Thursday, January 13, 2011


Going to Copenhagen really made me wonder how to formulate an opinion on a place.

Several times, I met people, and they ask the #1 question "What do you think of Copenhagen?", or "Do you like XXX?"

If you really think some city sucks, are you just going to tell them exactly that? Most people probably won't.

So before I got to writing this, I started to think about what places I liked and disliked, and why.

For example, I know I really liked Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. I didn't really like Salvador in Brazil, or Sao Paulo. I have strong opinions on Brasilia and Lima and Dubai, not necessarily positive or negative.

But Copenhagen was just a blah of a place. Well, it was less blah than Edinburgh.

So, my response to these people was something as such:

"I think it is a nice city (Note: That sounds really lame doesn't it?!). There seem to be a lot of rules, people seem to follow them, and I've met people who were unusually nice"

And I based that pretty much on 3 things.

1) Within about 30 minutes of arriving in Copenhagen, I was on the metro taking it to my host's house. At the metro, you don't have to put your ticket in a machine to gain access to the platform. So anyone can just board the train, even if the don't have a ticket. Something about trust (I don't actually think that's what its about...more later). Anyways, I was pretty close to my stop, and the guy comes walking around checking tickets. Of course, I bought a ticket. I couldn't exactly figure out the fare pricing correctly. It was based on zones, so I chose 2. Well, wrong guess. The guy told me I needed 3, and at the next stop, which coincidentally was mine, he pulled me off and we chatted. I was laughing to myself at how ridiculous this was. Don't they have anything better to worry about? He started writing me a fine, and I thought it would be reasonable and nothing to worry about. Wrong. 600 Kronor, which is over $100 USD!!. I explained I just arrived for the first time, he saw all my luggage, looked at my passport, and still, ticket issued! So, I was pretty mad and instantly had a bad opinion about the city.

2)I walked up the stairs from the metro to the city level, still wondering in disbelief about the fine. I had all my luggage on me and was struggling a bit with the stairs. A really nice girl was walking up the stairs and asked me if I needed help. Of course I said yes! I didn't know specifically how to get there, although I had my map, so she offered to make sure I found exactly where I was going! It was about 10 minutes out of her way. So, anyways, she was really nice and friendly and talkative (with perfect English), and that changed my opinion again. That could have been anyone, anywhere, but since I've never had that happen before, and it happened to be in Copenhagen, I made the broad conclusion that the Danes are are overly nice.

With Dana (the nice girl who helped me with my luggage and find where I was going!)

3)Just a general observation was that almost everyone waited for the little red man to turn into a little green man before they cross the street. Even when there were no cars, in any direction. That seemed odd. Must be because they expect a massive fine otherwise.

The last little bit I liked alot about Copenhagen was that almost every street had bicycle lanes. And it seems pretty much everyone owns a bicycle. When crossing the street, first look left and right, cross the bicycle lane, then look left and right, cross the street. They even seem to have bicycle traffic jams. And, there are bicycles of all new kinds and types. Many people commute to work by bicycle. It's a very flat city, so it's not so difficult to do. I call this one the Adult Tricycle Grocery Getter:

It's pretty unbelievable the amount of ways carrying devices (including baby carrying devices) can be mounted to bicycles. Aside from the bicycle, they did have a really good transportation system. The 'metro' was 2 lines (24 hour/day). They have another thing called the S-Train, which has about 5 or 6 lines, that goes throughout the city and to the suburbs, another kind of subway. Then, there are tons of buses. Also, the regular trains, which took me across the water to Sweden. That for just over 1 million people. So who needs a car? One person told me if you bought a car for 50,000 Danish Kronor, after taxes, it would cost almost 150,000 Kronor.

Other than that, my host was really nice. We cooked lots of dinners. He had a few really nice roomates (all with perfect English), and I met some of his friends a few times which I enjoyed. Walked around a bit in the freezing cold, learned a bit about the wars between the Swedes and Danes, ate some herring in a jar with some pink Russian sandwich paste made from beets and cabbage, admired some nice architecture, and relaxed.

But overall, I guess I really did like Copenhagen. More so than Edinburgh. It has a lot of redeemable qualities if you follow the law to the 't' and pay your fines.

The popular herring in a jar:

Herring sandwich:

Ice Skating (my first time using speed skates...because the regular skates weren't free haha...)

An ingenious idea. Just cut a hole in the middle of the bun instead of splitting it. Then it won't break.

Made some Paraguayan Tortillas:

Home of Carlsberg (remember, it is PROBABLY the best beer).

Bike frozen in one of the many rivers:

With Nilin (hosted me):

A laugher of a photo:


  1. Next time you are in Edinburgh, we will arrange for a ticket British officer and a nice posh girl to meet you at Waverley. Let's see if a similar 'shock and awe' approach can improve on the "More so than Edinburgh" comment :)

    Enjoy the further North!

  2. Haha! Now your talkin! (well, I could do without the ticket officer!)


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