I’ve now been in Copenhagen for a week and have had a tiny bit of time to get a feel for the city. The closest city I can compare this to is London. However I keep reminding myself that this is not the UK, things are decidedly different here. The best example I can think of was when I was walking, I take a turn off the main high street, onto what looked like a simple residential area, and there at the end of the road I could see the wind turbines1. It was just another reminder, things are different here. However, the biggest difference that I can gather is the city’s approach to transport.
The truth is though the city’s layout is different, the streets are wider. They have very distinct lanes for the different modes of transport. The lack of total dependence on the car is absolutely evident here. Every form of transport has been catered to in one form or another. Walking, cycling, scooters, boats, metro, train, buses and even the ‘humble’ car. The first few days I spent walking. That’s because this simple act of taking a long walk and watching what’s going on in the world has been an exercise that I have not been able to do over these last decade(?!). The Gulf is many things, but a haven and promoter for walkers it is not.
Most telling for me is that I’m about to have walked more in the month of October, than any other month over the last year (according to my iPhone, which is missing a great deal of steps I know, but I’m using it as a loose indicator).
I’m now also looking very closely at buying a Segway Ninebot Kickscooter as a fun and simple way to get around town. While there are scooters everywhere for hire, the cost adds up really quickly (by my calculation use the scooter for 140 trips and you’ve paid off the scooter). That’s the other thing about micromobility, it’s generally really affordable, even if you have to replace the scooter relatively regularly - it’s a utility cost more than anything.
Local Not Global Country
The other element that is clear here is the fact that this is not a Global city. There are no Amazon Prime trucks running around. There isn’t a MacDonalds or Starbucks on every corner (although these two staples do exist here). There is no Apple store. Vodaphone doesn’t operate here (at least I haven’t seen the Vodaphone logo anywhere). And so it goes. In this regard, it feels like a place caught in time…with it’s own home brands, made by and catering it’s own people. Some companies I’ve never heard of before, others have actually made the leap outside these borders.
Over the last 8 years, the word ‘local’ was seen as a bit of a derogative term. Somehow, local here is celebrated, as it’s the main part of your every day life. It’s another part that I will need to recalibrate my thinking.
Since arriving in Copenhagen, I’ve eaten at one restaurant and it was a magnificent. The one thing that I do have to say is that the produce here is exceptional. I knew that strawberries here have a good reputation, but I didn’t expect that. Bringing the shopping into my apartment, I could smell them straight away. I haven’t smelt a strawberry in so long.
Buying local chicken, local tomatoes, berries, have all really elevated my meals considerably. I’ve been getting more and more into Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube channel as well and have been really loving it.
I knew that this would be a thing. I’ve not gotten into a habit yet for listening and doing my Danish lessons but I do intend to do incorporate into my life very very soon.
I know I’ve spoken about this before, but they always take my breathe away. I love them so much because they signal progress. They signal the future married to the past that I was walking through. ↩︎