Tag Archives: tivoli

Constitution Day in Copenhagen 5th June 2014 (day 4/5)

I celebrated Constitution Day by not getting out of bed until 10am. It was only right and proper, and showed the appropriate level of respect to whoever had declared it a holiday in the first place.

Anine had a bit of work to do, so we all sat around the kitchen table chatting during the morning. That is a perfectly lovely way to spend your time; in my house, I tend to live largely in a 6ft square area which includes my PC, behind security shutters where no natural light can get in. I am seriously going to have to review that when I get back, because I have seen that there are far more pleasant ways to exist.

In the afternoon we headed into town, to Tivoli Gardens. I could happily live out the rest of my life there, it is absolutely beautiful.

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Can this be my house, please?

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Apparently, this restaurant gave Robbie WIlliams the shits. Good effort!

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Bewbs!

I am pretty ambivalent when it comes to boobs. Lots of people have them. I have a couple myself, in fact. I don’t spend an excessive amount of time looking at boobs, but neither am I distressed if they make an appearance. I was however really quite surprised by the amount of boobs I saw in Copenhagen. Granted, the city is quite famous for having a naked fish-girl statue sat on a rock, but still. The first time I was stood on a curb and a bus swished past with a big black and white photo of a naked pair of breasts on it, I was quite taken aback. I just stood blinking for a bit, before remarking; “There’s tits on that bus…” In England, the sight of boobs turns us all into 8 year old children, which means either the Danes are more sophisticated than we are, or they just hide it better in order to see more boobs.

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I am a big fan of Oriental style architecture, furniture, art; for some reason it really appeals to me visually. In fact, my forearm tattoos are the dragon and the phoenix from Chinese mythology. Needless to say, this particular section of Tivoli Gardens had me nearly wetting myself.

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Seriously, amazing. I love this.

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Props to whoever designed this place.

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I don’t care if it means I am turning into my Nan, I love a good water feature.

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There are little quirky touches everywhere.

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Aw come on, a pirate ship too?? You really don’t want me to leave…

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How do you get a job as a gardener in a place like this?

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Really pretty…apart from the scratty, turkey-faced bird at the front.

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Some sections felt almost like they were out of a fairy story.

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Arse end of a pirate ship. Incidentally, Willow trees are the best trees ever.

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[insert lupin joke here]

At the end, there was a shop full of tat, a perfect opportunity to buy something to clutter up my sister’s house. In fact, I ended out buying myself a convection-powered rotating Moomins candle holder, which I was ridiculously excited about.

I left Tivoli gardens in somewhat of a reluctant daze. Next stop, Christiania.

I have very limited interest in reality and as such, history and politics don’t make much of an impression on my memory. However, the salient points that I have able to gather about Christiania are as follows. The site was previously the former military barracks of Bådsmandsstræde (abandoned between 1967 and 1971). What started as some minor trespassing of homeless people escalated until the fences were broken down and the whole area declared open; a community of hippies and anarchists built up over time with the intentions of becoming a self-governing entity and generally being lovely to each other.

I am going to quote directly from Wikipedia here;

“[Jacob] Ludvigsen was co-author of Christiania’s mission statement, dating from 1971, which offers the following:

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.”

 While that is all peaceful and positive, since 2004 the authorities have been way less tolerant of illegal substance sale and usage in Christiania and have been somewhat more heavy handed about addressing it. From the stories Jesper and Anine had been telling me about drug sales, police raids and fire bombs, I was expecting to walk into a scene out of The Wire.

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Mildly disappointing.

As it happened, it was more ‘teatime at Glastonbury’ than ‘downtown Baltimore’. One minute you’re walking down a normal residential street, and the next you are ducking through a gap in the bushes into some kind of cheese dream.

That photograph is not one of mine. Very quickly as you walk through Christiania, you come across Pusher Street (“Welcome to the Green Light Zone!”) and are greeted with big signs everywhere that give you some brief guidelines on expected conduct;

Have Fun, Don’t Run, No Photos

Running – quite understandably – creates panic amongst those who are openly (and still illegally) selling weed on the streets. Taking photos is a surefire way to earn yourself a kicking into the bargain, so any pictures of Christiania that I drop in are ones I have found online, taken by people braver than I. Where I can find someone to credit for the photo, I will.

Pusher Street did exactly what it said on the tin. Scrim net, tarps and camo cloth provided cover over little stalls selling all manner of weed and smoking paraphernalia. I didn’t make a lot of eye contact, but the people manning the stalls looked less like the hairy hippies I was expecting and more like slightly twitchy hardcases.

