There’s a first time for everything, and this week was my first time in Copenhagen. I attended the European Evaluation Society conference, which means I definitely did not get in enough sightseeing. But a bike ride on the last afternoon helped to put that right! It was a Friday afternoon and the Nyhaven neighborhood was full to bursting. Bikes and people, ships and ice creams and beers… what a bustling, colorful place. Copenhageners are said to be some of the happiest people on the planet – if going out walking and biking and hanging with friends is a happiness measure, they have that in spades.
It makes it a bit bizarre that the symbol of the city, The Little Mermaid, is the saddest little statue I’ve ever seen. It’s set on the edge of a castle grounds, just in the canal. I wouldn’t want to be her for anything. But at least I can now say I’ve been to Copenhagen.
I had the great pleasure of hanging out with my Tunisian evaluator friend Ibtissem, and drinking wine at a place called Vintrovert – clevah!
Evaluator conferences are too jam-packed to be called “fun” in a traditional traveler’s sense… the days are long, the information is overwhelming, and you never know if the next session you’ve picked will be fantastic or a complete dog. The only thing you know for sure is that it the next one will be on the far side of the conference venue from where you are currently standing.
I presented in one session, moderated in another, and was a discussant in two more – all on topics that are fascinating to me and boring to most of my readers. So I will not go into that here, but if you are an evaluator and are interested in more of that, watch this space… I’m planning to launch a new side blog called Eval Thoughts later this summer.
Anyway, diametrically opposed to “work conference” was my little trip to Christiania, the Venice-style floating free hippie village within Copenhagen. There was sort of a biergarden-style party outside, but I was expecting something more like the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert. Not a single soul was barefoot or dreadlocked or wearing a hippie skirt. Still, a nice bike ride. The bike did, technically, have brakes, but they were the ones where you press backward on the pedals – and I haven’t ridden a bike like that in forty-plus years. Combine that with the bike traffic and I very nearly had a wreck at every stoplight! Both when I stopped and when I tried to go again! Oh lord.
The conference took us to the City Hall for a cocktail one evening.
There were loads of historic buildings but this new one kept catching my eye. Imagine your balcony!