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Published: April 10th 2014
Whoever coined the phrase 'Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen' certainly felt the sentiment of those who have visited the capital city of Denmark, and having been lucky enough to visit it for probably the 30th time on this trip I still never tire of it. Copenhagen is as close to living nirvana as you're likely to find anywhere on the planet, and if you could just throw in a little more of an ambient temperature (never satisfied....) then I think you'd have arrived. Copenhagen exudes confidence and style and it is very happy with itself, as are the Danes. You will never here a Dane talk about moving to another country because they think the grass will be greener, in fact you are more likely to here the opposite, most Danes will look at you with confused curiosity if you ask them if they'd ever considered moving abroad.
The Danish capital is awash with the most friendly biking lane system any two wheel fanatic could ever wish for. You won't see some of the comical 10 yards of green paint on the roads like we have, that at the end of the 10 yards it simply says 'End' I never really understood the meaning or purpose of these green splodges. Can you imagine what a tourist wishing to cycle in the UK would make of them? No, it's not like that in Copenhagen. The bike lanes are 4 feet wide and there is a kerb from the pavement to the bike lane and then a kerb from the bike lane to the road. I think they call this forward thinking. The Danes dealt with the issue decades ago, although I guess it helps that cars cost twice as mush to buy as they do in the UK.
I admire what Boris Johnson is trying to do in London, it's a long road (excuse the pun) and no doubt it will encourage more people onto bikes which is obviously a good thing, however, the British psyche is to jump into their cars. The other benefits of course are the health ones. I'm clutching numbers out of the sky on this one, but you very rarely see anyone overweight in Copenhagen because they all cycle everywhere, the only fat people I saw were in cars ;-)
Having spent a couple of weeks staying with friends in Copenhagen I decided to head off around the island of Zealand in which Copenhagen sits. It's only a small island so I thought a couple of days to have a better look around and give Fanny B a run. I left of course on a Sunday day, I'm in no rush as you know. I soon remembered that just because it's sunny it doesn't mean that it's warm.....hmmmm, this was colder than I'd anticipated. I rode for an hour and then had to stop to rest my leg. The cold was biting into the pain and I was really feeling it. I stopped where there was some grass so I could lay down to help the pain. Off the bike and laying down I could feel the sun warming my face and it felt fine indeed. After half an hour or so I jumped (slight exaggeration) on the bike and rode for another 45 minutes until my eyes were locked onto a small pizza restaurant. I know it's hardly the local cuisine, which is in fact called a Smorgasbord, which in English may as well translate to 'sandwich without the top slice of bread'. Anyway, the pizza was delicious and the pizza maker was Florentine so somewhat authentic. I ended up pitching my tent right next to the pizza place, which in fact was called 'Det Rod Tomat', 'The Red Tomato' the funny thing is all of the signs, including a big round object, were painted in Green, so don't worry, I had to ask the name too!
After a half decent sleep at 4oC, I decided to scrap the thought of riding in the cold and headed back to Copenhagen. Yeah, a bit lightweight I know, but I'm in my forties now and things are different. Long gone are the days of being 10 years old and pleading with my parents to drop me off at the river to go fishing in the snow and freezing rain. Looking back they took me with pleasure, maybe because I was the fourth born and dispensable, I'll have to question them about that when I see them again.
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