12 April 2014

A moment on the bike lane

Saturday early evening, laid-back atmosphere with plenty of room between cyclists. I am pushing my granny bike, finding myself habitually overtaking another cyclist, when I realise I have reached the perfect speed. I don’t want to slow down, I don’t want to ride faster, everything is perfect right there, but this man is right next to me, and now it is almost like we are in the same room. He looks over at me, and say: “it’s the perfect speed”. I agree with him, the breeze created by this perfect speed, is intoxicating. 

We ride silently, side by side in a sort of understanding, for one block, and then I tell him I am going to make a turn at the next corner. While we are cycling, he stretches out his hand to shake a hello-and-goodbye, say "it's been cosy" wish me a nice day and a happy Easter and continue in his perfect pace.

Cyclist shadow



04 April 2014

The new sexy

Once in a while I encounter a bike that just stops me in my tracks. This one called out for me, I tried to ignore it, but it got so loud that I had to dismount further down the road, and go back. The last time I encountered this level of bike goodness, was with the honey bunnies in Jægersborggade. It was that long ago, and it is this good. Prepare yourself...


It really should come with a fanfare! Try and make one in your head.


Padded foil seating, and an intricate strap-system/seatbelt function. Equally good for passengers and fragile goods. Shiny silver and orange, it makes me want to scream!

SUCK. Hahaha. Good luck stealing this one, see how far you will get before someone recognizes it and make you return it to the rightful owner! And the goodness just goes on:

This bike is a rock star. 

What's better than shiny silver and orange? Shiny silver, orange and turquoise.


Antipuncture.


There was a time when men in polluting and noisy cars speeding down the street, were considered sexy. That time has past. Today, sexy is a man on a loaded cargo bike. Mmmhh!


31 March 2014

It's now o'clock

We have been tinkering with time again, adjusting our clocks to save, or rather prolong daylight. I still don’t get how so many people have a problem with this. Hello? Days are getting brighter and longer, and we are saving precious energy.

Mayby I am less affected in a negative way because I am not strapped to a watch. One day, many years ago, I realised that being constantly reminded of the time of day, only stressed me out. Whatever with the clock. Can’t we just live in the moment? Like my favorite artist Victor IV said: time is always now.
 


Bulgar time, an art project by Victor IV. 

Happy summer time!

 

27 March 2014

The pacifier tree

As someone who loves trees, it warms my heart to see living trees included in a children’s ritual, as opposed to the jule thing, where they are just cut off and discarded. To those unfamiliar with the Scandinavian tradition: the pacifier tree is where children in a rite of passage sacrifice the pacifiers. They are left behind in clusters, tied to the branches with little parting notes attached and it is a huge deal for these small human beings. There are quite a few pacifier trees in Copenhagen, this one is in Fælledparken (home of the Tower Playground).

Having a tree like this makes so much sense, it teaches children that they are not alone in this. It is never too early to learn that we are not alone.



After a while the pacifiers are cut down, to make room for new ones. 






To understand what kind of agony these children are going through, we just have to think about our smartphones or internet connection. Maybe one day there will be a SIM card tree? Visited by teary-eyed, whimpering grown-ups?


The pacifier tree has recently branched out, and at least one is now blooming in the US.

I'm telling you: we are not alone. And we are not so different.


23 March 2014

14 March 2014

Growing pains

Copenhagen is under pressure, growing by 1000 new inhabitants every month. In the eagerness to make room for them, the administration is making a lot of drastic moves. Destroying over renovating, and getting rid of nature to build more roads.

A lot of the new inhabitants are students, and the housing situation is impossible. Most of the cheap rentals are gone, as the lucky ones got them at a bargain when they were put up for sale. What was once a cheap rental is now a pricey piece of real estate, and you have to buy, beg and borrow to get in the game. And you can forget about the harbor area unless you are a big player...

Bank$ters

...or a bank$ter. Fortunately, it is still free to enjoy the magnificent view from Knippelsbro bridge.

The thing is that a neighborhood is only really alive when the inhabitants consist of a healthy mix. If you weed out a certain part of the population, you get an artificial environment, like the centre of Copenhagen, somehow sucked dry of life and inspiration. In many ways the city centre resembles an amusement park, and after six o’clock in the evening, it is pretty much left dead. Crowded in the daytime, dying in the evening and in some spots downright unsafe at night.

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I chased this ultra cool platinum blonde, down the new city centre pavement. Just for you.

Even if I don’t enjoy crowds, I prefer lived in neighborhoods. Traces of life is my favorite thing, so much of a neighborhoods spirit can be read this way. All these places in Copenhagen (below) are so close, yet so far apart. There is something to love about all of them. Let the tour begin:

Nordvest kvarteret, the Northwest quarter.

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Still authentic and messy with a high percentage of immigrants and plenty of affordable grocery stores. Not fancy, but alive and kicking.

Christianshavn:

Christianshavn is a strange mix of alcoholics and high society in a dreamy backdrop of canals, old wooden boats, beautiful houses and freetown Christiania.

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Details from the ever-changing plywood fence surrounding Christiania.

Caged bird

I grew up on Christianshavn, and always get at tight feeling around the chest there, that don't let go of me until I cross Knippelsbro bridge, and make it safe to the other side.

