International bright young thing (part 2)

I also went to Copenhagen during the interweb blackout. Damn, I wish I was still there… the trip coincided with a heatwave and may I say that Copenhagen is officially the most civilised place to be when the sun’s out? (Yes, it’s official. I created an award.) It’s probably also the most civilised place to be when the sun isn’t out because civilisation seems to be the watchword.

Kastrup airport is light and airy, even its queues for passport control and security feel laid back because you’re not being herded through grey plastic, low ceilinged corridors (enough to send anyone crazy enough to yell about having a bomb in their shoes just to be taken out). In Denmark you get full length windows, high ceilings, wood panelling and – did I imagine it? – a breeze.

Drinking is civilised. People go to the offie and sit on any available piece of public space and drink their cans or bottles of beer. Civilly. None of your British rowdiness. And if you do go to an actual bar, their outside tables have blankets to wrap yourself up as the night draws in. Sooo much better than patio heaters!

Their parks are civilised. Kate has a theory, that everyone can tell you about a city through one specific thing. It might be art galleries, or bars, or shops. For me it’s the parks. I like nothing more than exploring a city’s green public space, flopping on a bench or under a tree and having a read. Parks tell you so much about a place. Are they well maintained? Are they full of people dropping litter? Do they have enough places to sit? Do they have a cafe or toilets? Do they have focal points?

The streets are civilised. People left their bikes propped up against walls without any security, clearly unworried about theft. Their amusement parks are civilised, ferchrissakes! They sell beer at every food outlet in Tivoli and nobody’s vomiting off the rollercoaster or mooning at the Chinese pagoda. And it doesn’t hit you until later, that this is what a city is supposed to be like. And you wonder what the hell has gone wrong with Britain.

[As an aside, just to illustrate what is wrong with Britain, let me tell you about the, uh, incident at City airport as we flew out. We’re all milling around at the gate, right, the plane is just outside, and the fire alarm goes off. And boy, does it go off. None of your “Mr Sand to corridor alpha” stuff. It’s a blaring foghorn with a recorded announcement shouting “Get out of the building! Get out now! Or you’ll all burn! Get out! Get out!”

OK. I may paraphrase slightly.

The staff at the gate let a handful of people board the plane, then shut the doors. Our nearest exit out of the building is through those doors but the staff are barricading them, practically wrestling an old lady who’s freaking out and desperate to get outside. We’re all standing there being deafened while the staff work out what to do. They direct us back into the building, take our boarding passes from us, then someone else sends us down into the next gate along and we go out onto the tarmac and board the plane. Without our boarding passes. We then spend another hour (at least) sitting on the plane because the control tower had also been evacuated (lucky them, they probably had somewhere to go) so everything’s backed up.


Photos are on Flickr, if anyone’s interested (also see the whizzy Flickr gadget on the left there!). Photos of London will probably appear on Flickr faster than I can post what I’m doing with my tourist-in-my-own-city mission – again, if you care.


2 responses to “International bright young thing (part 2)

  1. Les July 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    OMG! I think I may have been in Copenhagen the same time as you. First week in June??
    It is indeed a great city and the Danes are lovely people, all of them.
    Sorry to read about El Mog; I hope you both get used to the injections soon. x

  2. Rachel July 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Indeedy do! First week(end) in June, stayed at the hyuge hostel on HC Andersens Boulevard (along with about 300,000 other people).
    Thanks for the wishes for Moggy. He hopes we get used to the injections soon as well…

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