When I was three, I went on a family vacation to Disney Land, and my favorite experience, besides watching my brother and sister spin their guts out on the teacups, was riding "It's A Small World." Enthralled by little mechanical men and women belting out the title song in a million different languages was enough to make my toddler head spin with delight. I must have sang that damn song a hundred times before my brother told me to shut it, which caused my mother to yell at him, and then my father to yell at everyone to calm the fuck down, and suddenly...our magical Disney vacation was turned into an afterschool special. After that incident, I hated the song. And now, thirty years later, I realize: I hate the expression, too. It's a lie, for starters. The world is not small. Earth itself is 24,000 miles in circumference, with 195 countries and nearly 7 billion people. And that's just Earth! Also, and more importantly, the phrase it's a small world chepeans one of my great passions: seeing the damn world.
Since I caught the travel bug during my first trip to Italy in 1999, I have made it a mission to see as much of Earth as I possibly can. I've been to 17 different countries in Europe, Latin America, the Carribean, but have yet to see Asia, Austrlia, Africa...I was never very good with the alphabet. So when my friend Ernest asked me to accompany him on a 12 day jaunt to England, Denmark and Sweden, it took me about twenty seconds to scream, "Fuck yeah!" And so, I had a new mission: proving the world was indeed large, and making it through without using that cursed expression once. I also decided that I should share as many travel tips as I possibly could. First up: Copenhagen.
1) It's fucking expensive. Probably the most expensive country I have ever visited. Not sure why. But no travel book warns you, so my broke ass wants to make it clear: BRING LOTS OF MONEY. Just to give you an example, a cup of coffee from 7-11 (yes, that 7-11, the Scandy's love them!) will run you 4 bucks, while an average dinner will be between 25 and 30. So, find a hotel that serves breakfast, and check out pizza buffets for lunch. At 12 bucks, you can pig out and it'll be worth it.
2) The Little Mermaid has been kidnapped. Okay, not really. She's actually been sold to the Chinese for a while and is currently displayed in Shanghai. So, don't expect to see her in person until next year. Also, she is not Arielle from the Disney version, but the original character written by Denmark's own Hans Christen Andersen, so don't expect her to sing "Part of Your World."
3) SKAT is all over the place, but it's a government code, and doesn't mean people want to engage in that kind of dirty play.
4) The Danish are nice enough, but they'll steal your seat at a bar at the drop of a dime. They will also crash into you on the dance floor and try to burn you with their cigarettes (you can smoke in bars) so claim your space and protect it!
5) Christiana is a cool place, a non-government squatting pad filled with junkies and artists. Don't take pictures, or you'll get yelled at. And don't expect clean glasses at the bar.
6) If you are gay the city will love you (you can even get married there) but the bars close early, so start your night around 10.
7) If a place charges a cover, skip it. It's most likely filled with screaming 21 year olds dancing to Katy Perry. If you like Katy Perry, I can't help you.
8) The Wake Up Copenhagen is an excellent hotel, if you don't mind being off the beaten path on a street that doesn't really exist yet. The rooms are pod-like, but the showers are great for homemade saunas/
9) Best places to visit: Rosenberg Castle, Kastellet, Frederskberg Garden, Nyhavn Canal.
10) If you sit by City Hall, expect pigeons to poop on you and laugh about it.
Stay tuned for more!
Mark Jason Williams
I find trouble wherever I go