Off the Beaten Track
Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
79Trip End Nov 21, 2006
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My time in Copenhagen was actually spent in the suburb of Skævinge, about 40 km away, with Morton, a Danish guy I had met at the Pickled Frog in Hobart back in February. I was forced to spend a week in Hobart then, and as I wrote at the time, that's easier said than done. Since then I've met plenty of Tasmanians who are astonished that I would spend a week there. The unbelievably friendly atmosphere at the Frog was the only reason I survived and the time I spent hanging out with Morten in particular filled many of those voids
My first full day in Denmark I didn't even go into Copenhagen until evening time. Instead I spent it in the suburb of Hillerød. It's a small place, an hour by train from Copenhagen so it's not exactly on most tourist paths. I felt pretty confident that when I was walking around that I was the only non-Danish person in the whole place. The reason to go to Hillerød is it's large castle on a lake. Since my unusually warm weather was continuing, it was an excellent way to kill a couple hours while Morten was at work. Wander around a Danish castle that few non-Danes see, hang out in the expansive Royal Gardens right next to it -- easy living. That night Morten gave me my introduction to the Copenhagen nightlife, and let me just say this -- I'm glad I had free accommodation in Denmark because it is as expensive (maybe moreso) as everybody makes it out to be
The next day the weather -- and our heads -- had taken a bit of a turn so we had every excuse to be lazy. We found a cozy restaurant that supplied backgammon boards when you buy drinks and sat around playing game after game of backgammon and nursing along a couple drinks while watching the world go past us. Part of the reason why I liked Morten so much back in Australia and why I was glad I was seeing his country through his eyes is that we see things similarly when it comes to traveling. He's also one of those people who thinks that one of the best ways to see a country is to not move at all, just sit around, have a drink or two and watch the country walk by. People watching is an excellent way to gauge a place. And I can say this much, Denmark has some of the best people to watch in the whole world. So it was a good day. By about 4 we were sick of backgammon and it had also occurred to us that I hadn't really seen the city, so we went for a quick walking tour
It so happened that night that one of Morten's good friends was throwing himself a housewarming party. Normally when I would go to a party with a friend in which I didn't know anybody I'd wind up attaching myself to that person's hip and following them around for the evening. But partly because the Danes are overall friendly people and partly because I was the only non-Dane in the place (that's not entirely true -- there was one girl from Stockholm, but she'd been working in Copenhagen for five years, so that doesn't count) I had the exotic factor working for me and actually didn't say a word to Morten the whole night aside from when I told him I was going off to a club with a few of the people I had just met
Since our only option (really) was to party until 7 before we could get a ride back to Morten's home with his brother, Sunday was a bit of a quiet day. In the evening we were watching a movie and occasionally I would try to pick up some Danish words that they wouldn't teach you in schools, thanks to the subtitles, and realized I would never be able to speak Danish. Dutch is a language that's impossible to comprehend because you read it and they string together letters that you never thought could possibly be put next to each other unless you were mashing the keyboard. With Danish, however, there's absolutely no connection between the spoken language and the written language. There are silent 'd''s and all sorts of other mind-boggling things going on. Morten had made the comment earlier that it was pretty sad he couldn't spell (he was grading tests at the time -- he's a teacher). I made fun of him up until the time I started watching that movie, reading the subtitles and trying to pronounce the words. Then I could understand.