A trip to Copenhagen has given Talking Shop food for thought — and a determination to cut down on pastry.
Denmark is described as the happiest country in the world because of high standards of health, welfare and education.
But judging by the biggest talking point presented by the capital’s citizens, [Copenhags? Not quite] being really good looking must add at least a little to the gaiety of their nation.
It’s an irony not lost on those who have oft-succumbed to the country’s best-known export, the Danish pastry, that the capital of the country of its provenance is so full of clear-skinned skinnies.
Copenhagen citizens may have cycling to thank for their clear complexions and fine figures. As a travel companion observed wearily: “Once you’ve seen one stunning Danish woman on a bike, you’ve seen them all.”
After acclimatising to the lookers around you, you must acclimatise to their bicycles. In Copenghagen, the bike is king of the road.
Scowls and ringing bells await if you put as much as a toe into a cycle lane — never mind the road — when the lights are red.
Thankfully, guide books forewarn that jaywalking is frowned upon.
They also recommend not mentioning Sweden as an intense rivalry divides the two nations.
But one Dane at least acknowledged his neighbours’ pre-eminence in one major field: Sweden is the third biggest exporter of pop in the world.
And as the coffers of Swedish songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus andBenny Andersson swell with the box-office success of ABBA-inspired musical Mamma Mia!, even the proudest Dane couldn’t argue otherwise.
Happily, Danes have other export boasts besides pastry — designer chairs, Bodum cafetieres, Hans Christian Andersen and probably the best known Danish export in the world, Carlsberg.