As I reflect on our time, I’m not sure what to say. You were cool. I’ll just do a top ten list to keep things simple.
10) Water. Any country with water everywhere is a huge plus in my book. Your famous sand was something to behold. There’s magic to the flatness of it all and your wind made us feel right at home since we’re from Oklahoma. All I could think was your bridges have to cost a ton!
9) Taxes. Speaking of cost, I learned that your social democracy is a mix of progressive government with limited free markets. Again in Europe, we experienced a place with high taxes where the government seems to deliver on its duties. In fact, over fifty percent of an individual’s earnings go toward your government! An article by lefty NYT columnist Paul Krugman last week illustrated how liberal policy works. I’ll continue to be a free-market conservative guy, but I much better understand how this type of government functions effectively.
8) Rain. It rained every day. It’s August and hot in Southern Europe, so I suppose I should be grateful. [Ed note: See number six.] I’ll never go to an amusement park again unless it rains. No one was there!
7) Danish. Danes. I wish you guys called yourselves Denmarkians. I spent the entire week saying Danish and then accidentally mixing in the word Dutch (which is of course Holland).
6) Amusement Parks. You started these things in the 19th-century as a form of community and entertainment for your locals. We visited both Farup Sommerland and LEGOLAND in Billund. Both were amazing although Farup was one of the greatest amusement park experiences we’ve ever had. I almost threw up after one of the roller coasters.
5) Skagen Painters. The impressionist painters of tiny Skagen were amazing, Ancher and Kroyer led an entire artist colony of 19th-century creatives. The vibe survives today in this amazing little hamlet in far north Denmark. It’s a must-see.
4) Skagen Sunsets. This picture. Enough said. Truly magical and one of the highlights of the trip.
3) Aarhus. Who knew Aarhus would be such a memorable stop? It’s your second largest city and it seemed to have the typical “second biggest city” chip on its shoulder – those jerks in Copenhagen! But your people here were amazing, young and making it happen. We loved the incredible, positive energy and enjoyed the entire vibe.
2) Bicycles. You have one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Your infrastructure supports it, your people actually use them (hundreds of cyclists everywhere you look!) and there is a clear fitness of average people that must be reflective of the reality that you must use your own legs to get around town.
1) Simplicity. Like much of Scandinavia, design (buildings, furniture, art, advertising) and culture (people, food, values) come together and make the “place”. You have your act together. It feels like a peaceful and happy place to live. We enjoyed our visit!
Farvel (“goodbye” in Danish …or is it Dutch?),