Oh, Scandinavia. How I’ve lusted after your designs, been drawn into your noir crime dramas and envied your off-the-scale happiness levels. I’m not sure it was any of these factors that compelled me to book a trip to Copenhagen in February. I put the urge down to so many friends flocking to the Danish city and coming back raving about it, and how every travel supplement I opened included an interesting write-up on the cool, happening city. I needed a break and there were stories there I wanted to write about. And so that’s how, several days after booking my flights, I found myself in Norrebro, the kind of Stokey equivalent of Copenhagen, in a cool light Airbnb apartment setting me back around £18 per night.
It proved to a an insightful and fun trip, although a break it wasn’t. I landed – and then dived into a constant stream of interviewing people across the city over the next five days; a couple of hours after arriving I visited a co-working space and interviewed several tech startups. An hour later I was tucking into pizza and a bottle of red with the city’s most talked-about startup in another suburb. The next morning started with a 9am interview in a graveyard peppered with a light spray of snow. I spent my Saturday afternoon in the homes of two residents of Christiania, the city’s freetown. Later that night I hung out with the tech startups from the first evening. On Sunday evening I dined amongst 200 strangers in a church. Though there were a few non-work related jaunts (a trip to arts museum Louisiana, diving into local food markets, dinner with a stranger I met via Airbnb at her boyfriend’s hip new Nordic restaurant in the Meatpacking District, visiting the Botanical Gardens), it was these work endeavours that threw me into the city with vigour. I got to know the locals, came away with interesting stories and felt like I’d (kind of) got to grips with the city. And that’s kind of what you want from a trip, right?