Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 1 Copenhagen

Day 1
- Quotes of the day
- Bohlendachvej 20
- Wandering around

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is

Take the flight from Berlin to Copenhagen, 35 minutes. Appears the bags were on the next flight, takes them another half hour to show up after we get to the baggage claim area.

Weather is cool, a bit breezy, and intermittent clouds, pretty pleasant if it doesn’t rain.

Taxi to our exchange site ($30), we're in Holmen, just across from downtown and a 3 minute walk from the spectacular new Opera House. It's a bit different than Berlin, this is a new neighborhood made out of converted warehouses and factories (shades of E-ville!). Car traffic is restricted, at least it was restricted until a speeding garbage truck took out the bollards that kept the riff-raff from driving through.

We meet the neighbors that live two doors down, literally two doors as this building is one long continuous former boat building facility running along a canal. The townhouses, around 20 of them, run the width of the building, with the back doors facing out to the canal (upon which tourist boats come along about every 15 minutes) and the front doors facing towards the parking structure across a small road and grass fringe.

Three floors, with the bottom floor an open plan with kitchen/dining room and living room, and lots of modern art. The second floor has two bedrooms and second bathroom. The couple is in the small bedroom and the 10 year old is in the larger bedroom, the bathroom is very spacious and has a bath tub (DB very happy!). The top floor, the attic, is not easy to reach, but reach we must since that’s where the computers and printer are located. Takes climbing up a narrow set of rungs, complete with rope rail on one side (and no rail on the other) and a bit of a slump to ensure you’re safely on the floor (DB not very happy!). Basically, if you carry something up with you, then you have to climb carefully and then lay it on the floor after you get up a few rungs, then you complete your climb.

The master bedroom is small; the big bed fills the entire room (Both DB and THB unhappy). Plus, it isn’t easy to stand up in the bedroom, in fact it is impossible to stand up straight (DB note to Sarah and Leslie: when you apply your Danish architecture class work, remember that Americans like to stand up when in the bedroom).

The neighbors, another retired couple that speak excellent English, show us how things work, and even loan us coffee cone, filters and ground coffee; our hosts only have a fancy espresso machine. They do have a gizmo that apparently steams the milk on top of the stove and then keeps it warm. It will be great if we can get it to work (note: it does work, fabulously). Bikes with locks we’ve not seen before, built right into the bike and lock through the back tire. The bikes are one speeds where you pedal backwards to brake, takes us right back to our youth. The dishwasher and washing machine work the same as in E-ville because we have European models. TV swivels when it is turned on, programmed to face exactly the spot where you’re usually sitting on the couch watching. We have use of their Saab, other than the ignition in a funny spot; I sure hope it works just like cars in the US.

Why do we have to go up in the attic? Because once again our wifi has failed. We’re not sure what is going on, the messages are different this time. If we can’t get it going, then we’ll be climbing these stairs a couple of times a day (some of us less than others) to do the important work like posting to the blog and finding out what is going on in the world.

We get some local tips, orientation, and then help with the hose in the backyard. Yes, we even need help with the hose, because we need to water a few potted plants in the backyard. The hose is on the wall of the canal. To reach it you get on your knees, cantilever over the water, use a key to unlock the faucet, unravel the hose and then stand up and there you go, 1-2-3, you’re ready to water the plants. We decide that we’ll be watering the plants with kitchen water. The neighbors have set up a faucet under the sink in their bathroom for easy filling of their watering can. Oh, and you can swim in the canal, and when the weather turns a bit nicer, THB will give a thorough report.

We start off for lunch and a bit of marketing, ending up at the most famous bakery in Copenhagen. Decide to have sandwiches there before getting to shopping. Best tuna sandwich I have had in a long time, on a terrific long baguette-like roll, DB has chicken (which must be very good, she doesn’t offer to share), water and coke, $25. Then after lunch we buy a kartoffelkage and a large loaf of bread (not exactly sure what kind), another $12.

What is kartoffelkage? Welllllll….as many of you know now, kartoffel is German for potato, and this kage (cake?) looks like a potato: it is some sort of pastry with custard filling and a marzipan topping, with what looks like powdered chocolate densely sprinkled on top. We have it for dessert after dinner, muy bueno (Danish for awesome).

Pick up some fruit at stand across the street. The German raspberries are half the price of the Danish, and there is some guy that is snitching the German ones one by one as the sellers are helping others, then he buys two boxes (so is it snitching or just pre-tasting?). We also buy two boxes plus a melon (didn’t notice anyone pre-tasting the melons), total $10. Off to local market, muesli, one Carlsberg beer, milk, plain yogurt, jar of herring, $12 and they take my BofA debit card.

We've been first on the waiting list for Noma, one of the world's top restaurants, for months; it's No-Noma, no cancellations. Final confirmation: I ride a bike to the restaurant at 4pm, it's only 5 minutes from our exchange. No, no Noma.

Dinner at one of our exchange’s recommendations, we ride the bikes, quite easy and only 5-7 minutes away. We have plaice, poussin (small bird), side of vegetables (including non-kage kartoffel), two glasses of wine and one of beer, $100. DB has warned me, things are more expensive here. I’d say at least 20%, where Berlin was 10-15% for some things (food in market was actually cheaper, I thought). At least they take Visa!

Still having wi-fi problems, even with troubleshooting assistance from US. Plus, they don’t have a landline, so we have to use DB’s iphone to call US for help. So, now it is no-wi-fi. Back to the jump drive jumping from machine to machine.

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