Re-Exchange in Denmark

Trip Start Jul 08, 2010
Trip End Oct 07, 2010

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Where I stayed
Holbaek Family B&B

Flag of Denmark  , Zealand,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

After a quick hop back up to Amsterdam and a day of bikes compliments of our friends at Frederics Rent a Bike, we boarded a 15 hour night train from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. Bunking with two Chinese girls and their mom, it's an understatement to say our quarters were a bit tight. It didn’t help that , mom, likes to go to bed at 7:00 p.m. only to wake up totally disoriented at 1:00 a.m., fall from the highest rung of the ladder, gather herself by sitting on my bed, and proceed to madly search for her shoes in the dark until I finally get out of bed and find them myself! Awkward!

         As you can imagine we arrived exhausted, so having the next few days to spend laid-back with our Denmark family was absolutely perfect. We switched roles with Thomas, who spent his junior year with my family on a foreign exchange to experience daily life in the States. Now the adopted members, we mostly took in Copenhagen from the stance of a local. We ate meals together, cheered on the boys at their futbol matches in the evening, compared prices at the supermarket, read gossip about the royal family in the tabloids, and did our best to capture bits of Danish in between. Kenny and 12 year-old Mathias reconnected as fast friends, constantly hackling one another and teaching each other all the wrong things the other language could provide! Our stay was a welcomed opportunity for family warmth, so we extended our thanks gathered around the table with a vegan Tex-Mex feast. True to form, Mathias refused to admit the food was edible until alone with his mom exclaiming, "That was actually really good!" J

          Although we did less sightseeing in Denmark, we really loved those sites we did visit. Upon arrival we visited Nyhavn, New Harbor, where beautifully sandwiched row homes from the 1600s host restaurant after restaurant of excellent cuisine under white umbrellas that line the sidewalk. The area’s revitalization veils the beer, sailors and prostitution the area was once renowned for, but surprisingly the strip remains a busy place! Just a few moments walk from the harbor is the beautiful waterfront we captured from a guided cruise. The beautifully designed architecture bridging old and new as well as industrial and recreational is a feast for the eyes despite the absence of the harbor’s symbol, the most photographed mermaid in the world, on rent to China for a cultural expo. Just across the water lies the most interesting place we visited where I’m convinced the smartest hippies in the world live! Christiana, a town within a town, is a gated community known to all Copenhagen’s citizens as the place to purchase marijuana. Pot is illegal in Denmark; however, the dreadlocked inhabitants of Christiana maintain such tight surveillance it allows them to set up shop in the middle of its dirt streets and unsurprisingly, business is booming. Their success makes purchasing weed as ordinary as visiting any other business this attraction park of a commune boasts; from organic produce to hairdressing to renowned bikes accessories. These shopping districts open to city squares that are linked with natural parks and even waterfront property, suggesting a high level of organization amidst ramshackle charm. Indeed, town hall holds community meetings weekly where local governance requires a unified vote of all 300 town members for any decision ranging from a neighbor’s third addition to their RV or the hiring of a teacher for the local elementary school. Fascinating! But if you think this is exciting look for our next post about street performers and riots in Hamburg, Germany!
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