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

December 26, 2009

And the day when the fat men in red invaded Tivoli

As I promised, I took a look at Tivoli at Christmas time to bring you some pretty pictures just for you (well, what I could, the night falls early at this time).

No, the little hearts are not falling.
They hang to the branches of a tree without leaves just behind.

At the edge of the lake

That is exactly my kind of humor

Of course, there is a Christmas market:

But the most impressive temporary installation is a kind of huge tent, standing on the square in front of the main stage, but a tent with walls and roof, looking like small wooden houses stuck together (I don't know if I'm very clear). Inside, a village of little elves, all animated, has been reconstituted.

Crossed by a little train:

And at the end of your trip in Elvesland, to help you to recover from your emotions, comes the unavoidable seasonal stand, the one that sells the æbleskiver/glögg duo. These are the traditional Christmas delicacies you find in all bars right now so you feel obliged to try it.

Æbleskiver, literally means "apple slices", but actually it is not that at all. It seems that however, it was made with apples in the good old days... Today, it is a kind of small round pancakes, served with sugar and jam.

In their special machine

And glögg is mulled wine with spices.

Here is the recipe if you want to try. For a liter of red wine you need:

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon cardamom
• 1 teaspoon ginger
• 8 cloves
• a piece of bitter orange peel
• some orange juice if you want
• sugar

Heat the wine in a saucepan with all the spices but don't boil it (watch out the fumes!) Add sugar to your taste. Ready! Actually, it is recommended to prepare it a long time in advance to allow the wine to absorb the flavors of spices. At serving time, raisins and almonds are often added directly into the glass, so don't forget the spoon. The real Vikings even add some vodka.

Then, I wish you a glædelig Jul (a day late) and a godt nytår, a tillykke med fødselsdagen to my original blog (a year already!) and velkommen to its little brother in English. See you next year.

December 16, 2009

Last news of the summit

Being there, I took the opportunity to go to the big demonstration on Saturday, you've probably heard of in the media last weekend. The procession started under a beautiful blue sky from Christiansborg Palace in the heart of the city, to finish at the Bella Center, a nice little walk. We were between 30 000 and 100 000 according to the sources. Here are some quick pictures:

Riddle: what did the sign carriers get for dinner?

Review: it was a kind of big catch-all, everyone demanded something different. The procession was not only composed of anti-globalization or Greenpeace activists, but of any kind of people from everywhere. The atmosphere was generally peaceful and friendly, unlike what you probably saw on TV, where they only speak about the naughty-masked-guys-who-break-everything.

About the daily life here, I admit that it's special right now, especially this week, the atmosphere of the city is a quite unusual. The first thing one can notice, besides the exhibitions, is the incredible number of policemen patrolling in the streets. There was even some who came to the control center with their dogs for sniffing the server room, in the case of there would be a bomb ... And they are also above our heads! Actually, I'm starting getting kind of tired of hearing this herd of purring helicopters flying over us 24/24. I let you calculate how much CO2 those damn devices will have rejected in the atmosphere by the end of the conference.

Regarding the affrays, they are happening at the Bella Center, which seems to be besieged (*). I talked to people who went there, you have to queue for an incredible time to enter. But I did not even try to check it out, apparently the subway doesn't stop there anymore. And then on Thursday and Friday, with the agglutination of great leaders of this world, the public transportation will have the good old taste of their Parisian counterpart during a strike. So I don't have the choice, I must take my bike. Unfortunately for me, at this very moment, Copenhagen is covered with a brand new white coat. Why did I decide to fly on Friday, uh?

(*) Check your friend G*** instead of believing me!

December 15, 2009

I've tested for you: the Julefrokost

Anyway, I could not escape to it. And I was told since months, that it was The Unmissable Party, and bla bla bla ... For those who don't know what it is, basically, the Julefrokost is the traditional Christmas party, and I'm talking specifically about the one organized by the company. It consists of a dressed-up party with a dinner, and all Danish companies organize their own, I mean absolutely all of them. That's why in Denmark all the restaurants and banquet halls are almost fully booked every Friday night located between November 20 and December 20.

Mine took place in the suburbs of Copenhagen in a vast hall filled with candles. After an open bar cocktails phase, people started to dine. Not worth fantasizing over the food, it was just a buffet, interrupted by speeches, jokes (a stage and a microphone had been provided for this purpose), and the screening of a short funny film about the company.

After the meal, people head gradually towards the dance floor. Then, that was the time when it began spinning out of control. And it was still open bar. To give you an idea of how it looked like, imagine an student party with in the role of students, your fellow workmates, from 20 to 60 years old. Actually, the Julefrokost is the only day of the year when people allow themselves to crack down in public, with the rallying cry "Skål!" (*) And I can assure you that it's weird to see these Danes losing control of themselves while they usually are quite self-contained.

