Danish delight

I finally overcame my inertia to visit a small part of Scandinavia, all thanks to my ultra-hospitable relatives in Copenhagen. This short trip wildly surpassed even the anticipation built up from three years here lusting after Scandinavia. The beauty, the rarefied air of refinement and above all the glorious incongruity of a cosy, kind-to-a-fault Singaporean family plopped comfortably in the middle of downtown Copenhagen – it couldn’t have come at a better time. My grand-aunt, grand-uncle and their progeny brought me around, (over)fed, cosseted and all but adopted me.. I’m still bathed in the afterglow hahaha.

So the trip began with a whole adventure of its own because the RER B to CDG was down, yet again. This is the train that I attempt to take to school every day. Going to school is such a calculated gamble – train, metro or bus: which is the least likely to have broken down or be on strike? I love the variety that public transportation in Paris adds to my days! Not. But anyway, the plane to Copenhagen was delayed, merci Air France, so I was safe.

Except that I had to run to the exit at Kastrup because I knew my grand-aunt was waiting (she’d arrived there early too just in case, augh), and it’s such a nice, shiny, HUGE airport! =/ Once there and de-flustered though, Copenhagen was brilliant.

The Little Mermaid has been decapitated twice and has lost her arm once to sick vandals. She’s actually in the middle of cold, windy nowhere in Copenhagen, so it’s not as surprising as it sounds. HC Andersen’s plot is also quite chilling, as children’s stories go..

Nyhavn is a gorgeous waterfront canal wine-and-dine area. Canals in Singapore mean such different things than in Europe.

When I arrived, my grand-aunt asked me what I knew about Denmark. Food being one of my primary interests, I mentioned smørrebrød, literally butter and bread, actually towering open-face sandwiches. The next morning, I woke up to four. Meatballs, beef steak, salmon and egg on dense rye bread: they were very delicious and very very filling. I relearnt the value of understatement that morning.

Denmark, indeed Scandinavia, is synonymous with design. My cousin-aunt speaks of hygge, the Danish culture of “cosiness” that values all that is pleasing, soothing and .. nice, I guess. Nice is not overrated, contrary to certain assertions.

Looks like art. It all looks like art.. The apartments I saw into from the streets were straight out of interior design magazines. The high-class kind.

The epitome of being easy on the eyes, the cones in this lamp follow the Fibonnaci sequence.

The Kuutio (Finnish for cube) futon is a thick cotton mattress that can be folded up and zipped along only one line to produce a bench, a stool, a bag, a storage cube, an easy chair.. It works on the Eulerian path principle.

Heaven in an urban home. How pleasant! I’m thinking of you, Sister.

If you were to bump into somebody while wearing this jacket, he’d stick with you. Literally – it’s lined with Velcro. Dear reader, I was sorely tempted.

Pumpkin season at Tivoli Gardens.

The waist-high straw maze that this tree is planted in the middle of actually only had one entry. There were a lot of frustrated kids that night, too short to see anything and accompanied by their equally bemused parents.

No expenses spared.

Meet Jack Straw. His head may be full of mush, but he’s bright all right.

It was Kulturnatten too so there were exhibits in the streets of Copenhagen that whole night. This was on agriculture; that huge red machine is a potato harvester. I had no idea that so many varieties of Danish potatoes existed.

The next day brought a day trip to Helsingør, or Elsinore.

A fairytale comes true.

The outer moat..

.. And the inner.

If the name rang a bell, this is probably why. Shakespeare set Hamlet in Elsinore, where a modern-day theatre now stands in hommage. The whole place is steeped in history and culture – quite amazing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Christiania.

Freetown Christiania is a self-governing area in Copenhagen set up by squatters in disused military barracks. Cameras aren’t allowed inside and for good reason, since cannabis is sold openly. I wandered around in there as sore a thumb as possible and tried not to gawk at the flourishing hippie lifestyle, or be gawked at myself.

The last night in Copenhagen was memorably spent first stumbling upon that Danish institution, Lego.

Miniature skyscrapers.

Our own paltry attempt, quickly abandoned in ignominious defeat.

We then moved on to a jazz concert, and then to China. It was really just a karaoke restaurant, but it might as well have been a portal to another dimension. The difference could not have been greater between a subdued, working crowd enjoying a jazz sextet in a genteel club, and the lusty, collective renditions of Chinese pop standards by young drunk Chinese students in an otherwise pitch-dark restaurant lit up by a spinning disco ball.

We also dropped by Sweden..


Live music in the street.

Ah well. Nothing like a getaway to get the creative juices flowing, and this was the best I could have hoped for – I’d gladly zig-zag the globe for familial warmth. Only one and a half years late. (= Thanks for coming back, I’ve missed this!


~ by grossomodo on October 22, 2008.

5 Responses to “Danish delight”

    Always a delight to read, and photo’s all so refreshing.
    Keep them coming, from all different corners of Paris, France, Europe. Not many more months to go.
    Now I’m ready to press on with my little battles here…….

  2. Am SO glad you’re writing again. I am an ardent fan ^^ Denmark looks pretty, and it seems you had a really lovely time! I had reindeer in Sweden too, except I got a huge plate of stew whilst your portion looks more artfully crafted, haha.

    What else have you been up to? Ahhhhh I can’t wait to see you again! ^^

  3. hello si!

    in a desperate attempt to dredge myself from the depths of pages and pages (it never ends!! AAAAAAAAHH!!!) of compta notes and exercises, i decide to pop by your blog, half-expecting to be greeted by “le fameux” “somewhere in east asia” post…

    so imagine my surprise when i discovered:
    a) the bright new layout, and
    b) your latest post filled to the brim with all these photos of scandinavia (see, now you’ve made me want to go there even more!!)

    it’s great to see your blogging again, keep it up! can’t wait for the next post already 😀

  4. hey si!
    was told abt the revival of your blog. i know i’m kinda late, but am so glad you finally made it to scandinavia, and to kobenhavn! 🙂 i miss it all the more now that i’ve read your wonderful post 😦

    keep the entries coming, and get well soon! will contact you some other means to update 🙂

    gros bisous xoxo

  5. That is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the
    blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

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