Sunday in Copenhagen

The barmaid received a spontaneous round of applause for the way in which she handled the “trouble-makers” seated in the corner. Neither Sue nor I could work out what was going on. As they took their seats at the corner table, it was pretty evident they’d already had a fair bit to drink. But with the exception of Sue and I, so had everyone else in the bar!

Our attention was more focused on the nearby “cougar” and her potential younger “suitor” for the evening. We both agreed she was probably well into her 40s, and he was probably 30 at best. They were both very attractive. They were also both very drunk. By our guess, she was there with her son (and his male partner) and her daughter (and her male partner), and, of course, the hunky looking young bloke.

We had watched them flirt with each other for almost an hour before they finally began to touch each other. Or should “grope” be the more appropriate word? Just about everyone in the bar was watching them, wondering what it would all lead to. And just when they had the attention of just about everyone in the bar, the “incident” with the “trouble-makers” occurred.

The barmaid, for her part, was a fairly imposing figure, being well over 6-feet tall. She dealt with them firmly and fair. Unlike the “thuggish” behaviour you often associate with people being exited from bars, she spoke to them strongly, directly, and uncompromisingly. She was amazing. When the applause broke out from just about everyone in the bar, she seemed chuffed. She laughed out loud, thanking everyone for their response.

“What happened there?”, Sue asked her as she came by to collect our glasses. “They were snorting stuff right off the table in front on them”, she told us. Clearly, both of us lead sheltered lives, as we had no idea.

We were at the Jernbanecafeen, a bar I’d completely forgotten about until Sue noted, in 2010 I’d described it as possibly the best bar in the world. On my blog, I’d written…

In some ways it reminded me of those bars I found in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. Lots of crap on the walls. A bunch of old blokes playing schlager and everyone singing along. For a moment I thought, “This could be the world’s greatest bar”. There were quite a few bohemian characters in the bar, including my favourite, a woman I discovered was from Finland, who offered to sing “Besame Mucho” in Finnish, and who spent much of the evening drawing pictures of people she didn’t know and then getting them to buy her beers.

How could we NOT visit such a place?

Late afternoon drink in a bar in Copenhagen
Late afternoon drink in a bar in Copenhagen 2013

For us, it was most definitely a “non-tourist” kind of day. We didn’t visit a single tourist attraction, we just had a terrific day together, hanging out.

The day started “late”, as we enjoyed a Sunday morning at home, doing nothing much at all.

After an aborted attempt to find an English language church service, Sue and I had lunch at a terrific cafe/restaurant/bar called Kalaset. I’d discovered it quite by chance while Sue was tying, unsuccessfully, to locate the church service. Although it’s a place I entered quite randomly, it was oddly enough, a place decorated with old recording equipment, from reel to reel to cassette tape. I felt quite at home. The food was good, and the general vibe was “very Surry Hills”, I said at one point.

The other place we visited today which was divine was Torehallerne, a food hall near the centre of town. As we wandered around, looking at the wonderful variety of food on offer, we both toyed with the idea of quitting our jobs and living forever in Copenhagen just so we could go to this wonderful food hall every day. Sue “indulged” with a rasperry-caramel chocolate which tasted both “sublime” and “orgasmic”.

So all in all, it’s been a bit of a non-tourist day, but a very enjoyable one, and one where we had a chance to explore a few of the things ordinary Copenhagers (is that the right word?) might do on a Sunday afternoon.

Recording equipment on the wall of a cafe in Copenhagen
Recording equipment on the wall of a cafe in Copenhagen

We’re back home tonight watching Danish Big Brother (it’s like BB used to be in Australia, but oddly enough they don’t sound as much like bogans when they’re speaking in another language), doing a bit of washing (in preparation for our train trip to Stockholm tomorrow) and eating some wonderful Danish ice-cream. But wait, Häagen-Dazs, isn’t actually Danish!

According to Wikipedia Häagen-Dazs was, in fact, invented by Jewish Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York, in 1961.

Mattus invented the Danish-sounding Häagen-Dazs as a tribute to Denmark’s exemplary treatment of its Jews during the Second World War, and included an outline map of Denmark on early labels. The name, however, is not Danish, which has neither an umlaut nor a digraph zs; nor does it have any meaning in any language or etymology before its creation.

So there you go…

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