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Denmark!

December 31, 2009
By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

Oh my, oh me. Here I am, safely back on the ground in Helsinki after a delightful trip to Copenhagen, and I still haven’t written an update. Guess it’s time to make things right while I still remember something, eh?

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Uninviting skies.
Uninviting skies.

We left home on November 22nd, to the accompaniment of slowly falling giant snow flakes. The same damn snow flakes that delayed our departure by over an hour. Although, truth be told, I didn’t much mind. There was expensive beer, free WiFi, and the exciting airport atmosphere to enjoy, even though girly obviously didn’t share my sentiments. We did have lift off, eventually. The plane we were supposed to fly with, a Blue1 Avro Rj85, was changed to a boring MD90 for some reason, which kind of disappointed me. The flight went well, although my window seat went to waste since it was too overcast to see anything, and dark besides. I wasn’t particularly worried, despite being practically sober. I have been progressively cutting down on the amount of drink it takes me to board a plane.  I didn’t even drink on board the plane, even though I did buy a small bottle of wine that was drank in the metro upon our arrival. The flight, overall, was wonderfully uneventful.

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Dr.Z met us as we exited from the metro station, and escorted us to his residence, a place situated right in the middle of Copenhagen City, a stone throw away from the glass store fronts of Strøget, a famous pedestrian shopping street. We didn’t do much else other than open up our laptops, have a light snack and some beer and collapse on the couch and mattress kindly offered by our hosts.

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Cheesemonger!
Cheesemonger!

The following day, after a healthy 10 hour nap, we went out shopping for Xmas food. But not at some supermarket like normal people do, instead electing to hunt through various small stores like proper inner city dwellers. One small store that sold organic free-range meat was so packed that the queue stretched for about 100 meters, and the store keepers hired assistants to offer hot chocolate and rum to the queuing customers. I know that for a fact, for I was left queuing there for about 10min while the rest of our little group looked for some place less crowded. Within about 2 minutes of waiting I was approached by a disheveled looking man, whom I at first assumed to be a bum, with a plastic cup and a bottle of Morgan Rum, who started talking danish at me. When I didn’t understand anything he said even after taking off my headphones he explained, in near perfect English, that he didn’t want anything from me but instead wanted me to have this cup of cocoa with a dollop of rum. Which I did. And that’s when my mates came to pick me up. So in the end, I didn’t have to queue and I got a free cup of cocoa with rum! In the end we managed to get some fish and 4 pheasants for 200 DKK from a nearby store and some smelly cheese. The rest of the shopping was done at a local grocery chain.

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Carlsberg beers from all times and places.
Carlsberg beers from all times and places.

Christmas shopping thus taken care of, it was time to hit the Carlsberg Brewery Museum, only a short train ride away. That was the first proper brewery museum I’ve ever visited, and I must say it was pretty good. It only cost 65DKK to get into, and that included 2 beers of your choice at the end of the tour. Unfortunately the draft horsies were “on vacation” for Christmas (dark images of sausage factories spring to mind), but we did get to smell their dung and see their stables. And the beers at the end of the tour made it all worthwhile. Now that we are on the subject of beer, I must mention that beer prices in Copenhagen are atrocious. We mostly bought beer in central pubs & cafes, but still… 8 to 9 euros for a beer? That’s atrocious. Shots, on the other hand, can cost as low as 10 DKK. So you can get wasted on the cheap, but spending an evening with your friends will cost ya. Anyway, we came home and I think we made the first pheasant right then. A pheasant phiasco, if you’ll pardon me that lame attempt at a joke. It wasn’t exactly sufficiently cooked through inside, and was bloody in places. I heroically ate a few pieces, trying not to think of all the possible parasites I might be ingesting. And then we nodded off, as early as 10pm, I think. That happened pretty much every day. For some reason we slept like logs there, even me, although I still woke up fairly early, at 8 or 9am. And I can’t for the life of me fall asleep before 1am at home, even with only 5 or 6 hours of sleep under my belt from the night before.

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Just a view of Copenhagen from Round Tower.
Just a view of Copenhagen from Round Tower.

On Christmas day we decided to check out the much-vaunted Christiania. Took a long-ish walk there in bitingly cold wind, something that is apparently a bit of a nuisance during the winter months. In the cold gray light of day, Christiania turned out to be a pretty dreary place. The pusher’s street was full of, well, pushers that fit neatly into any number of negative stereotypes, standing in vaguely menacing groups around fires lit, ghetto-style, in barrels. They seemed to be play-acting gangstas of New York or something cool like that, lovingly recreating the ghetto atmosphere and carefully applying gangsta stereotypes to themselves. Cameras are unfortunately forbidden at Pusher Street, so no pics, sorry. The nearby bar was full of scruffy old men and scruffy young men, reeking of ganja and, in some cases, exhibiting signs of mild retardation. The organic Christiania beer was good though, although expensive at 35DKK for a 0,33 bottle, but that is only to be expected.

