DENMARK: Land of Great Cheese, Weird Herring and Beautiful Blond People

It’s reverse culture shock after Beirut to be forced to wait for the little green man to illuminate before I’m

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allowed to cross the street. Copenhagen is clean, orderly, walkable, casual, expensive and, well, blond. Seriously, the people are gorgeous. They all bike. They all have complexions as clean as the air and cheekbones chiseled as finely as the many statues that adorn the public parks and squares. In my next life, I want to be a Dane.

Copenhagen canals...

Copenhagen canals…

When I came out of Iraq the first time, I flew through Amsterdam and arranged a layover with my friend Phillip. Little did I anticipate how traumatized I’d be by the pre-war trip: I barely got out of bed except for one blustery February day to visit the Van Gogh Museum. Marshmallowed in Phillip’s oversized down

coat and stirred by Van Gogh’s art, I broke down in the middle of the museum. An embarrassed and kind Phillip wrapped me in his arms while I sobbed. The next trip, I pre-arranged a dive week in Aqaba, Jordan. No one could hear me cry underwater. This trip, I thought I’d housesit in London, a familiar place where I could be alone in an impersonal crowd. What materialized was a housesit in Copenhagen. Turns out, it’s actually cheaper and easier to fly from Beirut to Copenhagen than to London. Go figure. I anticipated that The Little Mermaid, soft cheese and two bunnies would help me emerge from Baghdad. Instead, I found a restaurant

called Beirut Café that serves nachos.

Teaching Nala to give me a pedicure!

Teaching Nala to give me a pedicure!

Photos of the elusive Mr. Leo were more challenging...

Photos of the elusive Mr. Leo were more challenging…

My bedroom at night. The city's tallest building, City Hall, is right outside my window!

My bedroom at night. The city’s tallest building, City Hall, is right outside my window!

It's hard to photograph fireworks, but here's a portion of the display I saw from my patio shot from Tivoli Garden at midnight Saturday!

It’s hard to photograph fireworks, but here’s a portion of the display I saw from my patio shot from Tivoli Garden at midnight Saturday! Right now, I’m overhearing incredible steel drums from the square below.

The Little Mermaid's back side

The Little Mermaid’s back side

Climbed this church steeple...Last 1/4 was climbing OUTSIDE!

Climbed this church steeple…Last 1/4 was climbing OUTSIDE!

No city looks bad from the top of a church steeple!

No city looks bad from the top of a church steeple!

More views from the church steeple. Really gorgeous city!

More views from the church steeple. Really gorgeous city!

Here's what the copper church stairs looked like at the top...Yes, THAT narrow!

Here’s what the copper church stairs looked like at the top…Yes, THAT narrow!

Fun to look down into courtyards. Would never have guessed this interior green space existed by looking at the buildings from the street!

Fun to look down into courtyards. Would never have guessed this interior green space existed by looking at the buildings from the street!

Queen's guards on National Flag Day. They "posted" at the square a block from "my" flat!

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Queen’s guards on National Flag Day. They “posted” at the square a block from “my” flat!

Queen's guard on National Flag Day

Queen’s guard on National Flag Day

I was struck by this painting by Emile Nolde, German, at the Statens Museum for Kunst.

I was struck by this painting by Emile Nolde,

German, at the Statens Museum for Kunst.

One of Nolde's final paintings.

One of Nolde’s final paintings.

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3 Responses to “DENMARK: Land of Great Cheese, Weird Herring and Beautiful Blond People”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Catherine says:

    Yes, Denmark is exactly what you describe.

  2. Herbert W. Piekow says:

    When you return to Ajijic I should introduce you to the Scandinavian community here. There are Danes, Sweeds and Norwegians who enjoy Lakeside and yet, meet once a month to enjoy one another´s company.