Saturday, 19 September 2015

Infertility in Denmark part 1 - what to do

It's been a while since I've written. A long while. But life got in the way, and not 100% in the best way. The post I'm about to write is going to be difficult for me to write and for some perhaps to read, but sadly I think it will come to be relevant to a few fellow non-native Danes living here. It's about the horrible world of infertility, and what you can do if you are living in Denmark and away from the comfort of not just your own familiar health service, but also from your family, friends and whoever else would have been your close support network.

Firstly, I've changed my name to 'Anon' as I'm scared my colleagues will find this and our infertility isn't something I necessarily want to shout from the rooftops, but it's something that I think may help others who sadly might find themselves in the same position so I didn't want to not write it.

It's tough. Really bloody tough. I've been there. But I am going to do my best to keep my emotions out of it as much as possible and keep it practical, even though this is of course extremely hard to separate as the practicalities and emotions involved with infertility are very much interlinked. I'll be writing a different post on the emotions at a later point.

My last post was in February 2014. By that time we hadn't been trying for that long in the grand scheme of things, but long enough for me to wonder if there was something wrong. But because it was still sort of early days, I brushed it off. Don't worry, friends said. You're still young, they added. You have plenty of time. Just relax and it will happen (this one grates on me so much it's unreal but this isn't the right place to go into that).

But it didn't happen.

Come June 2014, I'd had enough and I wanted to give things a move on; below is the order of things that happened. This is the only way I can think of which would help separate the feelings from the practicalities. I hope that if you find yourself in this horrid situation, that the below might help you a bit and give you some guidance.

1. Doctor visit
We went after nothing had happened after 12 cycles. We were questioned about our lifestyle, told the obvious things such as cut down on alcohol, eat more greens, take more vitamin D, etc. I was then given a henvisning (referral) to a gynaecologist and my husband was referred for sperm testing. The way they refer you, if you are not already familiar, is to write the referral in the system and then you are given a list of doctors on a piece of paper, one of whom you will ring up (your choice as to who) and make an appointment with.

2. Fertility tests in Denmark
Luckily I got an appointment with the gynaecologist round the corner from my flat, which was good. As the referral was made in mid-June, I had to wait until the whole of July was over due to the Danish summer holidays, so I had my appointment in August. I have to admit that annoys me about the Danish system as it cut out a month out of our action plan but hey, there was nothing I could do about it. This is the rough order of how the testing went.

  • GP referred husband for sperm and blood testing - held at the lab on Pilestræde, near Rundtårnet.
  • I had gynaecologist consultation to talk through history
  • Had smear, hepatitis and chlamydia testing at consultation
  • Gynaecologist refers me for 3 and 21 day blood tests to check for ovulation and ovarian reserve - held at the lab on Pilestræde, near Rundtårnet.
  • After my bloods done, gynaecologist performs a HyCoSy, an ultrasound scan which fills your tubes with dye which checks for blockages. More details on that here.
  • Husband referred for follow up tests 

Due to the fact that my HyCoSy had to be repeated, the above steps took two months to complete.In an ideal world, I would have liked it if my own GP had referred me for those blood tests as I could have had them ready for August, but again, nothing I can do about it and I'm not an expert in this. Do GPs know about that sort of thing? I would argue yes, but there's no point lamenting. So that was that. Note that if a smear test comes back requiring treatment, it might put things on hold further but obviously check with your doctor.

3. Diagnosis and referral
I believe it was early November 2014 when we finally got a diagnosis. I won't disclose what the problems were, but I can say that it was unlikely we would have a baby without medical intervention, that is to say IVF. It was heartbreaking at the time but I just wanted to get into the system so we sucked it up and took it on the chin pretty well, all things considered. My gynaecologist wrote a henvisning to Rigshospitalet (one of the main hospitals in Copenhagen) and then we went home to wait to see when we could have our first consultation - my gynaecologist hoped it would be January.

4. Treatment 
Despite my gynaecologist hoping we'd be seen in January, our consultation was in April. That was disappointing - more on that in a future post - and we looked at our finances and found we had enough to go private here which we were incredibly lucky to be able to do. We looked at Dansk Fertilititets Klinik (Frederikberg) and Triangeln (Hellerup) and we plumped for Danfert. The price list was what we expected and the results looked good. Without going into detail, the staff at Danfert decided we qualified for IUI (insemination) and so we embarked on what would be the start of an at least nine month fertility treatment journey. The great thing about IUI was that it was free (apart from the medicines) and we qualified for six IUI rounds. What they do at Danfert was, if not successful after the third round, they refer you to Rigshospitalet for IVF but you get three more goes at IUI in the meantime. We'd already had a referral so were advised to keep it although we of course hoped that we would have to cancel that.

