malmo, Sweden's 3rd largest city. We met up in Copenhagen with another friend from law school whose parents live in Malmo, and so we decided to spend a couple of days in Malmo, even though I suppose it isn't the typical tourist destination. But it actually ended up being the coolest place we saw, I think.