Beer! Mermaids! Jazz! The grand Copenhagen birthday-meet of 2009 (event)
This nodermeet fell on the end of the financial year (which makes it the end of the holiday year at work so I had some holiday days to use up) so I took my last three days on April 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then all of the following week. Since Easter ran from Thursday 9th to Monday 13th this worked out to nearly two weeks away from work and all lined up nicely.
Daylogs for each day of my trip follow.
I have a few final thoughts.
Interacting with other people in other countries is always something I find vaguely embarrassing. In Belgium I had made a token effort to get some Dutch down, but in Denmark I just abandoned everything beyond "Hello" and "Thanks" because I was told that everybody spoke English, which they did. What do you do? Attempt Danish, invariably get a response in English (or have to respond in English yourself) because of your terrible grasp of the language? Ask them in Danish if they speak English, and get met with rolled eyes? Start out in English and appear lazy and stupid? I reached the point where the very notion of interacting with cashiers and waiters was just intimidating to me because I knew I would embarrass myself whatever I did. I had to deprogram myself when I got home, "no, the passport control guy is British, his English is perfect, do not worry anymore".
I really, really should take live notes of what we discuss when I'm at a nodermeet. This worked wonderfully at Wntrmeet 2008: A Birthday Noder Gathering in Edinburgh. Otherwise, everything we say just slips straight out of my head and onto the floor. All I remember is having a good time and good conversation and good food with good people.
Throughout the trip, I was referring to my pocket-sized Lonely Planet guide to Copenhagen. This is the second Lonely Planet guide I've had the misfortune to work with and it was pretty much useless this time through as well. It comes with a handy pull-out map in the back, but the map is useless. Why? It has nothing marked on it. Let's say I wanted to find Tycho Brahe's tower. "Tycho" and "Brahe" don't appear in the index. So I have to magically remember that the actual name of the place is "Rundetårn". Looking this up in the index takes me to page 110, which is where Rundetårn is listed in the book, which is divided up into neighbourhoods. Rundetårn is in the "Strøget & around" neighbourhood. But where, exactly? Well, it doesn't say. So I have to flip back to the beginning of the section and find the specific map for that neighbourhood. Oh! It doesn't have any specific locations marked on it, just numbers and icons. So then I have to flip to a different page entirely to find the key to that map. I have to search the key manually to find "Rundetårn" in the list, because the number isn't listed in the text entry, nor is the key in alphabetical order. Now, I have the number 11 and the grid reference D2. Only then can I turn back to the map and find icon number 11 on the map. Fine. But where does this mini neighbourhood map fit into the larger pull-out map of Copenhagen? You know, the only map which simultaneously includes both the place where I am and the place where I'm going? It's impossible to tell! Because the larger map not only doesn't have the locations marked on it, it doesn't even have the icons! To plot a route from the National Gallery to Tycho's tower, I had to perform this entire lookup twice, once to locate each landmark on the biggest map, and only then, by remembering both points on the biggest map, could I figure out what route to take. This would be forgivable if the full-scale map was crowded, but it is not! It is completely barren, leaving vast swathes of blank space with neither landmarks nor roads marked, despite copious room for both. There's no way to fit everything in, so no effort is made to try to fit anything in. It's a cheap, hopeless effort.
Even despite its flaws, the guide book was so informative that it depresses me how much we failed to visit during my five nights. The botanical gardens, the Louisiana museum, the National History Museum, Rosenborg Slot (although the others probably hit that during the day on Sunday). Meeting people is great and all, but three of my five mornings I was slouching around over the same internet I use every day at home, itching to get moving!
You only live once. Maybe one and a half times if you're lucky.
This was a ten-thousand-word nodermeet writeup.