5. Negative tests
Our first two times at IUI resulted in a negative test, or a BFN (big fat negative) as it's known in the TTC (trying to conceive) world of abbreviations. Again, I'll go more into the feelings in a different post but, coming up to 18 months of not being able to conceive, it was heartbreaking. The good thing with IUI is that you can have round after round and don't have to skip a cycle, like you are advised to do with IVF. So it's a quicker process, although only a slightly elevated chance of conception than at home.The great thing about going with Danfert was that we could choose very early morning appointments so I didn't have to skip work, which was a relief - I didn't really want to be absent from my desk so much that it would raise questions - and you are required to go in for scans and the like at least two to three times.

6. Loss
This is where it gets incredibly tough to separate out the feelings from the practicalities but I will try, and will keep this part short. We were successful on our third go of IUI. Sadly, just ten days after our big fat positive (or BFP), I suffered an early miscarriage. It was on the same day as our early scan - I started to bleed in the morning and two hours later, at the scan, it was confirmed that there was no sign of a pregnancy. I don't remember a lot about what happened afterwards apart from that I needed a blood test to read my hCG levels and then another one three days later to confirm that our very first pregnancy in nineteen months was gone.

7. Support post loss
First off, I would like to state that the treatment we had from the staff at Danfert was incredible. During my scans they were very personable, they welcomed you with a smile at the door and when it didn't work the first and second times, they understood that I was upset and just needed to cry before getting onto the couch for my next scan.
When the nurse could not find a pregnancy at my early scan, she was very gentle and very kind. She gave me tissues. However - and this is not a slur on the staff there - the next step was to wait for my next period, which could be in four to six weeks from miscarriage. We left the clinic and closed the door to be alone at a time when we needed support more than ever. My husband and I clung onto each other for days, feeling absolutely broken and absolutely useless. The mental and physical parts of miscarriage are so closely linked, but there is nigh on no support provided for former. I tried to find support groups for miscarriage, but I couldn't find any, unlike the UK where there are quite a few. The noticeboard at the clinic only advertised a support groups for single mothers trying via IVF - nothing for miscarriage.
I see a psychologist who had been helping me deal with infertility so I was able to cry in front of her and tell her about how useless I was feeling but all I wanted to do, apart from have my very early baby back, was to be pregnant again and to keep moving forward with that. But I couldn't. And so I had to really dig deep to try to take comfort in the fact that I could fall pregnant and try to move on. I got through the days by talking and virtually crying on a private Facebook group managed by The Miscarriage Association, a UK based charity. I couldn't find an equivalent in Denmark but if anyone does know one, please pop the link and name in the comments below.

8. Waiting for IVF
It took exactly four weeks after the miscarriage for my cycle to return to normal. As we had been referred for IVF at Rigshospitalet back in November 2014, we had since been to a consultation with a doctor and a general meeting with about 60 others (which is part of the referral and one must attend before embarking upon treatment) at the hospital. The way IVF referral works at Rigshospitalet is that, once you've had your consultation and general meeting, you call them the day you get your next period. You are not guaranteed to get a place the first time as they can only take a certain number - if this happens (as it did to us), they mark it down next to your name so the staff know you've missed out on one 'go'. The second time you call on the following month you are more likely to get a place (which we did) however, although rare that you miss out, it is not guaranteed. If it happens that you need to call a third time on the following month then you are guaranteed a place. They say themselves that it is not an ideal system, but it's better than the one they had a few years ago where the waiting list was - according to my gynaecologist - five years long. It's also much better than the UK where it is a total postcode lottery in the same county. In our situation, where neither of us had any children, we were allowed three fresh cycles with Rigshospitalet. I believe that if you have embryos to freeze then that doesn't count as a 'go' but don't quote me on that as we didn't end up in that position.

That's about it for me, at least so far. I hope that if you find or are finding yourselves in the awful position of infertility, that the above helps even just a little bit. Please don't hesitate to ask a question in the comments.

As for my current situation, I'm pregnant again. I haven't even told family. It's very early days and I'm coming up to around the same time where I miscarried in the last pregnancy. I'm absolutely terrified, as happens with anyone that becomes pregnant after loss, but I am really hoping that in the spring of next year I'll be able to write a post about maternity care in Denmark.

