|Kongen Nytorg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Shot by Paul Cook
I liked the hostel I was staying at. It reminded me of staying in an old hotel, that was centuries old. The bottom floor was restaurant and tavern, where they served alcohol. But it wasn't like an American bar. It felt more like a living room downstairs, and the tables were long and grand. And you can imagine vikings used to seat there, after coming back from their voyage, and drink their liters of mead, laughing and telling stories. And upstairs, there were the bedrooms.
I didn't feel like talking to people now. I met so many people in London and Italy, and I felt like I needed my own time and space. I chose to come to Copenhagen instead of Paris because it was supposed to be sunny. And it was. Even still, Copenhagen got dark early. It got dark at 04:00PM.
I heard that Denmark was the happiest country in the world. I could see that the land of ice was a good place to live. I could see that the people of ice, with their golden hair and their icy blue eyes, were also polite. (They kind of all look the same, though.) But, it lacked that fire inside, the fire I found in Spain and Italy.
If Italy was a great lover, Denmark would make a great wife, except she's very expensive and demands a lot out of you. That's one thing that wore on me. It was so expensive in Copenhagen.
I spent $30 on a Danish lunch. I had one Christmas beer, which was $10. Everyone was drinking it. So, I thought I should have one too. It wasn't worth the price. Money is hard to make. And to waste it like that, made me feel guilty. The sandwich, which was just one piece of bread with trout eggs on it, cost $12. The waitress said I should have a half shot of Danish Christmas liquor to finish my meal. Everyone else around was drinking it. But that too, cost $6. I spent $30 on a Danish lunch, and I felt guilty about it.
Coffee is expensive. Food is expensive. Everything is expensive. So, I told myself to suck it up. I was on in Denmark for a few days.
When I was in Denmark, I didn't want to talk to travelers. So, I walked to the Danish Parliament alone. I was in awe of the Parliament, only because I saw it so often in a Danish television series called Borgen. I was thought to myself: Wow, I'm really here.
|Danish Coat of Arms
Inside, I walked up the flight of stairs, all the way to the top, and saw an open session of parliament. (It would be like watching Congress in Washington D.C.). And even though I generally can't stand politicians, I was also in awe of watching the politicians argue. The ones engaged in the conversation were stately and noble. The other ones not paying attention, were on their cell phones and reminded me of my Baldwin Park council people - whom in my view are all shameful.
But then, I even saw the Danish Prime Minister. I don't know why I was impressed to see him, because I could care less for public officials. But there was something interesting about watching him speak to his cabinet members, and they looked like they were talking about something very important indeed. What were they talking about? I wondered.
When I returned back to my hostel, I took off my boots and set them aside, while I sat in the comfortable recliner. I watched the people talking in the dimly lit hall, until the Italians in my room approached me.
The Italian girl started up a conversation. She told me she was having a problem with her travel documents. (Do they know I'm an attorney? They must have a sixth sense about it.) I do engage her. I tell her I just came back from Italy. She's actually from the same region as Ludo and Eleonara. She introduces me to her friends. We chat. They tell me they have to go to the airport. I told her if she has problems and come back, I'll be here to help her out. I never told her I was a lawyer.
She says, "Gracis."
I say, "Praigo."
She didn't come back. She must have made her flight.
On my last day in Copenhagen, it got dark and gloomy. The northern arctic winds start blasting. And even though I was wearing many layers of clothes and a scarf, it started getting bitterly cold. The winds pierced through all my layers of clothing, and chilled my skin. It chilled my bones. It chilled my marrow. It chilled my blood. And the chill stayed in me. I shivered and hated it. I hated it and shivered.
I thought to myself, I can never live here. It's way too cold.
On my last day in Copenhagen, the Court of Appeals asked me for more information regarding one of my motions I filed. I responded by asking for more time. I even wrote on my application for an extension, "Happy holidays to the court from Copenhagen, Denmark." I don't know if attorneys generally do that, but the court needs to be wished well too, from time to time. (The court eventually granted the extension; so I could enjoy the rest of my winter holidays.)
Upon having to leave the City, some of me wish I had seen more in Copenhagen. A part of me just wanted to leave the land of ice and salty sea. A part of me loved their bread, which was freshly baked, which had a crunchy crust, but was soft and buttery inside. A part of me resented their high prices and their heavy taxes.
In any event, my final conclusion is that Copenhagen left it's mark on me.