Mishaps 'n Mayhem: Lost in Copenhagen
#2 in an occasional (hopefully short) series of travel misadventures. May they all be this minor!
Two years ago, I had an opportunity to switch homes with a family in Copenhagen for three weeks through homeexchange.com. I jumped at it.
The flight on SAS was a pleasant surprise. I felt as though I'd been upgraded from the economy seat; it was noticeably more spacious and comfy than some American-based airlines I'd recently flown. (Message to United: Those cramped seats to Portugal were hellish and masking tape holding the fabric together…really?)
Copenhagen's Kastrup airport is an oasis of light and upscale shops and eateries. After a quick look around, I checked for the Metro location at the Information Desk. No problem understanding the young American man staffing it; turns out he married a Dane. After the touch of 'home' discovered the Metro station downstairs. Simple to navigate and reached my apartment and got organized. Meaning: I fell asleep on the sofa. Two hours later, it wasn’t even noon yet so went out to explore my new neighborhood.
The weather was in the mid-60s that July day, the air fresh. I checked out cafes for future meals, discovered a Royal Copenhagen outlet store around the corner--two levels filled with beautiful things, all beyond my budget. ($240 for one plate?)
Reached the lovely Frederiksberg Haven and sat on a bench to enjoy the scenery until clouds rolled in. The rain poncho was back in the apartment so it was time to retrace my steps, comfortable in the knowledge that I’d only meandered for a few blocks with on right turn; it would be a simple matter of retracing my steps down the park avenue, turning left, and I'd be at the apartment and out of the deluge.
Three hours later (okay, so probably only 40 minutes) I was soaked and chilled, still checking at each crossroad sign for the left turn I needed. Everything looked different through the pounding rain. And I knew that I hadn't walked this far originally. Desperate, I stopped a man passing me for directions. (Smarter than I, he had an umbrella) He pointed backwards. I had passed the street I needed blocks and blocks ago.
Twenty minutes later when I had stopped shivering at the apartment, I checked the map. The left turn I'd needed ("Peter Bangs”) was just one name for the long avenue. It had changed when I'd blithly turned right, just a few yards from the apartment; returning, I'd walked right past it.
Lessons learned: SAS is wonderful. Copenhagen is wonderful. But weather happens. Always carry a poncho. And check a map to see where streets change names.
[Below: The modern Kastrup Airport / View from balcony of my home exchange apartment / Frederiksberg Haven on return visit with no rain!]