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Day 3b: Copenhagen to Stockholm

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

I bid goodbye to compartment-mates at the Copenhagen Central Station and they wish me the best for my long journey.

There is a lift down to the Left Luggage facility at the Meatpacking District end of train station. Payment by coins and you get a large plastic token in return.

The City Night Line was delayed by an hour so i have only a little time to spare before the train to Stockholm at 1629h. Just time enough to revisit old haunts:

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Paté Paté in Kødbyen. Delicious food for a stomach that hasn’t had a proper warm sit-down meal in more than a week. Free wifi. Cheerful obliging waitstaff. Plugs in walls. Clean toilets.

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Democratic Coffee in Københavns Hovedbibliotek. Drop Coffee. La Marzocco.

UntitledPaludan Bog & Cafe. No, not that bog. A visually lovely book and coffee/tea/repast pairing.

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bicycles! bicycles! bicycles! bicycles hanging by walls, bicycles posing in front of shops, bicycles casually leaning.

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The Danes love their hot dogs and apparently voted DØP the organic hot dog vendor at the foot of the Round Tower as the best in the business.

UntitledTo save time, I get a picnic for the train from Andersen Bakery opposite København H instead, and a large bottle of Cocio chocolate milk to go along. “Best hot dog in Copenhagen!” says the man beside me approvingly.

Shouting Lækker, Lækker, Lækker

September 1, 2012 1 comment

Amazing city, fantastic bountiful land, little acknowledgement of provider of it all.

Mini-marts and Supermarkets
Danish summer berries Danish Strawberries
Copenhagen Supermarket Copenhagen Supermarket
Copenhagen Supermarket Copenhagen Supermarket
Beautiful local fruits and veggies. Rugbrød paradise.

Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallerne Torvehallen Market
Torvehallen Market Torvehallen Market
Torvehallerne Torvehallerne
Torvehallerne Market (Frederiksborggade 21)

Not surprising then that with such good base ingredients easily available, almost every morsel of food encountered in Copenhagen was delicious.

Breakfast/Brunch
Manfred & Vin Manfred & Vin
Manfred & Vin
Weekend brunch at Manfreds & Vin (Jægersborggade 40).

Meyer's Deli Meyer's Deli
Meyer's Deli Meyer's Deli
Meyer's Deli Meyer's Deli
Meyer's Deli Meyer's Deli
Meyer's Deli
Meyers Deli (Gl. Kongevej 107)

Meyers Bageri, Jægersborggade Meyers Bageri, Jægersborggade
Meyer's Bageri Meyer's Bageri
Meyer's Bageri The Coffee Collective
Meyers Bageri (Jægersborggade)

Grød, Jægersborggade Grød, Jægersborggade
Grød, Jægersborggade Grød, Jægersborggade
Grød, Jægersborggade Grød, Jægersborggade
Grød, Jægersborggade Grød, Jægersborggade
Grød (facebook. Jægersborggade)

Absalon Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel Buffet Breakfast
Absalon Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Absalon Hotel, Buffet Breakfast
Complimentary buffet breakfast at Absalon Hotel. We poor cousins at the Absalon Annex were also allowed to partake of the spread.

Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast
Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast
Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast
Ibsens Hotel, Buffet Breakfast
Complimentary buffet breakfast at Ibsens Hotel.

Bakeries
Lagkagehuset Lagkagehuset
Lagkagehuset

Sankt Peders Bageri
Sankt Peders Bageri Sankt Peders Bageri
Sankt Peders Bageri Sankt Peders Bageri
Sankt Peders Bageri (Sankt Peders Stræde 29) – popular onsdagssnegl on Wednesday!