As we walked past Pusher Street, there was a square full of A-frame tables, in what appeared to be a kind of food court. Most of the people sat at the benches were smoking joints that could easily have been mistaken for baguettes.

The big chunk of Christiania that wasn’t Pusher Street was just peaceful looking, rural, held together with duck tape and twine, a bit run down but well-loved, with a generally happy festival/commune/agricultural vibe to it. Despite this, the whole place seems to be regarded as being synonymous primarily with selling weed. I get the impression that what started out as an idea about a new type of society and way of life, has been hijacked by dealers and stoners who have jumped on the bandwagon, because it’s a bloody good place to get wasted without getting hassled by the Police. Mostly.

Christiania is full of vibrant art and intense colours. Some of it was really quite beautiful and moving, but most of it was like watching a mosh pit full of My Little Ponies and Care Bears.

Besides the eclectic art, the place was full of people riding bikes with boxes built on the front. Apparently, these are native to Christiana and are sold all over the place, for transport of anything from trade goods to small children.

There was evidence everywhere of a recent drive to complete repairs and renovations on the buildings. Apparently there are reasonably strict regulations about the geographical footprint of buildings, so the majority of the extensions and additions to the buildings were all built upwards, or sprouting out sideways from second and thirds floors like mushrooms out of the trunks of trees. There was definitely something organic and actually quite appealing about the way the place appears to have evolved.

On the outskirts of Christiania you could see blackened trees and street signs, evidence of the retaliation against previous police raids. I really don’t feel in any way qualified to express an opinion, but apparently since the police started cracking down on drug activity in the 2000’s, there has been an unwelcome overspill into other areas of the town… I’m not saying that I believe the police should turn a blind eye to people who are acting against the law which they have been employed to protect, but one can’t help but wonder if there mightn’t be a better way forward.

After we left Christiania, we walked along the canal towards Luna restaurant where we were going to have dinner. For some reason, the cobbled street, the water and the bridges all reminded me of Stormwind. If you don’t know where that is, that’s probably a good thing. If you DO know where it is, please don’t judge me.

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Stormwind, before Deathwing did a number on it, at any rate…

If you are ever in Copenhagen, please make a point of going to Luna‘s. It has a warm, comfortable atmosphere, the staff are great, the food is AMAZING (best stir-fry I have had in a very long time), but the thing that has permanently pushed them into my affections was this;

75cl. Yes, yes I think so.

75cl. Yes, yes I think so.

I have gotten used to asking for the largest beer available when I am travelling, since the default seems to be less than a can of soft drink. However in Copenhagen, they are Doing Beer Right. I asked for a large Tuborg and that is precisely what I got. It really doesn’t take a lot to make me happy…

Moar Copenhagen – 4th June 2014 (Day 3/5)

It occurred to me when I got up on Wednesday morning that out of the past 9 days, I had actually only drunk on 3 of them. That must be how normal people live. I think it’s healthy to drop in and pretend to be part of normal society every now and then. I felt somewhat pleased with myself.

After the day’s obligatory starter coffee (required for firing up brain function and central heating, but primarily for preventing migraines) I nipped out to the local døgnNetto to get some breakfast. I am fascinated by supermarkets in different countries – I like comparing and contrasting how everything is laid out, seeing the different ways of doing things and local priorities, and also checking out what kind of food is available. Well, the answer to the last point was in fact “not very much”.

I spent a good 10 minutes wandering backwards and forwards in what was quite a small store, trying to decide if there was anything I actually wanted to eat. After eliminating cakes, biscuits, dried chocolate products and salami, I had narrowed my options down whatever was left in the remaining 5% of the store. I ended out settling on a croissant and some raspberries. The only other realistic contenders for the title of Something I’d Like To Eat were hummus, and frozen peas. I found out later that I wasn’t just going mad or being fussy – apparently Danish supermarkets are not renowned for their wide range of products, unless you go a high-end establishment and pay a lot of money. On balance, I’d stick to the raspberries.

After breakfast, whilst sat at the kitchen table making notes about my wandering thoughts, I caught a glimmer of movement out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t make a fuss, stayed very still, and very soon afterwards, this happened…

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“…what is you?”

I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends, but I was delighted with the progress.

The plan for Wednesday was to get the metro into the centre again, but this time carry on to Nørreport, the second of the two central stops, and then work my way back towards the bit I had explored the day before.

