Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome to Copenhagen

Two years ago I made a stop in Copenhagen on the way to Paris, but the city teased me beyond its airport walls. Now I’m back and ready to tour.

And tour we did with a bright and early walking tour through the streets. As the southern-most big city, Copenhagen is the gateway to Scandinavia. Our walking tour started at city hall and took us past cathedrals, through the university district and into the hippie district.

Apparently, in the summer they play some sort of soccer-golf. It looks kinda fun:

Our hotel is tiny and expensive. It feels like we’re in a tiny room aboard a cruise ship. They’re trying to be efficient with space, but they were a little too clever and it comes out as just a crappily designed place that tries too hard. And as much as we’re paying, it’s very hard to read that Copenhagen is Scandinavia’s cheapest capitol, so “live it up!”

I’ll tell you one thing I really love about this place-- as a cyclist it is like returning home to the motherland. The Danish tend to do quite well indeed at the Tour de France, and after visiting you can see why. Bikes get their own massive (raised) lanes and parking lots. On the cycling forums, people pass around video clips of commuters in Denmark like they were the Gestapo passing out propaganda of a model utopia. The cycling here is probably somewhat related to the fact that there is a 180% sales tax on buying a car(!).

At nightfall, we headed to one of the world’s oldest grand amusement parks. Tivoli Gardnes was built in the mid-1800s and sits right in the middle of the city.

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