Monday morning, we got up at 8 and walked to a nearby cafe for coffee and croissants. We’d both received emails from the US Embassy in Copenhagen inviting us to a reception there that night, because we’d signed up for notifications. We had no idea what that was about, but it seemed like a strange idea.
Then we headed in the direction of the rental bike stand, passing our friend Tree.0 along the way. He played us cheerful music as always.
We’d both set up Bycyklen accounts ahead of time, so getting bikes was pretty simple. They have tablets built into the handlebars where you log in and map your destination.
The bikes were power-assist, so they were heavy and kind of noisy, but they were also pretty much perfect for getting around in a town so friendly to bikes.
We rode to Freetown Christiania, the old autonomous neighborhood in Copenhagen. We’d heard a bit about its history as a commune of approximately 850 residents, and how there were years-long waiting lists to get in, and an insanely intensive screening and election process for new residents.
While drugs aren’t legal anywhere in Denmark, the sale of weed is overlooked in Christiania. There are signs all over Pusher Street (in the Green Light District) requesting no photos, because the drug trade there has been problematic. Christiania has strict rules disallowing weapons and hard drugs, but they keep finding their way in, which forces the police to intervene. It’s apparently been a challenging place to live recently, which is unfortunate.
Here’s the sign leaving Christiania: “You are now entering the EU”.
The artsiness reminded me of here in the Keys, and the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami. There’s also a lot of it that looks trashed and very much like a homeless camp, particularly in the area around Pusher Street. There are several different ‘pods’ in the neighborhood full of adorable little hippie houses.
We rode around the loop near the other neighborhoods, along the old ramparts of the city. From there you look back on the main canals. It’s weird to be in an almost-rural area right next to the city.
There’s been an ongoing fight to try to develop Christiania. In one of the most expensive cities in the world, it’s sought-after property. (I hope Freetown stays as it is.)
This could not be more like Key West:
We did a few bike loops around the area, then headed over to Papirøen (Paper Island, named for the old paper warehouse there) for lunch at Copenhagen Street Food.
Yoko Ono had an art exhibit there, where you wrote your greatest wish on a tag to hang in a tree. There were plenty of anti-Trump and anti-hate sentiments to be found there.
The warehouse was full of amazing food booths. Matt had a giant sausage and I had a falafel. It reminded us a lot of Grand Central Market in downtown L.A..
Since we’d parked our bikes at the bike return, we decided to walk back across to Nyhavn. Here’s the main pedestrian/bike bridge, which retracts in the middle when large ships pass underneath.
Some fall color was pretty welcome, since we don’t really experience it anymore!
We found Noma, probably the most famous restaurant in the world, at the foot of the bridge. It had its own apiary out front.
We had to go inside the geodesic dome nearby. You put on slippers and went inside the giant mirrored ball:
We crossed the bridge to Nyhavn, and the sun was finally coming out. It’s such a pretty area, despite all those construction containers!
From there, we walked over to Christiansborg Palace. It was another of the many places with admission included on the CPH Card. (Have I mentioned it’s a great deal? Haha.)
The palace is a huge complex on an island in the middle of the city. Much of it is still in use by parliament, the supreme court, and the royal family. You can tour the ruins beneath the palace, the stables, and the queen’s reception rooms, when she’s not using them.
We did the underground tour first, and got to see various sections of the foundation as it grew over the years. Also, as it burnt down – because, yes, it burnt down A LOT. You’d think you’d get better at having your castles not burn down, but apparently not in Denmark.
The stables had various carriages used by the royal family, in addition to a bunch of horses. That’s when we learned that when horses are relaxed, they let their junk hang out all over the place in kind of horrifying fashion.
Yes, I took a picture. No, I’m not posting it here.
After that, we went to the queen’s reception rooms. Apparently we had good timing, because they’d just reopened after an earlier event. It’s good to know she’d just been hanging around recently.
You have to wear these fancy plastic slippers to tour the place, so you don’t go tramping your peasant dirt all over the place:
Here’s the library. I want a library with a second story.
And the giant dining table. It must’ve taken half an hour to pass the salt.
My favorite room was full of really unusual tapestries depicting the history of the country.
They’re all bright colors, with really unusual imagery.
Here’s the throne room:
After the castle, we wandered down Stroget to do some souvenir shopping. It’s the main pedestrian thoroughfare that makes walking around town very pleasant, and it’s lined with restaurant patios.
We had to stop into the Lego store, of course. We also discovered Flying Tiger, which is kind of like Ikea for teenage girls. Loved it.
We were sick to death of walking at that point, so we stopped into a taphouse for a couple beers and some sittin’ before moving on. Then we walked back to our hotel, dropped off all our purchases, and headed to the bus to Vesterbro.
Our dinner destination was another Mikkeller joint, Ramen to Biiru. In case it’s not obvious, it’s a restaurant that serves ramen and beer. It was basically made for us. Plus they had a Mikkeller vending machine. MAGIC.
After dinner, we walked to a nearby cocktail bar, Lidkoeb, for drinks. It was an incredibly friendly, hygge place, and we learned all about the secret bike theft problem in Copenhagen. (Scandal! I mean, in Key West a bike goes missing approximately every 2 seconds, so I think our problems are different.)
We stopped at 7-11 on the way back to our hotel in order to pick up some breakfast supplies. We had early train plans the next day, so we didn’t want to stop in the morning. Even 7-11 there was incredibly compared to the trashy convenience stores we have in the US – the food was fresh and they had a ton of great options. I got a Paleo Cake for the morning.
We noticed that Southern Cross was not packed with loud shouting Australians as we passed, so we decided it was finally time to stop in. We went downstairs and found a tiny bar with an upstairs loft (it looked rickety), and an American bartender. We started talking with him and the Danish lady next to us about local drinking traditions, including their love of licorice (as strong and salty as possible) and Gammeldansk. The bartender decided he had to give us things that were *worse*, so we tried some godawful liqueurs and then a test tube shot from Australia that was kind of creamy with a piece of licorice in the bottom. So gross.
While we were there, we also heard about people who had gone to the US Embassy party that night. WHO KNEW?
We wanted to stay forever, but it’s the kind of place you’d end up dying. So unfortunately, it was time to head back to the hotel for the night.
Miles walked: 11.24 miles / 47.3 total