There was a period towards the end of last year when I contemplated changing my name from Sarah Bolwell to Sarah Lund, such was my obsession with the Danish maverick cop.
While I’m not sure that she and I share a whole lot in common (I eat way more than her, don’t live with my mum and look terrible in chunky fair isle knit ware), by the end of the first episode of the first series of The Killing, I knew I was hooked.
I was so gripped in fact, that by the time I got to the last episode in the series, I’d semi convinced myself that I was fluent in Danish, and was using ‘selvfolgelig’ and ‘tak’ at every available opportunity, much to the confusion of about 99% of anyone in earshot.
They should probably make Sarah Lund some kind of Danish tourism ambassador given the way she sold me (and probably many others) on the benefits of her home city. She’d set my expectations pretty goddamn high, so it was almost inevitable that this year a trip to Copenhagen was going to be on the cards.
Of course, Denmark’s reputation for modern design and internationally sought-after furniture (particularly chairs) hadn’t gone unnoticed by me either, and as Tom and I boarded our plane to CPH on the tarmac at Gatwick, I did half consider whether I might be able to smuggle an Arne Jacobsen egg chair back to the UK as hand luggage.
Our home for the two nights we stayed was the Hotel Alexandra, a boutique design hotel packed to the rafters with classic Danish furniture and art. On every floor there was a room dedicated to a legendary Danish designer, and in our room, Finn Juhl was the perfect host.
On every landing a series of different chairs had pride of place, and I’m afraid to say it but I did turn into one of those really annoying tourists that we always moan about in London that takes pictures of EVERYTHING. Oops.
Just to reassure you, I did sit in every single one of these and they were all AMAZING:
The shops were quite remarkable too. We nosed around contemporary design shop, Hay, drooled at the unbelievable furniture and kitchen ware in Danish department store, Illums Boligus, and tried not to break stuff in the pristine Royal Copenhagen outlet shop.
Even the street lamps are cool. While our street lighting here in the UK is provided by lanky, grey, metal posts weed on by British dogs (and sometimes drunk humans), in Copenhagen, lamp shades are hoisted up high and elegantly suspended from wires above the streets below.
Suffice to say, Copenhagen was magic. We loved our trip, every moment of it. And for anyone thinking of visiting, here are a few things I learned:
- It’s freezing there in March. Officially it was -1, but according to my ears, fingers and nose it was much colder. Make like a Dane and wrap yourself head to toe in fur. It feels extravagant in the UK, but trust me, in Denmark it’s the norm.
- Don’t stress about the language. EVERYONE speaks English, perfectly. In one shop we got chatting to an assistant that I could have sworn was Olly Murs. We thought he was English. Nope, he said, Danish through and through, just picked up a couple of words when he lived in London for a few months. Natch.
- They’re very polite when it comes to crossing the road. In London even if the lights are green and the man on the sign is red and stood firmly still, we risk life and limb and leg it across the road anyway. In Copenhagen people wait, very patiently, for the lights to change. Even if the road is clear, if that green man ain’t flashing, you ain’t moving.
- There are bakeries everywhere, so don’t kid yourself and try to resist temptation. Lagkagehuset was AMAZING and very naughty.
- Don’t expect to bump into Sarah Lund.
- I can now confirm that EasyJet does not allow you to bring classic Danish furniture back as hand luggage, so don’t even try.