Before I left for Iceland and the Faroe Islands, I had spent a full week in Copenhagen, wandering the city and looking for random adventures and trying my hardest to experience everything the city had to offer. When I returned to Copenhagen on my way back from the Faroe Islands, I had less than 24 hours to spend in the city, and after paying for my hostel, I had less than $25, so I really just planned on having an extremely relaxing night. I planned to go to bed early and get to the airport well rested, for my flight to Spain.
That is exactly the opposite of what happened.
I booked myself at the ‘Copenhagen Downtown Hostel’ because I remembered that they serve free vegetarian dinner every night at 6:30 pm. Each table is given enough food for 10 people, but there were 14 people squeezed into ours, which means we really had to ration our food. By the time the pot of vegetable soup had passed around the table, there was absolutely nothing left for the last guy, so I helped myself to one more big spoonful from my bowl, and passed the remainder on to him.
The bar was having happy hour, and for 50 Danish Kroner ($7) you could get a MASSIVE mug of local beer. On my empty stomach, this was more than enough to get me in the mood to party. So while everyone moved to other tables to talk, I decided to take one last walk through Copenhagen. I had a sudden burst of energy, but I still wanted to have one, final relaxed night, wandering through the Danish capital.
I mad it about one block away from the hostel, and I heard screaming, and laughing, and splashing, so I moved closer to investigate.
*** At this point I have to say that all names and nationalities of people I met have been omitted, for no other reason just to respect their privacy. ***
I approached the canal (a main waterway that winds through the heart of Copenhagen) to find 5 or 6 people jumping in, completely nude. Of course, I began to scream and cheer them on. Carpe diem! My enthusiastic cheer-leading for these wild shenanigans was welcomed by the group and after the group clothed themselves, some of them invited me to join them for extremely strong drinks at a cafe just across the street. WHY NOT?
I learned that all of these new acquaintances were part of an artillery unit, from a neighboring country, that had just spent a fair amount of time in Afghanistan and were in Copenhagen for some R&R. They had already been drinking for a while, but the fact that I was drinking on an empty stomach allowed me to quickly achieve an equal level of inebriation. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember laughing, a lot, and I was doing my best to make them laugh as well with my crazy stories.
Suddenly there was another wave of people from the group running across the street. Pieces of clothing filled the air as they were ripped off while running towards the canal. ** It took me a couple of seconds to rationalize the situation. “This is Denmark! Nobody is offended by nudity here! They put nude butts of the cover of the national newspaper.” So with the quick conclusion that I probably wouldn’t end up in prison, I decided to MAKE SOME MEMORIES and I started running across the street, leaving my clothes in a neat pile by the water’s edge and leaping into the water. It wasn’t as cold as I thought.
Jumping in was easier than getting out. After a quick swim, I approached the side of the canal and grabbed the top of the wooden embankment/pier to haul myself out of the water. The mental image I had of myself, hoisting my fat ass out of the water, struggling to get my feet back up onto the wooden platform, was not pretty. But the canals are not very well lit, so, though my ultra-white ass shined like a full moon over Copenhagen, there was still a bit of stealth involved.
My new friends supplied many more drinks, and it was fun to bond with them in their insanity, but eventually, they headed off to a strip club and I needed to head back to the hostel.
The next morning, I was glowing in the fact that I had one of those amazingly random experiences that don’t really happen too often, now that I am nearly 50. This would definitely go into my TOP 10 list of amazing experiences this summer, and I am so thankful I happened to be taking a quiet walk through Copenhagen that night. And though I will probably never see any of them again, I’m also very thankful to these crazy people that allowed me to join their insanity for the evening.
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