Kevin's Guide to Denmark

by Kevin Kimura

           This is the second installment in my travel writing series. You should also check out my guide to the Netherlands. I suppose I could hyperlink it here, and have, but also feel free to click the “articles” tab on the left and then rummage through a bunch of the old articles and look for it. As you spend more and more time on the site, it becomes increasingly likely that you might eventually notice the ads or our merchandising offers (Did you know how cheap those books are on betterthanthebokstore.com are? Or that the Punch Bowl sells T-Shirts? You do now, consumer).

           I was recently able to take a long weekend in historific and picturesque Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital and most populous city, and I think that’s more than enough time to make me an expert on Danish culture, and an all around great guy. Considering that the most famous Danes include Hamlet and Niels Bohr, I was prepared for a nation of fictional, depressing nerds. Fortunately, I found the Danish to be shockingly cheery considering the cost of living in Copenhagen. As the initial surprise wore off and a couple of my traveling companions were stricken with food poisoning, the Danes became annoyingly cheery. Ultimately, when I tried to pose for an amusing picture with a palace guard, they became deportation-threateningly cheery. The American consulate was not cheery.

           In addition to the locals, there are many attractions to check out—there’s something for everyone: Historians would be delighted to check out the National Museum’s exhibit on modern Danish history. I had never realized how much the Americans and the Danish had in common. For instance, we both probably enjoyed the 1960s too much for our own good. Also, we were both avid slave traders. Who knew?

           Literary children will enjoy learning about Hans Christen Andersen, who penned famous versions of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Big Mermaid, a disappointing sequel. For philosophers, Copenhagen is the home of Soren Kierkegaard. To hairy feminist English majors, Isak Dinesen also studied in Copenhagen, where she learned to grow a mustache and stuff socks down her front to complete the illusion. Speaking of feminism, a facet of the trip that is worth noting is that I was (and still am) a guy and I made this trip with five women. This resulted in a lot of fun on the trip: you know how pimptastic those guys sitting in Danish McDondald’s with five girls look? Yeah—that was me for one glorious weekend. Checking into hotels was probably the highlight of my trip. I would strut confidently to the reception desk, ask to check in, and smirk as I gestured behind me to the FIVE girls behind me: “Don’t mind the scenery, they’re with me.” At those times, I liked to pretend it’s the beginning of a rap video.

[Don’t print this part- Can I get a picture of five hot chicks (maybe try a pop group with five members, say, the pussycat dolls…not that I listen to them a lot) captioned, “Yeah…they’re with me.”?] — [No. – Ed]

           But traveling with five women wasn’t all fun and games. It was also profoundly isolating. When Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Takin Care of Business came on, no was there to sing along with me, because girls can’t sing BTO. My rambling commentary on the merits and problems of the current college football bowl scheme play fell upon unappreciative and irritated ears, because girls can’t talk about football. I could go on and on about how Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’ Diary is better looking but ultimately less desirable than Colin Firth in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and no one was there to kick my ass, because girls can’t kick my ass.

           Ultimately, I have to chalk up my trip to Denmark as a bit of a disappointment; I failed to get Hamlet’s autograph, and I only saw like two Vikings tops over the whole weekend. But I nonetheless look forward to offering more national guides and travel tips as I continue my academic year abroad. FIVE chicks, dude. Five.

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