Ironman Weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

As previously mentioned, Mike has a knack for showing up in cities when big things are happening, totally unbeknownst to him. Which is, of course, why we were in Copenhagen during Ironman weekend.

The city was covered with very intense triathletes gearing up for their 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and marathon 26.22-mile (42.2 km) run.

We were passing through on our way to Norway and wanted to do none of those things.


Cities often take on different personalities during major events. Every day isn’t a carnival in Rio de Janeiro or Venice. Pamplona doesn’t always have bulls running through the streets. And if you throw a tomato at someone in Buñol on any day but the last Wednesday in August, you’re probably going to regret it.

And while these events are tons of fun, they do make tougher to be a tourist. Hotels are full, so their staff members have little interest in making special arrangements for you. They know you have nowhere else to go. Restaurants are filled to capacity around the clock, so servers are frazzled and can’t keep all the plates spinning. They also know you may never darken their doors again, so they just want to get you in and out to turn the tables as quickly as possible. And prices everywhere are at a premium.

We tried to keep all this in mind during our stay in Copenhagen, particularly since we know exactly how the locals feel. Our hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, hosts its own Ironman and half Ironman every year, so we’ve seen the other side of the coin.

But given the reception we received from Copenhageners, which ranged from standoffish to rude, we couldn’t help but laugh when we saw this sign in our hotel:


The poster was created in 2002 and hung all over Copenhagen “as a comment on the increasing harsh climate in Denmark with regards to public debate on immigrants and issues on integration,” according to design studio Superflex.

In response to the posters, Superflex received an anonymous, 11-word letter, presumably from a Dane. They turned it into a neon art installation that is now exhibited at the Danish newspaper Politiken: 


And that, ladies and gentlemen, was our visit to Copenhagen.