Ever woke up one day as realisation dawns that the fantastic dream you were having is not the reality of your life and thought: ‘I think I’m going to book me a flight to Copenhagen’? Just me then. Well, yes that kind of did happen to me just this week. Now I’m £350 poorer and am booked to fly non-cattleclass out of Heathrow to the Danish capital for a 4 day stint in a 4* hotel in a few weeks.
Why Copenhagen? I’ve no idea. It randomly popped into my head on the routine Tube ride into work mid-way through another week of my life that never changes. This will be a first for me. It will be the first place I’ve visited totes on my own for the very first time with no friend or anyone I know waiting for me the other side. Perhaps it was a positive outcome of the extended 2.5 hour each way commute during the recent London Tube strike that got me thinking where else could I get to in the world in that time other than my desk at work or my bed at home. As it happens, Copenhagen is less time away – 1hr 55mins according to my flight schedule. I do have a thing about Scandinavia though. Iceland was amazing (though not strictly part of the region) but the other 3 (leave out the Fins or they will slap you if you loop them in) were completely unaffordable was my perception. While that could be said of Sweden and Norway as I drilled into Expedia, apparently not so for Denmark. So Copenhagen hear I come.
On the subject of pre-conceptions: what do I ‘know’ of Denmark already? I’m probably going to see lots more blonde people than I normally do. I figure they invade, rape and pillage less these days. I know that the genetics of our Royal Family is shared with theirs. I know about Hans Christian Anderson, the Little Mermaid statue (not story), Legoland, and the Tivoli Gardens. I know William Shakespeare set one of his best known tragedies there. I know I also know about the current global infatuation with ‘New Nordic Cuisine’ and that the world’s No.1 rated restaurant, Noma, is in Copenhagen (tried to book a table but 2014 pretty much sold out). Beyond this the city and the country are there to surprise and educate me.
I downloaded a free sample of the Lonely Planet guide to Denmark and in its introduction this is what it had to say:
It’s heart-warming to know that there is still a country where the term ‘fairy tale’ can be used freely – from its most enduring literary legacy to its fine textbook castles. In a nutshell, Denmark gets it right: old fashioned charm embraces the most avowedly forward-looking design and social developments, and wins a regular chart-topping place on lists of both the most liveable and happiest nations on Earth. You won’t have to search to find some much-prized hygge , an untranslatable and uniquely Danish trait that has profound influence on the locals’ inestimable happiness. Hygge is social nirvana in Denmark: a sense of cosiness, camaraderie and contentment, when the worries of the world have been set aside.
With all my heart I hope this is true because I could really do with a large dollop of that just now.