New Nordic
Bio Mio Bio Mio
Bio Mio Bio Mio
Bio Mio Bio Mio
Bio Mio
Bio Mio Bio Mio
Bio Mio (Halmtorvet 19)

Cofoco Cofoco
Cofoco Cofoco
Cofoco Cofoco
Cofoco Cofoco
Cofoco Cofoco
Cofoco (Copenhagen Food Consulting) (Abel Cathrines Gade 7)

Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar
Kødbyens Fiskebar (Flæsketorvet 100)

Restaurant Relae Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relae Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relae Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relae Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relae Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relae
Restaurant Relæ (Jægersborggade 41)

Adamantly Not New Nordic, Just Good Food
Pate Pate Pate Pate
Pate Pate Pate Pate
Pate Pate Pate Pate
Pate Pate
Paté Paté (Kødbyen i København)

Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Geist Geist
Restaurant Geist (Kongens Nytorv 8)

Traditional Danish
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann Restaurant Schønnemann
Restaurant Schønnemann (Hauser Plads 16) – institution for schnapps, beer, smørrebrød

Hot Dogs
The Danish love their hot dogs with a pølsevogn on almost every street corner.

Den økologiske Pølsemand
Den økologiske Pølsemand
DØP (Den økologiske Pølsemand) – organic hot dogs at the foot of the Round Tower.

Andersen Bakery Andersen Bakery
Andersen Bakery Andersen Bakery
Andersen Bakery Andersen Bakery
Andersen Bakery (Bernstorffsgade 5) – apparently the best hotdog in Denmark + chocolate milk

Coffee
Joe & The Juice Joe & The Juice
Joe & The Juice (chain stores everywhere!)

The Coffee Collective The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective (Godthåbsvej 34B)

The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade
The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade
The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade
The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade
The Coffee Collective (Jægersborggade 10)

Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee Democratic Coffee
Democratic Coffee (Krystalgade 15) – excellent coffee and bakes

Resso Coffee, Torvehallerne Resso Coffee, Torvehallerne
Resso Coffee, Torvehallerne Resso Coffee, Torvehallerne
Resso Coffee, Torvehallerne
Resso Coffee (Torvehallerne Market) – moist deeply-tasty chocolate muffins

Mikkeller Bar Mikkeller Bar
Mikkeller Bar Mikkeller Bar
Mikkeller Bar Mikkeller Bar
Mikkeller Bar Mikkeller Bar
Mikkeller Bar Mikkeller Bar
Mikkeller Beer (Viktoriagade 8BC)

What Could Be Rotten in the State of Denmark?

August 25, 2012 1 comment

Tyler Brûlé of Wallpaper and Monocle magazine, the pied-piper of modern hedonism (and to a Guardian reporter, a show in his own right), has consistently ranked Copenhagen as one of the top liveable cities in Monocle’s annual Quality of Life survey.

Copenhagen does seem to be in a happy situation of a city somewhat deliberately designed for civic enjoyment, with locals take full advantage of existing infrastructure without whining for properly designated facilities.

Bicycles in CopenhagenSunny mornings in Copenhagen (and not just weekend mornings) means there are picnic blankets rolled up and tied onto the backs of bicycles parked up along Jægersborggade. Their owners are having brunch at Manfred‘s perhaps or picking up some fresh juice from ROD smoothie/juice bar, or a cinnamon roll at Lyst to accompany a coffee from The Coffee Collective.

Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Assistens Cemetery. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

With adequate supplies, they head to Assistens Kirkegård (Assistens Cemetery), to commune with the dead – using gravestones as coffee tables, sunbathing and lounging about reading on the grass amongst the tombstones, letting babies play while chatting with girlfriends. There were only a few Americans paying homage to grumpy Søren Kierkegaard, while H.C. Andersen was completely un-feted.

Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Twister Ice-cream. Frederiksberg Garden. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

All around Frederiksberg Have (Frederiksberg Garden), just next to the zoo (the elephants had a fine view of sunbathers), bikinis were sprawled out on the grass. Pet dogs rested in the shade of manicured trees, courting couples shared a laugh, curly-haired platinum blonde kids sat upright in their perambulators waving at cooing construction workers etc.

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At Ørstedsparken, fully clothed men, some in their paint-splattered work clothes, having lunch and a heart-to-heart with mates.

