April 9, 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark - Part III

Before coming to Copenhagen, I spent several days exploring around Stockholm and Riga. 
Both places were relatively small in comparison to the Danish capital,
so it was a nice change of pace to immerse myself in this busy metropolitan city.

On our last day there, we ventured outside the city centre and away from the mainstream attractions. 
We first headed towards the uber-hip district of Vesterbro,
passing through the red and green light districts on our way.  
I absolutely love the urban vibes in this underground part of the city. 
It's actually the way I've always pictured Scandinavia.. just really effin cool.
 Later that day, we decided to check out the self-declared free state of Christiania.
I'm not even sure how to begin telling you about it, because it kind of blows my mind.
First of all... what is it exactly?
Christiania is a neighborhood that spans about 84 acres, and houses nearly 850 residents. 
What started out as a "social experiment", is now considered by many as a giant hippie commune.
Known as the free town, Christiania is regulated by special law,
 which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. 
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I walked through the gates, but I quickly fell in love with the culture.
I highly respect the residents of Christiania for marching to the beat of their own drum.
They use their own currency, and wave their own flag.
They eat organic food, smoke weed, and love the arts in all forms.
And they are absolutely, positively worth a visit.
After walking for miles and miles on our last day in Copenhagen,
we worked up quite an appetite. 
In true form, we had to salute our Scandinavian adventure with an amazing meal. 
We selected Kødbyens Fiskebar as it has quickly build a reputation as one of the top ten seafood restaurants in Europe. 
Why else? Tuhhh.
They always say that looks can be deceiving, and the fish bar is no exception.
Hidden in the midst of the edgy former meatpacking district, 
the restaurant looks like a simple fish shop from the outside.
But true beauty exudes from the inside, 
where the former protégé of Noma's René Redzepi, Anders Selmer gives ordinarily hum-drum dishes 
a "New Nordic Cuisine"-style twist.
We managed to snag a seat around the dramatic cylinder-shaped aquarium in the centre that doubles as a raw bar, 
and proceeded to nosh on the most gorgeous dishes that protruded out of the minimalistic kitchen.
It was the perfect way to end our trip, and if you find yourself in Copenhagen anytime soon,
I highly recommend for you to stop by and try this place for yourself!


January 30, 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark - Part II

Our first day in Copenhagen was a bit of a whirlwind. 
After circling around the city center and seeing some of the major touristy sites,
we opted to be a bit more concentrated on the second day.
We kicked our adventure off with a visit to the Carlsberg brewery,
one of Denmark's most famous companies. 
We took a tour, saw a collection of over 22k unopened beer bottles, played with the horses,
and of course, tasted some beer. 
A well spent couple of hours, I'd say. 
How cute is my mom? Life goals.
His name was Marko.. and I fell in love.
The Swastika is an ancient symbol of prosperity and goodness in Sanskrit.
In 1881 Carl Jacobsen made it the symbol of the beer produced in his brewery 'Ny Carlsberg' which was a competitor to his father's 'Old Carlsberg' brewery.
Carl had a profound interest in ancient Greece and Rome where the symbol was also often used.
In 1940 Carlsberg stopped using the swastika symbol for good.
 The symbol can still be seen on the four life-sized stone elephants that stand as the foundation of Carlsberg's iconic Elephant Gates built in 1902.
From there we stopped by our hotel for a quick lunch at Sticks'n'Sushi,
before heading out for some more sightseeing around town. 
The sushi was alright.. (I'm a bit of a snob, having access to some of the freshest fish in San Diego),
but the museum and the botanical garden that we checked out was spectacular! 

The Rundetårn is a 17th century tower filled with a variety of exhibitions.
We happened to stumble upon the history of tattoo artistry, 
which was, to say the least, very eye opening. 

The Botanical Garden is located in the centre of Copenhagen and spans an area of 10 hectares.
It is particularly noted for its extensive complex of historical glasshouses dating from 1874,
and is the perfect place to get lost and/or take a nap.
The views from the top of the Rundetårn are stunning! Definitely worth the trip up.