Copenhagen is, at first glance, a city of young, beautiful thin blondes. That impression changed a bit for me when, on Saturday, as we made our way along the Stroget (a long, pedestrian shopping street) and a flood of a much broader range of folk – light skinned, swarthy skinned, light-haired, black haired, some weightier than others – streamed towards us, making for the central station after I-know-not-what event in the big square near Tivoli. Nevertheless, on weekdays in the heart of the city, the average person is Danish light in every way, and a great many of them are riding bikes. This tends to make crossing the street a little treacherous for the unwary. Just because you have a green light doesn’t mean that some biker barreling down on your left is going to stop for you. It is particularly perilous on blocks under construction – and there were many of them – when walkers, bikers and cars shared the same space.
We learned to search for kamikaze bikers before crossing a street and, frankly, the proliferation of bike riders only inspired my admiration. This is a fabulous city – although I have to admit, we had perfect weather: autumn cold but brilliantly sunny. For fashionistas, the look is neck scarf, sweater, skinny pants and boots, or short skirt, tights and boots. I would have loved to spend some time shopping, (wool coats! Leather boots!) but the dollar does not go far here and, luckily, I did not have the time.
By sheer luck I had booked us a hotel, The Strand, in a lovely part of the city, quite close to the lively Nyhavn (New Harbor) area. There we could window shop, eat, catch a boat tour of the canals of Copenhagen, and walk to any museum or church we might want to visit. An old friend from high school was residing literally around the corner, and upon our arrival, jet-lagged and bleary eyed, she served us tea and chocolate cake to revive us, then escorted us to the National Museum so I could explore the (of course) Viking Age exhibit. And bless her heart she warned us about the bikes!