So, I was at work yesterday and walked to the nearby grocery store with one of my colleagues, who was wearing a bright yellow canvas jacket. You can't find that kind of thing on offer in Berlin (bright? yellow? hardly...) and so I asked where she got it.
"Oh, I was in Copenhagen a few weekends ago with my boyfriend."
"That's nice. To visit friends, or..?"
"No, just as a sight-seeing trip." She says, then pauses, heavily.
"There's really not that much to see, is there?... I mean, we were kind of surprised. Everything closes at 5 and there are no lights anywhere. There aren't any people on the streets after 5pm. We didn't really know what to do. We tried to go see some of the older buildings but they don't have any lights on. We thought maybe they are trying to be energy friendly but it's a little extreme, ...oder?"
We got to the grocery store and did our shopping. She was waiting for me outside to walk back to work.
"Also, I don't really understand how students can live there on a stipend from their home country. Everything - the coffee, the pastries, the restaurants, even gum - is so expensive. How did you manage?"
I told her about the coping method called 'hibernation' which the Danes call 'Hygge' - sitting in your apartment with loads of candles listening to soft voiced singer-songwriters while downing bottles of wine and talking about how good the healthcare system is.
"Oh yeah, that makes sense. There were a lot of candles everywhere. I guess they just like the dark. And if you never go anywhere then you save money."
And that is what life in Denmark boils down to. It is alright, as long as you stay in your apartment and like the dark.