1. Europeans don't know how to share space...sidewalks, lines, etc. Sometimes it feels like a game of chicken while walking down the sidewalk. I'm still not sure how two opposing Europeans sort out who gets the sidewalk because I've never had one step aside for me. Somehow someone must move though, because you never actually see a collision...it's just like the most perfectly timed chaos.
2. Europeans smoke. a LOT. Moms are smoking while pushing their infants in a pram, or while holding their toddlers on their hip. People smoking while riding bicycles. Smoking in cars, at restaurants, outside every building on every street. The whole place reeks of second hand smoke! What's more surprising to me is that every pack of cigarettes has "SMOKING KILLS" in big bold letters on it too (maybe packs in the US do too, I haven't bought cigarettes in years).
3. Speaking of prams, EVERYONE has one! And kids are always in them! They look crazy big and I was surprised that the usually space conscious Europeans were using these monsters, but then it was explained to me that infants basically take all their naps in the pram. And the basket comes out and they use it in homes and daycares as a bed for the baby. Ok. Multi purpose. Makes more sense.
4. And speaking of kids, everyone has those too! In Denmark you are paid to have kids. No, really! Just like we get a child credit on our taxes, Danish folk get a stipend each quarter for their children! They also pay crazy taxes though, so it's probably a wash.
5. Fashion is what you make it. Seriously you couldn't be out of fashion here if you tried because literally, ANYTHING GOES. And that anything goes with ANY body type too (whether it looks good or not). People watching here is on a WHOLE new level.
6. Everyone bikes. The post man bikes, women in dresses bike, men in suits bike, pregnant women bike, young kids bike. There are bikes with big trailers in front to pedal your govt funded family home in. There are bikes with kid seats in the front and back. The bikes all look like what you'd pedal in the 60s and 70s and the seats look like they are way too high. There are bicycle parking lots even! And if you're walking (which is what you do if you're not biking), look out! Bikes seem to have right of way and will plow you over! Stay on the walking path! God forbid you accidentally wander into the bike path!
7. Copenhagen is a melting pot. I've never heard more languages spoken in one place. It's almost a fun game to try to identify all the different languages you encounter while out and about. And thank goodness everyone speaks English!
8. If you want to use a credit card you better know the PIN. And despite the fact that your credit card company will likely insist that you WONT need it and that you can sign for things, they're wrong. Get the PIN and get it well before you leave. If you haven't set it up yet they will likely mail it to you and that can take 7-10 business days.
9. You can't leave Copenhagen without having a street vendor hotdog. The best (in my opinion) is the Fransk dog. It's basically an extra long hot dog that slides into a bun with a hole in it for easy portability. Your condiments are squirted into your bread before the hotdog is inserted and it makes eating it less messy.
10. Danish customer service sucks. But then again you aren't expected to tip anyone, so perhaps that is why?
11. Public transportation is readily available and easy to use. You can choose between the boss, the train, or the metro.
12. Street entertainers are truly entertaining and plentiful! Always something fun to see when on the walking street
13. Architecture is amazing and castles are plentiful. You could spend hours just walking around taking in sights without spending a dime!
Cemetery in Roskilde
14. Danish people are among the nicest, friendliest and happiest people in the world! I have never felt so welcome or at home in another country before. I was able to strike up conversations with random people all over the city. Most everyone speaks English (and speaks it well). This alone makes me less anxious about our transition.