So there you have it. A much more serious post than I normally write but it was important that I did it. I'll write another, more 'diary like' entry about the associated feelings with it all as I feel that's also important.

I'll keep you posted on how things are going.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sort of about research, sort of about Janteloven

I have been known to fall for a couple of April Fool's jokes in the past. The best one being that Virgin Atlantic had designed a bottom glass plane, so passengers would be able to see the ground whilst in the air. I didn't share on Facebook, although that's how I discovered it, but I remember thinking "God, that's so cool" without taking a second to think about why that actually wouldn't be practical or possible. Am I glad I didn't share. When it was revealed by 12pm that all the enthusiastic sharers had been tricked, goodness only knows how many people had been taken in by it, such is the power of the internet. (I'm going somewhere with this, I promise).

I stopped going on expat forums and I left pretty much all the expat Facebook groups apart from Expat In Denmark. Why? Because there's a lot of crap and a lot of the comments/posts are simply parroted sweeping generalisations about Danes and/or Denmark. It also quickly becomes clear, when challenged, that things are simply being repeated and not researched. Common statements out there in cyberspace are that Danes are cold, Danes are all racists, Danes tell you off for putting the wrong toppings on rye bread etc (by the way, I don't know why anyone would put smoked salmon on rye bread - the bread overpowers the fish).

Janteloven, however, is the one that annoys me most.

A quick Google of Janteloven (or Jante's Law)  will lead you to believe that a Dane will knock you down if you ever dare achieve something. Janteloven is also something I only ever hear expats cry about. Hand on heart. I have only ever had one Dane refer to Janetloven and it was as a joke comment to my husband's Facebook status which boasted that we were in sunny Thailand, and everyone else was in rainy Denmark. Other than that, never heard it uttered from a Dane in seriousness.

I'm writing about this because expat forums are flooded with disgruntled people who claim that Danes don't like it when people do well. Based on my own research and experience with speaking to Danes (friends, family, colleagues, networking) I believe this to be a myth.

When I finally got a job, when we bought our first flat, when my husband bagged himself a new client ... we all got genuine congratulations. All of those things were big achievements, so congratulations were deserved. What is not looked upon kindly here (in my experience anyhow) - and this actually goes for the UK too - is when people brag. And I'm not talking the sort of bragging that parents do when their kids get brilliant school grades - that's bragworthy - but I'm talking the crass, unclassy sort of bragging conducted by who we call in the UK, and I apologise in advance for the language, Billy Big Bollocks. The swaggery types who march around and think they're better than everyone else. The arrogant types who exist to have power. The Donald Trump wannabes who flash the cash unnecessarily. Those are the sorts of people I hear put down in conversation and, in my opinion, rightly bloody so. To be so arrogant is uncouth, and I like enjoy it if and when I see such people taken down a peg or two. That is how I define Janteloven. It exists in more countries than Denmark - it just so happens that there's a Danish word for it.

Please feel free to agree or disagree, I always welcome discussion.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Just speak it. My progress with Danish contd.

I've lived in Denmark for one year and twenty days. When I first got here I could, thanks to a Teach Yourself series and my husband, hold a very basic conversation if the person spoke slowly. How are you, my name is, etc etc. Now, according to my husband, I am borderline fluent in the language. I didn't think it would be this quick (and please note that I say "borderline") but I am obviously pretty proud of that achievement, so I thought I would share how I managed this. A follow up from this post.

If you have read previous posts on the blog you will know that I have a Danish husband. Before we moved to Copenhagen he taught me some basic Danish. He thought that I could have soaked up more but to be honest, with a full time job working in London this just wasn't possible. Of course if I put my mind to it and dedicated all of my spare time to it, there's no doubt I would have been better equipped when I moved over. Nevertheless, I had a bit more of a head start than a lot of people which is definitely better than nothing. If you do not have the luxury of being with a Danish partner or friend in your first days of the move, or before you have moved, then Google online courses. is a good one.

This preparation held me in good stead for language school. Like many expats here, I wasn't able to land a job before moving over to Copenhagen so once my CPR number was in order, I registered to go to language class four times a week so I could up my Danish as much as possible. The first couple of modules in language class gave me a really good grounding in terms of grammar and Danish etiquette. I also went to the Sprog Cafe they ran every Monday so I could practice what I had learnt in class with other expats and volunteers from Røde Kors (Red Cross). Considering the amount of people at the school, not a great percentage of people showed up for this which is a shame as just speaking the language is the best opportunity. If your language school offers something like this, go for it. If not, you can advertise on websites such as Couchsurfing or InterNations for a language swap - particularly if your first language is not English - or you can advertise in local cafes. Quite a few of my Danish circle are interested in other languages, particularly the Romance languages. Give it a go. If you don't have this opportunity or if it is not successful, there are meet-up groups such as The Danish Language Speakers where you meet Danes and other expats and have everyday conversations, but in Danish.

