Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Christiania and Tivoli

The next day was just as relaxing as the first though it took a little more planning because our host's house was not particularly near the airport nor the downtown sections we were interested in checking out. No matter though, we caught a bus this time so we didn't spend our entire day walking around town.

First matter of business - more shopping. This was actually for a practical reason (rather than merely for pleasure) - unfortunately the incredible amount of walking we'd done the day before had taken its toll on poor German K's feet (and her choice of shoes), so we had to stop and make a pit stop for more practical flat shoes. I suppose it shouldn't have surprised us but about half the shops were closed on Sunday, observing religious...something. Considering Denmark is similar to Finland in its religious ferocity (which is not at all) we were a bit surprised. In any case, eventually appropriate flats were found and then it was off to find more noshables.

This time it was to be Dalle Valle, a cafe recommended to us by the wonderful Korean tea man the day before. This one was a real budget eat as compared to what we'd been having yesterday - 10euros for a breakfast buffet! Hoohoo! It was actually really good. Less variety than Riz Raz, but whatever. Still tasty. I appreciate the Danish proclivity towards hummus. I am an absolute lover of hummus in the UK (now that it's so easy to get and cheap to boot), so this has become an absolute regular part of my diet (along with a crazy amount of raw veggies and fruit...this is no lie...I eat probably the recommended amount of both now...daily).

An odd mix of fried seafood, veggies, and cooked pastas...lots of hot food. What really stole the show though, in an odd way - their pineapple (fresh) and their bowls of raisins and banana chips. Wonderful. Hong Kong P and I went back for seconds, possibly thirds of the pineapple and raisins. Weirdos...yes, but healthy? Absolutely yes.

I forgot to mention that yesterday, during our walk around town, after the teahouse but before dinner, we wandered around a very famous part of town: Christiania. Famous because of its history of soft drugs. That kind of famous. From what I've understood (this part was not detailed in the guidebook), it's actually controlled by a mob of some sort. Whatever the case may be it considers itself a free city and has its own set of rules. Rules like:

  1. No photos of any kind (hence why I'd forgotten that we'd gone there the day before...because there was no evidence...I use my photos as memory aids).
  2. No running (it causes panic because the police regularly raid the town in attempts to shut down the soft drug trade that happens rather openly there...it doesn't stop anyone).
  3. No weapons or fighting (you'd think this would be kind of a given but I guess it needs to be explicitly said).
  4. It's probable there were other ones that I've simply forgotten. I guess I must not have broken them though because no one was particularly staring at me/us and we didn't get booted out or arrested.
Anyway, what they say is true: the soft drug trade does happen there, and quite openly. There are stands with goods just sitting out there, with stuff you can buy. And smoke, right there. It was kind of shocking, to be honest. I have no issue with the stuff, or people doing the stuff of their own volition (I believe in free choice and I did vote for legalization because I do believe in the benefits and there are more harmful substances that are already legal, such as alcohol and cigarettes), but this was kind of weird. You could literally buy something from someone and within two feet of that (or even right in front of where you bought it), light up and be on your merry way. There were cafes and bars for you to sit at, even a little place for you to dance away. Relaxed hippy town. I will say though - there seems to be a sort of culture (visually, at least) that seems to follow this sort of industry. Strange how that always seems to happen. I don't know why it would need to, but somehow it's always there.

But back to the point - it was openly done here and there was no issue. I can see why they enforced the rules they had - no pictures to put people in awkward positions and no running to cause panic that something was going down. There were a lot of people loafing about having a relaxed time, no reason to ruin their day for no good reason just because you felt like running and being an ass. This was a different part of the country, that's for sure.

And now back to Sunday. After filling ourselves with pineapple and raisins we made our way to Tivoli, Copenhagen's theme park. It's right across the train station, where we'd left our luggage for a convenient getaway to the airport for our flights later in the day and we all agreed that it sounded like a lovely way to pass the sunny day.

And lovely it was. I love theme parks. Always have, always will. This past December/January when I was last back in Disneyland I'd had the sudden and rather uncomfortable realization that it was likely the last time I'd be there until I had kids - I'd been there enough times to not find it so much fun. Maybe it was just that time but I didn't feel the need to be there anymore. It'd lost its charm for me and I enjoyed doing the old-people things at the park instead - watching people, enjoying the weather (if there was good weather to be had), sitting on benches. Old people stuff. I didn't feel the need to strategize for every ride or gleefully run to each next attraction.

We three realized also that that's what was happening in Tivoli. As much as we looked around with nostalgia at the adorable attractions, we didn't feel the pull to go on any of them. And when we did finally think that we wanted to go on their one big roller coaster (just Hong Kong P and I, German K decided she would sit it out), we actually ended up voting against it because of...cost, of all things. It would have costed over 10euros for that one ride. It was over 40euros to buy the multi-ride ticket, versus the 15euros to get into the park without a ride pass (which is what we had bought since we only had 2-3 hours there).

So we walked around and looked at everything, got some ice cream and...sat on park benches in the sun. And listened to the multiple gospel concerts happening. Apparently we are those old people, enjoying old people things. Felt a little weird, to be that person in the park, instead of the young person waiting in line for the next ride. When did this happen?

But anyway, Tivoli was great. I would love to come here again with more time to actually enjoy the rides.

And before we knew it, it was time to leave again. Time to get onto a train back to the airport.

But there were no tearful goodbyes. True to WT form, I'd be seeing them less than three days later for a business trip to Helsinki.

Haha such is life. Croatia is in the works next for the three of us. But for me next: Helsinki. Then Paris. Then the US. All with London between.

Thanks Copenhagen, it's been wonderful.

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