When you’re crossing the globe, what’s a quick detour via Denmark?
Kylie and I were reunited again for a weekend in Denmark before heading back to New Zealand together, but separately. With two weeks worth of catch ups we babbled non stop filling each other in on everything we had eaten, done and thought since our parting two weeks before.
Lynne, Kylie’s friend now lives in Copenhagen with her partner Lars and newborn baby Iona and it was their friendly faces that greeted us off the plane and hosted us for our long weekend.
It was also the city which would host my *gulp* 25th birthday but luckily I was spending it with a collection of my Iceland favourites. Fred, our Danish local was travelling up to the city to be our personal cultural expert and Ivo and Lora, the Bulgarian contingent, were passing through to enthral us with their recent travel updates.
We met in the city and were immediately whisked onto a boat for a trip around Copenhagen’s network of canals. From the colourful town houses of Nyhavn we passed through the yacht lined passages, narrowly passing under bridges as the high waters pushed us threateningly close to decapitation. In he open water we passed the sleek fronted black diamond library and Copenhagen opera house, contrasting the historic beauty of the Christiansborg palace. Of course the top attraction which captures people’s imaginations in Copenhagen is the little mermaid, a statue from the Hans Christian Anderson novel. From the water we watched the adorning crowd snap her from the river banks.
Crossing one of the many bridges, we had lunch at Paper Island, a disused paper factory now a permanent food market which demands exploration of the senses. We all met back waterside to share our variety of delicacies, all topped off with a bucket of birthday gin and tonic.
Another surprise of the city is Christiana, an abandoned military base which since the 70’s has been home to a community of free spirits, a Freetown. Largely ignored although occasionally raided, the area is run by a council and selling of weed is prevalent. We took some drinks through the pusher street and along to the waters edge where the sun glimmered through offering the relaxed patrons a glimpse of summer.
We took a picnic to kings park in the sunny centre and lounged amongst the greenery, many of the residents spilling out into their communal garden. A sunny walk took us through the palace, the four houses home to the queen and the future king. The guards all dressed in blue marched the perimeter keeping watch. We joined the Danes spilling out of work on Friday afternoon and a few wines turned into a buffet meal and cocktails, which subsequently turned into Jagerbombs at a German bar. In a weekend of coincidental reunions, dive master friend Jannes was in the city on a Scandinavian road trip and met us to join the celebrations.
Saturday was a well deserved slob day as we put on our stretchy sports gear and did exactly what they were designed for, ate sweets and watched movies. Feeling strengthened by Sunday we made for Tivoli. It seems Denmark was pioneering in Europe for its theme parks boasting the oldest and Tivoli, the second oldest. Kylie and I bought the unlimited rides pass and immediately got our money’s worth by running to the roller coaster and riding three consecutive times without getting off. We then ran round to convince Lynne we hadn’t met some horrible adrenaline fuelled fate, and continued with our rides streak being launched out of our seats by a kamikaze aeroplane, riding merry go rounds and mine trains. We got the best seats in the house by being cranked to the top of the golden tower to overlook the green roofs of Copenhagen. Unfortunately we didn’t have long to enjoy it as we anticipated the stomach lurching drop to the bottom.
At the start of the new week, I began the long 35 globe crossing journey, back to New Zealand. The end of a Danish chapter and the end of a much longer chapter of summer in the northern hemisphere, and work firmly beckoning.