Saying that, I have now given up language school. I completed modules 1-3 and got near to the end of module 4 but I found it was no longer benefitting me. By the time I had gotten to module 4 I had switched to evening school on account of my (then new) job so I had two very long days twice a week. But it wasn't just that. Because I was putting my Danish into practice wherever I could, the stuff we were learning at language school just wasn't cutting it for me anymore. I got so much more out of, for example, picking up phrases from my sister-in-law in an evening and speaking with my in-laws whenever I could. Watching the Danish news everyday out of habit also really really helped. Back to talking about school, I also had a fairly patronising teacher - there was a German guy in my class who spoke Danish very well as he spoke it at work, however he wanted to improve his written skills. One assignment we had was to write a short story - fair enough, this will help in terms of improving one's writing skills - however when my German classmate had to read it aloud, our Danish teacher started gasping at 'exciting' parts and kept saying "woooow!" all the way through. At the end, instead of feeding back something constructive, she said to the whole class: "wow! Vi har vores egen H.C Andersen!"
Maybe it's just me, but I don't need that sort of crap when learning a language, certainly not at the age I'm at and certainly not at the level we were at where most of us were fairly proficient already in terms of what I call advanced conversational Danish. Like I said, I was picking up most things from my family and the television. The last straw for me with language school was the teacher bringing in this really old fashioned kiddie bingo game where we had to describe what was on the card. The sort of crap that we were doing in module 2 (and I found it patronising back then too). It was the last Danish lesson I went to and I don't regret it one bit.

I said in an early post of mine that language school will not be the golden ticket to fluency and I really do stand by that. There is only so much that you will pick up in a classroom environment - for me it was the basics. I then pretty much took the language and ran with it. I just spoke it. I am now at a stage where I can reserve a table at a restaurant over the phone, I have most conversations with Danish friends and family in Danish and people very very rarely now switch to English whereas a year ago it would be the source of many a frustration in the supermarket, restaurant, etc. It wasn't easy to get to the standard that I am at and I still have quite a way to go before I consider myself completely fluent but I did get over the hump just through sheer perseverance. If you feel you haven't quite gotten over that hump then you just need to keep going.

Keep practising. Keep talking. You'll get there - just speak it.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Expat experiences of a native Dane (who also happens to be my husband)

Wow, I've not written for a while. I have started a couple of posts with random musings but I'm not happy enough with them to post them. So in order to get this up and active again, I asked my husband to write a post. Before we get into this, let me introduce him a little so you have an idea of what he's like.

Philip comes from Frederiksberg. For those of you that don't know Copenhagen, Frederiksberg is a municipality in Copenhagen. Philip has lived abroad three times (USA, Italy and the UK) and is very well travelled - we actually met in a Manila hostel. We now live in Vesterbro (soon relocating to Frederiksberg) and Philip works from home as a translator. So, his own expat experience coupled with 1) him being a native Dane and 2) his talent for writing I thought made him a good candidate for a guest post. Here he writes about his experiences when he lived in Southern Italy. Enjoy!

"When Nicola asked me to write this, I agreed immediately. Then I started wondering what I had gotten myself into. After all, what did I know about relocating to Denmark? I thought for a while about writing from my own point of view about expats I had met in Denmark, where they had gone right and wrong, but it seemed awfully pompous. Then it dawned on me that I actually had relocated to Denmark. Back in 2002 and 2003 I spent about nine months studying English in Washington, two years later I went to Italy for three months to teach English, and then about six years after that, in 2011, I lived in London for about a year and a half. Each time I came back to Copenhagen, in effect relocating.

As I’m sure you can guess, returning to my home country was not much of a shock. The time I spent in southern Italy, however, was. I consider these three months one of the most challenging, frustrating, and rewarding experiences of my entire life. I didn’t know the language, I didn’t have any contacts that I had met in person, and I was going to teach for the first time in my life. I had signed up for something called the Comenius program, an internship as an assistant teacher, and all I had was a place to live and a women’s bicycle with Winnie the Pooh stickers on it to take me the 2.5 kilometers to school and back. As I discovered, life in southern Italy is quite different from northern Europe. The days were brutally hot, the nights were warm and soothing. I found people to be very friendly, almost exclusively, but they rarely spoke any English, and my Italian was clumsy at best.

