First impressions from Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the second largest Scandinavian city. I always imagined it as an idyllic place, criss-crossed with canals surrounded by colourful little houses and docked old fishing boats. In a way, I was right; however, the lively street you can see on all postcards and pictures of the city hardly reflects the actual situation, since the colourful old houses coexist with modern architecture in the city. This place with only 500,000 inhabitants (just a bit more than Ljubljana) becomes a city of a million people during the day due to its many commuters. In order to make these commutes possible, several bus and metro lines run through the city, which is also serviced by good railway connections and fast trains. In my opinion, this system works infinitely better than the public transport system we have at home.

 

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Walking through the sea canal of the picturesque streets Nyhavn and Stroget, the longest shopping pedestrian area in Europe, is an interesting experience; from our perspective, their prices are also interestingly steep. I paid €8 for a coffee in the coffee shop of the city theatre across from the main opera house. The Danish are known for the strict distinction they make between instant coffee and real Turkish coffee. Upon ordering, you can choose whether you prefer “real” coffee, the one prepared by a waiter which is also a bit more expensive, or the ready-made coffee which is significantly cheaper and usually also comes with unlimited refills you can help yourself to from an insulated container.

 

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Since I usually like to avoid the hubbub of the city, I tried to find some green areas as well. One of them is the public park with the historic Kastellet fortress shaped like a star that used to protect the city from sea invasions. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the statue of the Little Mermaid, created to honour the fairy tale of the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. This statue is always swarming with tourists, bikes, and electrically powered scooters; the view of the Little Mermaid is also nothing special, since there are factory warehouses and a dockyard right behind her. The statue has been vandalised many times, decapitated twice, lost an arm once, and has also had underwear drawn onto it several times.

 

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The first immediate difference between Copenhagen and Slovenia are sudden weather changes. The sun can quickly hide behind the clouds, which bring about windy weather turning to rain; then, it’s back to sunny skies. You can spot a tourist from afar, as they’re the only ones opening their umbrellas all the time. Rain doesn't stop the numerous cyclists; from time to time, you might even see one wearing a raincoat. It seems that they all wear several layers of clothing, always ready for any type of weather.

 

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The streets are filled with cyclists. Bicycle lanes are extremely wide; compared to ours, they almost seem like motorways. People who aren't used to seeing so many cyclists must be really careful when crossing the street. The Danish are usually rule-followers: when it comes to cycling, however, they suddenly turn into aggressive, ruthless drivers with absolute right-of-way.

 

In Denmark, everybody knows the Bakken park, which is the largest amusement park in the world. Open in the summer and during school holidays, it is located at the edge of the wonderful Dyrehaven forest, mere 20 minutes by train from the centre of the city. As you enter the calm Jaegersborg Dyrehave park and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the nostalgic location of this historical amusement park can be found to the left after the entrance. It was closed during my visit, but I didn’t mind; walking through the natural park with its ancient oak trees made it all the more interesting. In 1670, King Christian V of Denmark had the natural reserve enclosed and populated with deer for hunting purposes. Now, the park is open for the public and included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a hunting landscape. It offers exquisite walks among wild deer and doe, along a long forest path passing numerous lakes and open plains. The name Dyrehaven, which directly translates to “Deer Park”, tells you that you’re sure to stumble upon a herd of grazing animals. In the middle of the park, you can also walk to the royal hunting cabin Eremitage that hardly looks like a cabin; it resembles a castle and represents the symbol of the absolute monarch’s power. All runners, dog walkers, and horse-drawn vehicles somehow get lost in this area of about 10 square kilometres, where anyone can enjoy a peaceful stroll and fill their lungs with the fresh Nordic air.

 

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From its unmanned subway taking passengers from the airport to the city to two-storey bicycle parking areas in larger hubs of its capital, Denmark definitely leaves an impression. Since its infrastructure is very well thought-out, people use public means of transport and ride around on bikes; even tourists hardly ever miss their cars.

Eva Borin
Eva Borin

Ljubljančanka, diplomirana FRI-jevka, nova članica ekipe razvijalcev v podjetju OurSpace. Ljubiteljica narave in živali. 
V prostem času se ukvarjam z glasbo. Pojem že od malih nog, trenutno prepevam v pevski skupini Sankofa, kjer raziskujem tradicionalno glasbo Afriške celine. 

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