Having spent eight days in Denmark, I — of course — know everything about Denmark and Danes. Of course. The thing is, it’s really easy to arrive at a conclusion: they’re both incredibly lovely.
Denmark is a beautiful country, home to the world’s happiest people according to a poll by Gallup and some of the nicest I’ve had the privilege to come across. Our experiences with Danish charm started long before the trip. Jørgen Christensen of the Snake City Jazz Festival in Slangerup (literally, “Snake City”, though there are apparently no snakes in Denmark) went out of his way to help us get there, answering our relentless volley of mails patiently, arranging for our stay and finally sending us the tickets all the way to India.
In Slangerup, we lived in the house of Bjarne and Susanne. Our deal was bed and breakfast, but Susanne kept us fed to our gills all day and even let us do our laundry. We also got a lot of help about travelling. The cat Teddy was a little suspicious, but then, his Danish genes kicked in and he came around eventually.
Then there was Mathias in Copenhagen. A friend of a friend, who eventually became (I hope) our friend as well, who held on to our money for us. He was also our guide to Copenhagen, and companion in cups of coffee and long conversations.
And finally, there were all the nameless people who made the trip memorable, including the woman at the Kvindemuseet (Women’s Museum) at Århus who gave me a discount on the ticket and the man at the store in Slangerup who offered to drop us to our bed and breakfast when it seemed obvious that we had travelled a long way to get there.
Here are five things I now know about Danes:
- They have a fantastic sense of humour — or they just love to laugh, which is not surprising considering they are the world’s happiest people! However, the problem with the Danish funny bone is that, well, you miss out if you don’t understand the language! But I have to say this about both the Danes and Swedes — they are funny people… move over, you Brits!
- Their pillows are square! Yes, what is it about the odd cushion-shaped pillows?! It’s not just limited to Denmark, though. There were square pillows in the hostels and hotels of Sweden too, though my Swedish friend insists that he uses rectangular pillows.
- They love cheese! I’ve never eaten so much cheese for breakfast… just ask my waistline.
- They can attach just about anything to a bike! The bike culture is quite amazing in Denmark really — there seem to be more bicycles than cars on the streets sometimes. There are free bikes for visitors and anyone else who wants them, sometimes for a nominal deposit, which you get back when you return the bike.
- And, of course, they are really nice!
More about my travels, with photos, later. Meanwhile, I’m open to being adopted by a Danish family and will move there as soon as they’ll have me.