It’s worth noting here that I am not very good at shopping… largely because I fucking hate it. Some girls like nothing more than spending hours browsing through racks of goods and trying on armfuls of clothes. Personally, I would rather carve bible passages into my thighs with a dirty Stanley knife. Most clothing that you find in shops is awful, subject to the whims of people who think skinny jeans, primary colours and bold prints are all Great Ideas. Add to that the fact that women’s clothes never fit me properly anyway, and mix in the generic bland pop music soundtracks, giggly idiot girl patrons, obnoxious lighting and staff that are too enthusiastic for their own good and it comes together to create Nightmare in Kzzinsky-ville. As far as clothes are concerned, if i can’t order it off the internet, I’m not buying it.

However! I was determined that on that particular day, I was going to go into town and buy something other than comics.  I was in a new city, with a pocket full of money, lots of shiny shops and hours to kill. There had to be something I could buy, even if it was just some tat for my sister. I was on a MISSION.

As it happens, I did buy something that wasn’t comics; books…from the other comic shop.

Never let it be said that I am not consistent.

Never let it be said that I am not consistent.

I did LOOK at clothes shops. They didn’t look like a lot of fun. Wandering around in the rain and looking at buildings was way more appealing. Speaking of which…

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Cute. I love this style of roof, really pleases me, visually.

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Wolf vomiting water into a downpipe. Of course.

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Tugging his tail and pinching bums? No idea who this is but he looks like a cheeky chappy.

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Weeping Angel anyone?

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The architecture everywhere is so grand, I love it.

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You know, it’s no Northampton, but it’ll do…

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No idea what it is, but I LIKE it.

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Really lovely, but as it turns out, not a patch on what’s inside.

I was curious about Tivoli. It looked awesome from the outside. Jesper had mentioned that it was a bit expensive, but frankly after paying £10 for a pint in Bergen, nothing really seemed expensive any more…

For anyone planning on travelling to Copenhagen, there is something that I feel it is vitally important to warn you about. Danes are fucking lethal with anything that has wheels.

The least dangerous combination of person and vehicle that I experienced in Copenhagen is the Car. The Car – as a rule – tends to be big enough and loud enough for you to notice it coming, and thus to take steps to avoid it. By far the most dangerous things out on the streets are the cyclists. They absolutely do not give one single fuck.

Everything is geared up quite nicely for cyclists; between the pavement and the road proper, there is the cycle lane. It’s not just a 12 inch painted stripe like you occasionally get in the UK if  you’re lucky – it is easily the same width again as the pavement and even has its own cute little mini-curb. For the love of all you hold dear, do not wander into the cycle lane; they will take your legs off at the knees.

The cyclists in Copenhagen behave like any other species that has no natural predators. They blithely barrel about with a complete lack of interest in the fact that anyone else might be occupying the space they are about to plough through the middle of. It’s nice they don’t have to wear helmets and other safety gear just to be able to move around, and it’s pleasant that they don’t have that persecuted expression and grim set to their jaws… it’s just that one can’t help but think that if there was a bit more of a threat of actual danger, cyclists might not be such out and out cocks.

It’s not just the cyclists. The same mindset has spilled over into the mobility scooter users and pushchair…pushers. If they don’t fit through a space first time, they just reverse and keep repeatedly slamming into whatever obstacle is in the way until something gives. It’s quite terrifying, especially when you add into the mix that everyone is on the wrong side of the road there. I regularly found myself stood for minutes at a time on completely empty streets, waiting for the crossing light to turn green because I was petrified of some Nana coming screaming round the corner on a bicycle and taking me out.

That evening, Anine got back from working away. She [Norwegian] proceeded to inform Jesper [Danish] that the reason they were off work the next day was because it was Constitution Day in Denmark. It’s reassuring to know that the British aren’t the only citizens who don’t give a rat’s arse as long as we’re getting a day off.

That evening, we ate pizza (which I don’t do nearly enough of) and watched The Hunger Games. Firstly, the girl-cat who made an appearance at the table and observed me earlier came and curled up between my feet, which was nice. I hadn’t realised until that point how much I missed my own cat. Secondly, I genuinely liked the film.

I enjoyed the darkness and the sense of being powerless in the face of an awful society that’s bigger than you are…and that people weren’t afraid to stand up anyway and take the consequences. And there WERE consequences. For a teen book, it did not at all shy away from any of the more horrible elements and wasn’t afraid to kill off a good guy or two when necessary.

Also, Lenny Kravitz would get it. Hard.

Lenny Kravitz

“I like the beard, gives me something to hold on to. WOOF!”