Now to the touristy bits of our trip.
Firstly: I went to Sweden! How cool is that? We got on a train at Copenhagen Central Station and half an hour later, having travelled under the Bridge (THE BRIDGE!), from the eponymous telly programme, we were in Sweden. Malmo to be precise.
We spent the whole day there.
I have wanted to visit Sweden since about 1979 when I first discovered ABBA. I cannot tell you how excited I was to have finally made it. Although ABBA were not in Malmo. I forgive them. Cake was an acceptable substitute.
It is a nice, compact city to visit with plenty of stuff to see and do. We pottered around the streets and shops, visiting a supermarket because I am dead nosy and I always like to see what the supermarkets have on offer that is different to what we get at home. It is one of my little quirks. I love foreign supermarkets, and also cemeteries.
Don’t judge me till you’ve tried it. It’s intriguing. I didn’t find a cemetery this time, but I shall be back.
Jason went and got a shave and barbering with a cut throat razor in a super trendy barber shop called: ‘The Barber Shop.’ We were very impressed because they had enormous pictures of Salvador Dali’s twiddly moustache in the shop, and were playing the theme tune from Only Fools and Horses when we walked in (followed by George Formby’s Leaning on a Lamp Post). I spent a happy half hour watching him being plucked and pruned, and all the hipsters of Sweden parading before my eyes.
It is a thing, in Sweden, if you are a man, to dress in tweed and waistcoats with long, drainpipe trousers and have incredibly inventive beards. I could have watched them all day. It was splendid. I thought about starting an Instagram account just for Scandinavian beards, but worried I might be beaten up.
We went to the art gallery where Jason scoffed at bits of bent wire and films of people flinging dirt around. It made me laugh a lot. I don’t know what was more entertaining, the exhibits, or his reaction to them. He gets so frustrated because he seems to think he has to understand them.
Me, I don’t think I have to understand anything. I don’t do sitting in front of things and frowning at them for hours, trying to ponder the meaning of life. I just like to gallop through at high speed (trained by the children) taking in what I like, ignoring what I don’t, and being amazed by the utter ingenuity of man’s need to create stuff. Some of it makes me laugh. Some of it makes me shudder. Some of it makes me go ‘eh?’ It’s all grist to the mill, and I believe that creativity should be unfettered, that people should be allowed free artistic expression and that there is hope for the universe if people are willing to pay other people to spin round on office chairs wearing balaclavas and fondling pot plants in the name of art.
We went to the oldest church in the city where Jason had a rest and I took lots of pictures of some stunning wood carving and some beautiful medieval frescoes they have uncovered recently. It was a little oasis of peace in a day of deep exploration.
After our dose of culture we went to the cafe where I had my princesstorte. It was particularly entertaining because there was a rather hefty chap outside who was begging, and his inventiveness knew no bounds. He kept rolling his trouser leg up to show people his war wounds and pleading with them for money. When he had run out of victims outside, he came into our cafe where he tried showing us his leg. Jason was not having it, and off he hobbled to no more success with other customers. He went out, did a bit more begging and then came back, whereupon he ordered a huge bowl of soup to take away. It turned out however, that he had no money to pay for this soup, and indicated to the woman standing next to him in the queue that she should pay for it instead. I marvelled at his cheek and was really beginning to warm to him by now.
This did not go down well with his chosen victim however. He then tried to persuade the lady behind the counter that she should give him the soup anyway, given that she had gone to all the trouble of ladling it and packing it up for him. She wasn’t happy about this at all, and he exited, unbowed, to flash his leg around a bit more until someone gave him a banana, which he ate with relish. After this I think he forgot that we were watching him and drew a huge bundle of bank notes out of his top pocket which he proceeded to cheerfully count, put back in his pocket and then immediately looked woe begone and started pleading with passers by all over again.
He was a master of the art of begging. The Fagin of Sweden.
It was very like watching a play, and I very much enjoyed the whole experience.
We got back to Copenhagen at about six in the evening, and decided to have a wander through the centre of the city, and grab some dinner before going back to the apartment. I will save all my Copenhagen related news for the next post.