Destination Denmark
People’s Friend Specials|Issue 149

Neil McAllister visits Copenhagen’s festive markets . . .

THAT’S a festive start to our visit!” Hazel exclaimed, spotting illuminated Christmas trees alongside the runway at Copenhagen Airport.

We have long had this Scandinavian capital on our to-do list, following in the footsteps of Hazel’s father, who was stationed there, possibly to recover from being three days late for his wedding, thanks to Hitler!

It seems you can’t open a newspaper or magazine without reading about hygge, the Danish way to make winter bearable.

Whilst it’s chilly outside, inside log fires, warming spirits and the company of friends keep winter at bay, whilst warm jumpers, fur-lined boots, scarves and gloves make normal life possible through the winter months.

As a local commented when asked if the Danish people were particularly hardy: “No, we just know how to dress for cold weather!”

An icy wind whistled along Nyhavn’s cobbled quayside, making the moored boats’ rigging whine and whistle as we made our way towards the new bridge linking this part of the city with the island of Christianshavn. We emerged at the waterfront bathed in sunshine.

Because the winter sun only just hauls itself above the horizon, sunlight rarely penetrates streets lined with tall buildings, instead making the city’s spires and towers shine above the shade. When the rays align between buildings, it can be dazzling, although the extra warmth is welcome!

The city centre is small enough to explore on two legs, but two wheels is the favoured form of transport for locals, who speed along dedicated cycle lanes.

Some trikes have weatherproof child compartments in front, complete with seat belts for their junior occupants, but be careful when stepping down from buses, as doors open on to live cycle lanes!

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