Twenty-four hours of travelling and I’m all folded limbs and a parched mouth.
My mother and I meet up at Gatwick airport. We literally stumble into each other’s embrace, just outside of the South Terminal’s monolithic duty-free. It’s a harrowing gauntlet of Lancôme perfumes and jumbo packs of Haribo candy, but somehow we emerge unscathed.
Our flight to Copenhagen is scheduled to leave at 1:40 PM, but we are delayed for two hours. We slowly walk through Zara and Ted Baker, running our hands over the garments we particularly like. My mum has purchased a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich and would rather sit and munch than window shop.
So I carry on solo.
I must keep moving my stiff legs forward. I am afraid that if I don’t, they will turn to stone.
On the flight from Vancouver I dozed and read from Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. He is my travel go-to and I figure it’s always good to immerse myself in these stories. Some might say that’s grim, but nuts to them.
These are the tales we must never let die.
I write this from a darkened hotel room just outside of Copenhagen’s downtown core. I slept maybe all of four hours last night – my restlessness born out of a combination of excitement, jetlag, epic thunder and lightning storms, and my mother’s rhythmic and punctuated breathing.
(One can only assume I would have done very, very poorly in the Gulag.)
It’s 5:30 AM and the sun has been up since 4 AM. She is a good writing partner, but mostly I am reading news coming out of the UK and looking up places to rent bikes.
The coffee I am drinking is instant.
The energy kick I am supposed to be getting from it, is not.
A little Rainy Day Taxi and the tap tap tapping of my fingers is the gentle counter refrain to my mother’s sound sleep sounds.
How NOT to have an anxiety attack in a Danish hotel gym:
- Simply don’t go. Try to sleep more or just simply rest.
- Don’t immediately begin competing with the woman running on the treadmill next to you.
- Or at least don’t compete so that that it’s obvious, so that she then starts to compete back.
- DO NOT watch the BBC news coverage of BREXIT
- Do change the channel when Nigel Farage comes on and begins speaking about what a victory this is for the UK populace.
- Momentarily lose consciousness whenever you hear someone say that the British have voted to “take their country back.”
- Try and remember that there are still good people everywhere, it’s just that they don’t sell newspapers, or drive viewership ratings.
- Shower up and walk around the sunny cobblestone streets of Copenhagen.
- Eat a chocolate pastry and drink a latte.
- Breathe, breathe, breath.
At present, my mother and I are sitting on a bed (soon to be two twin beds) in our cruise ship room. We are looking at photos from the day and drinking a glass of vino verde. It’s my absolute favourite wine and we scored a great deal, procuring a GIANT bottle from the corner store just around the block from our hotel. No joke, it had a big sticker advertising ‘33% MORE!’ across the label.
No one ever said that the Gillis women weren’t classy as hell.
Today we rented bikes and biked all over Copenhagen. For almost six hours, we visited the Little Mermaid, and Tivoli Gardens, as well as the King’s gardens (where we saw a bit of the changing of the guards) and the Parliament and the National Library and everything in between.
Copenhagen is rad as heck. Very, very beautiful and clean, and populated by very, very beautiful (and I would wager a guess) clean people.
The biking is amazing because of the amazing infrastructure. You are never riding on the street and everyone is so cognizant and respectful of bikers. Scooting about all day with no helmet was a total breeze and we just put all of our stuff in our front baskets.
My gut reaction was to be all, “Really goes to show how utterly ineffectual Good Ole Gregor is in Vancity!”, but the city is flat, and perfectly designed for the bicycling set, and as cute as I felt on my push bike all day long, I knew that this would not fly for a second in New West.
Give me my twenty-one speed and my urban greenway, or give me death.
Stay tuned for further adventures!
Tomorrow we take Helsingborg, Sweden by (biking) storm.