Friday, March 28, 2014

Wonderful, wonderful... Copenhagen?

Where was I? Ah yes...

So, after my mini-epic journey across Northern Europe, I had safely reached Copenhagen and, despite a few difficulties in finding the suburban train to Orestad, a new community south of the city near the airport, I arrived at our hotel and waited for Ros to arrive.

The hotel was unexpected, having won a plethora of awards for being the greenest hotel in Europe, but of more interest was the Club Lounge, which we had access to, with unlimited free alcohol - I applied my own, quite modest, limit, thank you - and free snacks, including salt liquorice, one of my favourites.

Ros turned up soon enough, having flown in from Aalborg, where she had been moderating the 25th Anniversary Conference of the North Sea Commission, surrounded by Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Scots (it would be fair to say that a good time was had by all, I believe), and we had a pleasant dinner before getting a good night's sleep.

The next morning dawned bright, and we peered out of our thirteenth floor window to see the airport and, beyond it, the Oresund Bridge, which links Copenhagen with Malmo. We needed to get out, so in spite of the gusty conditions, it was into the city for a walk around the Parliament district and on towards Nyhavn and the Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen is a very walkable place, and rather less paranoid, as we discovered when we reached the Parliament. Yes, you need to have security, but instead of the ugly metal barriers that we have at Westminster (and no, painting them in black and yellow doesn't help), the Danes have big rocks strewn in a curve. It's a bit like the Ring of Brodgar, but not as bleak - or impressive, now I think about it. It is, however, rather more human than metalwork.

We headed towards Nyhavn, with its restaurants and bars, stopping for coffee and then made for the waterfront, all very nice. Past the headquarters of Maersk, the shipping conglomerate, with models of big ships to look at, and the Royal Danish Cast Library, we strolled, before reaching the Kastellat, the fortress that protected Copenhagen rather unsuccessfully from, amongst others, Nelson.

The Little Mermaid is, as almost everyone seems to say, rather smaller than you'd expect, but tourists still come - it's a bit like Graceland in Memphis, or the Taj Mahal, if you've come all that way, you really ought to see it - but it was pleasant enough, and we turned back towards the centre, stopping only for some smorgasbord.

Wonderful? Probably. But certainly Copenhagen...

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