Thursday, May 08, 2008

The King's City

For four hundred years "The King's City" for Norwegians wasn't Oslo, but Copenhagen. This is where Norwegians went for education, for a chance to gain a public service position, to practice the arts and develop as craftsmen and artists, this is where licences were written out - for Norwegian newspapers and just about everything else. This is also where the decision was made to sell off significant pieces of Norwegian land, to persecute Norwegian witches (the last one was burned in 1695, and most of the Norwegian witches were among the sami - here a lot of men were burned as witches as well), and to drag Norway into the war that got us handed over to the Swedes.

Still, with all it's conflicting history in the interwoven past of the Scandinavian countries, Copenhagen is my favourite Scandinavian city. I love the busy streets, a mixture of new, old and in-between, the bicycle lanes with their little special lights for bicyclists and the many, many different bikes. The Copenhagen idea of a family car seems to be a transport bike - a bike with a solid load space in front, frequently loaded with a woman and/or a kid, propelled by a grinning man taking his family to scool and work and getting a good workout too. I love the stores, as big and fancy as in much larger cities, and stuffed with Danish designer goodies: Clothing made for Scandinavian sized women and northern climate and northern tastes.

And now I am stuck in the hotel room, telling myself I have to finish preparing for tomorrow, when what I want to do is to go out into the warm sunny day, find a cool soda and a spot in a park and watch Copenhagen bike past me. This had better get good!

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