Vesterbro:

Renovated and "cleaned up" maybe a little too much. But definitely a cool place in Copenhagen, with an abundance of life and small stores, restaurants and bars. You can tell people live here, and that's what makes it work.

Dear media...

Østerbro:

I'm learning to embrace the Østerbro part of Copenhagen, bit by bit. Popular with (identical looking) families and predominantly financially secure households. The Bopa Plads (home of the wooden fruit playground) story embodies the Østerbro'ers best: recently the city terminated a lease for a popular cafe at Bopa Plads. It was no surprise to the owners, as the lease was cheap because of the short-term catch. But Østerbro pulled together and within 24 hours, the politicians in Town Hall were apologetic and withdrew the termination. Nobody messes with Østerbro (blows imaginary gun, and holster it).

Bevar Bopa Plads

Bevar Bopa Plads / Save Bopa Square. By the time they held the rally, it was nothing more than a celebration of the victory. Classic Østerbro, haha.

Bevar Bopa Plads

And good for them, for standing up for themselves. Even if it was just for cafe latte.

Frederiksberg:

Technically not Copenhagen, but wedged in between Nørrebro and Vesterbro, so there is no way around it. Home of the old and the wealthy, heaven for middle- to upper class families with children, hell for the less fortunate, especially if they have a disabled child.

Take out in high heels

Frederiksberg is a fantastic place if you love trees.

Tree trumps metal. As it should be.

Frederiksberg has a tree policy in place, something Copenhagen has yet to implement (the title of European Green Capital 2014 not withstanding). A clear stance that shows the second you cross the otherwise invisible city border, with plenty of big, healthy and well protected trees. Maybe, just maybe if I get to be really old and really wealthy, I will consider moving there. But what are the chances of that?

(Skipping a few neighborhoods here, can't fit them all in, in one post)

Nørrebro:

What can I say? Home. Refusing to give up just yet, despite heavy pressure from frozen yoghurt places, tapas- and wine bars and nasty chain stores moving closer every day. A message from Spyo:

Skrid hip / Get lost hip(ster)  
Get lost Hip(ster).

A message that can't be entirely removed, but lingers as an echo. Kind of poetic.

Some things you can't take back

The diversity of Nørrebro, in a single picture:

2200 Kbh N

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Spørg det er gratis / Ask it's for free. Og intet er dyrt / And nothing is expensive.

Nørrebro still has a decent share of low income households, which ironically contributes to the life so sought after by the buyers. In a recent development the gangs are moving closer to the fancy part of Nørrebro, hovering in groups at the corners, warning people off with evil stares. They are empowered by the marijuana trade, which is one of the reasons our Lord Mayor is pleading with the government, to allow Copenhagen to legalize it. A sure way to take the source of income and power away from the gangs. Unfortunataly, the politicians would rather increase the budget for the approach proven not to work. Obviously they don't live in the real world, and the money they spend so recklessly, not their own.

On behalf of Copenhagen, can I just say:

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04 March 2014

The dungeon and the Dragon

Usually around wintertime I get extremely heavy and tired, not just depressed (although that too), but exhausted from simply climbing the stairs. Come early fall I felt it sneaking up on me again, worse than ever, and someone suggested I have my vitamin D levels checked. I tried, and the nurse refused, considering such a deficiency unlikely, this close to summer. I tried again. She refused me again, causing friends and allies to dub her the Dragon. Third attempt involved a full-blown meltdown in the waiting area, and finally the Dragon agreed to take my blood, which revealed a serious vitamin D deficiency.

All this is just to say: This winter is the first I have actually been awake. Not always happy because the dungeon is murder, but awake. Meeting spring with energy is new to me too: I am not crawling towards the light, this time, I am running.

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Also: everything is beautiful.

Diamonds

14

Absolutely everything.

The lakes


The lakes

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This glove would like to point something out to you.

Baby we could die tomorrow

Baby, we could die tomorrow.

We better make it count, don't you think?

(And: don't let a dragon stop you, if you feel something is wrong!)


 

26 February 2014

Dannebrog

I love flag-days. They always come as a pleasant surprise, and it is a guessing game, what the occasion is: a religious thing or the birthday of another member of the rapidly expanding royal family. It really doesn’t matter. Just seeing the flag in the wind and on the buses, makes everything instantly better. It’s confetti-good. I once tried to explain it, in the Christmas calendar 2010:

To me Dannebrog, as is the name of our red and white flag, is a sign of celebration. From the first time I laid eyes on the flag, it was in the context of good times: hooray, someone gave birth/had a birthday/won the lottery. It is impossible for me to see a Danish flag and not feel instantly better.

People who enjoy national soccer games, will paint their faces with flags, and wear silly flag themed hats, and it is worth noticing that these guys are not the ones going bananas, and beating up people. In fact I will bet you that you are not able to find a single Dane waving our flag in public, who are not just there to share his joy.

Men at work:


The man on the left kept an eye on things, and told them: "be careful, it's Dannebrog". Oh.




Visitors and tourists seem to instantly get how it is a good thing, a sign of celebration. While I have heard snickering remarks from a lot of expats, who just don’t seem to get it. What is so hard to understand? 

A few of my favorite things

We love our flag, kindly suck it up.