Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Pickled herrings must make you big and strong

I've just returned from a 24 hour invasion of Denmark and it's my new favourite country.

This is what I discovered about Denmark:

          • It's very flat. So I'm thinking of moving there for running alone because I'm bored of leaving my front door and being faced with a 250ft vertical climb everywhere I turn. It's so dispiriting. In fact the average height above sea level in Denmark is only 31 metres which I reckon would be more than bearable.

  • No-one lives there. It's completely empty - where are they all? Somewhere warmer? Apparently Denmark has 129 inhabitants per square kilometre but I think I saw only 2 of them. By comparison England has around 400 people per square kilometre and I know that most of those are in Ikea at any one time.

  • You can't buy a glass of wine in Denmark.Wine by the glass is a growing trend in the UK because we're all super-concious of drink-driving and binge-drinking (aren't we?) but it's a concept that doesn't exist in Denmark because, by their own admission, they prefer to drink a bottle at a time. So it's no surprise that Denmark has the world's 7th highest per capita income because they need that much money coming in to buy all that wine which is also horrifically expensive. In fact we imposed our own austerity measures by staying in a hotel on an industrial estate outside Odense so that we could afford a wheat beer and a bottle of wine in the bar - the bottle cost half as much as our rooms and was only Peter Lehmann Clancy's which is just over 8 quid here.

  • As we know from our Viking history lessons at school, the Danes are very tall. So tall in fact that they supply you with a wooden box to stand on when you're being patted down at airport security. All so that they don't hurt their backs bending down to our height when we're being frisked.

  • They're nice people and clearly lost their aggressive streak when they settled in Britain because apparently they only resisted German invasion in 1940 for 2 hours before surrendering. My train from Copenhagen to Odense took longer than that.

  • They could do with some nose-clips. After a lovely Danish burger and a bottle of red I retired to my bed full of dreams of the new things the next day might bring, only to be rudely awoken at 1am by  a generator doing its thing in the car park below my window. "Is that really necessary?" I thought, "I know we're on an industrial estate but can't they turn it off at night for the poor unfortunates who have to stay here just so they can afford a bottle of wine?" Then I realised that the gentlemen in the rooms on either side of me were synchronising their snoring and all I heard for the next 6 hours was the repetitive "Honk" from my left followed by a "snnrrrrr" from my right.

Next time I'll stay in Copenhagen in a hotel with thick walls and try and get someone to take me to Noma for dinner.

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