Copenhagen, Denmark

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Getting Around:

It took some skill to get here.  From the airport – where to go?  I figured out where, now how? Train vs. Metro – who the heck knows?  Took the train, but ok, now where?  I found an info center and got a map, but wait, none of the streets here have names.  Well, they do on the map, but not on the actual street themselves.. no joke!  Not on the corners, not on the street lights, not on the traffic lights, not painted on the road… NOTHING.  It’s a good thing that I’m good with direction and was able to orient myself according to landmarks.  I made my way through an entire city of a different language based on museums, banks, and statues – didn’t even make a wrong turn once!

The Train and Metro was sort of difficult to figure out.  And in addition to it being a little difficult at first, there was the train fiasco…  On the train and they tell us that the driver is lost and that they were waiting for another. Ten minutes later, they tell us that the train ride has been cancelled and that we ALL need to get off and move to track #5. We get on the new train and they tell us to switch at the next station because the train to Malmö, Sweden was directly behind us. We do. We are then in first class of the Malmö train because those were the only seats available [it was SO crowded] and they announce that the train we were on only goes to the airport and that we need to switch AGAIN.  At this point, there are SO many people because of all of the waiting and switching.  I think the news was even there because there were cameras all over the place documenting everything.  I hope this isn’t a normal occurance.

Local Info:

Prices. Finding cheap food didn’t pan out – this city is expensive.

Activities. At the small parks around the city, there was BIKE POLO in the middle of a streets!

Weather. The temperature in Copenhagen is not what I expected.  It was cold.  And when the wind blew… wow.

Christiania.  There was a part of town that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  It was called Christiania and it was like a different country [I think it literally has it’s own laws and all].  A friend referred to it as “like black and white of Denmark.”  Outside the walls of this “town,” Copenhagen seems so prim and proper and then in this place: complete chaos.  Garbage/Art covered the walls of the buildings and streets but it was actually nice to look at.  Abandoned clothes and children’s toys lie about the streets, yards, and trees.  Signs informed us that girls could get basically anything we wanted [food, coffee, drinks, joints, etc.] for free after flashing. 80% of the people there were smoking pot openly and selling it in stands like you would see at the mall.  There were picnic tables, places up on the roofs, yards, lakes, etc. where you could sit and just smoke/drink and no one would bother you.  This place was unreal.  I took some pictures before I realized that cameras were not allowed [hmm, I wonder why].  I bought an awesome ring from a guy who said it was made from “a nut of a palm tree.”  I love it!  It is so unique and there is a design in the nut the looks like a heart with fireworks [or something like that… like an inkblot test, but that is what I see].

What I Experienced:

Craziness is going on here and I’m not sure why.  There are huge trucks with camo paint and coverings with what it looks to be high school/college kids hanging out of it yelling, singing, dancing, making noise, blasting music, and signaling everyone to honk.  A truck like this goes by about every 10 minutes that I saw when walking the city streets.  Why?  World Cup?  One truck had a picture of a lamb/sheep painted on the side with kids hanging out of it… Yeah…  I was confused, but I found out that these trucks are filled with students that just graduated High School.  It’s a tradition for them to do this for about a week or so at the end of the senior year.

World Cup Luck. I went with some hostel friends to watch the World Cup [US vs. Ghana game] on a HUGE screen TV outside on the water where everyone had huge pillows and layed around watching the game.  This place was made for these types of events.  Everyone just layed around and there was food and drinks sold.  It was a good, relaxing time.  Unfortunately, the US lost so we had to hear people giving us hell on the walk back, but it was fun nonetheless.

Danish house parties: dancing, beer, fun.

THE SUN… does not stay down long.  It’s still light out here at 11pm and then it rises at about 3am.

Queen’s palace.  There was a special walk through going on because the crown prince and crown princess are planning on moving in soon so they completely renovated the castle to their taste.  Before they move in with their children, they opened it to the public to see how they made the castle more modern, yet restored some of it’s original characteristics [such a the gold gilding everywhere].  The art work on the wall was extremely bizarre.  The kitchen had deer and giant rodents painted on the walls that were bigger than the people.  The artist said that this was an imaginary world and he picked deer because the prince likes to hunt.  Other rooms were even more strange with murals of maps up-side-down with random floating shoes, water bottles, chairs, laptops, etc.  If this sounds weird, it’s because it was.  I did not understand it and palace or not, it is a place where I would not want to live.  Personally, I thought they ruined a perfectly good palace, but to each their own.

Green:

Price of cans and bottles are higher to encourage people to recycle in order to get that money back

Windmills.

Week long festivals with stationary bicycles set up to charge cell phones and other electronic devices [genius].

