Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Copenhagen: Pt.1

     With Berlin out of the way, I was on to my next northern destination. After a short flight I landed in Copenhagen, Denmark early Tuesday morning. I arrived at my hotel well before the 4 pm check-in time, but fortunately they were able to store my bags while I went off to explore. Once I got my hands on some local money, it was time to start the day off with a snack. I found a small food stand that served sausages and sandwiches. I went with the frikadellen sandwich, a tasty sausage patty I’d tried and loved in Germany. After getting a little food in me, I thought it was time to see some of the local interests. I decided to walk across the city, eventually ending in across the waterway. My hotel/hostel was located in the red light district, a now for the most part gentrified and repuroposed neighborhood (by day at least). I made my way out of the district, passing the interestingly central located amusement park, Tivoli, before crossing over the bridge adjoining the city’s sections. The scenic path then took me through a pond and wooded area, known as Christianshavns Vold. The Vold had many walking paths, but remained natural enough to make it a true escape from the city. I made my way through the green space, and shortly after stumbled upon a breathtaking church. The church was named Vor Frelser Kirke, and stood massive with a golden clock tower atop it. I wanted to see it from the top, and was quickly drawn inside. I soon realized a visit to the top came at a price, and instead opted to explore the free inside. The inside was just as astonishing, mainly due to the enormous hand carved organ. Also impressive was the large amounts of marble decoration and golden cherubs, all which adorned the preaching podium and offering.
     After some awe and pictures, I was on my way to Christiana. Christiana is an area of Copenhagen that is considered separate due to it’s alternative policies. Originally, it was a full-fledged hippie commune that sustained itself through open market and drug sales. Now, Christiana is a much more toned down version of its original self due to heavy tourism and a semi-watchful eye. This being said, lax-laws are still in place and cannabis products are sold in various booths known as the “green light district”. Even though I knew the novelty of Christiana would be played out, I still thought it worth visiting since I’ve never been anywhere similar. When I arrived, I was pleased to see that the commune was a nicely kept green space, with plenty of natural growth to crowd out the mildly commercialized food and shops. I was even more excited a little further down the path, as I came across the Wonderland skatepark from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which I had assumed throughout childhood to be a made up video game location. The find was awesome, but unfortunately I didn’t have a skateboard or proper footwear. Right past Wonderland lied Christiana’s main attraction, the Green Light District. The district was makeshift, but official. Roughly 25 different small booths made from wood and camouflage spread across a small area, each ran by 1-5 men covered for the most part in military tactical gear. This was presumably to shield their identities, as their booths also had veils to guard their faces. I walked up to a few of the window-like structures, and viewed what they were selling. Different varieties of weed and hashes were laid out at each, most being discernible to the untrained eye. The system for sale was interesting, and in a way seemed to function as a much more low-brow version of legitimate American dispensaries. After I saw where it was bought, I came upon the large open area where much of the products were being enjoyed. The space seemed functional, with lots of tables, ashtrays and surrounding restaurants, but at the same time unappealing. I personally didn’t see the appeal of such a large social environment, with a far too obvious inspiration drawn from biergartens. Possibly at the expense of others, this environment proved perfect for people watching. I took a brief break from walking for a couple of minutes, and enjoyed some of the humorous sights. My favorites came in the form of high groups of old tourists, and families taking their kids on a tour of the premises. Both of these were funny for their own reasons, especially in the presence of each other. Without much more to look at, I thought it apt to try some of the munchies before leaving the commune. I went with the least played out looking option, which was a kebap stand. I went with a trustworthy combo wrap, and was pleased that it was actually pretty delicious. 
Continued in Pt.2

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