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Cycling, Couchsurfing & Copenhagen

14 May

The idea was to discover a cheap way to get to Berlin and return en route Prague or Munich if possible. But while tinkering on the Easyjet site, I stumbled upon an inexpensive fare from Basel (the airport nearest to Strasbourg) to Copenhagen and an even cheaper fare from there to Berlin! So was just that an incentive to go to Copenhagen? Nope. It also gave me an opportunity to finally meet my Danish e-friend, Bitten!

So tickets are booked and I am revelling at the amazing deal and how I’d get to see a Scandinavian country that wasn’t even on my travel plan. And then I start looking at hostels.

Mild cardiac arrest. ‘Penny wise Pound foolish’, as the saying goes.

Guilt of having done business and economic studies and not  realised that Denmark is a country with one of the highest standards of living. Which means everything is freakin’ expensive. Which simply put in monetary terms mean 1 Danish Krona = 7 Euros = 450 Indian Rupees.

Good heavenly mother of God, to borrow a wise-mans phrase.

2 days to go before the trip begins and not yet found a place to stay. But why fear when Couchsurfing’s here! And thus, I had my second experience of staying with a local, once again awesome!

I stayed with a Polish-Danish couple for 3 days in Copenhagen. While I slept on a make-shift bed in their living room and showered in the tiniest bathroom ever – it just about fit me in (the couple were much thinner) – it was a refreshing experience nevertheless and one I couldn’t have possibly had in a hostel or in a 5-star hotel. Agniezka (make sure you pronounce that ‘Ag-nee-edge-kah’) the Polish girl warmly welcomed me, chattered non-stop and her Danish boyfriend William who was travelling when I arrived, joined us a day later and together, they gave a complete insight on Danish & Polish culture – both of which I knew nothing about. Ag even lent me her ‘cycle’ (bike as they all call it) and what an experience it was being part of Copenhagen’s much touted eco-friendly transport system! Never in my life would I have imagined cycling in Copenhagen at 11.30 pm and returning home. Completely safe!

On the afternoon of Day 2, we set out to meet Bitten and her family. I had exchanged a few mails earlier with her and all of a sudden I was about to have lunch at her place – and what a lunch it was! She whipped up an impressive meal combining Indian and Danish cuisine. Raw banana fritters, spinach cheese pie, aubergine tomato pie, brown rice and  black lentils (dal) flavoured with mango-chutney – and all of them washed with red wine! She and her husband then took us to the city centre and showed us some of Copenhangen’s landmarks including the beautiful harbour and the next day, we went to a grand park that was later marred by a heavy bout of rainfall. Unfortunate, but gave us the opportunity to devour a nice dessert at a nearby café!

Mange tak, Bitten & Agniezka – truly loved every moment spent with you & your family!

My 2 cents:

Copenhagen may not be on top of my ‘must-travel’ list. But there’s so much about the city and its way of living that I admire. And the two wheeled wonders ofcourse. Forget Amsterdam, if you want the pleasure of cycling side-by-side with an executive head of a Danish company on his/her way to work, you are in the right place.

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Denmark

 

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