Category: Locations


Den Lille Havfrue

On a subconcious level I probably knew that eagerly taking pictures of the United States embassy would not be a good idea, but I simply couldn’t miss on the photo-op. “Hey, HEY!” yelled the guard as he ran towards us.

 

That night I wasn’t there to gather intelligence on strategic US objects and the guard too must’ve realized that I don’t look like much of a terrorist, so he let us go – not before making me show him the last pictures in my phone, of course. For the past few days I’ve noticed a phone-repair van parked outside my house, but I’m sure that has nothing whatsoever to do with the embassy incident. The Danes, after all, like to take their time when working on something.

 

On the night in question, as I said, we were not up for trouble. The idea instead was to go and see the Little Mermaid. This was actually my second visit to the Mermaid in three days, as on the first visit the statue had seemed rather unremarkable. The second trip confirmed that the Little Mermaid indeed was nothing too special.

For the record, I was into the Little Mermaid way before she sold out.

 

Still, I guess you can’t just live in Copenhagen and not once visit the Little Mermaid.

 

Sunday was more exciting though as we once again took advantage of the free monthly S-train rides and headed to Frederikssund.

Also, apparently the S-trains run on Windows.

Because it was a nice sunny day, we thought it’d be good to go to the seaside. And Frederikssund is on the seaside. Sort of. What we saw could well have been the sea, but it looked more like a long lake. The map said it was a fjord, but I took that with a grain of salt.

 

The highlight of the day were the swans – the ninjas of the animal kingdom. They had occupied the better part of the Frederikssund harbor, hoping to lure in unsuspecting humans. We could tell by the hissing noises they made that they craved for human blood. Swans are much like the raptors from Jurassic Park. As we were merrily posing for pictures on the waterfront, we failed to notice the swans very slowly, but surely surrounding us. Fortunately we scattered before they could move in for the kill.

Swans pictured here in attack formation.

 

After taking some obligatory Erasmus group pictures and after taking a few, as it turned out, wholly uninspiring hilltops we headed back to Copenhagen for some much needed coffee. Somehow the three Greek guys visiting their friend in Denmark never made it on the train. I have yet to learn of their fate, but I suspect the swans have again claimed some innocent lives.

 

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Loppemarked Lowdown

Christiania bikes are a curious sight. They’re technologically innovative, or at least as innovative as attaching a wheelbarrow to a bicycle can be. They’re practical. They are so Copenhagen. And I hate them.

 

This is the face of thy enemy.

Today I was stuck behind a big behemoth of a Christiania bike for a good three minutes, unable to overtake it because of the narrow cycling path the roadworks had left me with. With my soul rapidly growing black with fury, I found myself thinking if I should not retrofit my own bicycle with something to counter the nuisance of Christiania bikes. Like, say, rocket launchers or flamethrowers. Or sharks.

 

Dare to dream.

I know that on some level this disdain for the Christiania bikes is not justified. After all, I can’t blame people for riding these things if practical needs compel them to do so. Furthermore, I am but a guest in this country and should thus not criticize that which I do not understand.

 

I don’t know what the Danes think of Christiania bikes, but my impression is that their hate towards them is somewhat milder. Danes are some of the most patient people I’ve met. For someone who comes from Estonia, one of the most impatient countries on Earth, learning patience is a tough challenge. Take, for instance, grocery stores. If someone started going through their coin purse at the register in front of a long queue in Tallinn, they would be promptly murdered to death and then murdered some more.

 

The expressions on the Danes’ faces as you’re fumbling with your change are those of admirable restraint. They will patiently and without a single frown wait as you attempt to pay for fifty kroners worth of beer in fifty öre coins. In Tallinn however, people will flat out gun you down if you so much as think about coins as an acceptable means of payment. Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens in Estonia when the country finally switches over to the euro in January. My bet is on mass-murder of biblical proportions. And I dread to think what would happen to the first poor soul who brings his or her Christiania bike to Tallinn.

 

In any case, while trailing an agonizingly slow Christiania bike in the freezing winds was not a good start for the day, I managed to turn the tide by doing some comfort-shopping at the Loppemarked later on.

