May 07, 2007

Copenhagen: when in Denmark...

A truly magnificent weekend in Copenhagen with our friends and former Waiheke Islanders Charles and Brent, with the glorious Spring weather following us from the Low Countries via London to Denmark. The rapeseed fields are in full fluorescent yellow bloom with temperatures in a summery high 20s range and no rain since late March.
I have been to Denmark twice before, in the mid-1970s, and I was keen to be in Scandinavia again. Denmark seems to me a country extremely at ease with itself and its place in the world. People here are quite laid back, although our friends said they are sticklers for rules and don't hesitate to tell you so - or even report you to the authorities if you infract them. They know who they are: no national identity crisis in a globalising world here. Hence their stroppiness in adopting "foreign rule", be it European Union constitutional changes or the Euro.
We did a walking city tour to all the places to see, from Amalienborg Palace (the Tasmanian dog princess wasn't home) to the Little Mermaid, from Nyhavn to Christiania, a squatters paradise where former army barracks and ramparts have been transformed into a hippie haven, complete with drug problems and consumerism which has seen it being simultaneously transformed into a political eyesore and a tourist attraction.
Finally a short detour to Roskilde, the Danish ancient capital, where a magnificent collection of unearthed Viking ships and artifacts are on display. You can take a ride on a replica Viking longboat and you even have to pay for the privilege of manning the oars. No rape or pillage is included in the charge, unfortunately.

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