Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Copenhagen Again (Part 1)

Til København,

Jeg elsker dig.

Fra Liam.

It's been nearly two weeks since I left London for Copenhagen. Life has been busy and exhausting since then, so I haven't had a chance to update. But I really should, because, in case I haven't made it very clear, I LOVE COPENHAGEN. Man, what a city. I can describe or explain how happy it makes me to just be in that city. People ask me why I love it - and, by extension, the bit of Denmark I've seen - so much, and I have no answer. The people I encounter there are nice, but so are the residents of Canada and Holland. The food is good, but no better than in Sydney.

Anyway, I flew out the morning after my first Danish lesson (so my Danish skills extended to "How are you?" and "My eyes are blue!"). And when I say the morning, I mean it in the most horrible sense of the word: my flight left at 7.15, so I had to be at the airport by 6.00 at the latest, and getting to the airport involved getting to Marble Arch tube station to get on an hour-long coach trip. Hence, my alarm began shrieking at me at 2.30. I do not recommend it.

But I flew out, and nature delivered a metaphor you'd groan at if it was in a Hollywood movie. The plane rose above the clouds of London, and emerged into a gorgeous, blood orange-red sunrise. And then, flying in over the city, I couldn't stop smiling: it's beautiful in a way no other city I've encountered is. It seamlessly blends its gorgeous old apartment buildings with futuristic structures. And all the streets were white, white, white! White with snow, unlike the grey slush of London. Boo hiss, London; boo hiss.

I got from the airport to the city with no problems, and began a game I played the whole week: looked at the name of the upcoming station, pronounced it in my head with my newly acquired Danish skills, and then paid attention to how the computer announcer said it. I was nearly always right! I just have trouble pronouncing the first "s" in "Islands Brygge" after decades of considering it to be silent. Anyway, I successfully (okay, I got lost for a bit) found my way to the Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole, where my friend Iason studiess. It is an architecture school in some gorgeous old military storage units right behind the Opera House. Copenhagen tends to hate its Opera House, but I like it more than ours. Although it isn't quite as striking: it looks like a fish bowl with a large, thick book sitting on top of it.

Anyway, it was so good to see Iason. So, so, so good! He took me for a walk around the school and the Opera House (wait, Operahuset, I should practice my Danish) and then we went back to his house via our friend Cheryl's office. Fortunately for me, Thursday is Cake Day in Cheryl's office. The walk to Iason's was long, but it took in some of my favourite sights in the city, and mostly took us along the partly-frozen harbour. Very different from the last time I was here in the dying days of summer. We got back to Iason's, and...made a Lego spaceship. I shit you not. Then I had a nap, and then we went to the gym.

Rock and roll, right? I'm sure keeping the image of the hedonistic backpacker alive. But although my trip this time was much more subdued, I loved it - I felt I lived a little like a local for a few days. The gym was particularly interesting. Iason and his friend Pelle did their weights routine, while I did my little old lady cardio and stretches. We went for a swim, but first, we had to shower, and so Iason and Pelle just whipped off their gear. Bwah? This was quite foreign to me. Although Australians pride themselves on being laidback, we can be quite hung up (in my circles, at least) on nudity. In Australia, I would not strip off and shower in a communcal area with my friends unless absolutely necessary. So it was nice to force myself into a culture where nudity is kind of "meh". Iason and Pelle did some proper swimming, while Cheryl and I enjoyed the hot pools. Bliss. Then we rugged up for the chilly walk home.

And now I have to go and learn some more Danish, so I will update with part two next time.

Hej hej! Vi ses!

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