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La Dolce Vita

The Last Night

DENMARK | Tuesday, 9 September 2014 | Views [1836] | Comments [1]

My original plan was to get up early on my last day in Europe, the day I flew back home, but in reality, I never went to sleep. 

I’d spent my days in Venice, Florence, and London just walking. I'd done other things too, but looking back, it was all a blur of my two feet moving me forward to the next sight. In Copenhagen, the same general idea applied, however my time was spent on a bike, one foot in front of the other, pedaling and changing gears.

This last morning really blended in with my last day because, well, I didn’t sleep. I had plans to go to bed early and rise early (like, 4:00am early) and all signs that day pointed to that outcome. I like my sleep, and having it taken away from me is something I only reserve for the most special of occasions. 

After a long day of sightseeing, I’d met my friend in the old meatpacking district, which is now a cool, hip place to grab dinner and drinks. We parked our bikes and had a leisurely dinner over the last hour of warm sun. We stopped for a quick drink next door, and then we were off. She went home and I went… everywhere.

I had about seven hours before I had to be up. I had ten hours left on my bike rental. It wasn’t really a hard decision when you looked at those facts. Stocked with some trail mix and water, I headed out into the night, just as everyone was heading in. 

At first, I didn’t have a plan. I just went from street to street, with only a general idea of where I was. Copenhagen is pretty massive, but you can cover a lot of mileage on a bike. I kept that in mind as tall buildings gave way to houses. I passed under some sort of expressway, and before I knew it, I was back in the center of town. Hours were spent this way, going from one thing to the next, not knowing. And I loved not knowing. 

The canals were mostly still, speckled sporadically with people sitting along the edges drinking beers. Dark restaurant windows and abandoned streets reminded me of the late time, and yet I kept going. Fast at first, afraid of losing momentum. But Copenhagen is not a fast-biking kind of city. So, eventually, I slowed, matching the pace of the rare person to ride alongside me.

Pretty soon, the night quieted like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Maybe because my instinct, when out late, is not to wander the streets, but rather to duck inside somewhere. However, there is so much beauty in a city at night. Of course, I wasn’t completely alone; Copenhagen has a great nightlife and I randomly bumped into masses of people exiting bars and clubs. 

As I rode longer and longer, it transitioned from night to morning. I don’t know when the transition occurred, exactly, but pretty soon, I started to see lights turning on inside of apartments. Cars met me at intersections, and just as I realized it was almost time to leave for the airport, my hostel coincidentally stood not 200 feet away, beckoning me to come inside for a quick shower and pack-up. 

I obliged, and pretty soon, I was on my way home, flying above the clouds, with not even one wink of sleep from the night before. I’d reluctantly turned in my bike, which had ridden who knows how many miles in the last 48 hours: 50? 100? But I was filled with gratitude, because my last night in Europe just so happened to be my favorite night.

Maybe because it technically never ended.

Tags: biking, copenhagen, denmark

Comments

1

Love your voice here. Wish I had the courage to bike through the night, you make it sound so peaceful and gentle. Someday, when I got to Copenhagen I just might try it :) Hope you journey back went well. Looking forward to reading all of your future writing!

  rmckinley Sep 16, 2014 4:45 AM

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