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And instead of paying to dice with death or partaking of greed-inducing games of chance in old Tivoli, families and groups of friends were lounged about on deck chairs having fun on the grass.

Sonder Boulevard. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Sonder Boulevard. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Sonder Boulevard. Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

And not just in designated gardens and parks but really, on just about any little patch of grass like this bit beside Sønder Boulevard (a revitalised 19th century promenade by architect: SLA), there were picnickers and sunbathers reading while enjoying jazz mash-ups from a nearby concert.

Even on a cloudy day, friends gathered around a statue on Frederisksberg Alle with pastries and drinks from a nearby branch of Lagkaghuset to eat and chat.

Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Island Byrrge Harbour Pool, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Island Byrrge Harbour Pool, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

The Harbour Baths were thronging (ha!) with children diving off platforms at Island Brygge Harbour Pool and everyone else chilling in the sun on the platforms designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and JDS Architects (both founders formerly from PLOT). The facility was available free-of-charge and allows part of the working harbour to be used for aquatic activities.

Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

Others socialised on the adjacent grass patch, with ice-cream van in attendance, or hung out along the sidewalk chatting and watching boats go by, their occupants whooping and laughing.

Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Gemini Residence, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen
Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen Harbour Pools, Sunny Summer Days in Copenhagen

Upstream, towards Gemini Residence and across Brygge Broen (Quay Bridge), the more enclosed Copencabana Harbour Bath hosted even more people, just in front of Fisketorvet Shopping Centre. The Bryggebroen combined function (with separate lanes for cyclists and pedestrians) with design simplicity (architect: Dissing + Weitling) . And the stunning Gemini Residence was a great example of an industrial building converted for other use – the twin concrete silos once having been seed silos for the enormous Soya Been Cake Factory (architects: MVRDV, JJW).

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Downstream, one of my absolute favourite repurposed old buildings: the Torpedo Hall Apartments in Holmen (architect: Tegnestuen Vandkunsten). Love that the Danish re-use existing buildings while retaining structures that hint at their original purpose. This sentiment must be shared by many since the units were said to cost about DKK50,000 per square meter.

UntitledThe old cannon boat sheds next to the Torpedo Hall had been converted to offices. On nice days, the workers step outside and jump in for a swim before returning to work.

The Royal Library (The Black Diamond) The Royal Library, The Black Diamond

Other architectural eye-candy included The Royal Library (aka The Black Diamond) in black African granite (architect: schmidt hammer lassen) and

The Copenhagen Opera House

The Copenhagen Opera House (architect: Henning Larsen Architects) – the Canal Tours guide said it had an interior shaped like a heart and stringed like an instrument.

Tietgenkollegiet student residence in  Ørestad, Copenhagen Tietgenkollegiet student residence in  Ørestad, Copenhagen
Tietgenkollegiet student residence in  Ørestad, Copenhagen Tietgenkollegiet student residence in  Ørestad, Copenhagen

And if anyone thought the Danish were just going for waterfront “iconic” buildings, this amazing student residence at Ørestad. The Tietgenkollegiet (architect: Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter) was based on the design of a traditional Hakka tu lou 土楼. Unlike the defensive structure of the Chinese original, this circular building was meant to promote community in combination with the individual.

Next to Tietgenkollegiet student residence in  Ørestad, CopenhagenJust next to it was the lovely Boligslangen (Serpentine House) (architects: Arkitema, Domus), a big housing project with integrated day-care facilities. Under the same roof were blocks of public housing, privately-owned units, and co-ops, an experiment in having a mix of residents to create a good urban environment.

Danish Architecture Centre Danish Architecture Centre
Danish Architecture Centre Danish Architecture Centre

At the Dansk Arkitektur Center (Danish Architecture Centre), which was hosting the informative Show Me Your Model display of the architectural models, one of the t-shirts for sale (“What If Architecture Could Change The World?” from a previous exhibition on “Building Sustainable Cities”) captured what seems to be a growing Design As Saviour mentality amongst many of the Wallpaper/Monocle set.

