Adventures in Copenhagen: New Friends, New Food & Secret Neighborhoods

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Standing in rainy Copenhagen  | The Girl Next Door is Black

Brrrr! It is chilly and rainy this time of year in Copenhagen. It’s been on average low- to mid-40s, with a bit of a wind and rain everyday.

The Danish guide from the walking tour we took earlier in the day, Magnus, also led that evening’s four-bar pub crawl. The group of about 15 included a few familiar faces from the earlier tour and represented several nations including England, Australia, Columbia, Trinidad, Peru and, of course, Denmark.

Also in our group: two progressively drunker American dudebros. Later in the night, one of the dudebros stumbled in front of a politi (police) car and started to give them lip, which they didn’t find amusing; neither did I and neither did Magnus as he warned, “They don’t like that.” Sigh.

 

Friends at the Saloon Bar Copengahen, Denmark | The Girl Next Door is Black

Fun Times!

The next morning jet lag hit me hard. We gave in to the Danish spirit of “hygge” and slept in before starting the day. On the agenda for our afternoon: a free walking tour of the neighborhood Christianshavn and the very unique “freetown” Christiania.

Before the walking tour, we stopped for lunch at a fantastic indoor market, Torvehollerne, the largest food market in Copenhagen, where vendors sell food and goods from around the world.

Open-faced sandwiches, or Smørrebrød, are popular in Danish cuisine. It’s not just the taste that’s important with these buttered, rye-bread based sandwiches; presentation matters, as well.

When we met up with the tour group, we noticed the Columbian girls from the previous night’s pub crawl and greeted them. Magnus, the wonder guide, led this tour too.

Scenes from Christianshavn

On our way to Christiania, a freetown within Christianshavn, Magnus explained some of its history. Christiania is like a hippie commune; the less than 900 residents live a bohemian lifestyle with few rules. One notable rule: no cars allowed.  Magnus warned us that by appearance you’d think it’s the kind of place one might avoid: dilapidated buildings; people wearing disheveled, stained clothing; graffiti-covered facades; overgrown flora and an overall sketchy vibe. There are also shops, restaurants and an annual Christmas market within Christiania. Magnus assured us “it’s safe”; probably one of the safest areas in the city.

Within Christiania you’ll find the “Green Light District,” also known as “pusher street,” a small area where dealers openly sell marijuana and hash; no questions asked and no harassment or involvement from law enforcement. As long as no hard drugs are involved, everything is copacetic. Anyone caught with hard drugs has the option of either  going to rehab or permanent banishment from the town.

I didn’t take very many photos in Christiania, partly out of respect for the culture and partly out of fear of being kicked out embarrassingly. Photos aren’t allowed within the Green Light District at all.

We were still in Christiania by nightfall when we got caught up in sudden rainstorm that sent everyone scurrying for cover. Once the rain ended, we carefully found our way out of the sparsely-lit, creepy-in-the-dark, maze of Christiania.

Our evening concluded with a French-influenced dinner at Grill Royal.

Mussels / Moules at Grill Royal Copenhagen Denmark | The Girl Next Door is Black

My big pot of mussels

 

10 Comments
  • Seana Smith
    January 29, 2015

    Hello, I would so love to visit Copenhagen, have never been anywhere in Scandanavia except a quick visit to Finland years ago for work. Would love to be a tourist there and have a good look around like you – love it.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 30, 2015

      Ooh, Finland. I want to visit! I’ve heard it’s different from the rest of the Scandinavian countries. Copenhagen is a wonderful place to visit; hope you get to go one day!

  • Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    January 29, 2015

    Looking at your photos reminded me of my backpacking days around Europe. I wish I could have blogged about it back then.

  • Malinda (@MBPaperPackages)
    January 29, 2015

    That open sandwich sounds great! I think I would spend a lot of time in those markets, just eating.
    Thanks for joining in my #wednesdaywanderlust travel link party!

  • aparentinglife
    January 28, 2015

    Wow looks like lots of fun was had. Thanks for sharing. Swinging as part of #wednesdaywanderlust

  • BritishMumUSA
    December 28, 2014

    Awesome, and as for the embarrassing American tourists, I am a Brit and the Hubs is American and when we toured the world, he hid his accent sometimes for fear of another loud American recognizing it and then thinking that that was a free for all and to be his other loud buddy. Most Yanks are OK travelers but there are some out there…… Ugh !

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