 

Loppemarked is a monthly (?) flea market inside an old warehouse type of a building on Enghavevej where various vendors gather to sell mostly second hand clothes for a relatively cheap price. The entrance is free of charge and refreshments (yes, including beer) are sold at the venue.

 

Due to the aforementioned hangover, I arrived at the flea market rather late but fortunately there were plenty of interesting items left. I ended up spending 105 kr. on a green retro jacket, a grey hoodie to go with the said jacket and something I can only describe as a the most perfect techno wind jacket to spice up my weekly rave nights.

 

I rave as I cry - alone.

 

It was pointed out to me later that the jacket is actually meant for girls, but so it happens to be that I quite like wearing women’s clothes. There’s no shame in that. No shame whatsoever.

 

DON'T JUDGE ME!!!

 

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Week 46. Dear diary – I think it has been three weeks since my last lecture. It is difficult to tell for sure, seems as time itself has seized to exist. I have barricaded myself in my room, the Call of Beer howling at my door. So far I’ve managed to resist the accursed siren’s demonic howls by concentrating on my work. That, and the first season of the X-Files.


Free weeks are always confusing. One was allright, and we had tons of fun exploring the night life of Copenhagen. The second was a bit of a stretch, as my wallet is currently hissing at me from the corner of my room. Fortunately, and against all odds, I managed to briefly up my productivity last week and have gotten quite a bit of work done on my research. This is the most persistent I’ve been since that time I posted a 15-second record in Minesweeper.

 

I managed to wrap the second free week up with with a fun (and free) Sunday S-train ride, and did so without a drop of alcohol. Well, unless you consider the bottle of Vermuth, but honestly, it’s not exactly the hardest drink around.

Pussy.

 

The S-train trip itself is on it’s way to becoming a tradition. Every first Sunday of every month, the S-train service is for free and after all the fun we had in Farum on Culture Night, we came up with a plan to visit all the end stations of the trains. When on the first trip we only stole one shopping cart, then on the second one we increased our loot by a hundred per cent (i.e. We got two shopping carts) as well as managed to trespass into the Koge cargo terminal. It was exactly as exciting as it sounds.

 

Koge itself was far prettier than Farum, with the exception of this one statue. Within ten minutes of us arriving at the Koge station, we found a sculpture that looked like something Satan might cook up after a week long drug-fuelled bender. It also looked like an abominable giraffe raping an angel bear, surrounded by stone phalli. In fact, it was an abominable giraffe raping an angel bear. Surrounded by stone phalli.

There is no god.

 

The deep existential horror aside, Koge was a rather lovely little town. On our way back the surviving members of our expedition (the statue claimed five lives) we decided to stop at Jersey and go for a walk on the seashore. It was nice.

Like this, but with less douchebags.

 

The last weekend however is largely to blame for me having ignored this blog for such a long time. My brother was visiting Copenhagen and of course I had no choice but to introduce to him the local night life. I remember the Moose bar, and then little else. I also remember the Culture Box, but that may have been another weekend. Or another month. Eh.

 

For what it’s worth, I got this awesome photo of a massive jellyfish out of the whole ordeal:

It's massive.

 

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Meatmarketing

“Oh you mean the hipster place?” Corey asked when I expressed my excitement over finding the renowned “Jolene” bar. With a glassy stare and a quivering lip, I pointed to a lone barrel fire at a posh club front. “It’s ironic,” he said.

 

I hadn’t planned on going out this Saturday and had in fact turned down an invitation to an Erasmus karaoke party earlier that day. But as the night drew closer, as the apartment filled up with people and as my hangover gave way to a feelgood-mood, I found myself once again heading out into the ever-so rainy Copenhagen to rock some places, or at least to die in an attempt to do so. A flatmate came up with the plan of going to the “Karriere” club and, unaware of it being situated at the infamous meat-packing district, I unenthusiastically decided to tag along, seems as it was supposedly just on the way to an acid rave in Valby.

 

The acid rave was actually the main reason I decided to go out on Saturday, as a friend of mine encouraged me to join her there. She described it as a “really crazy underground scene party” and I, always up for something new and/or hilarious, accepted the invite. I was undeterred even when she threw me a link with the kind of music one should expect at a psy-dark trance-something rave. I will post the link here but for the love of god, view at your own risk.

