On 12th August 2008 I boarded Turkish Airlines flight TK 1071. The scheduled departure time at New Delhi airport was 04.45 am. For some time the light in the aircraft went off frequently. It appeared that the electrical system was rectified before departure.

I was travelling to Copenhagen to assess a prospective franchisee Viki Goel, now a Danish national and successful businessman of Denmark. I was to stay at Copenhagen from 12th to 14th August. During the stay I was to inspect the premises and meet Viki Goel and other senior officials of embassy of India.

That aircraft was to go up to Istanbul where I was to change the flight to TK 1785 to reach Copenhagen at 4.30 pm, its scheduled time of arrival.

The distance between New Delhi to Istanbul is 4841 kms. The flying time was 5 hours 55 minutes. Due to an electrical snag detected on the ground the flight was delayed by one hour. The flight took off at 5.40 am almost when sun rises in Delhi.

The flight to Istanbul was over Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and several other countries. Before reaching destination there was a short film on Istanbul. As expected there were several photographs of Ataturk Kamal Pasha in a tie and suit at the Ataturk International airport, Istanbul. There I spent my waiting time either in Turkish Airlines CIP lounge for business class or window shopping at the old bazaar shop. As the shop is located inside the airport it was natural that the prices would be on higher side. But there the price of all gift items was exorbitant. Turkey is an expensive country. But why it became costly is difficult to answer. However most of the Turkish people consider it as low cost country in comparison to many European countries.

Inside the Istanbul airport the culture was western. However, there were many women clad in veils or wearing traditional eastern dresses. There was a small mosque, camii, within the airport building.

I boarded the flight TK 1785 which was scheduled to depart at 2.15 pm. But it was already delayed. I also found many families travelling in that flight who exhibit conservative Muslim dress code. My co-passenger who lives in Copenhagen has some business around Istanbul. He told me that as the standard of living is higher in Denmark, some families have migrated there. Most of the needs are taken care of by the government.

The flight to Copenhagen actually took off at 2.45 pm, exactly half an hour late. The flight time was to be two hours and fifty five minutes. The distance is 2109 kms. At the time of taking off I could see the surrounding area of the airport. It looked mix of European and Eastern architecture and planning.

During the flight we were served lunch. There was many variation of cheese besides chicken kebabs, etc. The plastic container of the cutlery set had printed information that ‘our meals do not contain pork products’. This may be the only airline that is sensitive to the necessity of printing such information.

The flight landed at Copenhagen. The exit through immigration was quick though its entry and enclosures looked like a cage. There must be several closed circuit cameras monitoring the passengers.

I reached the baggage claim area and stood at belt no.6 which was retrieving the luggage of the passengers. My luggage did not come hence I went to NOVIA Denmark counter at the airport and lodged a complaint. There were two officials from embassy of India, Denmark who received me inside the airport. After spending more than one hour at the airport finally I came out of it where I was received by Viki Goel. I checked in at Radisson Scandinavia hotel. I stayed in room number 1716. My room had lovely view of Copenhagen including the river and Parliament building. Actually the city is situated on the shores of sea and through canals connected to the city.

Rakesh Kumar Arora, Second Secretary in Indian embassy had invited me for dinner at his residence Lyngbyvej217, 1st floor. Dinner lasted till late in the night and I returned to the hotel after past mid night.

On 13th August 2008I went to Indian embassy located at Vangehusvej 15 where I met Yogesh K Gupta, India’s Ambassador. He had joined there about six months back succeeding Parthasarthi Ray. He told me about changed relationship between India and Denmark. Earlier there was attitude of a donor who had the right to give sermon to India on various social issues. Now, due to India’s high economic development and grown importance in world there is a relationship of partnership. Some Indian doctors have joined service in Denmark. A team of Danish official was to soon visit India to recruit information technologists. Later I visited the shop premises of Kontant Foto A/S owned by Viki Goel. This is located at Kobmagergade 44. It is located near head post office of Copenhagen and also near Round Tower. I saw important shopping areas around there.

I went to Astoria Pizza run by an Indian origin Bhatnagar, near central railway station, where I took pizza. Though I insisted for payment but he did not accept the money as I was accompanied with Viki Goel.

In the afternoon I held discussions with the lawyer and accountant of Viki Goel.

In the evening I attended a dinner hosted by Viki Goel. The Indian Ambassador Yogesh Gupta and his wife attended the dinner along with other officials of the embassy. On way return to the hotel I saw the Parliament building without visible security. There were rows of apartments constructed in recent times along the canal system. This plan makes the living in apartments more tranquil.

When I returned to the hotel I got a pleasant surprise. My luggage lost in Turkish airline transfer was delivered in my room before my return. I unpacked the belongings and arranged them for use.

On 14th August 2008 it was bright sunshine early inthemorning. The view of the prominent landmarks of the city like the Parliament and Town Hall and Church and the sea was lovely. Soon afterwards it started to rain. Before noon I left the hotel and went to see places near the posh shopping area located near the Queen’s Palace, Round Tower and Parliament. People from other parts of the world thronged the market place. The total population of Denmark is about five million. There are immigrants from Arab countries, Eastern Europe, Pakistan and India. According to an international survey, Denmark has been ranked as having happiest people in the world. Here the social security is of very high standard. Some people would prefer to avail of the benefits of the schemes and do not do any work. Those who earn have to pay high income tax to the extent of sixty seven percent of their income.

Denmark has many giant service sector international companies. It has advanced technology in some sectors. In chemical and pharmaceutical sector it has great business across the world.

The Queen’s palace and its nearby areas are places of historical interest. Those days the Queen had gone to France where her husband belongs. There were few security guards posted at the gates of the palace. Unlike many other countries the visible presence of the police was negligible. But it is said that intelligence agencies are substantially maintained.

I went around the beaches as well. The half mermaid statue famous world over was an attraction as large number of tourists were taking photographs with the statue.

By five or six in the evening Copenhagen became deserted.

In the evening Rakesh Arora, 2nd Secretary of Indian embassy took me to the residence of India’s Ambassador Yogesh Gupta. We had dinner and talked about people and life in Denmark. We discussed the handloom and handicraft sector. We celebrated India’s Independence Day on the previous night.

There are a couple of Indian food outlets. Indian Palace situated in posh area was purchased by a Pakistani entrepreneur recently. There is Taj restaurant. ‘B’ India is another famous outlet.

During my stay in Copenhagen Paris Hilton was also in town for four days to promote her line of handbags, which were marketed by the Danish company P H Europe.

Seven Muslim organizations had planned to bring their civil case against Jyllands – Posten newspaper over its printing of the Prophet Mohammad drawings to the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs were calling for the courts to award punishment to the two editorsand claimed  50,000 Kroner compensation.

I checked out of the hotel and reached the Copenhagen International Airport. I fly to Stockholm by Scandinavian Airlines SK 404. The flight took off at 11.30 am. It was a cheap fare flight hence no meal or refreshment was provided.

I arrived at Arlanda International airport. It was a small but clean airport located about 40 kms. from city of Stockholm. I found passengers from different parts of the world including from the Indian sub-continent. Later, while travelling in the city it was apparent that Stockholm has become home for people from different parts of the world in spite of its apparent remoteness from main route of Asia, Europe and America.

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