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

February 28, 2010

A gift from me for you

This weekend, I was browsing through my archives of photos of Copenhagen, and I thought it might be nice to show you the best pieces of my collection. Coz I almost haven't seen the blue sky since four months, and at a time when the spring is desired so strongly, it is worth remembering how the city is beautiful. Only one more month to go. Yes, we can do it. And it is guaranteed without retouchings.

Here are fifty pictures of the city itself and the surrounding area:

And as a bonus, a selection of images taken from above:

When I see this review, after a year of pictures, I tell myself that I still have so much to show you ... 

February 7, 2010

Is the grass really greener in Christiania? (part 1)

Here comes finally the first article on the definitely most unusual place of Copenhagen, Christiania. Perhaps you've already heard of it even if you have neer been in Denmark ... It is actually a giant squat, which has the singularities of being tolerated and being located right in the middle of the city. Even more than just a squat, it is a village in the city, a kind of hippie self-governed community, I would even say a semi-independent micro-state. The Danes call it "Fristaden", "The Freetown".

Let's look at the map to get an idea of the place:

Christiania is located on the island of Christianshavn (hence its name), and occupies much of the ancient city walls built by King Christian IV in 1617 (the odd pins).

34 hectares still

As you can see, the area forms a green enclave, naturally isolated from the rest of the city. However, there is a surronding wall along Prinsessegade street :

And there is the famous main entrance:

(photo Alex Rosa)

This is how it looks from behind:

And that's the small entrance at the corner of Princessegade and Bådsmandsstræde:


Once passed over, we enter in another world. The buildings are former military barracks rehabilitated by the Christianites themselves, or constructions of their own. Absolutely everything is covered with tags, some really beautiful. The contrast with the neat and middle-class city in which we were just 5 minutes earlier is striking. a very short walk and we arrive in Pusher Street, the main arterial road. There is a small market square at the entrance where they sell souvenir t-shirts, various trinkets and all the accessories needed for ...

... making cones. And scattered along the street, small stalls providing the stuffing. At this point, taking pictures is absolutely forbidden as numerous signs everywhere remind, the sellers do not really appreciate that. Though, oh my God, it itches tremendously.

 So I've found a picture from Wikimedia Commons

The vision of this exhibition of substances, these extraordinary murals, these shady guys, these pitbulls and all this in a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere has something fascinating. But most tourists, frightened by this scene sometimes murky I admit, dare not venture further. Even many Copenhageners have only that image in mind.

This is a pity because Christiania is not (only) a haunt of marginals, even if it attracts them a lot, and certainly not a slum. It is a perfectly structured society of people people who have chosen to live an alternative life. It is as if everything subversive and wild in Denmark were aggregated in one place.

The residents have adopted a flag, displayed everywhere:

The 3 dots symbolise the 3 dots on the "i" in "Christiania"

There is some regulation

Cars are banned

 Garbage is meticulously sorted

There is even guided tours (never tested)

Every time I stroll there, I discover new funny details.


Then of course, because one article on Christiania is not enough, I'm going to tell you more about it in the future episodes:

Part 2: Guided tour of the village (no, it's not just crumbling and yucky shacks, there is an astounding cultural and social life stashed inside)

Part 3: But how on earth the Danish authorities could tolerate such a mess?

February 3, 2010

Who was talking about global warming in Copenhagen?

Well, the question of transportation starts to become a problem in town, because snow fell at full blast those days, even the subway entirely stopped for a while yesterday.

To be honest, Copenhagen has been non-stop snowy since I returned from vacation in early January. So ok, this is making the city even more picturesque and the lakes ice-skatable (something unimaginable last year). But it is not so compatible with my daily biking practise. I'm getting kind of tired of almost failing whenever I make a turn. And then I found that my bike chain put itself in bright orange alert, do you think that it's a good sign?

The Danes claim that they have never seen so much in the last 30 years. The fact remains that those irreducible Vikings, snow or not, still get on their usual bikes as if nothing had happened.


I've even seen some of them biking with ski goggles!