In a spur of the moment decision I decided to book a flight from Vienna to Copenhagen to spend a week visiting my best friend, Sarah. She is a one-of-a-kind individual, the cleverest person I have ever met, and a damn good time.
I owed her a visit because when your best friend is living in a country for two years, you are obliged to visit, right? At least it’s a good excuse. :-D
Anyways, my round trip flight from Vienna to Copenhagen was about $145. Which I thought was quite reasonable, but maybe that is because I’m use to paying $1,200 for my flights from USA to Europe. I took the 3.20a.m. Student Agency bus to Vienna, yes, 3.20a.m! Not only that – I left the night of the March MeetUp, so after mingling with some internationals until midnight, me and a few other people went to Pivni Staj to wait until my departure.
As soon as I sat in my seat on the Student Agency bus (the most comfortable buses you will ever ride on) I fell into a deep sleep. At 5.15 I arrived in Vienna for a painless security check and boarded my flight to Denmark at 7 a.m.
After I arrived in Copenhagen, I was only half way to my final destination of Aalborg, Denmark. Aalborg is a little more than 400 kilometers from Copenhagen, which is a 5 hour train ride through Denmark. The train was easy to find from the Airport and it was direct to Aalborg.
Unfortunately this train seemed to stop every 10minutes at every small station it went past. The seats were comfortable, but the train was packed and everybody in Denmark is reserving seats, therefore those with unreserved tickets are moving around every other stop trying to find a seat that hasn’t been reserved – so if you are traveling long distance on Danish trains, I’d reserve a seat. :)
I arrived in Aalborg and was greeted by Sarah who, of course, had two beers in hand, one for her, and one for me. As I mentioned, she’s a really great time. After eating, resting, and playing family feud on the projector she conveniently had in her room, we headed out for a night on the town.
Aalborg is a small city of around 100,000 residents, and honestly it feels quite small. There aren’t really amazing sites or lots of things to do, but when you are in the street with all the pubs/bars – it suddenly feels you are in the center of a large tourist city with tons of bars and crowds of people that are speaking different languages, entering and exiting a variety of bars, standing around smoking cigarettes and drinking on the streets to save money because the bars are so expensive.
The prices in Denmark are basically as high as you have heard. A bottle of soda will cost you $5 (although they have a tax on sugar drinks), cigarettes will cost you $10, and each time we went to the grocery store for a few things the bill was roughly $70, which is what I spend in 3 weeks on food here in Brno.
However, in my short experience in Aalborg, I think the high taxes pay off in Denmark, because the city is great. For example, they have free public bathroom, even free gyms in their parks, volleyball nets, the city is clean, transport is comfortable, and the quality of life is overall quite nice.
My Danish Cultural Inexperience
I can’t say that I got to experience Danish culture. When I would say “I haven’t experienced any Danish culture” generally foreigners would react “that’s because there isn’t any Danish culture.” Actually, there is a conspiracy among the foreigners in Denmark (at least the ones I met) that the Danish deliberately keep foreigners from integrating into their culture, that’s why they speak such great English. So unfortunately, I cannot share much about the Danish culture. Well, I did have Danish potato soup, and it was scrumptious!
Also, I was in Aalborg over Easter, and it was not celebrated in the most traditional way, but it was great. We ventured to the other side of the city for a barbeque called the “Junkster BBQ” because all of the food, except for the cheese, was picked from the dumpster. Yes, for Easter we barbequed meat, had salad, potatoes, and more, and everything was from a dumpster! Although, I didn’t really mind and I find it pretty cool, but I know dumpster food wouldn’t be accepted by everybody.
My time in Denmark was mostly spent by enjoying the sunshine in the parks or by the “fjord” which connects the North Sea with the Kattegat, and then sharing drinks with my best friend and the friends she had acquired over the years in Denmark.
I left Denmark on a flight to Vienna at 8.00 p.m., so that left time for me and Sarah to stop by Copenhagen for a day before heading back to Brno. Fortunately we had nice weather and we were able to discover the canals which were draped in bikes (everybody is riding biks in Denmark, they line the streets as a natural decor for the cities.) After a few hours in Copenhagen, it was time to get to the airport, hug my best friend goodbye, and catch my flight back to Brno.
Fortunately by the time I got back to Brno, spring also arrived, and now I will spend my last two months in this city soaking up all the sunshine it offers, discovering new places, and spending quality time with the people that make up the dynamic city of Brno. :)
- Have you been to Denmark? Did you get to experience Danish culture, or did it seem you were isolated from integrating into their secret culture? :D