I came to Copenhagen for the first time in 1965, I was 23 years old, a GI on a 3-day
pass from an Army base in Fulda,Germany.
Back then Copenhagen had a reputation for a great jazz music scene,
good beer, famous furniture and design, ancient Viking culture, etc,
but most young guys were interested in one ultimate and extreme
attraction above all others: Danish Girls.
Danish Girls were reported to be beautiful, friendly, smart, and
into "free sex". The guys flocked into town.
Me too: lonely, horny, interested, hopeful, I arrived with some
friends, but spent most of my time wandering alone around the old
Strøget streets in light drizzling rain, sleeping in a car, eating
Danish hot dogs and smørrebrod. Met no girls, but I saw them, and
they really were appealing. And so was the town, I loved it,
simply My Kind Of Place. Vowed to return, which I did.
I can't really say why this place was THE Place. It looks a lot
like Amsterdam, but I never wanted to stay in Amsterdam. I liked
Germany too, but didn't stay there either. Paris was tempting, but
no other place gave me the quite feeling of longing to belong that
Copenhagen did. (Ok, maybe Oaxaca in Mexico, but that was later.)
It's a charming city: 800 years old, copper-roofed brick buildings,
canals, a pleasant harbor, a great pedestrian area, huge old
European-style train station, a hodgepodge of architectural styles,
even modern steel and glass but no skyscrapers to break the style,
although lots of ancient towers.
The American throwaway mentality has not taken hold here, a city
this old does not change rapidly. There is still no freeway
through town, which is not too big, not too small. Traffic has not
been a major problem--in fact much of the traffic is bicycle. No
hills, very flat.
I even liked the funny-sounding Danish language, started learning it
right away, even though so many people spoke such good English that
it was (A) very easy to get along, and (B) difficult to get to speak
the language because everyone wanted to use their English on me. And
I found that it wasn't just the Danish girls that were nice, but Danes
in general--guys too, older people, the whole society seemed enlightened,
cultural, modern, friendly, fair.
Personally. I feel that the most apealling trait about the Danes is
their sense of fairness. It corresponds with my own and makes their
society a comfortable and pleasant place to be.
So I ended up living here with one of those wonderful Danish girls.
I'm glad I don't have to envy me.