A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sept. 20.

Copenhagen, Part Two - Vince found a walking tour in a tourist magazine, so we set off exploring the sights. Many of the buildings on the walk were from the 14th and 15th centuries, mostly fledging churches and royal offices that survived the years. More recent but still very pretty was the Radhaus, or town hall, which occupied the center of the city. Continuing on to the more pastoral part of Copenhagen, we pushed on to Frederikstaden, where den Lille Havfrue, or The Little Mermaid, sat waiting. Mournfully overlooking the water, the small sculpture by Edvard Eriksen looked appropriately trapped and conflicted, as tourists jostled to join her on her rock.

For lunch, we again had to look for bargains. Figuring it would be appropriate for Scandanavia, we bought a jar of pickled herring and a bag of black bread. This was a new experience for Vince, but, having grown up with hearty Russian eaters, I was well-versed in the ways of the briny, metallic fish and the dark, porous loaf. He scooped up the nubs of onion floating in the murky liquid while I avoided them. Reaching the end of the herring, I felt the same way about it as I always do. It's not bad in occasional doses, but it's not something I want more than that.

Afterward, I went into a clothing store to look around. I had only brought four white undershirts for the trip, and, over a month into a trip, that was proving to be a challenge. Now and then, I'd wash them in the sink with detergent, but it only seemed to mask the smell. I was looking at a pack of shirts when the unthinkable happened. My camera toppled out of my pocket and slammed against the linoleum floor. I raised it up and cradled it against my body, wailing a slow-motion "Nooooooooooooo!" After the loss of my laptop (see May 19), it was too much to take. I raced it to numerous camera shops, begging them to save my damaged camera. They shook their heads sorrowfully, with stares as helpless as the Mermaid's. Out of options, I stretched the black fabric of the camera bag over my poor Minolta and buried it in my backpack.

Still, I was determined not to let the loss ruin the day. After a full day of walking, Vince and I headed back toward Nørrebro, the area by our hostel. We decided to go back to Toppoli, the pizzeria we'd visited the day before. Even more than the affordable prices, I think we both wanted a place where the owner recognized us, where the menu was as familiar as a nursery rhyme, where we felt like we belonged. In other words, a Danish Veselka. But although we were just here yesterday, the pizzamaker showed no sign of recognition. Undaunted, we put in an order of a Quatro Stagioni which came out bubbling from the oven. We coated the semi-good pie with red pepper bits and ate up, again looking to find solace in food.