There is nothing like a Dane

Ooer. This diary entry is late. It’s just gone 9am local time on Friday morning as I type this, but I’m so far behind that I’m only just getting round to writing about what I did on Wednesday this week. This is the first episode in what should be a 12 part series describing my 2019 trip to Australia, which promises to be chock full of entirely new experiences.

The first, I dunno, 6 hours or so aren’t new at all, mind, but I’ll write about them anyway. I had a cab booked for 6.45am and as usual my local mini cab firm turned up ten or fifteen minutes early. Thankfully I’d packed virtually everything the previous night. When the driver turned up, I wandered out with my luggage and said hello and he said “er, did you book a cab?”. Um, yes, that’s why I’m approaching you...

After confirming I wanted to go to T5, the driver said literally nothing to me until responding to my request to drop me at the far end of the terminal, 40-odd minutes later. Not that I was bothered or in need of conversation, I was happy enough dicking around on my phone and in particular, I finally decided to look up what exactly the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington actually does. Turns out it’s metrology, which is the science of measurement. Huh. Neat.

Rush hour traffic was pretty bad especially the closer we got to the airport, which along with the clear skies made for good plane-spotting. I looked up what the specific plane taking me to Copenhagen was, learning that it was coming in from Dublin - which gave me hope that it would be leaving from the main terminal, not a satellite.

The silence did give me the opportunity to stress about a story I’d read on FlyerTalk about a man who’d booked a flight to Copenhagen in order to catch a separately booked Qatar Airways flight later on the same day, only for the first flight to suffer a technical fault and delayed to the point where he missed his subsequent flights and lost a lot of money. Oh dear.

Accidentally firing up the Etihad app on my phone, it alerted me to my forthcoming departure from Stockholm. Hang on, what? When first planning this trip I did indeed book what would’ve been my debut Etihad trip, but I cancelled it and got a refund... didn’t I? Yes, it seems I did, but that was a mild panic.

At the final junction before T5 the indicator played a metronomic duet with Sting’s Fields of Gold, which was nice. At the First Wing, I checked my suitcase in and then proceeded through security where, as always seems to happen now, my bag got chosen for secondary security. The guy was really grumpy as he insisted on emptying everything out and putting it through the machine a second time. Bah.

The lounge was totally rammed, and I just managed to get a seat next to the breakfast buffet by the pure luck of someone standing up to leave as I arrived. Good, because I was absolutely starving.

Even for me I felt scruffy today. Many people appeared to be travelling for work, and those that weren’t were not dressed quite as leisurely as my cargo shorts and brewery hoody look. But whatever. After the hot food I moved round to the champagne bar and poured myself a large glass, chased down with some sweet pastries. Realising I wanted some entertainment on my devices I set the iPad downloading a few episodes of Warrior off Sky, and loaded my phone with podcasts.

Had a second large champagne, and considered asking about the price of an upgrade but eventually decided against. The champagne was a mistake, I had the glasses so fast and close together that I already felt a little drunk by 10am. Oh dear. Deciding it was dangerous to stay in the lounge any longer I set off through the terminal to find Dixons, from which I wanted to buy some headphones. Just as I got there, my gate was announced - A23, the furthest gate away from the shop while still being in the same building.

There were queues already forming in the Group 1 and Groups 2&3 lanes, at a gate using automatic machines rather than humans. Boarding started not too longer after I got there, and I overtook a good 12 or so of the people who’d gone through before me just by walking at normal speed down the staircase, next to the slowest escalator on earth which everyone else was using.

Onboard I took my seat 9A, vaguely expecting not to have anyone next to me since 9B was shown to be Blocked right up until yesterday. But no, the flight was 100% full and in fact 9B got onboard very soon after me. They turned out not to be my favourite seat mate ever, deciding to alternate between spreading their legs wide, falling asleep and leaning into my side, or leaning forward into the back of 8B and splaying their elbows out. Just in general really fidgety and unwilling to even try and cope with the allocated space.

Thankfully I was able to block lots of it out by enjoying looking out of the window. I love flying over Europe in sunshine.

A beautiful 747 was just behind us in the taxiing queue. Not sure if I’ll ever fly one of these again.

Not sure which part of Europe’s coast we flew over, but there was this weird sandy island shaped like a jellyfish in the mouth of its river.

The buy-on-board service started quicker than I’d ever noticed it before - only 10 minutes after we were airborne. I had a beer, which was a mistake, and tried to watch one of those downloaded episodes of Warrior. That didn’t work, the Sky app insisting that I was getting my Sky PIN wrong. I wasn’t, at all, but it wasn’t having it. Bah.

