So, we’ve sprinted to Copenhagen, and to our relief and great pleasure, been accepted as honorary Denmarkians for a time — we’ve even been assigned a doctor! …Which is just as well, because, without delay, Katherine discovers another breast lump. We’re not too worried this time around, as the last time, it was just a harmless cyst, and we don’t expect any different this time around. But we’re not taking any chances, so we call up our new doctor and make an appointment for the next day.
We take our bikes and catch the train to the doctor’s office, in an apartment building. It’s pretty quiet, and Katherine’s in and out fairly quickly, finishing up with an appointment for a scan at the local clinic. It’s two weeks away (which is a rather pleasant contrast to the three months it took to get a similar appointment in the UK!), so we now have plenty of time to kill!
We ride from the doctor’s into the city’s latin quarter. Copenhagen feels like a rather quiet little town, until we get to the chewy centre and find it full of metropolitan goodness.
We pull out of the stream of bikes heading into the latin quarter once we discover a great little market square with lots of interesting food and other bits and pieces. Two big cast-iron bowls have smouldering coals in them, radiating a very pleasant heat into the chill air. A couple of people at a little stall are wrapping dough around sticks and sticking them in the coals for customers that come by.
We pick up some cupcakes and fudge, and grab a couple of pita sandwiches for lunch with a glass of wine, which we eat sitting out under a tent by the damper-on-stick stall. We help ourselves to a couple of apples from boxes placed around the area, before wandering down the meandering streets of the latin quarter, ducking into a couple of shops.
When we’ve had enough, we grab a coffee from a shop in one of the indoor parts of the market area we visited earlier. While we line up, somehow the line bifurcates and we find ourselves in danger of being superseded in the queue. We don’t really care, ourselves, but we look on in amusement and a little horror as a guy behind us speaks up (in Danish), indicating to our newfound queue-competitors that we were next in line, starting what appears to be a lengthy (but friendly) debate about queue etiquette. I can’t help but compare this polite and apologetic exchange with the queue etiquette in places like Tunisia — first-wrestle-to-the-front, first-served.
Finally, we jump on our bikes for the ride back home, feeling a bit like locals as we pedal down the very bike-friendly roads along with a bunch of Copenhagiens heading home.
Our friend Andrea, who we met along with his partner Silvia in Padova, Italy, has a friend here who has been kind enough to be our mail centre for the various Danish bureaucratics. We get in touch and arrange to meet Emanuele in the city the next day. Naturally, we find him instantly likeable, and we sit and talk over kebabs about living and working in Copenhagen. Emanuele came over from Italy to study here, and now works as a software developer with Nokia. He confirmed our initial good impressions of life in Denmark — the working environment is very relaxed and informal, employees are even trusted to work from home; very civilised.
We finish up in a cozy, co-op café around the corner. We claim a table upstairs, then Emanuele leaves all of his stuff on the table (phone, coat, etc.), indicating that we can follow suit — we’re in Denmark, a trust-based society! — and we go downstairs to order. We talk tech a little (Emanuele almost has me convinced to look into an Android version of Loopy), before we go our separate ways for the day.
Emanuele kindly invites us around for dinner a couple of nights later, and we head over to his place, where he’s busily cooking pizzas (to our great excitement), which turn out to be very tasty. We meet a friend of his who has joined us, who turns out to be a social worker with the Red Cross, helping unaccompanied young asylum seekers to settle in Denmark, a little like what Katherine used to do before leaving Australia, which gives us plenty to talk about.
Apparently many of the refugees they see have gotten to Denmark after travelling across Europe looking for a home, having already been accepted as refugees elsewhere, like Greece, but finding that they’re unable to get a job or adequate social security there. Upon finally arriving in Denmark, apparently there’s nothing to do but to send them back to the country they originally received refugee status in.