Saturday 31 August 2013

Meet the Gooner Family [Olivar, Copenhagen]

Sorry for the late post, this article was supposed to be online yesterday after I arrived in Gothenburg, but as I was still suffering from man-flu I didn't have the energy or time to put anything together. And today isn't any better unfortunately. Hopefully I can shake it off.

My best selfie outside Gefion Fountain in Copenhagen. I blame the man-flu.

Anyway, I waved goodbye to the land of Bacon, Pastries and Nicklas Bendtner. Denmark, or more precisely Copenhagen, was yet another example of how Europe, a continent with so many countries in such close proximity, can be so diverse culturally and aesthetically. How did it compare to Berlin and Prague? Well, as stated in my previous post, it is expensive. £35 for two open sandwiches, locally known as Smørrebrød (if you can pronounce it I take my hat off to you), and a bottle of water. OK, so I did go to the most renowned place in Copenhagen, Eda Davidsen's, and it was very good, but still, THIRTY FIVE POUNDS! That's basically twice my daily budget. If the restaurant had a menu where we could actually see the prices, it might have been a different story. Be warned.

Smørrebrød. If you can pronounce this and you're a native English speaker, I salute you.

After coming from Prague and Berlin, the city did leave me feeling a tad underwhelmed. Copenhagen is almost completely flat, like Amsterdam, and it doesn't really have the same atmosphere as those two cities visited previously. I suppose if you were to come to Copenhagen on a long weekend with a wallet full of cash, you could definitely experience some of the best food, drink and hospitality in Europe. But as a backpacker, you'd be better off giving the city a skip, or at least keeping the visit to one or two days maximum.

What I did like about Copenhagen was the people. The majority that I met were friendly and warm. Particularly Olivar Roden, the member of the Gooner Family that was putting me up for a few days in his flat. As is customary now with the Gooner On The Road blog, I will be doing a Q&A on the people that are 'hosting' me on my travels. The Copenhagen instalment is below:

Morten Harket and I at Southern Cross

Olivar Roden

Q. Why Arsenal?
It's actually a funny story. My Mum and Dad's friend was Dutch, and I was 4 or 5 years old when I met him for the first time. He gave me an inflatable windmill hat in Dutch colours, so I started following Holland. After Bergkamp's goal against Argentina I started watching him play for Arsenal and that was it, I was hooked.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
1998 (after the World Cup had finished).

Olivar's best mate isn't exactly on the same football page

Q. Favourite Player?
As per above, Bergkamp. I liked how he was so unselfish, yes he was a clinical finisher but he was a real team player.

Q. Favourite current Player?
Wilshere, he's the future captain. Personality, slick hair, poster boy, great with the press, very mature. Commitment, passion. If it wasn't Wilshere it would have to be Walcott because of his pace, but mostly because he creates a good team spirit and he can have a great first-touch which can change a game in a moment.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
Winning the league at White Hart Lane in 2004. Also, my novelty best moment: Last season playing West Brom when Mertesacker made a last-ditch tackle with his back

Q.Where do you watch Arsenal in Copenhagen?
I watch at the Southern Cross pub most of the time, it's a great atmosphere and a good turnout. This Sunday we will probably have between 75 and 100 people watching the North London Derby.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
Highbury. Smaller pitch, suited our style of play. Closer to the action too.

Q. League Prediction?
A bit hard to say before the transfer deadline, heart says 1st 20 points ahead, but realistically I think we're going to finish 3rd, ahead of Man Utd.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch this season? 
I would say Aaron Ramsey based on his importance in the first few games this season, and the latter half of last season. He has a crazy engine and has improved dramatically.

So tomorrow it's the North London Derby in Gothenburg, and I am quite literally being treated like a king. I have been told that I am not allowed to pay for anything whilst I'm here, and that the pub I'm going to tomorrow, The Cheers Pub, will refuse to accept my money. The supporters club in Gothenburg is going to be doing a fundraiser for me, and the pub is going to match the donations, so essentially if they raise £50, the pub will also put in £50. It's things like this that makes me realise what kind of mission I'm on and the support that I'm receiving along the way - I'm finally starting to believe in the challenge and that anything is possible.

Until next time.