Copes- City of Bikes
So Copenhagen (and all of Denmark, really) enjoys spruiking that they are the “Bike Capital” of the world. I’m not sure if this includes Vietnam, or any part of South-East Asia. Its easier to not ask questions like this. Anyway, its uber cool and uber environmental to ride your bike everywhere in this country.
Fortunately, it is a pretty flat body of land, with the exception of the hill we have to ride up to get to school. (My quads will be tree-trunks any day now. Goodbye skinny jeans).
So a few of us new arrivals to Aarhus knew that a bike would be a pretty solid investment during our semester here, if not an absolute necessity. We were told that a decent price for a second hand bike ranges from 600 DKK to 1000 DKK (roughly AU$120 – AU$200). Bit steep.
Just saying G'day to creepy bike guy. (I'm in green).
Fortunately, the opportunity came up of purchasing of a Danish man who was selling them cheap for 500 DKK (AU$100). Before you could say “Wham, Bam, Thank-you Ma’am” I had emailed this bike entrepreneur about getting my hands on one.
I emailed in English, he texted me back in Danish. That was fine, I had the help of my Danish floor-mates to reply to this bloke in perfect Danish. It was soon to be discovered, however, that he was apparently the only person in Denmark to not speak English. Bit annoying. Maybe this was a sign it was time to dust of my Teach Yourself Danish text book.
What was really strange about this guy was that after every text he would change the number he was messaging me from. Sounds a bit dodgy, but as I always say ‘never judge a man on his digits’.
Blah blah, Danish Danish...
The next day we met up with him, unsure if he would be selling us bikes or drugs. He rang me to find out where we wanted to meet him. He knew I couldn’t speak Danish, so we had an awkward exchange of words of which neither of us could understand the other.
We did this dance for a surprisingly long time until he hung up. I thought he was being rude, but he probably said something like “this is pointless. I’m hanging up”. Or maybe he was just being a wanker.
Finally we found him and his van filled with bikes outside our dorm. Completing this picture was his girlfriend/daughter/last victim sitting in the passenger seat, coked out of her mind.
He spoke to us in Danish for a while as we test drove the bikes. Again, we couldn’t understand him and made no secret of it. He seemed not to care. Luckily Phuong, my neighbour, came to the rescue and translated for us.
She asked him for a receipt which was a few Danish words and a number scribbled on paper he found in the back of his car. Maybe I can use that to deduct on my next tax return? Surely that’s legit.
No helmet, no worries: Biking drunk in Aarhus. Photo: Caroline McCarley.
I am now the proud owner of a fully-sick set of wheels, “The Mosquito”. He has 6 gears and despite a little oiling still makes a screeching sound when the peddles are turned, like a robot crying. I think I’m in love.
Unfortunatley for The Mosquito, one drunken ride home too many has seen him sitting in the bike garage at college with a flat tyre for the past two weeks. The bike fixing utensils are sitting next to me on my desk, its just a matter of doing it. Deal with that later.
In the meantime I have commandeered Emily’s bike (complete with a basket, perfect for holding your tripod to and from school). However, one drunken bike ride to many on my behalf has seen her bike unable to steer. Deal with that later as well.
Børglum Kollegiet continues to be a brilliant place to live. The dart competition has gone downhill, and days pass without me winning a game. Everyone living here seems to act like finalists on “Masterchef” and produce delicious gourmet food. Meanwhile I eat from my can of tuna – minimal preparation and cleaning time involved. I think it may catch on here.
Copes, round 2
Last week I went back to Copenhagen with my class. We were here as “journalists”, and made the International Press Centre our office. I managed to get an interview with the project manager of the Copenhagen Bike Share Program (yes, like we have in Melbourne).
My article is going to be about questioning the necessity of helmet laws in Australia. Controversial! (I should actually be writing that and not this, but I figure it will sort itself out).
"I'm bringing hygge back"
The hostel we stayed at was in a great location, albeit a bit cramped. The lobby/ common room became our Hygge Zone. ‘Hygge’, (pronounced “who-ger”) is a Danish term meaning ‘to be cosy’. While in English this translation sounds like the lamest thing on the planet, it more means just chilling the fuck out.
Sometimes they light candles, sometimes they drink beers. Either way, the term is hilarious and is ideal to be incorporated into English conversation.”Wanna get our hygge on?”, “Yeah, I could go a serious hygge sesh.” The possibilities are endless.
On one of the days I went with my Danish class-mate Maria to the zoo to film a short news story for our project. We went VIP inside for free, like rock-stars, and filmed some animals as well as an interview with a zoo keeper about how the Copenhagen Zoo is the most environmentally friendly in the world. No surprises there, this place has the most environmentally friendly EVERYTHING in the world. They plan to become completely carbon neutral by 2020. I’m holding my breath.
On Thursday night we found ourselves in Copenhagen’s answer to Geelong’s “Room 99″nightclub. That is, cheap, trashy, and generally for those under 17.
Entry was 60 DKK (AU$12) for all you could drink beer and $1 fish shots. Anders from our class could not stress enough that this was not the typical night out in Copes. But it was cheap and the girls wanted to dance.
Apparently the club was getting a commission for how many times they could play the Chris Brown song “Yeah x3”. If I hear it again I will punch someone in the face (that is not a Rhianna reference). The downstairs bar was accessed by a narrow spiral staircase. Another mistake.
After a few refreshing bevs I found myself on my ass sliding down about the last 10 steps. Hilarious at the time, not the next morning when I discovered the scars and gashes on my back. I regret nothing.
Note to self: snow angels will leave your back wet for hours. Photo: Emily Dickinson.
When we got back to Aarhus we were treated to a layer of snow over the town. Yes, IT WAS SNOWING IN THE PLACE WHERE I LIVE.
I’ve only seen snow before on top of mountains that take hours to travel to. Never had snow come to me. My bitter North-American friends were oddly not as thrilled as me to see the snow, having just left the coldest, whitest winters of their lives back in the States and Canada.
So yes, I made snow angels by myself while they watched on, cursing the white gold all around us.
This week at school we are playing foreign correspondent. I’m not quite sure what this mean, but there will be a lot of articles and a lot of deadlines. Sounds like my cup of tea. Why do i do journalism again?
Anyway, more drinking, more over-sleeping, and more eating tuna from the can are also in store for this week which will be the One Month in Europe Mark. I cannot wait to explore outside of Denmark in a couple of weeks and see some more of Europa. Happy days.