Every industry does it.
Hobnobbing was far from my mind when brisk cold seeped through my sweater. Central Station in Copenhagen deposited me in its arteries at 9 am. A Wednesday — hump day — as North Americans fondly refer to it. There were far from humps here though.
First off, the Copenhagen airport dazzled me. Forget about those Ikea decorating jokes. How a shabby student injects his entire space with Scandinavian child’s glitter. Sleek, geometric lines and rich colors instilled comfort. Like a character in a Susanne Bier comedy. The airport lounge didn’t scorch the aesthetic eye.
Back to Central Station. A literal hub of Danish or international travelers. I felt slotted into a turn of the century film where the only means of transport is the train. Anything else is a mad inventor haunted by visions of horseless carriages. There were suitcases or packs attached to old, young, the cool. There were restaurants, even the tried and true MacDonald’s. McD’s seems to be the beacon for foreigners. Meet here. You can’t miss the red and yellow.
Copenhagen is ridiculously walkable and apparently designed more for bicycles than cars. The city is 34.1 square miles. There are wide dedicated bike lanes and has been for years, while Canada — particularly Vancouver — are starting that experiment now. What caught my eye were the amount of bikes parked.
It was a treasure to see instead of football field sized parking lots and 10 SUV’s neatly lined and primed for gas guzzling. An insider told me if you are pressed for time nip a “loaner” bike, one that’s not chained and ride it to your intended destination, then simply park it among the droves of bike racks dispersed throughout the city. My attempts one night to “nip”after taking a wrong turn proved comedy gold. All of them reached me at waist level. Smallness is such a burden.
My 4 am wake up call was beginning to wear on me, time to locate Danhostel. Temporarily without an iPhone, I had to rely on a map taken from the airport. Bad. I’m happy to announce my skills at map reading still reek of spoiled meat.
Getting lost can be a luxury, inevitably you discover. I asked a nice receptionist at a Danish office tower where to find said hostel. Did you know some office buildings are equipped with chic mini-cafeterias on the main floor? I sure didn’t.
Despite my complaining feet and monster pack (now weighing 36 lbs!), Copenhagen is dripping with regal architecture. Expansive, inconceivable almost. The kind of spaces that cause you to pinch yourself. I. Am. Here.
I had signed up for a whirling dervish of a weekend. Copenhagen was the ripe setting for TBEX.
What is TBEX?
Travel Blog Exchange is a way to translate online relationships into the real world. Little did I know as I finally found Danhostel by the canal what discovery truly meant.
That meeting fellow travelers would prove fun and pound my liver.
That the speakers and workshops would have a profound affect on me. All impacting, forcing me to question what blogging really means to me. How far I have to go as a writer.
That I would win a dinner to Cirkus, a breathtaking stucture conceived of in 1886 – a site for a real circus centuries ago. The very setting of the conference during the day,while at night it morphed into a hotbed of song, cabaret, dance and vaudeville.
That I would ask a perfect stranger to attend the dinner with me. We were plied with free wine and lobster bisque.
That we would share a brief kiss on J-Day, the very night Christmas beer was released. My red lipstick staining his pale lips.
That I would fall for Copenhagen, as the beginnings of winter fell over the city like a blanket plunged in cold water, testing my temperature tolerance.
Fristaden Christiania, the famous Freetown, a former naval base that was claimed by hippies in the 1970′s. Now this thriving neighborhood has about 650 residents – give or take. Official squatters of Scandinavia.
City Hall at night.
I embraced my ignorance of all this. Of change. New discoveries. Old doubts. All I could concentrate on was a girl with thick dreads and a pierced nose telling me that check-in is at 2 pm, and would I like to put my pack into the luggage room until then?
I breathed out a “yes”.