Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts from a semi-seasoned traveler

Surprisingly, Copenhagen is very similar to Amsterdam.  Both sit on the water and have matching architectural styles. Both cities are quite flat and have many bike paths thus providing an ease at which to ride a bike.  Both are generally rainy at this time of year, and are small enough cities to get from point A to B on foot. People in both cities speak English, and...that about sums it up.

What got me, though, was the fact that each similarity was slightly different. (Yes, I know that's an oxymoron). But, let's take English speakers for example.  Although I have no problem getting anywhere I need to go in Europe by speaking my native language, some countries are more fluent in English than others.  I've been to 3 of the 4 Scandinavian countries now, and before I had gone to Denmark I thought everyone in Scandanavia knew English just as well as my fellow (current) countrymen.   -- Guess I have to be wrong about something at least one time a year.--    The number of English speakers in Copenhagen, although quite a large amount, was drastically less than what I am used to here in Amsterdam... or than what I had encountered in Sweden and Norway for that matter.

Just to throw in one more example, for the sake of... one more example I'll mention the bikers. There are plenty in both cities, however in Amsterdam we have no fear and dominate the roads; in Copenhagen they ride with helmets(!!!), what?? Here we lock our bikes with non-penetrating, industrial strength iron chains - generally more than one; in Copenhagen all they use is the flimsy back lock. Here, if the light is red and there are no cars coming, we go; there... they wait. Obviously we're the tougher of the two and would win a smack down with one arm tied behind our backs. No contest. Although, if an honesty/law abiding/safety first award was given out, we'd probably be given second place.

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