My trip started with my room mate driving me to the airport (leaving work early) so i could make my 6:50 flight. turns out, flight was delayed a few hours and we didn’t have to leave as early as we had. that said,it gave me plenty of time to check-in and even try to plan to meet my friend who was arriving on the inbound flight from Copenhagen that same day (and presumably, their flight was the reason we were late). I didn’t run into my friend, Lennart, because I believe their plane unloaded at a differnet gate than the one where i was waiting to board. when our plane arrived, noone deplaned. i thought it strange untill i called Lennart and he confirmed he as already on his way on the train.
After several pretty uneventful hours in the aiport, I boarded my plan enroute to Copenhagen with my final destination being Gdansk, Poland. The delay for take-off was significant enough that I not only missed my connecting flight to Gdansk, but I missed any opportunity for today. After 2 more hours of queues and waiting, I finally had my new boarding pass and vouchers for a hotel room, food for the night and taxi fare. I even had my luggage. Not to bad considering things didn’t start off too well.
I’ve flown through Copenhagen quite a few times but never spent any time in the city. I decided to use some of my downtime to contact friends in the area, but to no avail, opted instead to head to Fields (Scandinavian’s Largest shopping center). I know what you must be thinking, but if you know me at all, you know that this is not my preferred luxury activity. 🙂
So, in short, I needed to buy some nice clothes for two reasons: 1) because I am attending a wedding in Poland next week and 2) because when i get back to seattle, i have a coctail celebration in honor of my 10 years at Microsoft and I have nothing to wear. sounds like a typical woman thing to say and perhaps I would have felt the same under more ordinary circumstances, but for reasons previously disclosed, I don’t have a thing to wear. So, off to Fields I went for 2 hours of shopping.
The good news is that i actually found a dress. the bad news is it took me the whole 2 hours to find it and i didn’t even get a chance to look for stockings or shoes. 😦 i guess i will have to do that in poland or at the airport. i forgot that shopping for clothes in scandinavia is nearly impossible. seems like all the women are so tall that everything runs a bit large/tall on me. not one store, for example, had my size (eur 32) and of the ones that had the next best and least biggest (EUR 34) not all stores had the size and not all clothes were stocked in that size. Then, I found IC company. Wow! nice clothes, some dresses, which I need BUT the prices were not cheap. 😦 lots of really nice things and a decent selection in my size only i’d have to pay like > 999:-kr. lucky for me, i found a dress in my size and on sale for about 70% the cost.
speaking of things i forgot were different. it’s been more than a year since i have been to europe (scandinavia specifically) and it’s easy to forget the differences. for example, i forgot how service works here….first, there is the queue…and you patiently waiting (no need to say more). Then there are more queues and more waiting. 🙂 Queues aside, there are subtle differences in service i have experienced here that is distinctly european. People are very friendly and open, if i start a conversation. most of the time, i think people are embarrassed for my language skills or their english so no conversations start up on their own. 🙂
Another thing i’ve noted before, but seemed to take notice of again, is that people work to live and NOT the other way around. When 4pm comes along and it’s time to go home, they leave. When the next person comes on shift, they arrive and take over, even if there is a 5 to 10 minute disruption in service (read, 50 people in a queue and now the staff is down 1 person). There is no sense of urgency, things just happen…be patient.
Aside from other obvious differences, here were a few others that struck me as I settled in for the night: smaller spaces, the hotel hallways resembling prison cells, and the obvious (to me) lack of attention to detail (spiderwebs on hall light structures, peeling/flaking paint in corners), and of course, how early everything closes! I’m not complaining because i think they put focus on what is important. everything was clean and useable and i did find a dress just at closing time…it’s just that one would not get this kind of service in the usa. oh, and i thought it was neat to see the trends and clothes made in places like turkey.
btw, i should note that SAS really took care of me this trip. they had to rebook me on to a morning flight to gdansk, which meant me stayng the night in Copenhagen. i have a decent hotel where i was served a wonderful meal, wine, dessert and coffee (mmmm). the portions were reasonable, except for the dessert. i couldn’t get through half of the apple pie. too bad, too, because it was very tasty. and, now, i am brushing up on my swedish by watching tv 4 and listening to the news.
shortly, on to poland, where i am certain i have nearly all but forgotten the polish i had learned ealier this year. 😦