Tam stumbled back into the flat at the late hour of 11:30pm after her work drinks (with cocktails), managing to make the tube ride and bus back to the flat and start attempting to pack her bag for the weekend. Tonight was her night on cooking. Luckily Mitch covered for her and she proceeded to eat her microwaved meal slumped over the bed. After spilling her water all over the sheets, Mitch moved her back to the kitchen table and continued packing her bag for the early flight out the next morning. How early? Well, the flight was at 6:00am, so the alarm was set for 3:45am to allow for the bus to Heathrow. By the time Tam got to sleep and woke back up, she was still drunk. Somehow she managed to get a bit more sleep, snoring at the top of a crowded double decker to Heathrow.
This long weekend sees us head off to the Danish capital of Copenhagen, and later north to Gothenburg, Sweden thanks to some cheap airfares. Landing early, we used the swift public transport to get into the Vesterbro District and check into our AirBnB flat, located right beside the Carlsberg Brewery. Our flat came with bikes, which for us was an added bonus – getting around would now be really easy. Biking in Copenhagen is much like Amsterdam with a culture that endorses the cycle commute and has fully segregated bike lanes. Navigating our way along the large canals was relatively easy with the city largely deserted in parts, but all of a sudden you could turn a corner and find a swarm of people. We found the general groups trendy and relaxed, crowded around the cafes and bakeries.
Walking across the town centre, we found the small suburb/ghetto of Freetown Christiana, a small enclave which has self proclaimed itself as autonomous. Here, the police don’t appear to interfere much, with camouflaged stalls selling little green bags and the unmistakable waft through the air mixes with the reggae music creating a completely different vibe from the rest of Copenhagen. Today was particularly crowded, with a large collection of sorts; aged rockers with long gray hair, leather jackets and bleary eyes listening to U2; dreaded hippies with multiple piercings robed in hessian sack cloth; and death metal fans in black hoodies and thick boots, in all quite a mongrel assortment of misfits having the time of their lives. We didn’t know this at the time, but this was a celebration for “Global Marijuana Day” and a march (open street party) that would start in Christiana and would end up later following us around the city.
Escaping the crowd momentarily we found the bars of Nyhavn, finding a perch to sit in the sun with a Copenhagen Cone (with whipped cream). The march blared Bob Marley music as it rolled past. Cycling north to one of the more popular tourist attractions, we found the Little Mermaid, perched on her small rock and constantly being fondled by posing tourists. Next door,we cycled around the star shaped earthen walls of the Copenhagen Citadel, before aimlessly riding back through the Botanical Gardens for our afternoon moi.
Waking back up at around 8pm to see daylight outside was a surprise, but nonetheless a trip to the Kodbyen Meat Packing District for dinner was on the cards. Surprisingly, most places were closed, but we still managed to find a place to eat outside, watching a few meat workers change shifts.
The following day, we had an aimless wander through the centre of town, stopping to see some of the other sights. This weekend Copenhagen was hosting the Eurovision contest and a large fan zone was set up in the centre square. Over the next few days many would come in, particularly from Eastern Europe to support their favourite acts, the competition being one of national pride. At midday, we boarded the bus headed to Gothenburg, travelling via the tunnel and bridge over the Oresund Strait to Malmo. This stretch of water is lined with hundreds of offshore wind turbines – Denmark generates up to 30% of it’s power using renewables. Looking back at Copenhagen, part of the Zealand Province, we didn’t see a lot of resemblance between this place and New Zealand (to which Zealand lends its name), apart from being surrounded by water. The next few hours on the bus would be crucial for catching up with much needed sleep.