a city through the eyes of a girl who's not sure how she ended up here

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Accidental Express Tour of Copenhagen

Last week I spent a day in Copenhagen.  Or at least I think I did.  One of the oddities of business travel is that you are often sent to exciting, new foreign places but that, tantalisingly, you're demanded home again before you have seen anything more than the inside of an office that looks surprisingly like the one you're normally stuck in back home.
So this is the best (well, only) photo of Copenhagen I have.  The departure lounge at Copenhagen Airport.  (Confusingly this is also Arrivals; the Danes are so organised they can manage both in- and out-flows of frazzled travellers in one space.)  Not that Copenhagen Airport is such a terrible place; as airports go it's a pretty nice one.  It's clean, shiny, glossy; the sort of place that you wouldn't entirely hate to spend a six-hour lay-over.  But I whizzed through the place on Tuesday night, desperate to make the most (or at least see a little) of the city while I had a couple of hours to do so.

But the city had other ideas however.  What the city wanted to share with me was its public transport system, engineering works and all.  So I saw a fair bit of the city's outskirts, with their wide streets, shuttered shops with apartment buildings up above, and remarkably few people.  There seemed to be more people about in the centre of town, but by half past nine at night the city was not exactly buzzing.  My trip had coincided with the start of the Danish summer holidays.  As the lights of the Tivoli Gardens amusement park twinkled away, the streets beneath its rollercoasters and towers were surprisingly empty.  Cyclists glided along the roads, many not bothering with helmets, such seemed to be the great respect that motorised vehicles showed these man-powered fellow road-users; it seemed quite the opposite situation to the daily battles in which cyclists and car or bus-drivers engage in London.  After two more buses (only one of which was going in completely the wrong direction) there was a wonderfully eccentric hotel (and a somewhat annoyed and awakened manager, but that's a story for another day).  Sadly however, there was no dinner out at a Danish restaurant.  By 10.30pm the city was officially tucked up at home in bed.  Which was probably just as well for a girl with important client meetings in the morning, even if she was ravenously hungry.

Even with an early start the next day I saw no more of the city.  The office in which I was to spend the day was a mere five minute walk from the hotel where I stayed.  I saw a small pedestrianised street, the back of a restaurant, a school and rather a lot of benches.  And then I passed the rest of my time in Copenhagen in a meeting room.  Ok, it had a rather Danish look - everything was covered in wood panelling - but, honestly, it could have been a meeting room just about anywhere on the planet.  By 5pm I was back at the nicest airport in Europe, having spent barely 24 hours in a new country.  So what's Copenhagen like?  I'd suggest you get yourself a travel guide.  All I can tell you is that the locals like their bikes.  And the airport's quite nice.

4 comments:

  1. Well, that's what business travel does for you...Just like you, I have been to lots of airports but haven't seem much of them. When you think about it, it is really sad!

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    1. It's certainly an odd way to travel the world, Muriel! Very disorientating...

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  2. I call that 'white boxing' - Day trip white walls of airport lounge/hotel room/office/meeting room etc.

    Copenhagen is good fun. I had to spend some time there in my 'Temporary Apartment' phase.

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    1. 'White boxing' is the perfect way to describe it, rashbre. From what I saw of it though, Copenhagen seemed like rather a nice place for a little 'temporary apartment' time! Lucky you.

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