The first stop on our big adventure was Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a product mostly from a cheaper flight to get to Spain, but we didn’t mind. Overall, the Danish people seem very kind, trustworthy and generally relaxed. Days are filled with lying in parks under the shade, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and riding your bike while doing at least 2 other things (eating, smoking, drinking a Carlsberg, talking on the phone, carrying a box…or generally riding without hands). You can see the level of trust and safety in Copenhagen by how they inspire independence in their children. Something we learned quickly as we watched a woman casually leave her baby in the stroller on the sidewalk while she went shopping. The kids seem confident, spunky, and really quite happy. When we arrived to our Airbnb, we were greeted by our host’s friend, Fredderikke. She was kind enough to tell us all the amazing non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen. During this conversation, she told us a story about talking with a particular group of older nationalistic Danes about keeping Danish values. During this talk, she asked the men “what are the values of Denmark?” The men quickly answered “pork and Carlsberg”. Freddy then rephrased and asked “but what are your values?” The men then yelled “FREEDOM”! I turned to Matt just in time for him to say….”We’re not so different, you and I”. This became the running theme of our Copenhagen trip.
One of the first mysteries of Copenhagen presented itself as soon as our feet hit the streets. As we walked out of the train station and into the plaza, we saw dozens of people wearing what appeared to be sailors hats. Nice fancy sailor hats. Men and women, young and old, hats with blue stripes, hats with flags. Of course we were confused, and a little intrigued. So we asked our trip advisor, Freddy! She immediately lit up and dove into the wonders of high school graduation in Copenhagen. She said high school graduation is a major to do in Denmark. When students graduate from high school, they get a cap which they wear around for weeks to signify their accomplishment (explanation for the fancy sailor hats). The students then proceed to drive around the town in massive trucks with their classmates. They bring aboard tons of booze, and the higher your grades were, the more booze you have to bring!! The price of success. The music blares, the students cheer and whistle while everyone they pass waves at them like royalty. While on the trucks, they drive to everyone’s house where there families make snacks for the drunk classmates and provide more booze. They start early in the morning and generally go until the students start falling out of the trucks; we saw some out for the whole day. Once, we watched in envy as one party truck maneuvered through a packed plaza, lowered its loading ramp, and watched as students charged off like soldiers hitting the front lines. They then proceeded to the nearest fountain for a wet dance party. While we knew the reason for this aquatic excursion, many onlookers were extremely confused. Luckily, after our time in Elmira, jumping into a fountain drunk didn’t seem so strange. We’re not so different, you and I.
After a fun night of Bollywood dancing during Summer Dance, on recommendation from Freddy, we decided to take her up on another idea and seek out the free town of Christiania. It is a town full of artists and hippies that live under their own governance. They have little shops, restaurants and art galleries to help support themselves and spread their brand. But the most interesting part is the Green Light District, which as you can imagine is full of pot, hash, space cookies….you get the idea. It’s just in the street, with a friendly masked hippie behind a stand, ready for you to purchase and taste on site. Now when we went through at noon, there were people of all ages from baby to elder, walking through the stands of weed and smoke like it was totally normal. Moms buying a blunt while there child is in the stroller next to them, it’s all good! No Danish authorities messing up their good time! Needless to say, we were a little taken aback by this lifestyle, but we weren’t complaining either. We continued our walk, merely soaking up the free spirit of the Christianians,
Along the way we saw castles, visited Tivoli and many gardens. We sat at concerts and drank lattes. We visited the Carlsberg brewery, and biked to The Little Mermaid. Copenhagen – what a great start to our long journey!