If there’s something that never fails to bring a moment of wonderfulness to any day, it’s someone doing something bizarre but acting like it’s normal. In Sweden, I’ve enjoyed a cyclist riding the pavements with a 3 metre pole balanced on his shoulders and a nonchalant expression on his face. I’ve seen a wild child zooming the footpaths on a full size quad bike, terrorising buggy pushing mothers … but I’m sure that what I’m seeing now only happens in Denmark.
We are in the vast gardens of Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen. It’s a tourist attraction, and I don’t think any Danish royalty actually live here, until I see a woman dressed like a butler sprinting towards the castle with a fine silver tray in hand. What’s on it? I hear you ask. Caviar and a diamond flute of vintage champagne for an angry king ready to behead the tardy bringer of his lunch? The medical cure for a dying princess? No.
A select range of coloured bricks create a plinth, on which stands a boy figure. Other shapes lie flawlessly strewn across the yellow base, but the butler is running too fast to tell exactly what. A few men charge ahead of her, looking over their shoulders neurotically as if to check the cargo’s status. Luckily for them all, the cargo is perfectly intact, resting on its serene tray whilst the butler’s legs power a small city.
It’s the little things.
(Just to be clear—no royals actually live at Rosenborg. I am genuinely perplexed about what it is that’s going on, but, as Lego was brought to the world by Denmark, I’ll give the Danes some slack for getting excited about it sometimes :-p)
Eat yourself silly in Copenhagen
On the subject on marvellous surprises, let me tell you about something truly special that is tucked away in Copenhagen: a restaurant that hides around the corner from Nyhavn. Den Lille Fede is its name; or in English, The Little Fatty.
It’s called that for good reason. Den Lille Fede specialises in one concept: multiple courses of New Nordic Cuisine that are each expertly paired with a different wine. This jewel of Copenhagen’s eateries is a clever one, because they only offer one menu every month. From that seven course menu, you have two options: the five course or the seven course. When you sit in their swanky, candlelit hideout you feel like Queen Margrethe the Second herself, and there’s no way you’re turning down the wine pairing option, even if you’re teetotal. What makes this all even more brilliant is the excellent price for what you get.
It is possible for a government to promote a close-to-carefree, life-loving existence for its citizens. Want to know how? Consult the Danes.
On our explorations of Copenhagen, we spot no less than five classes of children getting an education out and about the city. Kids—ranging from young to early-teen—running around a lake for their PE class, drawing sketches in the botanical gardens, ogling at Rosenborg castle and annoying every tourist in the vicinity, and out of the five teachers we see accompanying them, four of them are male. As a ten-year-old girl hovers over a lake’s edge, I can’t help imaging how the corresponding British scene would play out.
“Jennifer! Get away from that edge THIS INSTANT! Do you want me to tell your mother you’ve been messing around near dangerous water!? Do you want me to tell her you’ve been setting a bad example for your classmates and have been deliberately disobeying me!? You are in a lot of trouble, young lady!”
Or when a male teacher claps one of his teen female students on the shoulder when she says something funny—in England I hear,
“Mr Wells! How dare you touch my daughter so inappropriately! I will complain to the headmistress IMMEDIATELY and inform her I will not tolerate such HARASSMENT in this school!”
In Copenhagen, unscrutinised Jennifer marvels at a fish for a bit then carries on skipping around the lake, and Mr Wells continues to banter with all his students on their frequent walks to the park. In Denmark, Jennifer learns more about fish, and Mr Wells’ students can’t help but soak up his every word.
So, of the many magnificent things that have the potential to punch through the mediocrity of the careful every day, I’m sure the majority can be found in Denmark … Or maybe Copenhagen is just very, very special.
Her er til vidunderlig øjeblikke, min venner! (Here’s to marvellous moments, my friends!) Do comment to share any marvellous moments you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing!