After two months in eastern Europe, returning to Scandinavia was as close as you can get to culture shock while staying within Europe. A few things jumped out…
First, bikes are everywhere, for everyone, and in every weather condition.
This also means extra road markings and traffic signals…
…and as a pedestrian you better distinguish between the sidewalk, bike lane, and road.
Second, infrastructure is just better overall. In my hostel that didn’t cost much more than your average German hostel, you got touchscreen devices that helped you select an elevator based on your floor.
The entire metro system is driverless, and unlike the one in Budapest where there is still a driver’s compartment at the front and back of each train because I guess they were not quite confident it would work, here you can sit in the front and pretend to be the conductor!
Copenhagen also offered some friendly touches, like a coffee bar at the baggage claim
and live music in the department store
as well as a seemingly popular gift-giving system of experiences as opposed to items, such as two nights in any four-star hotel in Denmark, or a romantic evening with various activities planned.
At the same time it suffers from somewhat of a sense of nostalgia, like how the royal family will come out in a horse-drawn carriage
And marches the guards around the city for fun
In all seriousness, the tour guide did mention that the Danish people are starting to grumble about the cost of supporting the monarchy, versus the benefits they provide.
Then there were a bunch of things I just couldn’t understand, like why IKEA offers a service where hot guys in man buns will pick you up from the airport
Or why a business would need a guy dressed as an iPhone walking the streets.
Then there were things that you can kind of understand, but still make you do a double-take, like the Nazi elephant statues
Or the cocaine dispensary just a block away from the elementary school.
And the unfortunately-named candies.
In terms of “musts” for Copenhagen, the library is definitely on the list. It’s hard to capture good architecture with an iPhone 6 but here’s a small glimpse of it.
Also as uncharacteristic of me as it is to talk about food, I should mention that Denmark is quite proud of its smørrebrød, or open-face sandwiches made with dense rye bread and a variety of really cool toppings.