Unless I’ve got a good enough reason, I rise with the sun and today is no exception. After a seven minute snooze of my 5am alarm, I’m sat at the bus station in Vejle, about to take the 43 bus to Billund where Lego’s HQ is in order to pay a stocky German guy called Michael to beat me up before work.
Looking around these almost silent lamp-lit streets, it’s hard not to notice how unusually spotless they are. There’s a litter bin every few metres alongside where the busses stop, each with a section for recyclables, and apart from a few discarded cigarette butts, the pavements are immaculate. It feels a little unfamiliar, if I’m honest. There’s not a single bit of grit, grime or graffiti in sight.
As I board the 6.03am bus, which arrives precisely on time, my daydreams are full of questions. I can feel the frustration and curiosity swirling around my stomach, wondering why it is in other towns and cities in other parts of the world people seem to want to make the world look ugly? To me, throwing litter on the street is just as weird and disgusting as throwing litter on your own living room floor. Imagine doing that every single day until it begins to pile up around you and you’re festering in your own filth?
Anyway, back to my Danish morning….
We start our journey inland towards the belly button of Jutland, passing the cute little white churches, houses with tall slanted roofs and fields full of corn. The skies are grey-blue and blanketed in cloud, the roads are peacefully quiet. Rows and rows of perfectly planted evergreen trees stand tall on either side and every few minutes we’ll pass a clearing in the forest where there’ll be a farm guarded by heards of cows, all huddled together, sleeping.
This is hands down the most beautiful commute I’ve ever had to do. A much nicer way to wake up than a ninety minute tube ride from East to West London, squished up against somebody’s armpit trying to hold onto the rail above your head with one hand while attempting to hold your book with the other.
As I disembark the bus, shouting “Tak!” to the friendly driver and make my way towards the fitness centre which could quite easily be mistaken for a torture chamber, I can’t help but think how glaringly obvious it is why this country is often ranked the happiest in the world.