Danish Architecture Centre
We’ve had prolonged discussions previously about design and town planning for social housing (integrated amongst valuable space or ostracised to the edge of town?) and also, the design of HDB public flats to encourage more of that “kampong spirit”. While design can build safe shelters and meet the needs of the disabled, and might even encourage certain behaviour (eg. interaction between neighbours), can architecture really promote good values (of equality of mankind, of respect (and even love) for neighbour, of hard work, of being law-abiding)?

The Bible reminds us that all evil issues from our hearts (Matthew 15:17-19) and that we are evil all the time. While reminders of beauty, eg. the greenery and sunshine, or aesthetically-pleasing design of our surroundings, may chastise us to act better (but why should they?), this change is external and only temporary. Soon the old man emerges (he was not dead, only resting) and we are back to our nasty old ways. There is no hope for change except a heart transplant wrought by God.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36)

Cycling and Graffiti in Copenhagen

August 21, 2012 1 comment

Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen

It’s cycle city central in Copenhagen where almost everyone owns a bicycle and there are dedicated cycle paths on many roads. There are bikes for sale or rent almost everywhere (including free Bycyklen citybikes), bike tours (eg. Bike Mike Tours), and the enthusiastic Cycling Embassy of Denmark. You can plan your cycle routes with Cycle Copenhagen’s trip planner and ride to work from the suburbs on the new-ish superhighway for bicycles. Town planners can take Copenhagenize’s Bicycle Culture By Design study tour to understand the infrastructure and facilities behind one of the world’s top biking cities.

The only reason The Satorialist hasn’t featured Copenhagen in a big way must be that he would go stir crazy stopping the entire Danish gene pool for a photo – preppy boys with their blonde hair undercut, shaded by Ray Ban Wayfarers, dressed in brightly-coloured shorts, on Velorbis rides; girls with their blonde hair in tight buns, in streaming vintage sun-dressies and Ray Ban Aviators; white-haired business men in well-tailored suits and white trousers, dapper with handkerchief in jacket pocket, balancing on vintage Raleighs.

Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen
Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen
Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen
Bicycles in Copenhagen

Also a common sight – parents taking the kids out on Christiana Bikes boxcycles and cargo bikes, and on Strøget (the pedestrianised shopped street), bicycle rickshaws for hire.

But all isn’t well in paradise – the number of cyclists on the roads has put a strain on the infrastructure, and led to congestion on cycle paths and impatient aggressive behaviour especially during rush-hour. The Danish government has apparently told campaigners asking for wider paths and multi-storey parking that they have to learn to behave before using public funds for this purpose. In light of the push by a small group of enthusiasts in Singapore for cycle paths, the island’s government might do well to challenge them to come up with viable:

  • justifications for the use of public funds to acquire extra land and make extra space to accommodate the wishes a small minority of the population;
  • regulations to govern the obligations of cyclists in relation to other road users (and pedestrians). It is easy to claim to be the victim of society and claim that society owes us our self-proclaimed rights, but not quite as easy to think about the rights we owe other people within the same community;
  • justifications for the use of additional public funds (if any) to police and enforce these rules.

Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen

In Denmark, investment in infrastructure for cycling is logical because:

  • a great majority of people cycle. Children learn to ride along with their ABCs, and cycle to kindergarten;
  • people cycle because the weather does not discourage cycling;
  • people also cycle because fuel prices are high.

And cycling is not the panacea for all that is wrong with society today. Any claims that a cycling city is a kinder city fails to consider that human behaviour, whether behind a wheel or pedaling furiously, does not change. A bicycle is stolen every 8 minutes in Copenhagen, say some statistics. And then there is the road rage.

Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen
Bicycles in Copenhagen Bicycles in Copenhagen
Bicycles and Graffiti in Copenhagen Bicycles and Graffiti in Copenhagen

And aside from any arguments about the artistic merit of street art, the rampant graffiti suggests an intolerance for the property rights of others – something that should not be prevalent in any society, much less a much-lauded “liveable” city.

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