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Maria & Brett's HUGE Trip 06-07-08-09-? ok, so the Socceroos lost in 'that' penalty against Italy; Adriatic summers aren't long enough (bliss!); and we found that you should never use the term "Eastern Bloc" when talking to a Czech (Central Europe, please).

Why does Scandinavia get it right?

DENMARK | Wednesday, 9 April 2008 | Views [1493]

The way of the future - bikes replace cars. Less noise, less pollution, fitter people... This area seemed a lot like Newtown in Syd - very laid back, people riding their bikes, great cafes and galleries.

The way of the future - bikes replace cars. Less noise, less pollution, fitter people... This area seemed a lot like Newtown in Syd - very laid back, people riding their bikes, great cafes and galleries.

Is it their high cheekbones or obsession with a funky, modern monarchy? Or is it the dry salted fish that improves their diet and overall wellbeing? Or perhaps their penchant for clean, tidy, modern orderliness, as embodied by little-known lifestyle brand 'Ikea'? Or maybe it's their refined civilisation, honed and honed after all the years breeding vikings and then defending their tiny civilisations against the Brits and each other?

We reckon it's because they're all so good looking, they've made bicycling a sexy sport (and practical way of getting round town) and they know how to make a caffe latte to please the soul. That's gotta be it: the latte-o-meter. If we could judge euro countries against each other, Denmark and Zurich would come out on top (see our other report on Zurich: although Zurich's only a city, it deserves to stand up against other countries). To give you something to compare against, it's pretty hard to find a good latte in Prague, and if you ride a bicycle round the streets here you might as well wear a neon target on your back for all the homicidal drivers!

Our trip to Denmark started on a whim (Maria found a cheap airfare) and ended with a reunion worthy of Oprah. Connecting 'Denmark' with a distant memory of an exchange student that stayed with us (the Murphy's) back in 1990, when I was about 10 years old, instantly led us down a path of global private investigations. Stefan spent 10 months with us as a 15 year old, and I recalled him to be very shy but very happy. where is he now, and what is he up to?

We quickly rang mum who had the phone number of his family from 1990. No email address. (It was pre-internet when he was in Oz!). Well, it's worth a shot - we rang the number and his Dad answered on the third ring, telling us that Stefan was in South American climbing some mountains! Jeezus! Cut to the chase: we made it to Copenhagen, met Stefan and had a wonderful, wonderful time both catching up on 17 years and also getting to know this city that is modest in size but big on colour, smiles and just civilised living - and a gorgeous canal network modelled on Amsterdam.

Stefan was the perfect host, driving us up and down the coast to get a feel of Denmark outside the big city, and to some castles and fortresses that reminded us of the history of a country that has always had to look over its shoulder, yet remain happy with itself and its people.

After hugs all round, several dinners and coffees and of course Danish beers, we said our goodbyes and vowed to return: although it was early April it was cold enough to be winter. Spring was just around the corner and we could just feel the life starting to emerge from a long Scandinavian hibernation.

It was such a beautiful city to explore, but so inspiring to meet up with Stefan again after 17 years. I recalled how I used to tell people he was like my new brother. He still is!

 

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