With one last hurrah before leaving Denmark, the last week of our program was a nice reprieve from some pretty rigorous coursework. We finally had plenty of time to do a few last excursions into Copenhagen to make memories. As a program with DTU, we had a short trip to the Dieselhouse, an exhibit on diesel technology where we had the opportunity to see the startup of several large diesel engines. They were quite loud, so hearing protection was highly recommended.
On our last day in Denmark, we went out for a evening trip down Nyhavn and ate at an Italian restaurant Ristorante IL Rosmarino and had a fantastic dinner. Portions were a little small for us Americans, but the quality and taste was far better than expected. We were trying to use our paper krone before leaving Denmark so we piled up the cash which caused our waiter to give us a strange look, but it was a good way to get rid of some bills.
Now for the list of what I really liked about Denmark and Copenhagen:
I rented a bike through a monthly rental program called Swapfiets. This allowed me to experience why Copenhagen is called the bike capital of the world. Even in areas far outside of the city, there was almost always biking infrastructure in the form of bike lanes. Compared to having to share either the sidewalks or roads, having a bike only lane was liberating and made me feel safe while riding around the city. Additionally, outside of any metro station there were rows of bikes from people commuting to the station by bike.
7-Elevens were EVERYWHERE in Copenhagen. From an American point of view this seemed strange, after all 7-Elevens were never places I really looked forward to visiting. It was completely different in Denmark. The 7-Elevens were kept clean and stocked with lots of drinks and hot foods. I felt comfortable eating any of the food they had there and I will miss having them within a few blocks of me at all times.
Public transportation in general. Car culture in Copenhagen is extremely small compared to the United States. Most people either use public transportation (S-tog, Metro, Buses) or bike. Even when cars were used, they were always small cars, often hybrids or even full electrics. I do not believe I saw a single pickup truck nor any SUV’s outside of company vans. Denmark even has a national plan that aims to stop selling gas combustion engine cars by 2035, something I can not see ever happening in the US outside of California. To accomplish this, the public transportation system has to be easy to access and used by the majority of people. From what I saw, it definitely seemed to be popular.
Now for a few of the things I missed while abroad and I am enjoying now that I have returned to the United States:
My family and my cats. After being abroad for over a month, I was lucky enough to see all of my siblings the day I returned. Had I missed my flight from Toronto to Columbus (Which almost happened), I would have missed my brother before he returned to his house. I only saw a single cat up close while in Denmark, but it helped me satiate missing my cats and I have given plenty of attention since returning.
Air conditioning and proper pillows. Although the temperature was not too high, the humidity made it uncomfortable to be inside most of the time. While trying to sleep specifically, I had my windows open fully and had to hope no bugs made their way inside my room during the night. Returning to my bedroom in an air conditioned room with more than a small pillow made my first sleep back home an absolute dream. Denmark would not need air conditioning most of the year except during the height of summer so I understand why it is not common, but it made me appreciate A/C all the more.
Supermarkets. The majority of my shopping occurred in two small discount grocery stores near Basecamp: Netto and Lidl. The closest comparison to what we have in the US would be Aldi’s (which also appears in Denmark). While the prices were good and the food selection was enough, I missed having the abundant choices while shopping and especially for browsing. I have gone to Target and Kroger since returning and it, while being a little overwhelming in comparison, was a blast finding anything I am looking for.
Overall I had a fantastic time experiencing Copenhagen for the month of July and I am glad I got the opportunity to see Berlin, Dublin, and London while I was at it. I will definitely plan to visit Europe again within the next couple years and am thankful for the amazing opportunity UA study abroad offered me!