We spent one last weekend in Copenhagen to see a few things that we didn’t get a chance to see the first week we were there. It had gotten colder since the week prior, so we decided it would be nice to sleep somewhere indoors this time. Looking around at the hostels downtown, we knew this wasn’t going to be cheap. The hostels right in the downtown seem to flip between being expensive but nice, and cheaper but with awful reviews. After an evening of scouring the internet I managed to find us a room for a fairly reasonable rate, but it seemed a bit ambiguous on whether this was a hostel or what. Crossing our fingers, we left Makvaerket that afternoon on a train. It was a decent walk from Copenhagen central train station to where we were staying, but it was kind of nice to have a chance to see the city at night. After hesitantly knocking on the door of a house that matched the address we had written down, a woman answered the and told us we were in luck. Apparently, we had caught her on the way out for the evening since we hadn’t made a reservation and she wasn’t expecting anyone. Lucky us! To top off our good fortune, the room was awesome! It was nice, warm, and very comfortable, the perfect way to start off the weekend.
Now for the highlights: firstly, the one I was most excited about, the Tivoli gardens!
While I didn’t find all the Christmas gifts that I was hoping to get at the Christmas shops, we did have an awesome time. We walked around the park for hours, checking out the rides, shops, and decorations while listening to the cute Christmas bands play carols. We had only a ticket for one ride, so we made it count. Named, somewhat unimaginatively, “Rutschebanen,” or, “The Roller Coaster,” it’s one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world. Built in 1914, it looks like an old mine car that winds through a little mountain. We even got a great video of it!
We sampled some toffee (salty but tasty!), glögg (way too sweet, but warmed us up nicely), and Belgian waffles with cream and jam (not sure how Danish this was, still yummy though). I loved the whimsical look of the rides; it was unique, I can’t think of anything I could even compare the style too. The park was even prettier at night. Lights sparkled on every ride, tree, shop, and lamp post. Fake snow had been added in a few spots to complete the Christmas-card-perfect look.
The second main thing we wanted to see was Freetown Christiania. People around Makvaerket had been talking about it all week, and had stoked our curiosity.
It started as a squatter community that had moved into the abandoned military buildings in the ‘70s. Today, it has grown into a testament to alternative living. Houses have been built according to every whim you can imagine, without much outwardly obvious thought to property organization. In some places they seemed to give each other ample room, while in others they gave the impression of a crowd of people stumbling over one another. Near the main entrance to the community, you could tell that tourism has had an influence. One building boasted a shop (closed while we were there), art gallery, and at least two cafes. Just outside the entrance, a booth was set up selling t-shirts and sweaters emblazoned with, “Christiania.” Around the corner was the infamous, “Green light district,” or, “Pusher Street,” where hash dealers line the block. Signs are posted just outside warning you not to take photos or to run, which it said could create a panic (reading this made me give being there a sober second thought). While we don’t have any photos, I can assure you the street lived up to its name with little booths boasting artfully displayed strains of weed from around the world. The highlight of this area though was just walking around and taking in the creativity that went into the house designs, murals, and scattered pieces of sculpture.
That basically wrapped up our tour of Copenhagen. After having a nice, hot pizza we jumped on a train back to Makvaerket to spend one last week with our new friends.