It’s funny how the more you travel the smaller the world seems to get. Last week I spent a few days in Copenhagen, a windy and expensive city that I loved and where I discovered numerous weird international connections. The first was an incredibly obvious link that just did not click in my brain until after my return to the UK; during my Springboard course at the beginning of the holidays (a really great programme for women in the workplace) I met Lise, a fabulous Copenhagen-or-thereabouts native who gave my travel buddy and I a much-needed insider tour on our last day in the city. She’s a fresher English Literature student at Worcester College, and told us all about the Danish university system that not only offers its students free tuition, but actually pays them £600 a month to study at all! – truly a superior nation. Understandably she has always dealt with raised eyebrows from parents and peers alike over her decision to study in England (who can blame them, Denmark is The One). BUT she did relate an anecdote about her ever-sceptical father returning from an international medical conference freshly convinced that Oxford might in fact be an alright place to go, having heard about its general reputation from people there. The day after my return from the continent I had supper with my mum who bemoaned a missed opportunity in the form of a Danish psychologist she had met at an international medical conference, whose daughter I could have made contact with in Copenhagen. Apparently she had set her heart on Oxford and had just started her first year at Worcester, what a shame we didn’t manage to connect.
But my favourite link was not as ridiculously coincidental as the above, but did form part of a generally hilarious evening. On our last night in Copenhagen we were invited to join a party in our hostel by a group of Dutch musicologists on a study trip from Amsterdam. Their dorm room was packed with three bunk levels of Europeans exercising their voices and limbs to 80s hits, there were glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and whisky all over the floor, and someone was harassing every new entrant with one of those head massagers that looks like a medieval torture instrument; a night already in full swing. Jaegermeister and rum and other horrendous alcohols were thrust upon us and I struck up a conversation with an excellent girl with a shock of blue hair and a Cage The Elephant band tee, who told me all about the time that her boyfriend had got her tickets to see the band and had secretly messaged the drummer before to get them to play their song and afterwards they had got so trashed with the roadies that she had spent all her money on that t-shirt and been broke but ecstatic the rest of the weekend. I responded in musical kind and told her that I’d been an Amsterdam the week before and seen a bloody FANTASTIC production of Lucia di Lammermoor, at which she squealed jealously and demanded how I got tickets. I told her my uncle was in the Dutch National Opera at which she squealed that HER uncle was in the Dutch National Opera, and had MY uncle performed in last year’s run of Gotterdamerung, to which I replied that he HAD indeedand then we squealed some Wagner at each other until she terribly formally asked us if we would like to smoke some marijuana with her and her friends.
I ❤ Europe.