Bikes.  Everyone in Copenhagen bikes everywhere.  It is awesome.  I really think there are more bikes here than cars.  And, apparently there are bikes around town that are free for people to ride. I definitely took advantage of the public bike situation and rode everywhere around town!  There are even separate train/metro cars specially made for people standing with bikes.  This town is so “green!”  I rode the bike everywhere! I rode so far that my map of Copenhagen didn’t even have where I went.  After I rode it to get food, I went back outside to ride back to the hostel but wait, someone took it. Damn it! I knew that was going to happen. It’s a free bike and I don’t carry a chain and lock with me. Looks like I’m walking… it wasn’t far so… I made the walk longer just for fun :o)

The Food:

I experienced the worst bread known to man.  It was cheap so we [new friend and I] bought that with nutella which you think would be amazing on ANYTHING, but no… I could not even finish a piece of this bread and I can eat ANYthing… especially bread! I love bread!I also experienced and amazing pastry that was covered in poppyseeds and stuffed with sugar spread.  It was like an ultra soft, sweet [but not too sweet] poppy bagel.  It was SO good.  I’m getting more of those tomorrow.  And, surprisingly, it wasn’t terribly expensive – only 7.5 DKK-10 DKK! [which is about $1.75].  Yum.At a recommended pizza place, the guy working was the first person I met that didn’t speak fluent English. I told him that I like all food and just to give me what HE would order. Well, I should have been more clear. He gave me an entire pizza! I tried to explain that I only wanted one slice, but after 5 minutes of him finally understanding, they don’t sell by the slice. Ok, well, man up! I ate almost half. The other half went in my backpack.

Night Life:

I was debating staying in tonight and getting stuff done like laundry [in the sink], showering [since it’s been 2 or so days], and sorting through pictures [since we took over 100 of them today in Malmö], but…. Nah… Who needs clean clothes when one brought way too many?!  Who needs to shower when one always smell like a bed of roses?!  Who needs to sit on a computer when there’s a whole world out there waiting to be conquered by an amazing American?!  Exactly.  So I grabbed my mini-backpack and headed out the door.  I had no idea where I was headed.  I just started walking and turned at every green light so that I didn’t have to stop.  There were rain clouds behind me so I couldn’t turn back now and I wasn’t going to stop and get wet!  I wound up on some street with a few bars that were downstairs.  They had windows on very top of the wall that were where my feet were on the street.  I passed some places but then it started to rain so I turned around and ducked into a bar.  A World Cup game was on, but almost finished.  I sat at the bar alone, and talked to the girl tending bar.  I had no idea what any of the 40 beers where written on the wall except for Heiniken and the lock Danish beer that is everywhere [Calsberg].  I told the girl to just give me her favorite and that would do.  She did – Ale 16.  It was tasty.Sitting at the bar alone, a guy that was leaving with his friends walked back inside and said that he wanted me to go with them down the street to a different, more happening place called L.A. Bar.  I did, and I’m glad I did!  L.A. Bar was pretty awesome – more packed with younger people mingling instead of just sitting.  We stayed at L.A. Bar until we closed the place down and then moved to The Moose [that place had character(s)].

Where I Stayed:

City Public Hostel (this was about 3 days before I started couchsurfing!!)

I slept in the “medium room” a few nights and then the “large room.”  The large room lives up to its name.  I think it sleeps about 70 people or so but I think I liked that room better –  it was cheaper and, surprisingly, quieter.  Small rooms tend to get people that just want to hang out and giggle the whole time.  Large rooms, there is bound for somebody to speak up and put someone in their place if giggling is going on.

This hostel is relatively safe, but the doors stay open [not just unlocked, but literally open] so anyone can just walk in to the the hostel itself and the individual rooms.  But I actually kind of liked this because I felt like there was more freedom.  I also think I stayed there one night for free because since everyone is just walking in a out as they please, it’s difficult for the people at the desk to keep track of who’s who.

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Random Stuff I Loved:

“Backwards” Bus Stop – The bus stops are “backwards” from what I am used to – the back of the bench is to the street so that the people sitting face the sidewalk.  At first I thought this didn’t make sense because they wouldn’t be able to see the bus pulling in, but the three sides of the bus stops are clear SO, I have a theory: The back of the bus stop faces the street in case it is raining so if a car/bus/bike goes by, people waiting for the bus do not get splashed by the passing traffic.  Do we have bus stops like this in the US?  I think I’ve only seen the opening face the street, which, now that I think about it, is silly!

Blankets outside all cafés – all the cafés have blankets on the back of the chairs so that you can bundle/cuddle up, enjoy the nice cool summer night and the atmosphere of the café.  Love it!

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