I find it kind of ironic that my first real impression of Copenhagen was the punk guy peeing on the stairs of the house of parliament, being chased and caught by the brawny police fellows, all that followed by some guys screaming “fuck the police” from their bicycles.
For sure, thought I, Copenhagen must be a fun city. At least they respect their freedom of speech. I was still in some daze after the adventures of the day before – venturing from Berlin to Copenhagen via ground and five means of transport, so I just walked and looked around, letting my CS host and the guy from Christiania that my best friend Dasha met at a photo exhibition talk. I was eager to just move forward, non-stop, taking in the watery smell of the wet pavement and the contours of the old buildings. We walked and talked, eventually landing at some small concept cafe that offered home-made Danish cake and warm apple juice, and a couple of girls sang by the entrance. Copenhagen is quite expensive, so the place was a good find. I think we didn’t do much that day, me and Dasha being too tired to invent activities. We took a boat bus to the city center (yeah, they’re a thing and Copenhagen, and the price is the same as for the regular bus), and used the metro and the bus on the way back. Copenhagen metro! Well, we took the front seats, squealing like little kids as the train bolted through the tunnel. There are no drivers, all trains are automatic, so instead of a driver’s cabin you have a huge window. A sort of a local roller-coaster.
Speaking about water and all: firstly, tap water is totally drinkable. Secondly, all the canals are so clean people swim there all year round – yes, even in winters, as there are often saunas next to the swimming spots. Pauli, my host, invited me for a morning swim, but I popped my head outside and decided I wasn’t quite ready for that. Which’s a shame, for I even brought my swimwear with me!
A new trend among locals is boathouses, parked along the canals. Pauli said there weren’t as many as in Amsterdam, but they were getting more popular. The whole concept sounds quite cool, though it probably costs no less than a regular house as you need to add canalization and water and wireless. And they’re not really meant for moving around. The cool thing would be a house that could cover long-distance travel, but nowadays it’s called a yacht and costs a fortune…
Pauli’s place was in the new area built on canals, with huge windows and a platform floating by the glass door where you could have a nice meal outside, watching swans and ducks pass by. There were no curtains drawn at any of the apartments, so you could see the furnishings and daily activities of all neighbors. That seemed a bit exhibitionistic to me, but on the other hand, why not – the area’s safe and wealthy. It was curious to watch people light their candles at night and gathering for dinner and cuddling in armchairs and couches.
Pauli’s household also had free kayaks for the tenants – I still regret we didn’t make time to use those! But – it’s yet another reason to come back.
We explored the National Art Gallery – some crazy modern stuff there as well as old paintings (I wasn’t too impressed, to be honest, but the entrance was free, which is always great); wandered into some beautiful old church with a round dome; had a hobo-like lunch on the bench in the park; made our way through the wind to see the Little Mermaid, attacked by tourists with their cameras flashing non-stop. I felt pity for the poor thing. So much attention! It would’ve been cool to make a themed photoshoot though – people pretending to be famous statues and all.
Yeah, shame on me, I can’t really tell you much about Copenhagen. Three days are definitely not enough. We walked, we talked, we cooked and watched movies. Not quite a regular tourist route, but both of us were on the tired-and-saving mode. It actually works great to exercise willpower: you’re walking by an awesome bakery or a cake shop and you force yourself to move on and then you know you can do it. But I definitely prefer succumbing to nom nom noms! Nom.