I really don't mind being on my own in a strange place, quite relish it in fact, though I'm sure it would be a different matter if the solitude lasted; it probably wouldn't be long before I was muttering to myself all the time and looking peculiar.
Anyway, I'd thoroughly enjoyed my boat ride (described in the previous blogpost) and now intended to wander around the city streets for a couple of hours.
By about 3 o'clock in the afternoon darkness was falling and I was beginning to feel hungry. I hadn't had any lunch to speak of, so I hunted around for a place that would serve me something warm. Roast almonds from a streetside grill wouldn't suffice. After a happy stroll down a quiet back street and back up the busy Strøget (Europe's longest pedestrianised shopping street, decorated with strands of illuminated red hearts and packed with Christmas shoppers and, later, people making their way home from work), I came across a basement restaurant on the corner of two streets, Café Stella, where I ate a beautifully presented grillet laks with roast potatoes. Through the window above me I could see a heap of bikes, none of them locked. A good 55% of the people who work in Copenhagen commute by bike. It's like the Netherlands!
Once fortified by that stella(r) meal, more strolling along; I spent a while browsing in the Lego shops and then among the fragrant Christmas trees (Jule traeer) for sale in the market square, where the little stalls were bright with illuminations. I bought some decorations, handcut from stiff white paper, then was tempted indoors again at the Kafe Kys, a cosy bistro bar where I ordered my dessert, a milky coffee and slice of cake, paying for it with those funny coins with the hole in the middle. I sat there surreptitiously sketching the other customers; it was full of local couples, the women tall and comfortably, but stylishly attired, the men very Scandinavian. Meanwhile Chris, in Asker near Oslo, was getting lost on his way to the hotel (Scandic Asker) where he was supposed to be staying and had to ask for help from three local youths who managed to speak perfect English. He too was struck by the northern European look of the people he encountered, especially at his meetings the following day, introducing themselves with names like Kjell, Trond, Harald, etc.
I did my last bit of shopping in a historic porcelain store, the Kongelige Danske Hof, Denmark's answer to the Chinese willow pattern. Apart from the dinnerware, they had some pretty Christmas tree ornaments (some of them were made in China, actually) ready to be gift wrapped in royal blue tissue by the cashier. Then I took the metro train back to Femøren for a night by myself at the Park Inn and spent most of the evening sorting out the chaotic contents of my luggage. It was just as well that I'd thought to pack two alarm clocks when we left home, even if mine ticked intrusively when I inserted its battery. I had to be awake at 5:30 the following day to get up, have a decent breakfast, check out, reach the airport and catch the early morning SAS flight to Stuttgart.