København

Walk through the city. Use your feet, your eyes: see the sun sparkle off the water: reach the harbour, the sea, the space. Boats trace paths across gentle waves; and the sun, chased by careless clouds, follows.

We sit in deckchairs and talk about here and now, and then nothing in particular. Fraught or not, there is peace in this city, a piece of which we share for a moment, content. No need to hurry: just sit, and be.

A day in Roskilde (shout-out to Durham friend Ed and our small, small world!). Here in the seaside town of Roskilde were the Vikings; here resides the memory of them. We see the recovered, reconstructed ships, and wonder: what was it like? The ships are real, tangible, but the era of the Vikings is irretrievable, and we can only wonder.

Now return to the city: bikes everywhere. Bikes in every colour (‘red makes you go faster’), more bikes than cars, more bikes than people. We see them in packs (a herd? a pride? ‘a peloton – think Tour de France’ my bike-mad brother tells me); we see a lone cyclist meandering along the harbour-side; and then we are the cyclists, renting out city bikes for a couple of hours, exploring Copenhagen like a local.

World-famous Danish design (am I not of this world?). Chairs in every shape and size; fashion fabrics; a motorbike. A maze. Certainly, the design catches the eye – and now I, too, am of this world.

Evening now, or bright night time perhaps: it is a quarter to eleven and still light. The sun has set but the sky is pale blue, pink, orange, gold – pastel colours reflected on the quietly rippling mirror that stretches out before me. There, perhaps, from just beneath the surface of these shining waters, the little mermaid still stares longingly at our imperfect world.

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