Europe | Denmark | Copenhagen – ‘Wonderful Copenhagen Information’
Coming off the night train from Copenhagen, my main priority was finding my hostel. Easier said than done. According to my info, I was supposed to take the 8 or 13 bus from the Tivoli side of the train station. Guess what. Neither bus 8 nor bus 13 existed. So I took a trip to the tourist info center right across the way (incidentally, it was called ‘Wonderful Copenhagen Tourist Information’) and got a free city map and some advice about getting to my hostel. Actually, I joined a pack of other travellers who were on their way to the hostel as well. We tromped into Sleep-in Heaven and found our beds in the huge, HUGE warehouse-like room and got situated.
I found out from someone working at the desk that night that there was going to be a concert that night…Ani Difranco was playing in Copenhagen!!!! I promptly met a girl from Del Rio, Texas who was stationed in England, Rocky (short for Raquel), and who’d been following Ani around on her European tour. We went together to the Vega club to see about tickets. Turned out to not be sold out…no problem getting a ticket!! Two other girls Rocky and I met, Fannie (from Alaska) and Anja (from Copenhagen) saved us seats…in the 2nd Row! It was such an amazing show. Ani was on fire…her voice was full of cracked beauty, and she just burned up her guitar. The show was short, only about an hour and a half. Afterwards, Rocky, Fannie, Anja, and I walked down to a cozy little pub that provided blankets to its outside-sitting guests (us!)…it seems to be the thing to do in Denmark. Anja told us stories about some Danish customs I wasn’t familiar with, such as the practice of putting babies out on balconies during the night, even during the winter. Danish people think the night air is good for children (almost directly opposite to our way of thinking). Anja said that a Danish woman visiting New York was once cited for neglect for doing this!
Anyway, we had a good time. The next day, Rocky and I caught a bite to eat before she left for the airport. I walked around the city and took a canal cruise, which provided a great deal of orientation and background information. Our guide repeated everything three times, in Danish, German, and English. Oh, to be bi/trilingual.
Day three had me doing some more walking. I walked down to the Ny Carlsburg Glyptotek, which houses Copenhagen’s collection of sculpture, plus extensive Egyptian and Etruscan collections. Then I continued (in the brisk, spring-like air) to Christiansborg, seat of the Danish government. Didn’t tour anything here, just walked around the grounds. Furthur east was Amalienborg Palace, where the queen was in residence, according to the flag flying from the roof. I then walked for about a million more miles before finally coming to the statue of the Little Mermaid, which is perched on a rock in the harbor. It was a bit anticlimactic, due to the not-so-scenic industrial setting in the background, but I still liked seeing her, looking out to sea. The weather had been turning ever brisker, and now rain was sprinkling here and there. I decided I hadn’t walked enough that day and proceeded to hike around a parklike area, which was nice. The rain poured on down, but I had my jacket, so didn’t mind so much.
The next day was pretty fun. I took some time to arrange for my next hostel and then headed to Tivoli amusement park, smack in the middle of the city. Tivoli is 160 years old, and is absolutely beautiful inside, with gardens overflowing into pathways that lead to rides. I was dubious of the rides because they were dang expensive, and Copenhagen has been breaking me as it is. Plus, rides aren’t quite the same if you’re by yourself. But I finally decided to go on the Golden Tower, one of those slowly-pull-you-straight-up-then-drop-you-without-warning rides, which was great fun. I also had lunch at a cafe in Tivoli. The menu went a little something like this: pickled herring, curried herring, fried herring, broiled herring, and cheese with bread and butter. Guess what I ordered? That’s right, the curried herring. Just kidding. After Tivoli, I thought I’d try to go down to Christiania, over the bridge from the city center. Christiania declared itself a free state sometime in the 60s, after 1000 or so squatters decided to take the place into their own hands. Now it’s got its own schools and workplaces, and is an independant entity, not a part of Denmark or the EU. Anything goes in Christiania…including ‘soft’ drugs like pot and hash. The whole area is surrounded by a graffitied wall, I suppose to establish a concrete border between it and the rest of Copenhagen. Two totem poles outside the entryway support a wooden beam that says, ‘Christiania’. People casually walk in and out. Police vans not-so-casually sit outside the entrance, ready to make a bust. Actually, I witnessed two separate busts, which sketched me out to the point where I didn’t walk into Christiania itself. But it is definately an interesting place, where people gather outside their residences and have bonfires and actually talk to their neighbors!!
Today I took a daytrip to Hiller?d, a little town in North Zealand where Fredricksborg Castle sits on an island surrounded by a moat and gardens. After I took a tour of the castle (which houses more antiques than I have EVER seen gathered in one location), I took a walk through the gardens and sat on the edge of the lake/moat for a picnic lunch. Did some reading and relaxing, watching the clouds float by. Really good day.
So that’s it, I’m all caught up! Tomorrow I head on out. Was hoping to make it up to Sweden, but have decided that my finances wouldn’t hold out for that, so instead I am making a run for Eastern Europe, where I can recover a bit. Tomorrow night and the next I’ll be in Berlin to see how it’s changed since the last time I was there, then I’ll continue on to Dresden before heading to Poland. Hooray! Hoping all of you are doing just great and I will write again soon…be prepared! (seem to be going on and on writing-wise…sorry ’bout that).
love you guys,