This blog is a translation of my original blog, written in French (publication dates are kept).

May 24, 2010

The carnival of the Swedish students

This year, I stayed away from the carnival in Copenhagen, and I crossed the Øresundbro as I often do, to see how it was in the country of our dear neighbors. Because at Lund, a university town located about twenty kilometers from Malmö, is holded every four years a completely delirious carnival organized by the students. Luckily, it fell this year, I couldn't miss that. I had already visited Lund several times, it is a cute medieval town, but a little bit tiny. And that day, it seemed that all the inhabitants of the region had an appointment here, the streets were tremendously crowded. Having showed up a little late, I missed the beginning of the parade, but I saw things that din't make me regret the trip:

I saw dancers...

other dancers...


a pirate boat...

a truck full with anarchists inside...

some alternative culture...

the float of the medical students...

a float to make fun of the SJ trains (Swedish national railway company), 
with the sign "The Upsala of 1:65 PM never comes"...

some guys sliding on an Icelandic volcano...

But my favorite was unquestionably the Svensson float, filled out of blonds

All around, were jumping around typical elements of the Swedish folklore, the opportunity to review together the basics of the culture:

the true Swedish girl

the moose, the animal emblem of Sweden

 more difficult: this guy is dressed in Dalahästen (Dala horse), a traditional figurine

 no, this is not toothpaste, but kaviar (infamous mixture to spread)

and this is a köttbulle (meatball), a basic of Swedish cuisine
(They are consumed in Denmark as well, where they are called frikadeller)

Personally, I would have completed the picture with a potato (present in absolutely ALL Swedish meals) and with some knäckebröd (Wasa crackers) ... Have a good carnival!

May 11, 2010

What happened to the Little Mermaid?

Oops, disappeared! The mascot of Copenhagen is actually in China for the moment for the Shanghai Expo. She won't be back before November. In the meantime, see what is provided for mermaid-sick tourists:

"Mermaid Exchange-Remote" is the name of this piece of art,
by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

It's supposed to be a live broadcast via the Internet of the Danish pavilion. Well, I don't recognize the Little Mermaid there, and then if you look at the picture carefully, you will notice that the video has... crashed!

If you want to surprise your friends, bring them instead along the Frederiksholms Kanal, on the little bridge leading to Højbro Plads. Bend you heard on Christiansborg's side, and you will see this:

This is a sculpture in the water on purpose. When the water level is low, you can see the skulls  showing on the surface, it's scary. It's a creation of the Danish artist Susta Bonnen, and it was installed in 1992. The label on the edge of the bridge indicates "Agnete og Havmanden". English translation:  The Mermaid with 7 Sons (?), inspired by a tale from the one you all know now.

May 5, 2010

The one who was living in a giant beetle

One day I was wandering without asking anything to anyone on the docks of Christianshavn around the old warehouses (today a delightfully restored area), I came across a weird object:

Yes, a cabin with paws

Information taken from the young man who was inside, it is a scientific and artistic project called the Walking House, made by a collective of Danish artists called N55, in collaboration with engineers from the MIT. Yep, it moves itself, watch the video if you don't believe me:

That gizmo being supposed to be green, uses therefore solar and wind energy. It has a bed, a mini living-room, toilets (composting system of course), a wood burning stove and of course a lot of electronics. Its paws have hydraulic cylinders that allow it to reach the kick-ass speed of 5 km/h maximum. Suddenly you wonder if the project really has an ambition other than purely artistic (or if it's just coming from a big engineers'trip).

But in fact this is done on purpose, because I quote: "It is a common fact that walking often helps a person concentrate their thoughts and creates a mental state that enforces mobility of the mind. The Walking House is constructed to move at human muscle speed for exactly this reason".

It seems to me that the guy told me that the House was to be shown in an exhibition soon, but I do not remember where. Anyway, if you have the occasion, have a walk in this area, it really worth it.

And at a time, you will inevitably come across to the famous restaurant Noma, who was ranked "best restaurant on the planet" last month by British magazine Restaurant Magazine. If you feel like to have dinner there, the waiting list for a table is several months!

May 3, 2010

No, I haven't forgotten you!

