Is Denmark a child friendly nation…no!

My best mate invited us to attend his son’s christening and his girlfriend’s birthday.  Not too sure if “girlfriend” is the right word, as that makes it sound like we are teenagers again.

There was no question about it,  we wanted to attend the parties, as it meant going back home to Denmark and meeting people from my past.  It’s not often we get invited to parties, and then two parties at once, absolutely … rock on!  So, the event manager in our household organised another 5-star trip to Denmark.  This time, we only staying for a long weekend, in the exclusive destination of North Sealand – also known as the Danish gold coast, as many celebrities live there.

It might be home to some of the rich and beautiful people in Denmark, but the village we stayed in was no larger than the main street of a small Irish village, and has a couple of take-away places (that also acts as sit-in restaurants), a corner shop, DVD rental, a weird art gallery and 7 real estate agents.  I guess business is good for real estate agents, due to the amount of money property costs in this area.  By and large, the village was a fairly small spot.

The posh people tend to go to Copenhagen when eating out, and probabloy doesn’t want to be seen outside their house if they can avoid it, or might not even live there.  Not to insult any residents, and least of all my mate, but so would I after our experience.
– unless my mate invite us for dinner that is, then we’ll be there in a flash.

Anyway, we stayed in this lovely B&B along the coast and had a nice room for the four of us.  The owner was really friendly and the place was well looked after.  We used this room as a base to venture out and see the country side and various attractions with the kids.

As for a car?  Well, let me just say that we were very fortunate that the car rental company had to upgrade us to a Volvo XC90, instead of the Volkswagen Polo I had booked – they had nothing left, so I had to take the Volvo – “damn”!!

I’m actually not going to tell you anything about the christening or the birthday party, other than we had a lot of fun and enjoyed ourselves tremendeously.  We always enjoy spending time with our friends.  Can’t go wrong with eating, laughing, drinking and good music.

When growing up, I was convinced that Denmark was one of the most (if not the most) child friendly country in the World.  The Danes just built everything with kids in mind, or so I thought, and the service in restaurants would be top class for families with kids.  And, to shatter my illusion even more, I thought ALL Danes loved kids and enjoyed being around them no matter where.  I had this picture in my head, from visiting Danish people with kids, that they would almost place their little fecker on a pillow, sit in a circle around it and talk about it as a group.  Man, how naive was I?

One evening, my wife and I decided to have dinner in the local Italian restaurant, instead of eating rice crispies and baby food in the room.  We were on holidays and needed to treat ourselves.  So, we booked a table for a Sunday evening, for 4 people (2 adults and 2 kids), for 18.00 (6pm).  I was getting hungry just booking the place, as I love Italian food.

As a bit of background ingormation, we were in Denmark in the end of October, so it is not like the place was swamped by tourists.  It’s fairly windy and cold, and most people tend to stay in, so the place wasn’t hopping – at all!

We parked the cruise ship (XC90) in front of the restaurant, for a quick getaway, and walked in to claim our table.  The waiter, a 17 year old spotty girl trying to be a professional waiter, showed us to our table.  She was probably just a student at the local college and needed the money.  Anyway, she gave us the menus and went to fetch our drinks.  The place was empty, except for another party with 10-12 people, ranging from the age of 16 to 60 – probably a family get-together.  It sounded like they had fun, and they had already finished their main course.

It’s funny, small town restaurants always think or pretend to be a lot more posh than they are.  The interior was like a wannabe Italian restaurant, with wine bottles hanging under the ceiling attempting to create an Italian atmosphere (but they failed to see that all the labels were actually authentic Danish!!) and red/white table clothes.

It was pretty obvious that business was a bit slow, as the restaurant tried to add to its income by selling pizza as take away.  That meant you had this influx of people picking up their Sunday evening sofa dinner.  The restaurant had room for 60+ quests, and there were 16 guests including our little family of 4, so not exactly jammed packed and busy.

Some kids cry when they are hungry, but ours of course doesn’t.  I have to say that, they are my kids and they always act exemplary and other kids should learn from our kids.  Doh!!  Of course they get a bit upset, but only if they haven’t eaten for more than 4 hours or if they are really really really hungry and in physical pain from hunger.

We ordered pasta for the kids and steak for us grown-ups.  6 minutes after placing the order, the waiter came over to our table, looking slightly nervous, and offered us some toys to keep the kids quiet.  The kids hadn’t had time to say anything at this point, as they were busy drinking their juices.

Another 4 minutes passed and the spotty waitress was back, this time looking anxious as if she had been told what to do/say or pack up her stuff.  She gently asked if we would mind taking our food as take away, in what sounded like a mix of English, German and Danish.  Somewhat bemused, I asked her to clarify, as I obviously speak fluent Danish, and she informed me that other guests had complained about the noise level!  “What other guests?” I asked.  There are only 16 people in this restaurant, two dinner parties!  The other group was a family dinner party too.

I thought about it for approx. 0.0025 seconds and said “NO!”.  I told her to get our food quickly, so we could feed our kids (as my son had started chewing on the menu card and the table) instead of arguing about noise level.  She couldn’t really hear because of the noise level of laughter from the other table.  So, I repeated to her that we were staying put.

That freaked out our waiter and she rushed into the kitchen.  Perhaps because I asked her, to tell the other dinner party to keep it quiet as we like to eat in peace  :-).

A few minutes later we got our food and ate in relative peace.  Stubborn as we are, my wife and I, took extra long to chew and digest our food, obviously to the annoyance of the other dinner table.   “Ha ha ha, you cannot win a battle of stubbornness against us, petty fools”.

After an enjoyable dinner and wine, we even ordered dessert and coffee, much to the annoyance of the waitress.  Finally, the other dinner party left.  We had the place to ourselves.  So, we left too.

That experience surprised me in a bad way.  How can people be so rude, not even talking to us directly and complain about kids.  For God sake, they had kids themselves.  And, the restaurant tried to give us a table at the very back, far away from the main restaurant.

From talking to friends with kids, this is apparently fairly normal nowadays in Denmark.  It saddens and disappoints me, but that’s probably because I had this inflated illusion that Denmark was a super kids friendly nation.  Man, we invted Lego!

The entire stay was wonderful, apart from the La La Trattoria experience, and we would certainly go back to visit our friends anytime (hint).

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