Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Goddag, København!

Er... "good day, Copenhagen." (But you probably figured that out.)

So yes, I'm in Denmark. Last day here, too; got here on the 6th, leaving here tomorrow morning and heading off to Prague to join up with the one-and-only Matt. A few observations about this place:

1. Practically everyone here is pale.
If you know me — and, chances are if you're reading this, you do — you know I'm one exceptionally pale bastard. Oddly so, actually, for Canada... and especially so for Toronto. But ever since coming here, I feel like I more-or-less completely blend in with the native population, even moreso than in Iceland (I didn't have a crazy woolly beard like a lot of the local fellows).

2. I still managed to get a sunburn, which makes no sense.
A few months ago I decided to trace my roots, and found that a lot of them pointed to northern England (with a little Scotland and Ireland thrown in). Now, if you take a look at some history books... after about 900 AD, northern and eastern England were pretty thoroughly Danish, after hordes of vikings showed up on the shore and chased the locals away. Heck, Angles and Saxons (the quasi-original inhabitants of southern Great Britain) were dark-haired folks, and I sure don't fit that description. Thus, I am currently in the land of my raping-and-raiding ancestors, which means I should be built for this climate, right? Well, not after wandering around most of yesterday without a hat on. I suck at summer everywhere but Iceland and Ireland.

3. This place costs a god damn fortune.
Today I got a beer and an open-faced roast beef sandwich (called smørrebrød here, they're pretty common) at a hipster bar, and that cost me 99 kroner; xe.com (a handy-dandy currency-exchange-rate site) converts that to a bit over $18. And that's cheap! The other day I got a Carlsberg — not even a full pint or half-litre, and hell, they make the stuff here — and it ran me 55 kr, and I dare you to do the math on that one. Mind you, it was at a pretty nice little cafe, and tips are always included here, so in the end... that's still a fucking expensive-ass beer.

4. Women are gorgeous, but with a caveat.
If I was a scout for a supermodel talent agency — not such a bad moonlighting job, when you think about it — I'd definitely start looking for 'em here. Top-notch talent. However, the caveat is that there's a very typically Danish look: blonde, of course, with a slightly set-back chin and the bluest eyes you've ever laid yours on. Most women around here fall somewhere on this spectrum, and a lot of them fall on the drop-dead-gorgeous end. But, y'know, I kinda like seeing a drop-dead-gorgeous Asian or Indian or African woman now and again, and around here they're a real rarity. (As you might expect, Toronto excels at this sort of thing.)

5. Nationalmuseet needs more vikings.
I took a good look around there today, and while there are a ton of great exhibits, plenty of breathtaking artifacts and oodles of useful explanations guiding the visitor through... c'mon, man, give me more vikings! I can go anywhere and learn about Egypt; jeezie-creezie, every damn museum in the world has something on Egypt. Paintings are nice, too, to be sure. But where else am I going to get the story of the vikings, where they friggin' came from?! Three or four rooms were devoted to the viking era, and the most interesting thing was, "Well, you know, they're pretty misunderstood. They set up a lot of functional towns and trading systems, too." C'mon! Zazz it up a bit! Let's see a mock-up of my Danish 33-greats-grandfather hacking the head off my English 33-greats-grandmother's first husband! Horned helmets for the kids! Miniature Danish flags for everyone! I CAME FOR BLOOD!

Instead, I got, "There were a couple of raids. Now, here, look at these bronze bracelets they wore." Kee-roist.

All in all, though, it's a pretty nice town. Don't bother seeing the Little Mermaid statue if you come here, though. I caught a glimpse of it on the canal tour, and it's nothing to write home about. (Plus, it's not nearly as sexy as the Disney cartoon, and apparently Hans Christian Andersen's original story is quite depressing.)


Eve said...

ya, the original story is basically an 1800's bondage fantasy. When I was growing up, I was terrified that whenever my WASP Bat Mitzvah was, clamshells would be munching on my feet. Oh, and then I'd become foam! Standard punishment for children's characters back then. That's what happens to fishes with ambition! (Regular people only die by being stabbed to death by kitchen knives or starving to death from having fingernails that are too long.)

Anonymous said...

I cried and cried at the foam version of the Little Mermaid.


Anonymous said...

I kind of thought she had it coming... Errant romanticism is bound to end in disaster.


kelly o said...

You should have gone to Dublinia in Dublin for viking stuff (geared more towards kids, though).