I know I know, it's more than a month since I've not written anything. That didn't mean that I was running out of ideas, even quite the contrary, but it was rather a lack of time. I was on vacation, then I came back, I left again, for being trapped by the famous volcano. After a long journey to return to Copenhagen, I again flew for a short weekend, well I haven't stopped. In addition, I was looking for a new job, because my contract in Denmark ends in a month. Yes, that's official, I'm going back to France in a month, in a new area for me (and with a good weather, big change for me). This will  not prevent me to continue my articles, don't worry, I have plenty of stock!

And to make it up to you, I share with you this video of the birthday of Queen Margrethe II, who celebrated her 70th birthday on April 16th (big party that I unfortunately missed because of that stupid Icelandic).

March 15, 2010

10 craziest bikes! (part 2)

Here is the second edition of the top 10 of amazing bikes (here was the first one).

Today's theme: "extreme bike tuning". Be careful, I have to warn you, your eyes might sting a little bit.


To begin smoothly, some entirely repainted, more or less successfuly.


Arg, the mad striper struck at least twice.


Yes, bicycles are a green mean of transportation.


Made in Christiania.


This one is actually is a sign shop.


Pimp you bike yourself.


Unidentified dead body, lying somewhere in Christiania, I would be unable to find it again. But is it a sculpture, or the remains of something that really drove?


Nice idea.


The stuntman, seen at the demonstration of COP 15. To measure up with that event, some have let their imagination go, and by putting two like this, you get the number 1:


I was assured that both had indeed demonstrated that day.

Come on, tell me, which one is your favorite?

March 7, 2010

Push the tagged doors and discover the real Christiania (part 2)

As I was saying the last time, within Christiania is hidden an incredible alternative cultural life that a non-informed tourist wondering through the aisles couldn't suspect at first sight. Despite the fact that this zone is the third touristical attraction of Denmark, a lot of visitors ignore that it is a fantastic place to go out by night.

Indeed, there are actually concert halls, bars and even restaurants! They all have a special atmosphere unique to Christiania, and that's why I love them. So I will give you an overview of the key spots.

Let's start with the Loppen (the Flea). It's the easiest to find: the first building at the entrance.

It's reached through a very dark hall, and then you climb those weed-flavored stairs:

Upstairs is the Musikloppen, the concert hall with candles inside and exposed beams, one of the most popular concert venues in Copenhagen.

And at the second floor, you push a door with just black graffiti on it and then, this is magic:

You are in the Spiseloppen, an excellent organic restaurant. I tested it twice, I assure you that the food is delicious (no so cheap, but it's still reasonable). There is an exhibition gallery in the opposite room.

Going up on Pusher Street, you find the Børneteatret (Jazz Club). It was a children's theater at the beginning as its name indicates, then it was transformed into a stage dedicated to jazz, blues and hip hop. Famous jam sessions.

A little bit further, my favorite, Operaen. It does cafe, bar, concert hall and theater and its decoration is really lovely.


But I never go to Christiania without hanging out at the Woodstock:


It's a kind of crazy place, it looks like an old bistro, and it gathers all kinds of people: old, young, pure Christianites, foreigners, a bunch of Greenlanders, hippies, students ... They drink, smoke, get high, play backgammon and wiggle after nightfall.

In a different style, you have the Månefiskeren (the Moon Fisher). It doesn't serve any alcohol. In fact, you go there especially to enjoy a good coffee, eat cakes, and enjoy the cool atmosphere. And sometimes to play billiards.


From time to time I also go to the Nemoland café. It is less warm than the others in my opinion, but it has a beautiful terrace that makes sense in the summer, with an outdoor stage.


And there are still others that I have not yet had the opportunity to test!

Den Grå Hal (the Grey Hall) for example. It is the largest concert hall in Christiania, but it also hosts theater performances, meetings, the Christmas market ...

Or the Morgenstedet (the Morning Place). It is a very small restaurant, a little bit hard to find, which serves organic vegetarian cuisine from around the world, and ironically, opens at noon.

Phew, and I didn't even mention all of them. And I didn't say either that you can find in Christiania grocery stores, a bakery, a bike shop, a shoe store, another one for clothes, a movie theater, art galleries, recycling workshops, sculpter and painter's studios, a horse-riding club, a school, a common bathroom, a yoga center, a radio station, a post office ...

In all, there are about 120 companies registered as such in Christiania (source Here is a non-exhaustive list of them.

To finish, I have selected a video if you want to learn more:

In the next episode I will tell you the story of Christiania and the daily lives of its inhabitants.