Copenhagen welcomed us with blazing temperatures. While the Danes swam in pristine canal waters for relief from the unusual heat, we observed with interest and laughed alongside them. They say Copenhagen is the city of smiles and we agree.
The language befuddles us, but almost everyone speaks English in a pinch, although I’ve had quite a number of folks address me in Danish, expecting a ready response. “Sorry, English,” is the best I can offer. I say “Tak” as often as I can. You can’t go wrong with “thank you.”
We heard Scandinavia is expensive and we thought, “okay, we’ve endured Switzerland’s prices, London’s too, not to mention Paris.” We were in for a shock! Lunch at a street-type vendor (a bit risky for me with my gluten-free requirements) easily costs $65 CAD. The wait staff don’t expect tips because their wage is respectable. Wine is out of the question while we’re here due to the initial price, plus tax. Danes “picnic-drink” their alcohol, meaning they don’t drink in pubs or bars because they can’t afford to. They drink curbside or in the park. How to cut food costs here? The guide book suggests eating the main meal midday. Markets and grocery stores are good as long as the items don’t need refrigeration or cooking. A quick snack of pickled herring, tapas or a sandwich works for most. We’re figuring it out as we go, listening to how the Danes do it and eating a little less.
Our accommodation here is a “find”! The Lutheran Church runs a guest house (Bethel Hotel) in the centre of the action at about a quarter of the price of other hotels in the neighbourhood. The room is a good size, clean, staffed with knowedgeable and friendly folks, and within a one or two metro stops of the major sights. The view from our room takes in the bustling canal-side shops and eateries.