Bacon sarnies at the Tivoli

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The Mer-person

The aim of travel is to broaden your mind. With my levels of incompetence here and here, travel when attached to holidays usually involves unconscionable amounts of sitting, waiting to sort out my messes so my arse tends to broaden as my mind atrophies.

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I might look relaxed but you can bet there’s a worry in their somewhere…

A few years ago, disillusioned with the inevitable summer heat we experience here in England, we opted to cross Scandinavia by earth bound transport and chose as our stopping off point Denmark. Ok, we flew there but after that it was trains or boats or Shank’s Pony (that’s an old expression my dad used when he meant walking – who was Shank or Shanks, I wonder. Well, I clearly don’t wonder much because frankly I can’t even be bothered to open another tab and google him/her/it. The Archaeologist will know and put it in the comments – he really is an excellent resource).

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Lost? Me?

Anyway, Denmark. What did I know about Denmark? Mermaids? Casual approach to sex? Bacon? Not sure if all these are linked somehow – David Cameron might know (here if you’ve not caught up with the ‘alleged’ exploits of our apple-cheeked PM).

I was looking forward to decent bacon. Makes a change for the usual crap served on the continent which they laughingly call breakfast. I mean there’s nothing to it. Continuefast would be a better name for the sparse droppings you get. Hard boiled eggs (please, these are like stomach IEDs); dusty cereal in which a raisin performs the function of a five pence coin in a Christmas pudding with everyone praying they are the one to find it; or cheese. For pity’s sake you can’t eat cheese for breakfast – that’s like sharing underpants, it’s just gross. So the civilised Nords had to do something better, didn’t they? I mean it’s bad enough relying on their immaculate English to get by without having to resort to one’s own nation’s breakfast to find a suitable level of sustenance to start the day.

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Do I have to be in one of these photos? Really? If you ever start a blog don’t you dare post it!

The flight was fine – on time and I didn’t share my own bit of personal space with anyone else hanging over the sides of the armrest. I don’t ask for much but spending an hour or so at ‘Guess Your Neighbours BMI’ is not my idea of a good start to a holiday.

That’s when the first small hiccough occurred. The hotel hadn’t heard of us. There are knowing looks between the long married and there’s THE LOOK and this particular LOOK spoke of many similar trials and some seriously hard to shift emotional scar tissue. ‘It must be a mistake.’ If she can do the LOOK I can do the VOICE – a commanding timbre that has shaken many a incompetent minion to the core of his/her being. Despite the fact that all this did was reinforce the stereotype of another British holidaying knobend, the delightfully fragrant receptionist kept smiling and allocated us a small cupboard until our room – now found but booked, or so they said, from the following day – could be made available. As a quiet female voice put it ‘I thought they were an hour ahead, not a day?’

To defer the moment when we actually saw the reality of our temporary home, we left our bags and went for a wander.  Our hotel was close to the Tivoli Gardens so we thought we’d have a dander. In my journal I describe it thus

‘like a full scale toy, part paste boulevards making Paris’ seem pokey by comparison’

What on earth did I mean? I remember the place was full of other tourists and a lot seemed to be British, which was disappointing. But this brings back no memories whatsoever. Anyway the next entry describes the harbour which was:

‘… full of small fish based restaurants. We are seated at one sweet little place, the sun is still high even at 7.30pm – what do you expect, I suppose…’

Leaving aside the eccentric grammar this does remind me that we enjoyed the extended sunshine and the fact it was mostly sunny when we were there. The lifestyle was essentially al fresco and relaxed as this suggests. We wandered off to find the mermaid. She was small, much smaller than I anticipated but quite stunning for all that.

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Very glad she wasn’t next to us on our flight

All told we spent three nights in Copenhagen. One morning we set off by bus to find Louisiana an out of town, modern art facility with a significant collections of culture. Bit of a liquorish all sorts really but some notable pieces in a wondrous setting, south of Seeland overlooking the placid sea. We saw ancient American carvings, weird pictures from Warhol, lumpen pieces of steroidal sculpture from Henry Moore and a somewhat smug display about green energy and how buildings can be designed for a future without oil – which in truth seemed more a way for major architectural practices to advertise their wares.

