And so, after a memorable breakfast at the friendly-luxury Nimb Hotel – see the video below, complete with Danish pastries, of course – the gal got on a bike. Copenhagen seems to have even more bikes per capita than Amsterdam, but there is a big difference. Copenhagen biking is highly regimented, with none of the bike-anywhere ethos of Amsterdam, or cycling on pavements/sidewalks, as in any Japanese city. No, in Copenhagen you must stick to the dedicated bike lanes that flank every road in the city. You must only go in the correct direction, and never veer into the car-part of the road. You must stop at all traffic lights.
That having been said, no speed is mentioned so Tour de France comes into play. I had barely got five yards on my Velorbis bike before a furious ringing of a cycle bell had me swerving to one side: I was overtaken by a Bradley Wiggins type professional on a contraption that had, in front, a wood cart with two kids, just pre-teenage both, sitting abreast. All the locals I spoke with agreed that cyclists in Copenhagen can be b…… dangerous. No wonder, when the weather allows, some opt out of the rat-race of bicycle transport in favour of more leisurely meandering along the city’s complicated waterways, by boat.
One enterprising kayak rental company clearly shows its community spirit by returning your rental fee if you come back with any plastic litter retrieved while canoeing. Such a brilliant gesture seems to be typical of the Copenhagen spirit. A day on the town was devoid of any sign of litter. The only eyesores were massive construction sites, say finishing the new circular underground metro that will have 17 stations when it opens July 2019. This metro will connect with existing radial lines so that no-one, anywhere in the hub of the city, will be less than ten minutes’ walk from a station (hey Delhi, London, New York and so many other places, are you listening?).
All the metro trains, incidentally, are driverless, controlled by one central monitoring station, which reminds me once again that the Danes are pretty clever at minimizing labour requirements. One exception does seem to be Tivoli Gardens. When I looked down from my balcony at 6.45 a.m. I could see dozens of workers inspecting manholes, checking that the automatic lawn mowers – machines that look like oversize beetles – were ready to do their day’s duty, or simply checking everything in sight. Tivoli Gardens does not open until 11 a.m., although those canny enough to be staying in the one-off Nimb Hotel can use their door keys to get in. THIS IS NIMB’S JUSTLY-FAMOUS BREAKFAST BUFFET