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Rainbow Warrior II

Rainbow Warrior II

To make a boring story short, Christiania is a retarded place. Smoke weed in a nice park and buy it from home growers that are not affiliated with the gangsta wannabees of the Pusher Street. That was the “interesting” bit of Christiania, the one that makes headlines and excites 17 year-olds. The other 70% of Christiania is a place of residence for many an upper-middle class elitist, the “boheme” and other douchebags. Some nice and not so nice but always interesting houses, but, ultimately, also retarded. On the way back home we also got to experience the water bus, a very practical mode of transportation in a city that is divided by waterways. Oh, and I don’t mean to discourage you from visiting Christiania. I am just saying that don’t expect it to be somehow “magical”, although with a proper mix of chemicals anything can become deeply meaningful and magical. Come to think of it, that might explain quite a bit.

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Dr. Z's Xmas Sculpture.
Dr. Z’s Xmas Sculpture.

After coming home, all cold but full of sights, sounds experiences and beer, we started making Christmas. The pheasants were stuffed with stuffing and other kitcheny things were done while I was laying on the mattress and concentrating on my netbook. So yeah, the pheasants were cooked, each slightly longer than the last, as I recall, and there were various other treats on the table, along with some wine. We ate, and then opened our presents. I got the sixth part of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that I’ve never heard about, much less read! Awesome! Or, well, it might be, since it unfortunately wasn’t written by Douglas Adams from beyond the grave, but by Eoin Colfer, the author the Artemis Fowl series, which I’ve never read but would sort of like to. Oh well, will see. At least the reviews are positive.

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Lil' Mermaid with friend.
Lil’ Mermaid with friend.

The following day, despite the constant chilly drizzle, we visited the obligatory Little Mermaid, walking by the way of Amalienborg palace, Frederik’s Church, and Kastellet. We also passed the famous Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, which unfortunately was closed for visitors. The mermaid itself was, well, the mermaid. The industrial background does nothing to enhance her beauty, but she’s pretty. It’s just one of those “must do” things, you know. Later that day we went to a bistro in the better part of Norrebro, an okayish place, and afterwards for a few drinks at a near-by bar. I was sorta quietly freaking out, my anxiety levels skyrocketing for some reason, so didn’t enjoy myself much. It’s been happening more often of late, and that’s a worrying sign, since I’m already overdue for a polarity shift…

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One of the Michelin Star restaurants
One of the Michelin Star restaurants

And on the day before last we visited Tivoli. Now Tivoli is a weird place. It’s a fairground, of sorts, mixed with an amusement park, you pay to get in, about 95DKK as I recall, and then you pay separately for each ride, from 20 to 80 DKK. There are tons of stalls selling all sorts of crap, and a lot of restaurants as well. And here comes the big surprise: two of them have one michelin star each! I mean, it’s like going to Disneyworld and finding one there. Or no, scratch that and replace Disneyworld with Coney Island. So yeah, rides, theme restaurants, booths selling sweet and sticky thingamajigs (resulting in a lot of sticky children), and the world’s largest animatronic elf show jerking along to Christmas tunes. Yeah. World’s creepiest, too. Apparently there’s also a children’s paramilitary brigade, but we didn’t see that. Brr. As for the rides, we only tried one, but that one ride was quite enough thank you. Apparently, and I only found this out 5 seconds ago looking for a description link, The Star Flyer is the tallest carousel in the world. Yikes. So yeah, wondered about for a bit, tried a pint at the Tivoli brewery bar, had some grub, had a look at a nice big aquarium with sharks, muray eels and puffer fish, and then watched the start of the fireworks festival. It was kinda meh, but hey, fireworks..! And then went home via 7-Eleven. I love 7-Elevens. They are spaced about 500m apart in Copenhagen, and you can buy snacks and booze from them around the clock! What’s not to like? Except maybe for the prices…

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The halls of The Round Tower.

The halls of The Round Tower.

Anyway, I’m gonna have to cut this post short now, because, and I shit you not, I have to go wash the new bosses car and then hurry of food & booze shopping cos shops close early today. Will have to edit in the finishing touches at home. So, where were we… On our last day we saw the oldest functioning observatory in Europe,  The Round Tower. Imagine, Tycho Brahe used to walk these halls… ‘Twas nice. Quite round, no stairs, just one spiraling slope all the way to the top 37 meters above. We also had a quick run-through at the National History Museum. The fucker’s huge, and we only saw maybe a 1/4. And when it comes to our flight home, well lets just say that the way back was quick and painless, even though I didn’t have anything to drink prior to take off. Oh, and we got to fly on that Avro RJ85 plane. It was noisier and bumpier than Airbuses, Boeings and MD’s. It looks like I’m getting quite used to this flying business!

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Man, what an epic beast of a post. Oh, it also appears to be the last post of 2009! Happy new year, everyone! Let’s hope it’ll be even more eventful and interesting than 2009! More celebrity deaths! More terror strikes! Bloodier wars! Worse famine! Bigger natural disasters! Come on people, together we can make it happen!

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One Response

  1. hi
    I’m interested in useing your picture to called 366a,on an invitation - would that be okay with you?



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