Sunday, 15 January 2017

Destination Europe I: Stepping into Scandinavia

From the far flung Himalayan countryside of Bhutan, the academic journey has me destined to be in Europe. I don’t have much travel experiences outside Bhutan, though I am a travel freak as my profession of being forester dealing with wildlife and conservation, bridging community and biodiversity, etc.., obliges me to be one. My travel would often involve weeks of journey into Bhutan’s wilderness, walking on foot with basics necessities and foodstuffs on my backpack. Now having landed in Germany and for that matter in Europe for the first time, six months have already passed so swiftly.
Taking the Cruise to Copenhagen.

Studying in Europe offers an enriching experience, with its lure of different cultures, countries and experiences. Unlike travelling to the countries outside Europe where destination is bound to be a single country, entering a European country means gateway to diversity of culture, life and people in numerous countries, each having a distinct identity, charm and beauty.  The university where I go being located in the North-Eastern Germany, cities of neighbouring countries are quite far. Yet, during the last six months, I took the chance to visit some of the cities in Northern Europe, plunging myself into the array of lifestyles. Travelling is very convenient with efficient means of transport systems and logistics can be comfortably booked in one of the cheap hostels in the cities, wherein we share the room with many peoples, depending on our budget and choice.

1. Copenhagen: Capital of Denmark: I along with my international friends’ maid our first journey to city of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark on 29th August 2016, as it is the nearest city from our place. It took us little less than 12 hours to reach there, having to switch from train to bus to ferry. While in the city, we stayed in a 6 bedded hostel, and after decades of completing the schools, I had a nostalgic feeling of being back in the hostel dorms. The beds are double storeyed. Demark, by Happiness index is ranked the happiest country in the world, which is attributed to people appreciating the simple things in life. However, happiness in Copenhagen comes at a cost. I learnt that citizens are taxed heavily to take care of persons over all well-being. Consumer prices in Copenhagen are 37% higher than Berlin. Copenhagen is a pedestrian and cycle friendly city and going from one location to another could be comfortably done on foot.  I don’t have any special point of interests than just going around and seeing the places. We spent two days there and could visit many of the points of interests in the city; the Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, Castles, Palaces and Museums in the city vicinity.
Gate to Tivoli garden


Christiansborg Palace

Rosenborg Castle

Amalienborg Palace

Little Mermaid
The city is immaculately clean, without any trashes and unpleasant smells. This coupled with the autumn colours where trees and natural environment attained the chromatic hue, the city gives us sense of happiness as well. If one thing I can take from the place, the sense of cleanliness would be valuable. Bhutan also need stringent rules to maintain our cities clean, and our people should willingly follow the rules. This way, the sense of cleanliness would also give more sense of happiness.

2. Malmo: City in Sweden: Malmo is just 45 minutes ride by bus from Copenhagen. We checked into Malmo during our second evening to have a glimpse of Sweden, a new country. We just spent around 9 hours in Malmo and basically roamed the city blindly. Scandinavian countries are best known for their cleanliness and efficient waste management systems in place. Like Copenhagen, Malmo is also a beautiful and clean city by the coastline, and it is also a waste conscious city. It’s now reported that Sweden is literally in short of waste to keep their waste regulating machines running, compelling them to import wastes. Also, seen along the coastline are the numerous wind turbines, thus generating clean and green energy. Such, exemplary developments from Scandinavian countries, if replicated in other world, would make the planet much safer and cleaner. 
City Buildings of Malmo

Canal in Malmo

Canal by the Night
For Bhutan, we are lucky to be blessed with numerous river systems, which help us generate enough energy. However, at the risk is the unlimited generation whereby we dam each and every river. In a couple of decades, I fear that the aquatic biodiversity would be at stake without a single river flowing in its natural rhythm. Sometimes, I feel that our developmental path is derailing from the renowned Gross National Happiness philosophy? Growth to what end? Until we finish damming all the rivers? It would be nice, if Bhutan also explore more on generating wind energy like Sweden. 

For the next trips, I moved Westwards. 

P.S (Pictures taken by the author)


  1. Now I really envy you...Keep crafting memories.

    1. Just for the record of personal diary, posting some pics bro.