I’d pre-ordered something from the BA Highlife shop, and had a printed out receipt which instructed me to hand it to the staff when they delivered my goods to me. But in actuality there were no Highlife shop magazines onboard, let alone goods. Good job it wasn’t a present for my brother, sigh.

Towards the end of the flight a member of staff I’d not seen before addressed me by name, shook my hand and had a bit of a chat with me because I’ve got a gold card - asked me if I was flying much at the moment, thanked me for being such a good customer, etc. I was quite taken aback both by it taking place, and how cool it felt. I’d never put much value on any kind of onboard recognition, but this episode made me rethink. This was really nice.

Anyway, right. We landed at 1255 in Copenhagen, on time, thus all my worries about missing my Qatar Airways flight later in the day were banished. I took my time getting off, eyeballing the terminal to try and learn a bit of its layout for later in the day. Arriving passengers mingle with departing ones, and immigration is right in the middle of the terminal (i.e. a Schengen/non-Schengen border). At baggage reclaim I waited...and waited... and waited. After two batches of bags came out and the number of people left was only me and a couple of others I thought maybe my bag had gone missing but mercifully it came out in a third batch.

Landside, it was a very long walk to parking garage P4 which I’d remembered as the place to find left luggage. I thought it was a manned counter but no, it’s just a bunch of lockers with a machine that prints out a ticket. You have to choose a length of time it’s valid for, making me wonder what happens if you overstay. Does the locker just open for anyone to steal the bag from? Surely not?

Dumping my suitcase in D30 I trekked all the way back past where I’d emerged off the plane and to the train station. Bought a day pass and descended to the platform, 5 minutes or so before a train into Copenhagen central.

Walking through the main station at the other end I had a flashback of the day Mike Silky had McDonald’s for three meals in a row, each in a different country, back in the Great Circular European Railway Challenge in 2013. That was fun. But this visit was much longer, I had a pub to visit. On Google Maps I looked up Warpigs, a brewpub in the meatpacking district and supposedly only a 10 minute walk. That was likely accurate had I not instantly taken a wrong turn upon emerging.

There were bikes. A lot of bikes. Also scooters - Copenhagen seems to have a “Boris scooter” scheme (for want of a better term), and I saw them all over the place. It looks like you can just leave them where you want rather than park them at a designated stand, but I’m not sure how that can work so perhaps I misunderstood.

The route to Warpigs seemed to go through a vaguely red-light district, then past a theatre proudly advertising the run of I LOVE DICK. The meatpacking district is very much a whole bunch of warehouses and stuff many of which seem to have been converted into bars and stuff, and lo and behold there was Warpigs.

Wow. It’s much bigger than I thought. Only a handful of people outside and 20 or so inside, it was about 2.30pm by now. Straight to the bar, I had a bit of a chat with the barman explaining how they’d been highly recommended by friends and I had time to kill before a flight. First beer was “Youfuckedmeup&I’mfurious”, a delicious coffee stout. Grabbing a seat on a bench at the far end near the tanks, I loved that they were playing loads of loud metal in the middle of the day. And not just yer popular metal but stuff like Municipal Waste and Obituary. Also this apt number:

Very few of the other punters appeared to be of a metallic persuasion, but obviously no-one was put off it. I thought about getting some food but there was good reason to decline, so instead I had another beer, a red ale. Delicious.

I did need food though. The beers here were both 40cl so I’d not even had a pint and a half, but again had them a bit too quickly and since there’d been booze earlier I was still taking too many risks. Thankfully I had loads of time to kill and eating in Copenhagen was also on the list of bona fide tourist things to do: this city loves its hotdogs, and as it happens next door to Warpigs is a hotdog deli.

I’ll have the bacon and wild garlic sausage please.

Good lord that was delicious. As it goes they also sold a range of craft beer, but I successfully resisted. I did like that they sold tiny keyring hot sauce flasks.

OK, something less indulgent and more outdoorsy - time for a walk. I’m not actually sure where the city centre or any historic stuff is, but Google told me there was some water easily reached from here so I headed in that direction. The streets were still full of bikes, and the weather was pretty nice. Sun ‘n clouds, innit. At one point the directions on my phone told me to divert where in fact it was possible to walk through a theatre’s archway, which was a much cooler route.

Lo and behold, water. I dunno what it is - I don’t think it’s a river, so perhaps it’s a lake. Or a pond? Reservoir? No idea. Water. With some weird architecture next door.

People were feeding ducks and swans, and lots of runners were running. The second body of water was much prettier.

At the end of there I had a choice: walk along a third body of water, or take the street which peels away and ends up at, oh, look at that, I’ve accidentally walked to Himmeriget. For those who read and committed to memory my daft European rail trip last July, you may recall that Himmeriget is a bar in Copenhagen with an 11 page beer menu. The selection is quite staggering.