 

If you clicked on the previous link, chances are you have just woken up from a coma and it’s actually been several hours since you first started reading this entry. You will probably not remember what the video was about but whatever you do, do not click on it again.

 

As entertaining as it would have been to see a bunch of hippies in tie-dye shirts dancing spastically to two hundred beats per minute tracks, the truth is that we never made it past the meat-packing district. We never made it, not because the party was so good, but because we all felt a sudden urge to escape to the comforting walls of our own homes after witnessing things no mortal men should witness.

 

So, what is this “Karriere” club? For starters, it’s something that’s called a 23+ bar, meaning that you have to be at least twenty three years of age to get in. Then idea behind this set up is that twenty three year old’s can enjoy the company of their contemporaries. The reality of the idea however was that the bar was full of forty-something men awkwardly mingling with forty-something cougars, leaving you stranded in a cesspool of bygone youths, separated from those friends of yours that just didn’t make the bill. The DJ kept rotating the same four songs because apparently “The Hardest Button To Button” and “Jump Around” is exactly what you want to listen to over and over again as you’re ramming your dignity into the dancefloor and watching eternal shame take its place.

 

We actually never set foot inside “Jolene” as the place was completely packed. It’s a little bit sad, because it just might have been a decent place, seems as poking at the guests’ eyes quickly verified that they were indeed wearing their thick rimmed glasses because of their impaired vision, and not at all because they were raging dickheads. That said, I did however spot one wacky sweater and at least two pairs of Converse Allstars.

 

We actually quite liked the third bar in the district, but the unfavorable seat-to-guest ratio and the 50 DKK Tuborg’s quickly chased us back to the shameful, yet cheaper embrace of “Karriere”. I also learned a crucial lesson about the Danish drinking culture – you get smashed before you go out. Unless you’re forty and wealthy and consequently, and somewhat inevitably, doomed to a life of wearing tucked shirts to nightclubs in a fruitless chase of girls who invariably insist on calling you “daddy“.

 

This “getting smashed at home” thing is something I’ve yet to master seems as for me there is a fine line between being intoxicated with joy and being intoxicated to the point of “fuck-you-I’m-not-leaving-this-couch.

 

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The Culture Night (With Guns)

Ah, the Culture Night. Over 900 places to visit, not to mention the free S-train service. So where should we go? The National Gallery? The Opera House? Amalienborg castle? Any place which displays fine works of art, both old and new? Or did we just spend the night fooling around in armored fighting vehicles?

 

Is that even a question?

 

 

To be fair, we were limited in our options as all the good places had long lines of people queuing up to get in. So it was that we spent the first hour of the Culture Night on mapping out our route, the second hour in the Danish Knight’s Templar lodge and the third (and most probably the fourth) waiting in line to get in to the old prison.

 

Now, for some reason, it seemed to me like a damn fun idea to visit the Freemason’s lodge and walk around in it with a canny look and giggle at the abundant masonic symbols. The reality however saw us sitting through a lecture on the history of the Danish lodge (in Danish, of course) and me losing my command.

 

The prison was up next and as expected it turned out to be much more exhilarating than the boremasons temple of crap, as the police were more than willing to let us play with their riot gear and mace canisters.

 

With grave consequences.

 

In retrospect it should be said that beating each other with nightsticks formed the core experience of the visit, as did the sense of dread for many students as it was announced that the prison’s corridors would be patrolled by narcotics dogs. The toilets then became the main attraction of the place.

 

Apparently because people had forgiven me the failed trip to the Freemasons lodge, they cautiously agreed to on join me for a visit to the Rosenborg castle where, according to the Culture Night booklet, the Danish air force was displaying an F-16 fighter jet. And you know how culture goes right out the window when guys hear the word “fighter jet”. Upon our arrival however, we discovered that we must have missed the fine print in the brochure that said “F-16 represented only by a mock engine“. Because posing next to a stripped jet engine is retarded, we quickly turned our attention to the other goodies the Danish military had dragged out – namely guns and APC’s.

