Warm greetings from Kobenhavn. And they know how to keep you warm in these parts, with a blanket to wrap round your legs at every seat in every pavement cafe. And those cafes are seriously busy. The blankets are put to good use, keeping the breeze at bay and allowing you to spend time over the afternoon coffee, or even dine out, al fresco, after dark. Some have been known to wear them like a shroud, though they tend to be the ones that want the heating on, all the time. And some of the cafes even go for the tartan option, Royal Stuart and Dress Gordon witnessed thus far.
CPH, as we young and trendies like to call it, is a seriously busy place. Our diner of choice this evening catered for something close to 200 covers, and continually had a line of folks waiting for tables. The city has been like that all day, positively humming with life, throbbing with good vibes and very happy people.
Denmark of course is a small independent country, population roughly the same as Scotland. Wandering the streets it is easy to see how it can feature at the top of all those happiness and prosperity indices that have us casting an envious eye across the water. Just as well they don’t have the curse of those rich oil resources that befell Scotland. There are major construction projects under way as city squares are re-developed, and more ground-breaking facilities put in place. The economy is clearly booming, foodbanks and beggars noticeable by their absence. One of those projects though has been a teeny bit embarrassing. There is a bridge being built; it should have been finished last year but might be by next. They started from both sides of the water, then realised they wouldn’t be meeting in the middle, one end higher than the other. Ooops.
The boat trip round the canals and waterfront was interesting. Persistent winds had caused high tides, meaning the pilot had to lower the windscreens, and we had to lower our heads as we scraped under numerous bridges. But from the water there are some great sights. And I’m told I’m dragging my weary limbs up 400 steps of some tower or other on the morrow. And the last stretch is external, spiral skywards before the pinnacle is obtained. Joy.
Getting here was fun too. Mainly as we’ve discovered a new favourite airline. It’s the three inch gap between knees and the comfy leather seat in front that does it; space to reach down and loosen the laces; space to stretch out; space to sleep. The fleet from Norwegian Air carries the picture of heroes on the tailfin, from explorers to writers and beyond. Just my luck to get an evangelist. Mind you someone’s watching out, for Tivoli’s closed, in preparation for Hallowe’en. Relief.
There’s heap of history all around, from the statue of the founding father in 1167 to the world’s oldest navy. There’s a museum for every taste, and much rich lore from the days of rule over the Inuit of Greenland, the Faroes and beyond. Ice cream is doing well too; pistachio of course, and some sea-salt caramel just to fill the waffle beyond the brim. But it probably doesn’t do to try and put a post together on the back of the finest juice from withing old city walls walked in days gone by. We shared a bottle of Montepulciano’s finest earlier. Roll on tomorrow.