And another funny thing, on Monday morning, all the people who went there greeted me solemnly by adding the ritual formula, "Tak for sisdt!" which means "Thank you for the last time" although of course I didn't do anything for them personally. Yes, the Danes still have not yet invented the "please" (**) in Danish, but forget your "tak for sisdt" and you will pass as a lout.

(*) Cheers!
(**) This word just doesn't have any equivalent in Danish

December 9, 2009

Copenhagen at this time: the climate-deco

This time, it is the round of photos on the theme of climate change.
If you come back to Kongens Nytorv, one can now see an outdoor photos exhibition called "100 Steder at Huske før of forsvinder" (100 places to remember before they disappear). The pictures come from all around the world and their beauty is astounding, but underneath all of them, a text reminds us that each of these places is in potential danger because of the global warming.

And in orbit around the square are arranged a multitude of decorated planets (they have also invaded the underground stations).

Now let's take Strøget and have a look to Amagertorv.
Well, there are weird things but I think it has nothing to do with climate.

Oh, not this one of course

I also checked out Nytorv / Gammeltorv, which is under the theme of melting ice. No need for explanations.

Pictures taken on Saturday

And there was on Tuesday night
(Yes, in Copenhagen there is more than 0 ° C, what did you imagine?)

And we approach our ultimate goal, Rådhuspladsen. But just before we pass in front of some stuff.

And when we finally arrive on the spot, we see a lot of greeny information stands.

But something catches the eye: there is a huge white ball in the middle. I first wondered if it was a balloon or something like that, but at night time, I understood!

Otherwise, I've not checked the Bella Center (I am afraid it might be kind of difficult to access these days), and I've not yet seen any demonstrations...

December 8, 2009

Copenhagen at this time: the Christmas-deco

This month, it's pretty funny to walk in Copenhagen and see the Christmas decorations alongside exhibitions on the theme of the climate change conference, and everything in a happy jumble. First I wanted to put all the pictures in one article, but I think it would have been too long, so I cut it in half. So today, I'll take a walk with you on the theme of Christmas in a whole glittering Copenhagen.

Let's start by going to see the inevitable Nyhavn. Of course, the place is sooo romantic, it is the perfect place to set up a Christmas market.

It's weird, there is surprisingly very few things to eat, but on the other hand, there is a plethora of useless shops in several copies, like the woolen-things-stands, you know, the caps, scarves, what all this (but why are they pollute all the Christmas markets them like that?) There's also sellers of non-local crafts costing an arm and sellers of candles and uh... an unnecessary-trinkets-stamped-Tuborg shop, but here this is normal.

To do your Christmas shopping nearby, Magasin du Nord will tempt you with a beautiful deco unfortunately accompanied by an insufferable sirupy music (Sympathique of Pink Martini tapped me on edge the whole Saturday every time I passed by, I swear it was over and over).

The other big department store, Illum, is also weel decorated.

Just for fun, I confess that I made a trip to Christiania too, just to see if in case they would not decorated too. Well actually it was! Sellers of substances have their little personal stall embellished with garlands bright, but with techno hardcore music. I could not take photos for the reasons you know. Psychedelic.

Otherwise the streets of the old city center, there are many delicate decorations on window sills like:

And the wreaths, in the windows, everywhere, always the same symbol:

It's the Julehjerte (Christmas heart), the typical Danish decoration. Traditionally, it is a small basket of woven paper filled with delicacies and that people hang in their Christmas trees. Give to your tree the Danish touch by doing your owns it is super easy to do.

Here is the Christmas tree of Rådhuspladsen
Its Julehjerter are not baskets

Lets draw on a little bit closer... Huh, what is there at the bottom?

Ah yes, I'm stupid, obviously, bikes of course. To light the tree. Really, these Danes are incorrigible. Still, this device makes me laugh, when you look directly opposite you can see Tivoli fully illuminated ...

To be continued tomorrow: the climate-deco.

December 3, 2009

A festival at the summit

You all know it by heart because all the media only speak about that since a looong time, that this month takes place in Copenhagen the summit on the climate change, aka COP15. So since it has not yet begun, I shall not speak about yet. In fact, I just wanted to point out to people who will be there at that time, that there will be a big festival on Rådhuspladsen throughout the duration of the summit (from the 7th to the 18th). There will be concerts, films, exhibitions, debates ... Basically, that's the place to be (well I mean for people who do not attend conferences). The festival is called Hopenhagen and here is the program.