I decided to sign up for Italian classes. They were free, and at first they seemed perfect. The teacher spoke nothing but Italian. She was friendly, yet strict about pronunciation and grammar. But she did have a habit of being on her phone a lot. Even after the lessons had officially started, she would leave the room to talk on the phone, sometimes for ten or fifteen minutes. Adding to the problem, she had been burdened by some cost-saving decisions by the school management, which meant she had to accept a few Italian people, aged sixty or seventy, who were illiterate. They were kind people, trying to make up for lost time, but every class had a portion allocated to them – our teacher would write letters on the blackboard, which frankly was a waste of time for the rest of us. This went on for a few weeks, until further cost-cutting led to more newcomers. This time it was “people with problems” as our teacher called it, people of lower than average IQ. They were not there to learn per se, simply to be watched. Every once in a while one of them, Vito, would get up in the middle of class and leave, and our teacher had to chase him down the hallway, telling him: “Vito, no.” It was getting so that we barely had any time to learn in class, so I decided to quit. I still had Italian TV. I still had a beginner’s and an intermediate Italian book, which I would read many times over. Also, whenever I went to this one café to use their internet and have a coffee, the owners would talk to me, perfectly happy that I didn’t say much and often had to ask them to repeat themselves. They knew that I taught at the local high school, which somehow made them like me. One of them would talk at great lengths about the Roman empire, getting into complex grammar and speculation, which caused me problems. Sentences like: “If the Roman empire had not fallen, then…” Another guy working there had trouble understanding why I wasn’t fluent in Italian. He had a theory that words in Italian mirrored what they meant. “Cavallo!” he would say with a majestic air, as if it were obvious that it meant “horse”. A third person was always exasperated with the second person, asking me to forgive him.

As this was all in Italian, I was continually at a disadvantage. I would miss parts of sentences, sometimes vital parts. Embarrassment would ensue. But I kept getting a little bit better. This turned out to be an advantage in my job as a teacher. For example, I was initially thrown by the fact that my students got the words “time” and “weather” mixed up, until I learned that they were both “tempo” in Italian. Sometimes, people would invite me for social gatherings and the Italian that I had picked up would once again be a considerable advantage. At the end of the three months I had made a few friends (none of whom I have any contact with today, but I still consider them friends), and I was able to converse with people in Italian if they spoke slowly.

Relocating to Denmark is challenging in a different way. People tend to be very willing to speak English, which can be a disadvantage when you want to learn Danish. It might be harder to find that place where they’ll talk to you in Danish non-stop. But there are always ways, there are books, there is television, there is risking embarrassment to get better at a foreign language. People tend to pick up on it if you’re willing to invest your time and energy in learning the language of their country, and from there on all elements feed off one another. Knowing Danish makes reading Danish more fun, it makes watching Danish television more satisfying, it makes it easier to meet new people. The frustration might still poke its head out, but you will progress. And if something truly isn’t working – like lessons – face up to it and find a different way. 

Sometimes that’s where the fun lies."

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Expectations: part 1 - service

Even before I moved to Denmark, I tried to get actively involved in the online expat community. I distinctly remember an expat here writing "you wait until you get here ... " in response to one of my posts, I imagine with a virtual wagging finger and evil cackle. Apparently I was naive in stating that my experience with Danes had been positive. Apparently that was impossible. Apparently service is just DREADFUL. Apparently this. Apparently that.

To be honest, I'm unsure what people expect. Service wise, the majority of arguments I have read cite the kassedame at Netto/Bilka/Brugsen etc., or people who work in the kommune. Friends wise, I have heard too many arguments on those oh-so-cold Danes. Jobs wise, I should be shocked that I got a job as a foreigner given how workplaces here will never give up a precious job opening to a foreigner. Costs wise, I should probably be surprised that I'm not pleading poverty.

So - I'm going to share my experiences and thoughts. So I'll start with service. My Danish husband and I enjoy good service. Nay, we as the customer deserve good service. But our expectations of what good service actually is differs from place to place. I work in retention marketing (and love it) and it is my job to provide a good user experience and customer service so I have very high standards, depending on the place and what I expect to get from the experience. My husband is just ever so slightly more forgiving than me, but it's a fine line.