 

We honestly had the intention of joining the girls at the botanical garden after the jet show, but when confronted with the choice between “brightly lit palm trees” and “thermal imaging scopes“, the gender difference becomes apparent. So it was that we didn’t see anybody else from our original group until a rendezvous at the zoo two hours later.

 

I will say at the offset that the animals looked pissed. Their keepers had apparently kicked them out of their dens and chased them into the freezing night for us to make fun of, as the look on the polar bear’s face seemed to communicate nothing but hate. The snakes too were having none of our tomfoolery and had coiled up to put on their best murder face.

 

The fake turtles looked happy though.

 

 

Nonetheless, the lions seemed quite pleased with the extra carcass their caretakers had thrown in to compensate for the extended working hours. Also, I must admit that the zoo looked quite charming and the animals quite content, as opposed to the animals in Tallinn who look like they’ve been sentenced to prison for life for a crime they most likely did not commit.

 

"Kill me now!"

 

Because it was already midnight when we left the zoo, most culture venues had already closed. But us, yearning for more culture, namely the drinking kind, were unsatisfied with the prospect of going home to sleep and thus we responded with utmost enthusiasm to Fanny’s call for taking the night train to Roskilde.

 

As with all plans conceived at the spur of the moment, this one fell apart quite quickly and we ended up taking the first train to wherever. And where did we go? The place where all incapacitated students unconcerned with common sense go – Farum. If you’ve never been to Farum, it sort of looks something like this:

 

I suspect the local residents had, in anticipation of drunken students roaming around the greater Copenhagen area, barricaded themselves in and thus it took us a while to encounter the first Farum native. Still, as the case with Erasmus program is, it’s not about the places you visit – it’s who you visit them with. And soon enough we were already having our very own Farum street rave together with some mad techno beats, an improvised stroboscope and shopping cart rides. After all, if the culture won’t come to you, you must go to the culture – and kick it in the dick.

 

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“Or do you only know the Disney version?” asked the lecturer when introducing us to the religious motifs in “The Little Mermaid”. I shook my head faintly and then turned my head in shame.

 

I left the lecture with my thoughts still with the foxy fish woman and headed to the old Amager campus to catch the 4 o’clock happy hour (15 DKK beers anyone?) and discuss the plans for the cheap dinner night in Christiania as well as the upcoming Culture Night. As the Culture Night takes place today we bought our “culture kits” at the campus bar. Costing 85 DKK, the kit included a booklet with all the events, a city map full of lies (the Little Mermaid is in China and inviting the disabled to a robot dance workshop is just mean), a pin and an event pass. The pass itself grants you free use of the metro and the S-trains, aside from functioning as a ticket to all of the 900-odd events in the programme. Maria’s kit included all of the above times two, which made me somewhat jealous. The programme, I discovered much to my dismay, was all in Danish.

 

Thus I’m not sure what 85 DKK will get me but I think getting to “feed the carnivores at the zoo” and “tank rampage at the army base” were implied.

 

 

This is both the face of confusion and exuberance.

 

With the happy hour coming to an end we proceeded straight to Christiania for some general merriment before the 20 DKK dinner at Loppen. We also linked up with my former flatmate Ivo and after discussing the lack of dinosaurs in the modern era (it made sense at the time) we headed for the dinner.

 

We arrived a bit late and found ourselves at the back of a long queue. Maria decided to stay put but Ivo and I, slowly starving to death, embarked on a mini-burger hunt in the city. After some initial trouble we ended up in Irma and somehow managed to explain to the clerk what it is that we’re after. She sent us to Dogn Netto and, after getting lost in the aisles there, we emerged triumphant with a pack of mini-burgers each. For 14 DKK, it is both the tastiest as well as the most shameful midnight snack in Copenhagen. The make-believe dinner had enough juice though to keep us going through a quick concert at the Operaen and a rock gig at Drone later on.

 

Also, yesterday I found a puzzling and a downright sadistic sign near the new Amager campus:

 

 

The Danes would call it “keeping things tidy”, but I would call it “genocide”. In either case, congratulations Copenhagen, for you’ve clearly managed to starve the poor ducks to death.

 

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