Friday, 14 December 2012

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen


That's the Danish word for thank you, but also an adjective for some of the complete rubbish sold in the Christmas markets in Copenhagen. We ticked off a first on the cities list this weekend and actually stopped there instead of by-passing it enroute to an industrial estate in Odense (see previous blog on pickled herrings). And what an amazing city it is. We went for the Christmas markets but, actually, we only found one (can't have been looking that hard) and, apart from a very popular Glogg cabin and a hut selling glass Danish flag tree decorations, it was selling really bad shoes which you could buy at home any day if you were suddenly overcome with such a desire. Having just got back from Manchester, it seems all the good Christmas markets are there. Who'd have thought it?

Tak did become a much used word this weekend because the Danes are SO nice. It's very rewarding to have your faith in human nature restored and at the same time drink your bodyweight in champagne and Barbera and not get charged for it. This is what happened when we arrived at the bistro we had booked for dinner on the first night (Adendum). A sign in Danish on the door said (presumably) "Closed - private function". The manager explained he'd been trying to call us for a couple of days. Yeah, right, we thought. He disappeared with the phone, came back, poured us two glasses of champagne, gave us a plate of salted almonds and 400 Krone and said he'd booked a taxi to take us to their sister restaurant where the owner would be waiting for us with more champagne. Happy Days. And so off we trotted to Bibendum where, indeed, there was more champagne, a very fine meal and we weren't charged for our wine either. Consequently we ended up going back to Adendum twice over the weekend. Who said customer service was dead?

Can't explain the dummies
Denmark has a relatively high suicide rate - presumably because the hours of darkness are long, winters are arctic and wine is bloody expensive. But even given that, we were surprised to see so many padlocks strung along the wires of a footbridge spanning the river. Like flowers by the roadside we assumed they had been placed there in memory of those who had fallen to their deaths into the river below but then two things struck us - there were literally thousands of them and the river was only about 6 ft below the bridge. Even the most determined would have been hard-pushed to even break a fingernail falling from there. On closer inspection it turned out that they were padlocks of luuuuuurve. I suppose there's not much else to do when it's dark and sub-zero and wine is so expensive.

"It's not the cough that carries you off,
it's the coffin they carry you off in"
attributed to my gran, c 1982
Ironically, if you are heading towards that bridge with the sole intention of hurling yourself into the icy waters below, you pass a shop window on the way which has a very fine coffin in it. I kid you not. Perhaps the Danes would rather choose their own than rely on their relatives to select an appropriate one - it's actually a very sensible thing to do. I can tell you now that I don't want pink lining in mine.

 I expect that coffin is very expensive, like everything else. It didn't have a price tag and if you have to ask you can't afford it. It costs £12 to get into Tivoli Gardens, the only option once you're inside being to spend even more money on bratwursts and glogg. Or on the world's most expensive roller coaster - £9 for a ride of terror that was so short I barely had time to open my mouth to scream.

As Danny Kaye sang in 1952, Copenhagen is indeed wonderful wonderful.


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