Copenhagen: Actually Quite Cool

Admittedly, Copenhagen was the city that I wasn’t expecting to spend much time in: I was advocating another day in Stockholm and just kind of briefly touching Copenhagen before heading off for home. Thankfully I was overruled.

As previously mentioned, we took the train to Copenhagen and arrived at central station at 7:30am. On a Saturday. Our first order of business was to locate the dorm, hopefully drop off our stuff, and go explore the city ASAP. After crawling along at a very slow pace, we ambled into a neighborhood that was very lacking in open coffee shops that we so desperately needed. Eventually stumbling into a bakery that advertised lattes, Tracey and I rushed inside for some tasty pastries and coffee. It was here that I first thought up of the idea to pronounce Danish words very poorly, and when the shopkeepers switched to English (which most people fall back to), I would speak in poor English. The purpose was to have them think I wasn’t American and that English was my second language. I’m not sure if this actually worked, but this was my thought pattern at 08:00 in the morning while getting sick and running on little sleep.

Outside, Brian and Justin said that they had been “shot at” and that we were in the “ghetto of Copenhagen.” Noting a surprising lack of commotion for a gunshot, I expressed disbelief. Apparently, so they claim, a “very scary looking man on a bike” stopped next to them, pulled out his hand, made it in the shape of a gun, aimed it at them, and said “bang!” before peddling off.

Where Oury and Brian were "shot" at.
Site of the fingerbanging.

Eventually, after going through some increasingly “scary” blocks, we made it to “Sleep in Heaven” where we were able to stash our bags and take a moment to rest before heading off downtown to catch a history tour. We managed to be in a 90 minute tour with a local resident who walked us through the old down while focusing on the locations and history of Hans Christian Andersen.

On the tour, next to the Danish seat of government.

After the tour, Brian was fading fast. We went on a scramble to find some suitable place to eat near the City Hall before eventually, out of desperation, went to “The Brooklyn Deli” or something like that. Oury and Tracey got the buffet, which was pretty good, while Brian and I opted to order some dishes. Brian was feverish at this point and not feeling well *at all*, so it was particularly maddening that the restaurant had forgotten to submit our orders to the kitchen. After about an hour of waiting and bugging them, we finally got our food before quickly booking it to the hostel to meet the Hamricks, check in, and get some rest. The rest of the day was basically a bust. Brian was in bed for the rest of the day, and I took a long nap before most of us decided to go wander and find some dinner.

The next day, however, we had to make up for lost time. I had a full two days of touring planned, and gosh darn it, we were GOING TO DO IT ALL. And that will start with a harbor tour. Leaving our hostel, we immediately run into a massive run of some sort.

There was some kind of massive run going on that morning.

This complicated things as they seemed to be going where we wanted to go, and there was no real way to cross the runners without actually getting up to speed, running with them, and slowly cutting over to the other side of the lane before disengaging. Anyway, we made it across and started on the harbor boat tour after eating some breakfast.

Opera house.
The (in)famous Opera House.

There are a few awesome buildings we saw on the tour that I’d like to highlight.

These are condos that were made from the frame of a WWII-era torpedo facility.
This was a former torpedo storage facility during World War II, and as you can see, they renovated it into condos. A very cool idea of urban reuse.

These blast points are too accurate for sandpeople...
A black Jawa Sandcruiser. Or the “black diamond” library. I prefer the former.

Maersk Headquarters
The Maersk headquarters.

After the refreshing and relaxing harbor tour, we went to Rosenborg Castle, which was a former royal castle that featured a lot of period relics, artwork, and the Danish crown jewels.

Rosenborg Castle.

The castle had a lot of propaganda inside: especially the large murals in the throne room that all featured Danish forces defeating the Swedes in battle. Literally every mural featured a sinking Swedish ship, surrendering Swedes, or otherwise the destruction of Swedish forces in some form. To top this off, the four corners of the room had designs and scenes from each of the four known continents. America was still young at the time, and it featured, of course, a decapitated head with an arrow going through the eye of the skull. Wonderful.


Travelling back down to the waterfront, we stopped by to check out the current Royal Residences (above), before taking a small ferry to the other side of the harbor to visit Freetown Christiania.

Harbor Ferry

Christiania, if you haven’t heard of it, is a semi-autonomous nation of hippies that broke away in the 1970s, and somehow have managed to keep up a free-living society unbound by modern laws and building code. They took over abandoned military barracks and have been there ever since: with the Danish government either unwilling or unable to evict them. It was the day before their 40th birthday, so things were in full swing when we arrived. I didn’t get too many pictures inside, but I think these are fairly representative of the area.

Freaking hippies.
Typical backyard.

Building codes? Who needs 'em.
Want a deck? Just build one, man.

They banned hard drugs.
Hard drugs are forbidden, but they have a “green” zone that features, well, you know what. And selling it openly for all who wanted it.

After getting our fill of freedom-loving hippies we took the metro back to downtown and had a nice and relaxing dinner at an all-you-can-eat Mediterranean place. We hung out for a while before going to bed early in preparation for awakening at 6 for the bus and train back to the airport. My public transit planning was perfect and we made it well on time to the airport and begin our journey out of Scandinavia. Three flights and 16 hours later, we were back in Seattle!

Copenhagen, despite not seeing as much as I would have liked due to Brian and I being sick for day 1, was a really cool city. They had a lot of different things to see, do, and experience, and overall it had a very “Seattle” feeling to it. In a sense Copenhagen was what I want Seattle to truly be, a calmer and more cultured beacon of civilization. I’ll leave you with this graffiti.


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