June 15, 2016
Put Your Hands Up for Copenhagen!
Copenhagen, Denmark. Hadn’t been here in quite a while; last time was in February 2011. Back then, as could be expected in this Nordic capital, it was cold (and windy). This time though – suitably summery: sunny and warm and with long light evenings. Very ‘euro-cool’ too: folks lounging languidly at street cafes and restaurants, cyclists seeming to take direct aim at unaccustomed (non-European) pedestrian-tourists, and boats leisurely carrying folks about to and fro along the rivers and canals. Euro-cool? Euro-paradise!
As per the usual MO, after having finished our business in the current locality, it was time to head out for some micro-tourism. Scratch that. Nano-tourism: just three hours’ worth! I’m sure three days would be a more suitable length of time to check out this city more appropriately, but what could I do? I had to be back on the road come evening. Accordingly, the tourism-tempo was decidedly up…
So, with little time to lose, I led my travel companion A.Sh – a Copenhagen-first-timer – to my fave spot in the city: Vor Freisers Kirke. I set it up nicely: I knew his first utterance would be: “shall we climb up the tower?” And my similarly inevitable answer: “Of course we’ll climb it; let’s go!” I was particularly pleased as last time in 2011 the tower was closed due to the icy conditions (tourists slipping on those steps? Bad idea).
Up we climbed – the full 90 meters, up the thin wooden steps. During the ascent I mused how helpful such steps would be up the sides of volcanoes. Clambering 90 meters up a volcano side is serious hard work and takes a lot longer than 10 minutes. Maybe we should start sponsoring step installments on volcanoes around the world. But I digress…
The staircase starts out inside the bell tower, then moves outside it. In the pic above the spiral that winds round the top section of the bell tower is the staircase! And here are the views from it:
As we approached the very top the stairs got thinner and thinner, the wind seemed to whistle louder and louder, and I could have sworn the spire was swaying a bit amid said wind. Eek!
How thin? This is getting silly!
I had to stop before the very top, as my stocky girth simply wouldn’t fit between the spire and the staircase’s handrail! The lithe figure of A.Sh. suited the literally Lilliputian proportions better – yet even he couldn’t make it to the very top due to the skinniness of the steps :). In all – a fun bit of architecture: must-s
eeclimb, if ever here…
Next up: Freetown Christiania!
Back on the ground we take a quick look back up at the spire we’d just climbed, and then over to the controversial commune…
(Freetown) Christiania: the self-proclaimed autonomous ‘neighborhood’ ever since, in 1971, ‘orthodox’ hippies settled squatted there, and which has long since become a mysterious (to me) anarchist community. Far out, man. Living how they want, where they want: that’s the name of the game here. Kropotkin would heartily approve :). I have mixed feelings about the place: on the one hand it’s a blot on the landscape that has no real place in the middle of a modern European capital. On the other – well, why not? Let them do as they please – so long as they don’t negatively affect the surrounding bourgeois ‘normal’ society. They even pay their taxes, I’m told!
Freetown, as you might expect, is all about free will, and free and easy living, helped by methods available given the local climate, including… ‘grasses’ of various calibers, smoke from the smoking of which can be smelled everywhere. Cars: not allowed. Bicyclists: all mad and to be feared. Murals – everywhere. Hipsterism Bohemia: embodied. Parents strolling with their children… it would be a euro-paradise, it’s just let down a little by its being rather run down.
Since not everything here is legal, you can be asked not to use your cameras. Which is exactly what happened to me. Some stoner told me that “photography is illegal here” in an angry tone. This got my back up. So I retorted: “forbidding photography is illegal!” We just left it at that, he went off one way, I went the other.
What can I say? A pretty darn unique spot on the planet. Most unusual, most interesting. Originally a genuine hippy thing going on. Now, well, not sure about genuine, but still very ‘hippy’, and now also one of the most cool and touristy spots of the city. Well worth a visit…
Onward we march. Snapping away merrily…
Wasn’t expecting this! Just ~3km from the center of Copenhagen you get untended rural scenes like this! Odd!
…But nice in a way: back to nature and all that – right in the city.
Ah, time to unwind a bit. It had been a long day – a presentation at a conference at 9am – my most hated time of the day for giving a presentation – then lots of work after. A long day – yes. But a great day! Thank you Copenhagen! Put your hands up for Copenhagen: it’s a lovely city!
PS – at a pub in the center they sell bitcoins! We didn’t have a beer there though; we went to a different pub that didn’t do bitcoins.