So I did that thing I do where I wander around and take pictures of random crap and then share my random thoughts about it. Except this time it was in Copenhagen!
Bet you didn't know that Legos are from Denmark. Unless you've been to Denmark, in which case you probably noticed how they dominated the toy stores, spawned a huge nearby theme park and even snuck into racks besides the magazines and gum in convenience stores. Legos get in on the Christmas action, too, as this awesome Lego St. Nick demonstrates:
Next stop in the crazy world of Copenhagen, Christiania, an abandoned military complex turned autonomous hippie commune. In this area that is oddly within Copenhagen and yet somewhat independent from it, marijuana is sold openly and recycled sculptures and installation art abound. Inside the many shed-like buildings, a diverse bohemian crowd noshes on vegetarian lasagna and coffee as they play backgammon, while outside others beat the cold with cigarettes and beer and huddle around bonfire-filled metal drums as well-loved, community-raised dogs trot lovingly from person to person. Unfortunately for y'all, pictures are not allowed within the frontiers of Christianity. However, I did snap a photo of the mural on the outside wall, which speaks for itself:
I also managed to sneak a shot of the Christianity exit gate, which warns "you are now entering the EU" when you pass through it:
As is always my mission in my travels, I sought to eat the most authentic Danish food I could get my hands on. As far as I can tell, Danish cuisine can be summed up in two words: bread and pickles. Their bread (brød) is dark, dense and nutty, although not stale or chewy as American ryes often are. I loved it. As for the pickled stuff? Well, not so much. The meal shown below on the left is a roastbeef smørrebrød, a Danish open-faced sandwich, although you can hardly see the beef (and can't at all see the buried bread) for the heap of pickles. The plate on the right is a platter of smørrebrød toppers ready for do-it-yourself assembly (sort of like the way-not-as-delicious fajitas of Denmark). Contents included pickled herring (two varieties!), pickled pickles, pickled beets, pickled white asparagus, hard-boiled egg and mini shrimp.
(To be fair, Danish danishes were amazing. Doughier than French pastries, and heavy on marzipan, but delicious.)
Since my host already had tickets to Monty Python's Spamalot musical, Friday night found us headed out to the burbs' and wandering through a light snowfall to find the theater. When the curtain first rose on a Danish-speaking narrator, my first thought was "uh-oh." Luckily, as soon as the knights entered the stage, the show switched to (and remained in) English:
I spent all week-end trying (and failing) to pronounce Danish, and amusing myself greatly in the process. The occasional similarity of words to English words never ceased to remind me of Hyperbole and a Half's spaghetti nadle, such as in the instance of this milk carton:
The only European city I've seen that can rival Copenhagen for bicycles is Amsterdam. However, I was surprised by the lack of scooters and motorbikes relative to France or Italy. This didn't stop a Copenhagen shop from glamorizing the biker look in their window, however, with a disco ball-esque bejeweled helmet:
The cutest thing in Copenhagen were the roly poly children, who constantly walk around in brightly colored snow suit onesies and boots. Here I caught one taking a ride on his dad's shoulders:
Copenhagen's trains were the nicest, cleanest, most modern I've ever seen. To top it all off, their metro DRIVES ITSELF. With no pesky captain in the way, passengers are free to scoot their way to the front of the train to take in a full view of the tunnels. Here's what it looks like:
Unfortunately, the harbor statue of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid was on loan while I was there. At least I still got to see his birthplace in Noreport:
A crazy vaginal bar. Apparently the inside walls are painted to look bloody, with sexual suggestions and obscenities scrawled across them. Bizarre:
And finally, a street view of Copenhagen around the central plaza. If I had a quarter for every 7-11 and hot-dog stand I saw in this area, I'd be a rich woman (except not really, because the exchange rate of the American dollar kinda sucks right now). I've never seen such a law-abiding community when it comes to traffic lights--the Danish will wait at a red light (at the crosswalk no less-how quaint!) even when there is no oncoming traffic to speak of, and so do the bikes! I felt like a savage Parisian in comparison as I kept trying to follow my instincts to charge across the middle of roads, my horrified host pulling me back each time.