Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Europe 2009: Amsterdam and Copenhagen (Tuesday, July 28)

I had to be up by 8:00 am to catch the train to Schilpol airport, but it turned out the Anco’s breakfast isn’t served until 9:00 am, and indeed the hotel bar are was locked and I didn’t know how to do checkout.  (Much less recover my key deposit.)  Turns out details for that were on a guide in my room that I didn’t read; I have no idea where the guide was, didn’t see it at all.  So I wrote a note with the key and pushed it under the bar door.

Grabbed an orange juice and a pastry of some sort at the HEMA at Centraal Station.  Made it to the airport without incident.  Oh, look!  Starbucks!  Yay, familiar coffee!  But I bypassed it in favor of getting checked in, just in case.  Only checked the one suitcase, so when the big carry-on with my leather in it went through the scanner, they pulled out my chainmail harness and asked what it was.  On the other side of security, there was another Starbucks.  Yay!

Customs in Denmark, was it smooth like in the Netherlands?  Not at all.  By which I mean: not at all.  None.  Didn’t even have to show my passport, other than getting on the plane in Amsterdam.

Fewer signs in Denmark are bilingual than in Amsterdam, even at the airport.  After a few minutes fiddling with the iPhone to figure out what train I might need to take, I had to stand in line at the train ticket counter to get help.  Turned out I wanted Copenhagen Central Station.  Figures.

Long walk on tile and cobblestone paths to the hotel.  I’m getting blisters on my hands from this luggage.  I think it gets heavier each leg.

The hotel room at Cabinn City is… small isn’t the word for it.  It’s about 10–12 foot deep and 8 foot wide; about half-size is how it feels, rather cramped — a walk-in closet.  Two single beds (which I pushed together to make a double.  Modular desk, storage, and closet space.  Bathroom has the shower head in the middle of the ceiling; you pull the curtain around and flip a lever on the sink, and then deal with a wet bathroom floor until it drains/dries.  The whole thing feels very IKEA (although that’s actually in the next country over).

You have to put your room key in a slot by the door to work the lights and outlets; they go out after about 15 seconds if you remove the card.  Took me a while to figure that out, and my laptop ran out of power once despite being plugged in.  Also seems like a great way to leave your card in the room, although it also does prevent big electric bills from lights left on.  (But it also prevents you from leaving a small light on to greet you when you return).

I took a quick shower and booted up the laptop to check out the Scandinavian Leather Men site.  Oh look, that leather club sightseeing tour starts at 14:00, and its now… 1:50 pm (13:50).  Quick, scramble into shorts and shirt and jog over there.  (I chose this hotel because it’s only 10 minutes from both the SLM clubhouse and DGI-byen where the dance competition is being held.)

We then spent about 90 minutes walking through Copenhagen: past the oldest gay bar in the city, by the original Carlsberg brewery location, through the King’s Garden, past the royal palace, down to the water across from the Opera House, and to the new Royal Theatre where we had beer and cider.  There, the rest of the group left for a ferry ride, while I headed back to the Hans Christian Andersen castle at Tivoli to check-in for the OutGames.  Along the way, I bought a basket of blackberries from a street vendor, the only food I had eaten since a pastry about 8 hours earlier.  And then back to the hotel for a nap.

I wanted to get a t-shirt from the OutGames, but they made the (poor, to me) decision to limit different colors to different styles.  The general OutGames design is very loud and busy — dancing silhouettes in front of the multi-colored “bubbles” logo — and I didn’t want it.  I preferred just the single color “bubbles” version (“preferred” meaning “would settle for”; still didn’t like it much), but it was only available in blue or yellow on a black shirt for men; women had two other colors, and another two were only on tanks.  I could have lived with the yellow design, but then the price: 150 DKK ($30) for a t-shirt which I didn’t really like a lot to start with?  No way.

All registered attendees get a participation medal, which they decided to make do double duty as a luggage tag.  This strikes me as very odd: it makes for a pretty heavy luggage tag, and not one that I would want to risk getting yanked off my bag in transit (having had other tags broken, ripped, or lost over the years).  I hope they got a price break by doing this, rather than it costing extra for a nifty but dumb idea.

After the nap, dinner was an egg and tomato sandwich and a creme cheese danish from Upper Crust at the train station.  Cheap and quick.

Tuesday evening was a party at the SLM clubhouse.

Updated on February 23, 2010

Updated on May 12, 2010:
Moved part of this post to the Sounds Kinky-er blog:

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