|Hotel Kong Arthur, Copenhagen|
We’ve been debating for some weeks now about where to go during the Easter holidays. Last year Rory went skiing in Italy with the school so Dougie and I had a romantic break in the Cotswolds and it was heaven. But we love holidays together, the three Musketeers exploring the world, or at least the contents of the mini-bar.
We asked Rory if he had any thoughts of where he might like to go and surprisingly, rather than a teenage grunt and shrug of shoulders, he announced, “Scandinavia”. Ok, if the Little Prince fancies Scandinavia, then that’s worth considering.
I didn’t do anything more about it until last weekend when I started to read through my dad’s memoirs which he wrote some years ago. I’ve only picked them up again since he died recently but they have been so enlightening as I’ve been able to think about the boy and the young man that he was and not dwell on the old man in a wheelchair.
Reading about his student days I learned about two trips he made to Denmark at the end of his second and third year. He was studying architecture and his thesis was on multi-storey housing, something which was still unusual in the 1950s in Britain but fairly common elsewhere in Europe.
He had cadged a lift from his sister’s boyfriend through France, Belgium and into Germany, before taking the ferry to Denmark and then a train to Copenhagen itself. His recollections of Copenhagen mention the clean, efficient lines of Danish design, the beauty of the city surrounded by waterways, the party atmosphere of the Tivoli Gardens and developing a taste for Danish lager.
He continued his trip into Sweden and Norway but returned the next year, this time with a Danish girlfriend in tow. He had met Else in Cambridge; she was acting as an au-pair to one of the Cambridge dons whilst studying English for a year. Having enjoyed her company in his final year of University, culminating in attending a May Ball together, he travelled back to Denmark with Else, so he could carry out further studies of Scandinavian architecture and she could return to her family. They had arranged accommodation for him in a small apartment just off the quayside in Copenhagen so he had a few weeks on his own there to explore the city once again.
As my dad was moving to Newcastle in the September to continue his studies and Else was staying in Denmark working as a journalist, they decided to go their separate ways and, thankfully for me, Dad eventually met my mum a year or two later and a romance blossomed.
So, what better way to follow in my dad’s footsteps than have a few days in Copenhagen. I did some research, found some reasonably-priced EasyJet flights from Stansted and pored over TripAdvisor before settling on the Hotel Kong Arthur. Kong is Danish for King so it looks like we are continuing the Spamalot theme of recent weeks.
So Easter in Copenhagen it is then. Wonderful.