Inside there were 4 English blokes propping up the end of the bar, and a handful of other people around the tables. It can only hold 40 or so I reckon, but thankfully there was an empty table for me to occupy as I drank my 9% Evil Twin barrel aged stout, washed down with some still water. I drank it slowly, spending most of the time talking incessantly on messenger and SMS and what have you to loads of folk back home about the really stupid beers on sale here.

No, not just regular stupid like an imperial that’s 12% or something, but full on Omnipollo (from Stockholm) bonkers madness. Like, OMNIPOLLOSCOPE #3 RAREREST GERMAN JESUS CHOCLORELEI WAFFLE NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM CHEESECAKE SCOOOOOOOOOP. Or OMNIPOLLOSCOPE #2 SUPERSTITION STRAWBERRY BOURBON MEAD BARRELS, SUPERSTITION APHRODESIA SYRAH MEAD BARRELS, VANILLA BOURBON BARRELS and BUFFALE TRACE BARRELS BLACK BARLEYWINE. I’m not bothering to transcribe the others, but this shit is out of hand.

I had none of it. Took ages over the one beer I had and then set off to walk back towards the station, through pleasant drizzle, chatting with Andre about cricket and looking for his recommended pizza venue. Sadly it was inconveniently located, so I stayed on course and wandered past a circus venue before almost literally stumbling across the Tivoli gardens.

Back at the station, with still plenty of time to kill and a rumbling stomach, I bought my second hotdog of the day. This one was a bit more saveloy-like, which would please Chris Hoy no doubt. Wandering around looking for the platform from which the next airport train leaves, I got confused by platform 26. What’s going on here, København H?

Yes. To the left are platforms 1-6, to the right (not pictured) are platforms 7-12, and also to the left is platform 26 which is a 15 minute walk. Eh? It’s written on the platform floor too, like this.

Still not looked up what it’s all about, despite obviously writing this on an internet connected device. Maybe I’ll do so afterwards, or maybe I’ll prefer to keep it a mystery. Anyway, look how they transport wheelchair-bound folk in cages!

Probably actually a ramp to enable easy ingress/egress of a train.

Next in my pad I’ve written this:

“144” (!)

and I can’t for the life of me remember what on earth it means. I knew I should’ve written this stuff up sooner. Anyway, I was at the airport half an hour too early for Qatar Airways checkin to be open, yet when I scoped out the location of their desks the queue was already a good 60 people deep. Bloody hell, why? I decided to go to the Jacobsen bar and have a Yakima IPA plus an outright gorgeous portion of chips, after which I retrieved my bag and checked it in - queues had dissipated by now and I was through really quickly, with boarding passes all the way to Sydney.

Security was quick, but passports were ludicrously so since I was literally the only person using the automatic gates. Surely I couldn’t have been the only person with a chipped passport? Anyway, good for me. I wanted to use the Eventyr lounge (whose sign mentions “Carlsberg top beverages” as a thing - is that, like, Carlsberg with lemonade?) but it was shutting in 10 minutes, at 8pm - there aren’t many flights from the non-Schengen bit in the evening - so went to Qatar’s recommended lounge, called “Primeclass”.

Almost entirely empty, it never had more than 7 people in it the whole time I was there. Choice of everything was severely limited, but it’s hard to begrudge Carlsberg when in Denmark so what the hell.

The guy who’d checked me in to the lounge was also the barman, and he came back with 2 refills. He tried really hard to convince me to have a third but, look, no. I appreciate the generosity but this is all a bit much now. I don’t feel drunk, the fresh air and lots of walking had helped me out, but I am utterly exhausted - which is a good thing, since I was about to board a 2235 flight on which I wanted to sleep.

Gate C39 was announced. I wandered down and was almost the first person onboard, at seat 3A (my favourite seat number, for really no good reason). Local regulations are such that Qatar Airways do not serve alcohol on the ground so I had a lime and mint mock tail and holy shit it was delicious.

The business cabin filled up, and Captain Alex welcomed us to the flight. I got some pyjamas and an amenity kit and all that usual stuff. There was an ATC delay of 20 minutes.

Familiarising myself with the seat took literally no time at all, since I’ve flown this wonderful seat several times now, last time being only 8 months ago. I love Qatar Airways onboard, I really do.

Aaaand... that’s the lot for this entry. I’ll write about the flight and a bunch of other stuff later; honestly, I’m cutting this short because I want to publish what I’ve already written but have to be somewhere else in 20 minutes from now. What a shitty ending, eh?

Created By
Darren Foreman

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