Racism Is Not A Thing
Leaving our prejudices behind is difficult when we travel. Our experiences constitute our identity and, well, if you’re American, chances are you’re racist AF or at minimum, super sensitive to racism. That doesn’t mean people in other countries are. In fact, in Denmark, you’ll find that the majority of people you come across are extremely open-minded. This carries over from the big cities like Copenhagen to even some of the smaller towns and villages. People, particularly the younger generation, just do not view race the way same Americans do. There are some tensions with nationalists towards the growing Muslim community, something you’ll find across Europe, but overall, you’re likely to be welcomed in Denmark if you’re a person of color.
The “The Story Of OJ’s” second verse was penned with visits to Copenhagen in mind. Let Jay Z be clear: if you’re not balling on a different level, do not plan a trip to Denmark. The dollar is currently valued at around 6.1 Danish kroner. Let’s put that into perspective: a cappuccino from Starbucks cost approximately 45 kroner. Do the math and that’s around $7! An absolutely INSANE price considering the same drink is $2 south of the border (Germany). A craft cocktail at Curfew runs around 140 kroner. And while Hendricks gin, cucumber, lemon citrus, cointreau, raw licorice and honey sounds delightful, the $22 price tag does not.
Take this same principle and apply it to burger joints, Indian restaurants and just about anything else. Copenhagen is a beautiful city, a Nordic gem propelled by an hipster boom, but it is not for the budget-minded traveler. Buy some artwork or property in Dumbo, sit on it for about a decade, and then visit.
Tipping is not expected. In most of Scandinavia, waiting is considered a profession and many of the people delivering food to your table are making more money than this scribe. In some cases, waiters pocket $25 an hour. And according to Danish law, any service charge, including tips for waiters, has to be included in the price in restaurants. Still, if you’ve a penchant for gross gratuity, 10-percent is where to place your stake.
English is the second language
Friends often noted that my ex-wife spoke better English than me. This is likely true. In Denmark, children begin learning English by the age of four. It’s rare in Copenhagen that you will run into someone that doesn’t speak English. This is one of the reasons, if you can afford it, Copenhagen is a fantastic introductory city for first time visitors to Europe. Having the language barrier removed makes navigating infinitely easier.
Fueled by the popularity of Noma, René Redzepi’s two Michelin star restaurant, Copenhagen’s food scene has gained international fame. It is well deserved. But if you’re looking for a classic Danish meal you’re likely getting pushed in two directions: herring or smørrebrød. Here are the cliff notes: herring are pickled fish you want no parts of. Smørrebrød on the other hand is where it’s at. Imaginative culinary minds use rye bread as a canvas for the open-faced sandwiches. Toppings (Pålæg) include a mix and match of tuna, smoked salmon, avocado, mayo, egg, shrimp, tomato and even herring.