Saturday, May 14, 2011


Part of the reason why I'm taking this particular holiday is to feed my interest in architecture and design. Copenhagen is at the epicentre of 20th century design, so while here I'm going to the design museums, flea markets and other temples of Cool Old Stuff.

It turns out that awesome design in Copenhagen is limited neither to the museums nor to the mid-20th century. I've never been to such a design-savvy city. I knew that the Danes were skilled in industrial design, but they're also idiosyncratically talented at food, fashion, architecture and what can only be described as "lifestyle". They're a little like hipsters, only nice.

One of the most notable things about Copenhagen is the city's ubiquitous bicycles. Everybody rides everywhere. Businessmen puddle along in their suits. Mothers pack three or four children into the tea chest-sized carriers on the front of their three-wheelers. Trademen cycle about with their tool chests fixed to special racks. The bicycles have their own, extremely sacrosanct lanes on the main roads, and woe betide any pedestrian who wanders into them, because the traffic WILL run them down.

Note the killer glint in her eye.

The unexpected thing about the plentitude of bikes is that it seems to remove all of the really annoying aspects of cyclists. There are no lycra-clad, hyper-competitive, high-strung jerks on expensive carbon-fibre fetish bikes. The businessmen, mothers, tradesmen and others just wear their normal clothes and get about on simple but gorgeously retro machines.

The other reason for me to visit Denmark is to worship at the Birthplace of Lego. Unfortunately that's technically in Billund, a tiny town more than three hours by train and bus from Copenhagen. So instead I paid several visits to central Copenhagen's big, glossy Lego store.

Sadly the product range, while very diverse, was no cheaper than it is in Australia. In fact some of it was more expensive. Even so, I found a little friend in the Marked Down bin to accompany me on my travels, and we got to know each other over a glass of iced coffee in a chic cafe.

"It's a frappe!"

I figure it's a good idea to take an Admiral with me as I depart on my cruise tomorrow. I just hope that we can both withstand fun of this magnitude!


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