I am spending two weeks in Copenhagen, which is pretty much close to perfection if you believe that cycling is a symbol of quality of life.
However today I had a perfect treat, possibly the only way I could experience Copenhagen even more silently, peacefully, less obtrusively than cycling.
I was privileged to join my friend Jens-Loft and his friends on a circular tour of the canals and harbour of Copenhagen by sea-kayak, a ritual they enjoy twice a week, but for me a long lasting memory to take away. It has been a very good year for special memories – the Olympic Cycle Route in Rio, mountain biking the mountains of Slovenia, travelling with my wife to Venice, but this one can compete for a place too.
I could talk you through the route in the form of a conventional travelogue, but it makes more sense to me as little packages of experience.
Starting and ending on the former military area of Holmen we paddled through wide calm lakes surrounded by greenery, an oasis of calm in a busy city.
Boat lined canals in Christianshaven brought us intimately close to brightly painted old quaysides which merged into modern apartments. I could almost imagine popping in for a sauna or joining an early morning swim. (Well maybe!)
Similarly the loop of canals on the city side of the harbour threaded us into the historic heart, around the Royal Castle and placed us underneath the civic buildings of Copenhagen’s core.
By complete contrast the harbour was a grand panorama – stunningly clear skies of early autumn and grand modern projects like the Royal Theatre and the Opera House.
I really enjoyed experiencing bits of Copenhagen I thought I knew in a totally different way. The crossover with the cycling I have enjoyed so much were the many bridges. I kept realising was approaching a landmark I had crossed from a completely different direction which challenged my orientation but brought back pleasant memories.
Circle Bridge, Kissing Bridge, Princes Bridge and many others I have no name for, but I know I have ridden so many of them.
A glorious way to spend Saturday morning in Copenhagen. Thank you so much to my hosts for making me welcome, you were sharing something very special. Next week when I am cycling around again I shall look down from each bridge with a smile on my face and a new set of memories.