Saturday, August 1, 2009

Europe 2009: Copenhagen to Berlin (Friday, July 31)

I checked out of the hotel, but they didn’t have a locked room for baggage storage, just a roped off area in the lobby (the most unsecure storage I’ve ever seen, not where I wanted to leave my laptop or several hundred dollars of leather gear).  I found that they had lockers in the basement for 20 DKK, though, so I wandered around for a few minutes with my laptop bag until I found someone to point me to them.  They were big lockers, though, so I trekked back upstairs for my bag of leather, then back down, only to find that they took tokens.  So back upstairs and buy the token — which was 2 for 20 DKK.  But I only need one.  20 DKK.  Whatever.   Not that I was the only one to deal with this, as another guest offered me a spare token as I was heading back downstairs again, just a minute too late.  In other words: a little scam.

I went to the Men’s Shop and to X-Rated Leather to take advantage of my contest prizes.

The master’s cap arrived by post this afternoon from the Anco, before I had to leave.  Thankfully!

As opposed to Amsterdam, in Denmark I was better able to isolate both an accent and a “look” for the locals — sort of German with a little lilt to it, and of course hair that is blond to strawberry blond and good facial structure.  The Danes are a handsome people, by and large.  I ended up adopting a little bit of accent, but only a little.

The streets near the Centrum tend to have wide bicycle lanes, twice as wide as in the States.  They usually have a curb about 2 inches high between them and the auto lanes, and another 2 inch curb between that and the sidewalk.  I had much less problem with stepping off curbs by accident in Copenhagen than I did in Amsterdam, although I did find myself sometimes crossing the street and then walking in the bicycle lane for a few feet before remembering that I wasn’t on the sidewalk.

Scooters also ride in the bicycle lanes here.  There were way more scooters here than in Seattle (3 times as many, maybe), but nothing like the number in Amsterdam.

The bicycles typically are not locked up when they are parked here.  I assume this means that everyone who wants a bike has one, so theft isn’t an issue.  But it was surprising to see dozens of parked bicycles, and almost no chains.

I’ve come to despise the cobblestones commonly used here for sidewalk paving.  With all the walking (and dancing!) I’ve been doing, I have developed shin splints, and negotiating the uneven surfaces makes them hurt.

I was surprised by the amount of wood used in Denmark in outdoor, public settings.  Places such as the steps at the Copenhagen Central Station were wooden.  I wonder how often these have to be replaced?

Speaking of steps, the stairs at K3 had phantom bottom steps.  That is, the first step of several of the stairways was flush with the landing, but designed to look like the other steps, complete with edge markings and the like.  This meant that I stumbled on each of those steps for the first several stair ascents and descents, until I started to trust my memory of the staircase and not the visual.

I flew AirBerlin into Berlin-Tegel airport (the smaller and closer-in of the two Berlin airports).  From there, I hopped the 109 bus to the Uhlandstraße U-Bahn (subway), then that to Wittenbergplatz, and then three blocks walk (or drag, in the case of the luggage, getting heavier each leg!) to the Kinky Tulip hotel in Schöneberg.

After a quick nap, I went out to some of the local bars.

Updated on February 26, 2010

Updated on May 14, 2010
Moved part of this post to the Sounds Kinky-er blog:
Updated on June 15, 2010
Here’s a short bit about “Copenhagenisation”, heavily promoting bicycle riding in urban areas:

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