Back in Copenhagen the rain fell – apologetically but without embarrassment. We ate in Christiania – a kind of artist retreat modelled that would have been better if it hadn’t been quite so self regarding. I climbed a curving tower at Our Saviour’s Church – the stairs are on the outside – and admired a mizzly panorama that many more worthy and certainly more devout than I have enjoyed – while in the distance the huge Oresund Bridge told of a modern world beckoning.

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But overall, yes, I’d go back

Our final day, before an early train across the said bridge, took us to the Botanic Gardens and then the Copenhagen City Museum. I was just getting to grips with the 19th Century transfer of powers from an absolute monarchy to a democracy when I was unceremoniously shown out. Apologies but no embarrassment: Denmark in a  nutshell.

I wrote a poem on the train as we left Denmark for Stockholm.

Copenhagen

 Some cities are blond.

Berlin is bottled, rather faux.

Barcelona has its Gaudi streaks

And Paris its ice-cold indifference.

And Copenhagen?

A froth of insouciant openness

 A light haired Scandanavianism.

Tivoli, frivolity

Mad punks and mer-people.

They have three bikes for every person

And yet they’re just so sane;

Calm reflective, dreaming spires of a people

Attitudes piercing the sky.

 Cool Copenhagen,

Cafe culture.

Even when the porn is free

There’s not a boob in sight.

Careful, self-controlling, orderly;

It should be repressive

But it isn’t:

No jay-walkers

Because you just don’t.

No litter

Because you just shouldn’t.

No swearing

Because you don’t need to.

I’ve had fun

Without trying

Because I just could.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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37 Responses to Bacon sarnies at the Tivoli

  1. Ritu says:

    I’d love to go to Copenhagen one day!

    Like

  2. gordon759 says:

    I am sorry to be an auto-stereotype, but your shanks are, of course, your legs.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jan says:

    Your poem just about says it all! We were there in July during a heat wave. The sun never set and none of the buildings had air-conditioning. The only thing that saved us was the beer!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dylan Hearn says:

    I used to have an office just outside Copenhagen in Brondby (pronounced Brondboo) and got yo know Copenhagen quite well. I loved the people, although none I met were promiscuous – maybe that was just in relation to me – and the architecture and Nordic design was wonderful. Bloody expensive, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      The trouble with a short visit is the unbalanced impressions you get. Yes, bloody expensive. Yes the people didn’t come across as promiscuous but the media was beyond in your face compared to we prurient English and the locals conveyed a relaxed certainty that their way was the best. Smug sods! I liked them a lot.

      Like

  5. Anabel Marsh says:

    My memory of Copenhagen is highly coloured by the Carlsberg Brewery. They were very generous with their samples.

    Like

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I love Copenhargen

    Like

  7. Gulara says:

    This looks like a wonderful trip. I especially enjoyed photo captions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Now that’s how you do “row homes”…in full color ! Beautiful photo and the poem says it all. Very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Travel is wonderful. I am more curious these days than I ever was when young(er). I want to see everything and read every book on the planet. Wonderful pictures. I’d love to visit there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. noelleg44 says:

    Very nice – never been there, but might be a place to put on our bucket list. So…how was the bacon?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charli Mills says:

    Wonder if the Textilist is on another blog from the guy in the boat snapping a shot? 🙂 Of course, she probably doesn’t want to ponder that. I’m sure being in yours is quite enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rachel M says:

    I desperately want to visit Copenhagen. I love their cycling culture. Did you see many cargo bikes?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. davidprosser says:

    You made it sound a fascinating place Geoff. You also made it sound enjoyable. But, you never said how your bacon was. Did you bring some home? Where’s mine? I neeeed a bacon sarnie just about now.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Most entertaining, Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jools says:

    My only trip (so far) to Copenhagen was an overnighter for a business meeting a several years ago. People universally pleasant, and I remember being treated, happily on expenses, to a sizzling steak cooked and served on an enormous stone. Sadly no bacon.

    By the way, as someone of Germanic origin (mother’s side), I beg to differ re cheese at breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sacha Black says:

    So Denmark, and Copenhagen in particular, is the most special place in the world to me. It happens to give couples like me and the wife, rather special presents. I adore it, and you’re right, insouciant is the perfect word to describe it. I noted a plethora of vegetarian restaurants when I went too.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The only time I was going to Copenhagen, a deep low pressure came down the North Sea (it was mid-summer) and the captain of the Cruise ship said he could not dock there. He headed for Stockholm instead. Having read your post it seems I probably did not miss much?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: A Swede and a Turnip went into a bar… | TanGental

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