Beer, Subways and Hedgehogs

Posted on / by Alex Berger

The Canal - Copenhagen, Denmark

A quick update – things have been pretty hectic here. I started classes last week and was delighted to find that most of the reading was engaging, relevant, and genuinely interesting. Both of my professors seem to be friendly, supportive, and engaging.  All in all a promising start.

On the other side of things I’m still waiting for my Visa to come through.  Danish immigration services have given me inaccurate information several times so far slowing down the process. Frustrating. I’m hoping that I finally fixed the last issue and will get my Visa and CPR (basically your Danish drivers license/social security card) later this week.  Not having a CPR has been absolutely brutal as it’s required for everything – from signing up for a bank account to registering for a cell phone plan.  Housing is also an absolute nightmare here with virtually no support from the University. I’m still looking, but find that anything near the city center typically gets snapped up in a matter of hours.  Definitely a change of pace from what I was familiar with in Phoenix.

BUT, I’m sure you’re wondering what hedgehogs have to do with this article right?

Last night I was heading home from a friend’s birthday party at about 4:30AM.  After a night spent chatting with new friends I made my way to the Christianshavn metro station dodging past the bums sleeping at the entrance and preparing to hop on the escalators that would carry me the 2-3 stories down to the metro line. As I neared the escalator a marginally sober Danish woman in her 40s? approached me in a flurry telling me she needed my help with an animal (first in Danish and then in English).  Initially thinking she was just a weird drunk I was a bit hesitant at first, but I quickly noticed a small spiny critter sitting huddled on the 3rd step down on the now halted escalator.

She had a large sweater with which she was trying to move the little guy, but given his spines, and her fear of him she ended up jumping up and down/back more than actually moving him.  After getting over my disbelief at drunkenly running into a hedgehog randomly in the middle of a metro station at 5AM in the heart of Copenhagen I tried to figure out how to help the little guy.  Though unsure his chances were much better up-top I felt fairly certain that the odds for the little guy surviving the night, and passing drunks in the metro station were significantly worse.  I gingerly took the sweater and slowly scooped up hedgehog as he bristled, talking to him soothingly and trying to calm him before carrying him up, and out of the metro.  All the while trying to remember if hedgehogs had the ability to shoot spines like a porcupine, and hoping that he continued to be fairly docile despite being carried.  Luckily I avoided getting poked, stabbed or shot with a quill and was able to walk him a ways along the canal and down by some trees and bushes before releasing him.

One thing is for certain – Copenhagen continues to shock and entertain me.

For now – I’m off to the next adventure!

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.


  • wandering educators
    September 11, 2011

    wow!!! i think that some people have hedgies as pets. you could have, too, if only you’d had your own place. LOL!

    did you check airbnb or other sites? i hope that you can find something soon.

    • Alex Berger
      September 12, 2011

      Is AirBnB doing anything 6 months+? I’ve got a place to stay while i find a proper apartment. Just eager to get into something more full time.

      Yep, apparently they make good pets and are illegal in Denmark so who knows. He would have been cute =)

  • Dan
    September 17, 2011

    Gotta love all the randomness of life! lol

  • Angie Orth
    September 18, 2011

    I have such a bleeding heart for animals, I probably would have done the same thing! Well done, you!

    • Alex Berger
      September 19, 2011

      Thanks, hope the little guy is off doing whatever hedgehogs do!

  • Lois Eggers
    October 10, 2011

    Hello Alex,
    Finally got your correct blog. Just caught up with your entries from Copenhagen. You must feel a bit like an orphan without your own place to call home. Hope that situation is solved very soon so you have a place to study and rest better than it must be now.
    Loved how you rescued the hedghog. Who would have thought? I enjoyed the scenes and notes about the Diamond Library. I’ll be watching for your future notes. So well written and enjoyable.

    • Alex Berger
      October 11, 2011

      Drifting from place to place is definitely a bit challenging, but not overly terrible. It has encouraged me to re-discover and appreciate coffee shop culture!


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