Anyway, back to topic, let's talk food shopping. When doing the food shop, I have absolutely no desire to talk to anyone. My goal is to go in, get food, pay, pack, cycle home. I don't go in to make friends. I don't go in for conversation. Am I strange for this? I have read so many people moaning about how the service is bad in supermarkets. But what should we be expecting here? A full on conversation? How's your day going/how are the kids/etc? Don't think so. The cashiers in my local supermarkets (I'm in the Vesterbro district of Copenhagen) will always say "hav en god dag!" with a smile before quickly moving onto the next customer which I think is nice enough - like I say, I'm not in there to make friends and a miserable face at the till will not make me boycott a supermarket.I have to say though - the service in the independent places close to me, such as the greengrocers and smaller delis, tends to be great. Particularly a lovely little French deli near Frederiksberg called Le Gourmand, especially if the older guy is behind the counter.

Now for restaurants/bars/hotels. THIS is where I want good service. I'm not in there to make friends, but I am in there to potentially make a long term relationship with the place. If I get bad service in a bar/restaurant etc., I will and have boycotted places. The only places in terms of this sort of service where I'm more forgiving are the bodegas. You need to be tough to run one of those bad boys and I actually quite like the rough around the edges feel about it. A sweet smile just wouldn't feel right. From a restaurant I expect to be welcomed with a smile, I expect menus to be handed to me - not shoved or thrown - and I expect to have the full attention from whoever is serving. I think that's fair. On my part, I always go in with a smile as well. I pay particular attention to service in these establishments and I always remember good service. Always. It makes me want to go back. Anyway, my experiences here in Copenhagen haven't actually been that bad. I can count on one hand the number of places I have boycotted due to bad service. But, particularly recently, I have had a lot of brilliant service. Maybe it's because I've been paying more attention recently and so I've made more of a mental note, but who cares why. The fact is that good service does exist here. So, I've listed the places at the end of the blog where I have had good service, because 1) I think they deserve to be visited and 2) they do an excellent job of rebutting the broken record of "Denmark = bad service". Copenhagen isn't that bad. Trust me. I do however need to maintain that we as the customer have our part to play in service too, albeit smaller - always go in with a smile and good manners.
With bars my expectations are a little lower than restaurants but still high - I once went to a bar with my friend visiting from the UK and it took approximately three minutes before I was served, even though I was the only one there. One girl was crouching down behind the till, fiddling with the bar's iPod, and the guy standing behind the bar had his back to the beer taps and was chatting away to his co-worker. When I finally got served it was almost with a look of annoyance. Needless to say, we drank our beers and then got the hell out of there. I haven't been back since. (To be fair however I tend to stick with bodegas in terms of bars so I don't have *that* much experience with bars so I hope they're not all like that!)
Hotels ... well, as I live here I haven't had that much need for a hotel. However I did stay in Hotel Kong Arthur in the centre of Copenhagen for my wedding, and we've recently come back from a short trip to Jutland - we stayed in a hotel just outside Horsens for one night. But in both (very different) hotels, the service we received was great. Hotel Kong Arthur were extremely professional and very friendly - my parents stayed at the same hotel for five nights and were very happy with the service there. No rudeness. The hotel in Horsens was a different but just as pleasant experience - the girl on reception when we arrived was genuinely friendly and the guy on reception on checkout was just as friendly. As soon as he learnt that I was from the UK he switched to English but not because he thought I didn't understand Danish (as it was, his accent was quite difficult to understand so I was relieved!) but because he seemed quite proud that he had lived there for a while and just wanted to converse. I was made to feel very welcome in different ways by both hotels.

Service businesses e.g. cycle shops/mechanics. I expect to be treated with respect here - I'm the customer and they are the expert. We don't own a car so we don't use mechanics but we have used three cycle places since moving here. Two out of the three offered professional help, one in particular was very friendly, and the third one were just plain rude (we haven't been back there either).

I could go on, I really could. I've been making a point of paying real attention to the service I get in different places this month - I have to admit that I've had more good than bad. But then again - I research the hell out of pretty much everything, especially restaurants. TripAdvisor is my bible in that regards. If there are too many comments about bad service then I won't risk it.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to reassure people that it's not all bad here. Good service doesn't lack - you just need to know where to go. To help, here are the eateries where I got good service - and good food.

Spisehuset 56
Les Trois Cochons
Marv & Ben
Peder Oxe
Pintxos Tapas


Let me know what you think.