Category: Transportation


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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Bike Hawk Down

My friends with bikes, it would seem, are being taken down faster than Hueys in Vietnam.

 

On Saturday, I crashed a Danish girl’s bike and took a handlebar to the chest. I guess I had this one coming though, seems as I was giving her a lift on the bike – an act that, while chivalrous, will get you a fine from the police. A roommate of mine had just been hit by a car door a week earlier, leaving her with a mild concussion and another friend had a similar accident a few days later. He received three stitches as an unwanted bonus.

 

Two other girls I know have also been involved in accidents, one managing to rack up a staggering three crashes. Luckily none of my friends have been hurt badly. Except for the concussion girl – I suspect she won’t be with us for long.

 

Personally I will think twice the next time a damsel in distress asks me for a ride, the pain in my chest reminding me of what the rules are there for and why it’s especially perilous to ignore the rules with the current snowy conditions.

 

Still, cycling in Copenhagen, I feel, is not dangerous. All one has to do is follow the very reasonable safety guidelines. One – snowy bike lanes are no places for going Indy 500. Snow might slow you down a little but you’ll reach your destination with your head still on your shoulders. Secondly, while Danes generally respect the bike lanes, the rules alone will not protect you from a drunken pedestrian or a neglectful cabbie. Eyes should be on the road at all times, especially on a Friday night.

 

The resent mishaps aside, the last two weekends have been fun. Many people are leaving Copenhagen for good this weekend and we’ve been making sure that everybody leaves this city with only the best memories. Entertainment is all the more important if you consider that many students are still trying to wrap up the semester’s duties.

 

For me, today is the last day of studying as I hope to complete my essay on informal practices in postsocialist countries tonight. While I still have to work on my personal research project, at least I will not have to concern myself with deadlines anymore. Tomorrow I have to head to the CSS to print the paper, as well as to receive an exam form to be submitted with the said paper. It’s red tape as usual, but I think I will actually be enjoying the ride to the campus. I’ll be heading back to Tallinn on January 10th, and the good cycling times will be over then.

 

To make the most of my last three weeks here, I’ll be heading out to see the Little Mermaid on Thursday. I’ll hopefully be joined by a small force of brave cyclist undeterred by the cold and the snow.

 

I really need to come up with a name to this ragtag bunch of riders, as we clearly deserve one. And a flag. We also deserve a flag.

 

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Riders On The Storm

The cool thing about Copenhagen is that there’s always something happening. On Thursday I was having coffee with a couple of friends at the old Amager campus canteen when we learned that the Nordisk Cafe in one of the buildings is hosting a Julefrokost, a hyggeling Christmas gathering with glogg and gingerbread. Eager to get in on the Danish celebrations, we made our way to the cafe.

 

It turned out to be a great call, as the cafe oozed coziness. Before long we had already made a new friend and were engaged in a fun, yet viciously competitive paper star folding contest. Unable to follow the instructions I instead made a paper worm. “Man you’re stupid!” Thomas said, clearly underestimating the genius of my creation. But to everyone’s dismay, I won second place with something that was not a star by any definition. As a prize I got a book (in Danish, of course) about the Balkans. Interesting stuff.

 

In other news, Copenhagen currently looks like this:

 

While I don’t hate snow, it is making cycling more perilous and I suspect it won’t be long before I crash my green beauty. Thankfully I’ll be going to Spain in a few days time for a quick vacation in Seville. The round trip will cost me 1700 DKK, which is reasonable. If you’re willing to do the trip with multiple bookings, you could do it cheaper still.

 

I reckon the warmer climate of southern Spain and the chance to stay with a good friend will do me good. Hopefully I’ll also be able to sift through the chaotic fieldwork material I have thus far gathered for my thesis. I will have seven days there and seems as my rapidly diminishing funds have eliminated the possibility of a road-trip to Gibraltar, I’ll have more time to focus on my work.

 

Today’s gonna be busy too as I have to pay a visit to my department and see what’s the soonest I can return to Estonia, seems as staying in Copenhagen after the New Year’s is financially not feasible. I will also have to pay a visit to my old arc nemesis, the State Department soon, as I am required to notify them when I leave Copenhagen – in person, as is customary here. Last but not least, I have to ride all the way to the Amager campus to look for my lost leather gloves. The ones I have now will in no way keep my hands from turning into icicles if I expect to carry up cycling in the cold season.

 

If there’s one thing that I can feel good about, it’s the fact that even with the current winds and temperatures I’m still staying true to my bike, while so many have sought the refuge of the Metro system. Bike power!

 

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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Hunter In The Dark

I finally managed to put my amazing stealth skills that I acquired in the navy to good use as, after having spent two hours roaming the dark streets of Copenhagen, I finally found my prey. I found it and dragged it back to my lair. I am the Dark Knight and the Predator, all rolled into one damned handsome package.

 

"Herro ladies..."

 

I am of course talking about my new bike which I found last night when walking from Valby to Norrebro. I found it in a dark alley, hiding and shivering – like a coward. I grabbed it by the horns and now I’m riding it’s tamed ass every single da… oh wait, no. It’s busted.

 

The trouble with “finding” bikes is, if that’s your preferred strategy for getting one, that you should never expect to find one in a good condition. Most of the working bikes are locked up and taking them would technically be considered stealing. And we all know better, right?

 

Compared to my previous beauty, this one’s a sad sight indeed. The basket is loose, both tires are shredded and the steering is unpredictable at best. When riding, it sound less like a bicycle and more like a steam train desperately trying not to explode. But where others see a corpse, I see a, erm… also a corpse but with a, uh… yeah.

 

But I’m sure I can fix it. I reckon that if I patched the tubes it just might have a few more miles in it to last just long enough for me to find a more impressive catch. Or it might explode. Seriously, a child juggling live grenades in a ring of fire would stand a better chance.

 

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