Danes do many things well. One is public space. Danes do public space really well. Copenhagen is full of places large and small that are designed and built for people to USE, with places to sit, eat &drink, swim, work, catch some sun, meet your friends. I’ve never seen so much public, moveable outdoor furniture. It’s everywhere along the waterfront. The architecture is a fascinating melange of new and old. The city center is not just for shops and government and arts. It’s full of apartments in every conceivable type of building. Copenhagen was and is a city built for people to enjoy. It’s utterly fantastic.
Plus the train station, airport, every bathroom I’ve been in and the city streets are so clean you could almost eat off them.
Is this place for real?
I’ve also noticed that much here in Denmark seems well planned. As if someone was thinking about the people who live here and what might work well for them.
For instance… I entered the Metro by going down 1 level and was looking for a ticket booth when I came upon a grocery store, right there in the train station. Heading home from work? Hey, stop and pick up a few things for dinner. It makes so much sense that it’s almost startling.
Here’s another thing that makes sense:
Copenhagen is flat. Very flat. And therefore a bicycler’s heaven. Cars are taxed at an outrageous level, so most city dwellers use the excellent train, bus and bicycle routes as their main transportation mode. Bicycle lanes here can be three cyclists abreast on one direction. And everyone, of every age, is cycling. Teenagers, parents with tots, grandparents, business people in fancy outfits. And woe unto you if you step in the bicycle lane as a pedestrian.
It’s wonderful, if a bit intimidating, to see. One certainly takes one’s own life in one’s hands when cycling in Santa Fe. Here it’s so common as to be unremarkable. I also see all kinds of bicycle-like contraptions that make cycling work better for people.
Okay, I know I’m in raptures about Copenhagen. Let me also say that on my first day of having to go out and do my must-locate-everything-before-i-have-to-take-people-there runaround, I realized I was procrastinating. Why? Why didn’t I want to get out there? Alone in a new city, with a full day on my own, right? You’d think I’d be completely gung ho for the whole thing.
But you know what? I was scared. Everything felt intimidating. Where’s the Metro? How will I buy tickets? I can’t read any of these signs! I’m all by myself! Waaaaaaah!!!
I had to force myself out the door. Okay, Suzie, do the Hop on Hop Off bus tour first. You know the Hop On/Hop Off bus thing . You’ve done it everywhere. It requires no effort on your part. You’ll see things. You’ll get an idea of where you are and how the city is laid out. You can —- waaaaaaaah! I’m all alone in a big city and I don’t know how to get around!!!
Must. Leave. Hotel. Room. Go,girl!!!
So, see? Even big girls get nervous facing the unknown. It may LOOK like we’re totally confident all the time. But that’s just not so.
Since I’ve been rhapsodizing about Copenhagen, you can assume I did successfully leave my room. In fact, I did do a Hop On/Hop Off bus tour of the central part of the city. And then I did a LOT of walking all over. I located several spots we’ll be visiting, rode the Metro out to the airport and back again to make sure I knew how to do it, checked out the Danish Architecture Center and the Black Diamond, wandered various pedestrian streets with shops and cafes, and eventually made it back to the hotel by 6:30ish.
And once again, here is some of what I saw.
(Let me know if you’re getting tired of seeing some of what I saw.)
Exhausted but well satisfied by the day of exploring. Sometimes it’s hard to get out the door. But eventually, the worry subsides and the delight begins. It’s all downhill from there.
Well, not in Copenhagen, ‘cause Copenhagen is hopelessly flat.
Today I did deskwork in the morning, wrote to you and then went to the airport to meet some of my early arrivers. Then I wandered out to sit in the sun and write some more. And now I’m off to find some dinner.
Oh, before I forget to mention it… Danes HAVE managed to combined their hot and cold water in a single faucet. But the two knobs turn on and off in opposite directions. Maybe the Danes don’t have absolutely everything figured out to perfection.
Tomorrow is the start of my next tour. I’ll be taking pictures and will have a lot to tell and to show you. But it’s likely that I’ll have very little time to write until the tour is over. That’s May 1st. So until then, adieu. And don’t worry, I won’t move to Copenhagen. Not enough dogs here. Somewhere between Copenhagen and the Lake District is a happy medium that constitutes that just right balance between dogs and people. I’d say it’s best found in Santa Fe.