Before I left England to return to the US, I embarked on a ten-day Scandinavian adventure. I’ve already discussed the second leg of that trip, with the hostel experience in Stockholm, the most beautiful city in the world.
From there, I took a train Copenhagen. This was the half-way point of my trip.
Travelling in Scandinavia in the summer requires booking flights and rooms four to five months in advance. When I arrived in Copenhagen, I already had my hostel booked and paid for. When I showed up, it was nothing like their website. It was an open dormitory with 300 bunks (standing three high). No rooms, no privacy, six toilets, and three shower stalls.
Hoping against hope, I walked back to the city center to see if there were any more rooms available. There weren’t … at any cost.
I tried to resign myself to my fate, but to add insult to injury, I was coming down with a cold.
Given these negatives, its probably not surprising that I didn’t enjoy my stay. Everywhere I looked was concrete. I decided to give it a real chance, and I looked at postcards to see what other tourists thought were important landmarks. The main attraction seemed to be the mermaid.
So I went there. The mermaid was covered in bird poo, and there was no way to take a picture without having container ships in the background.
It was then that I started sending out messages to my friends with my new, realistic slogans for the Copenhagen tourist board. My favorite was, “Copenhagen: a great place to read.” Read is what I did the most there. I traded in my already read books at the Stockholm hostel book swap for the only English language book they had: The Fountainhead.
I’d only heard about that book from a reference in Dirty Dancing, and I knew nothing about it. I read that book, cover to cover, in 3 1/2 days in Denmark! I would wander around the city, find a new park, and sit and read for a while. I’d then get up, find another park, rinse, repeat.
I did take breaks to eat, primarily at street vendors, which led to the best part of the trip. I was sitting in the city center, polishing off my lunch when a small group of Hare Krishnas came in and sat down.
I remembered in England that they would serve free vegetarian meals for sitting through a service, so when they got up to leave, I followed them, marking the route on my map so I could find my way back!
As I arrived at their facility, they handed me a tambourine. I sat down and thoroughly enjoyed all the singing and banging my instrument. The service itself was in Danish, so I have no idea what was said. The food was Indian and delicious … and free!
As I found my way back to the hostel, I was still humming the melodies and so relieved to have a happy memory of my stay.
The worst of my cold was over before I got back on the train, and I finished my book a half hour outside of Oslo, my next destination. The end of the Denmark leg of the trip was definitely the best.
What was your least favorite travel adventure? or Has anyone else ever eaten with the Hare Krishnas?
2 thoughts on “Something Rotten”
What an awesome experience! Plus you got to read a book that many of us think we should, but never have. Too bad about the bunks, though. That would have been tough.
Looking back on it, that trip is definitely one of those that I still really can’t believe I did. It was an adventure of a lifetime. Even the not so nice parts still had their silver lining.
I love how fate brought me that book. If I wanted anything to read for an 8 hour train ride, I needed the only English language book available. I’m so glad it was that one. It was like having a single theme for that portion of the trip. I wonder who ended up taking next from the Oslo hostel. I’m sure that book has some stories to tell as well!