I began my afternoon out in København by visiting young Rose me lass at her salubrious lakeside residence at nine o’clock in the morning. Apart from a hint of a hangover she seemed to be all fine and dandy and I was confident that she had weathered the storm of her temporary not wanting to be in Sweden crisis. I always find it very hard saying goodbye to my lovely kids, especially when the parting takes place such a long way from home, but I could tell that even if she wasn’t completely settled the seeds had been sown for her to enjoy the next four months in a lovely and interesting place. Her old Maastricht sparkle was back!
So, feeling a bit choked up, I gave her a big hug (being careful not to crush her breakfast time knäckebröd), said goodbye and left. I had such a strange feeling inside of me as I drove through the city centre and out towards the southbound E04 motorway. Perhaps I had had too much raw herring for my own breakfast but it was more like I didn’t want to leave lovely Jönköping, despite the fact that I had done and seen just about everything that there was to do and see there.
The 350 km drive to København was uneventful and with no one to talk to and only awful music on the car radio I was bored. It was incredible that a country that lies third in the world, behind only America and Britain in terms of popular music output should rely so heavily on crud like Eye of the Tiger and Una Paloma Blanca to keep its deejays busy. I would have given all the knäckebröd in Skanör med Falsterbo for a half decent CD to listen to in that little car. When I stopped at a service station for a cuppa and a wee I had a look in the shop to see if they sold CDs but all they really had was Eye of the Tiger and Una Paloma Blanca. In my head I tried to re-write the lyrics to these songs to describe the wretched man who compiled the playlist for the country’s national radio station but I failed because I couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with ‘blanca’.
Crossing the Öresund Bridge (or Øresund, as they would say in Denmark) once again brightened things up a bit. It seemed much more interesting than it had been on the journey into Sweden five days earlier because on the way back to Denmark I could see from 2 km to 3 km away the point where the bridge ended and the tunnel began, but not all that clearly so it appeared that the traffic was just driving off the end of the bridge and into the sea. It’s hard to describe this bridge / tunnel combination in words. The best I can do is to say that it’s a bit like the Mousetrap board game but with an expensive toll barrier instead of a bath tub and a seesaw.
Having been even more cautious than ever in allowing plenty of time for my long journey to the airport, I found myself in Denmark’s capital with enough time on my hands to have a bit of a stroll around. So I drove into the city centre, parked the car in the first parking space that I saw and then set off on foot to just bump accidentally into some interesting places without the aid of a map or a guidebook or stars to steer by. I had a coffee in an ancient looking café by the Esplanade before embarking upon yet another aimless ramble to take in some spectacular fountains and a quayside lined with old ships and boats.
‘Frigate,’ an old man said to me outside the Maritime Museum. ‘Go and shove it up your Øresund!’ I replied.
I found a statue and fountain encrusted circus in front of the Royal Palace where I watched the changing of the guard. This was more interesting than when I had seen it in England because in København they don’t do it behind big iron railings like they do at Buckingham Palace. Instead it takes place on the cobbled road where the public can get very close to the Quality Street-esque soldiers and take their photographs and steal their wallets.
Quality Street anybody?
From there I went to Frederik's Kirke, a magnificent eighteenth century Lutheran church boasting the largest dome in Scandinavia. It was circular on the outside, so not surprisingly circular on the inside too, and with that impressive dome it looked like a huge ornate biscuit barrel or tea caddy.
Round about 4.00 p.m. it was time to say goodbye to wonderful, wonderful København. The three hours that I had spent there really had been wonderful and sufficient to convince me that I should revisit and have a proper look around some time in the future. So I added it to my mental list of future mental holiday plans . . . along with all the others. Did you know I have never been to Great Yarmouth?
Sadly, not only was my afternoon in København at an end but so was my trip to Northern Europe. As ever at the end of a trip, I got into the car to go the airport and I sighed the heaviest of sighs. No matter how often I go away this bit never gets any easier.
I spent money in four different currencies today. I bought a cuppa with Swedish kronor at the service station on the motorway near Helsingborg. I spent Danish kroner to pay to cross the bridge and whilst tootling around as a tourist. I used a five euro note to buy myself a drink at the airport. And I used British pounds to buy some Class A drugs to take away the pain of being back in England.