#1: EXPERIENCE FREETOWN CHRISTIANA
Freetown Christiania is a utopia model of a hippie style commune. In 1971 several people in Copenhagen overtook an abandoned military base and declared it theirs. They renovated the existing buildings and even built new ones over time in the area to their own liking. Apartments, houses, yoga studios, shops, electrical and sewer grids, etc.. With just under 1000 inhabitants and major decisions made by committee, it’s a self policing society with only a few hard rules: no hard drugs (weed & hash OK), biker colors, bullet proof vests, stealing, guns, knives or violence.
Each year we hang out with a large group of like-minded friends at an event called Shambhala, which is a music festival setup in a similar sort of style just outside of Nelson. We heard about Freetown and wanted to investigate for ourselves what this was like and see with our own eyes how it works. And we were shocked in how fantastic this community is. While few spoke English they have created a unique society where everything is recycled, commerce is developed around food, shops, a soft drug trade and there is little to no violence. They have a strict no camera policy inside which is a shame as the graffiti, sculptures and other artwork was amazing. If you are in Copenhagen and have an open mind we strongly recommend taking a stroll through the area and enjoy yourself. It would be quite an experience to stay there for longer than an afternoon and really interact with people. As it’s essentially a squatting area, you could just setup a tent in one of the fields and then start mixing yourself in.
#2: GO TO TIVOLI GARDENS
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and luxury garden in the middle of Copenhagen originally built in 1843. It’s quite large and has beautiful grounds unlike anything we’ve seen in Canada. There are many tree lined paths that go over creeks with waterfalls and several large ponds with a classic fight for survival – birds eating the Koi food or the Koi trying to get it. The koi end up getting pissed and start nipping at the birds feet after a while, but I don’t think they have any teeth and the birds know this. Thankfully this doesn’t happen with humans as there is a huge variety of restaurants from the standard fair food to high priced gourmet meals.
But we weren’t at Tivoli Gardens for the park settings, we wanted rides and the park didn’t disappoint. As suckers for wooden roller-coasters, Tivoli has the worlds oldest operational wooden roller-coaster Rutsjebanen. Not quite as exciting as the PNE’s Wooden Roller Coaster, it was very small but decent. It actually had an operator riding it that controlled the speed with a hand brake. Far better was The Demon (made by Mazda) with it’s dual loop and corkscrew (zoom-zoom). Our favorite though was the newly opened Veritgo – which puts you in a plane cockpit and allows you to control how the plane rotates on all axis while spinning up to 100KM per hour and feel up to 4G’s through your body.
# 3: RENT A BIKE
Copenhagen has more bikes than we’ve ever seen. It’s a city that actually can experience rush hour in a bike lane rather then on the street. The bike lanes are bigger than the sidewalks with free bikes placed throughout the city for a 20 kroner deposit. Unfortunately these bikes are usually gone. Although, we did spy some very beat up ones in Freetown… Our hotel rented us some good cruiser bikes for a reasonable rate and we spent the day cruising through the city. It sure beats walking and we were able to cover a vast amount of land and see all the sights Copenhagen has to offer. While, biking along the pier next to the water you can’t help think that this is as good as it gets.
TIP: It’s best to try and get yourself a city bike early in the morning as we saw a bunch one early morning.. but beware… no place is open for breakfast until at least 10am!