Not even one week in Budapest, we're already unsettling ourselves and moving on to another country to explore, unravel and conquer. After hours of planning by our Itinerary-Making Queen Chelsea, Michael finds an incredibly cheap deal on the budget airline Wizzair to Malmö, of all places, in Sweden, land of blonde hair and blue eyes, Ikea and Swedish Fish (candy). Except we didn't see any Ikeas, and we only found Swedish Fish in Denmark. As Chelsea micro-blogged earlier about the incredible hilarity of the entire booking of the trip, our connection after connection after connection of taxi to plane to bus to train, took us to the Central Station of København. (So actually, we were not going to Sweden, but actually Denmark.) Unfamiliar signs and an exchange rate of 5 dkk to 1 usd with a cup of coffee at 30 dkk already provided for a much awaited surprise to the allure of a cheap plane ticket. When we met up with our "left on Thursday" group mates, we were greeted with disdainful faces to discover that Denmark, ranked #2 as happiest country in the world, was not only land of bicycles, happy people on bicycles and more pretty people, but also one of the most incredibly expensive countries we had ever set foot in.
Denmark, land of luring unsuspecting travelers to obsolete places in Europe with cheap tickets and seemingly cheap hostel rates where, unbeknownst to us, the fine print is very, very fine. The moment I saw Dan's face, followed by the bland expressions of Michael and Jordan (Michael Jordan!), I was slapped in the face by Denmark's greedy economy that we had to not only pay for the rental of sheets, but also pay extra "fees" of International Hostels...what...? I knew Europe was expensive, but I did not realize it was expensive because of hidden costs...
Aside from that, Copenhagen was really nice. It was clean and there were literally bikes, everywhere.
There's also an incredible amount of diversity there, which is really surprising. Their Latin American population seemed to be of a vast amount, which we saw celebrated at the Copenhagen Carnival 2011. Lots of Brazilians and their street performers often consisted of melodious Peruvian Flute bands -- Don't see that very often in...well..anywhere! Its also the most amount of Asian people I've seen since I've been in Europe, but I haven't been here very long so....
The Carnival was probably the most eventful part of the trip, aside from our strange singing habits in the room to stave off our brokitude in the room. Lots of feathers and lots of drums. We walked over 10,000 steps each day since we neither had bikes to blend in with the locals, nor could we have afforded any public transportation. But we were so delirious from the high prices of things, (even BK and Mickie-D's were 8 USD for a simple hamburger+fries), that we mainly stayed on the Stroget mile of Shopping and around Nvhavn.
Sadly, we never had the opportunity to truly taste Nordic cuisine. We mostly had 7-11 bread and pastries, expensive coffee, waffles, cheap sandwiches, disagreeable Thai food and lots of ice cream. But I'm sure Nordic food is good.
Honestly though, Denmark is beautiful. The weather seems to vary quite a bit from relatively hot to very, very cold and the time there is extremely odd. At 9:00 PM, it still looked like it was 4:00 in the afternoon. It never truly got dark and the sun was already bright and shining at 4:00 AM. The happiness survey, according to the Persian Sandwich Shop Owner, was most likely conducted when Denmark was experiencing summer time, when most people are in their happiest moods. In winter, the biting cold and 17 hours of darkness literally suck the happiness out of life, apparently. Really Forbes, how was this survey conducted...?
The rest of our trip was spent just walking around and looking for cheap eats. As cheap as you can really get in Denmark anyways. Nvhavn was nice and this was when we made the discovery as to why the people in Denmark really ARE happy. Everyone owns a bike, a boat and they take lots of money from poor tourists. The place is incredibly safe too. They don't lock up their bikes, they leave their children in strollers outside shops and the police (politi) don't even need to do their jobs; instead they stroll around and because there's nothing to do, they stop, grab an ice cream cone and listen to the Peruvian flute bands.
I love Budapest.