Parties, pride and pints: Robbie Collard is in Copenhagen in the final instalment of our Scandinavia trilogy.
It was half five on a misty morning when I first saw Copenhagen. Cobbled streets with round corners met the great stretch of stone buildings, leading me further into the centre. Great old statues jut up above the still lit street lamps and everything seemed just as it should be. Haggard while searching for my hostel, I was not expecting what I saw next. Crowds of singing partygoers flood onto the streets persisting on into the morning. People were falling around me like dissembling night-creatures and a middle-aged man was now asking my boyfriend: ‘what are you here for?’, leering with the look of a hungry dog. It meant only one thing: pride had come to Copenhagen. We polished off a pint and went back out into the day, and like clockwork, the streets had already been cleaned.
Wall surrounding Christiana
If you are planning a trip to Copenhagen, make sure you start with seeing the Royal Palace. The walk will take you by a route of canals. Follow the streets until you reach the harbour – if Copenhagen hasn’t rubbed its staggering wealth into your face by now, never fear – Rosenborg Castle Gardens is waiting with a boastful grin. Take a look at The Little Mermaid, or rather as I did, go and laugh at the herd of cattle dragging themselves to the edge of the pier, breaking their backs so they can be mermaids too. The National Gallery of Denmark is a ten minute walk away from the stubby little sculpture and holds a great selection of French modernist painters, including Derain, Matisse, Rouault and Picasso.
Now that you’ve had your portion of culture, it’s time to talk about Christiana, a self-proclaimed free state within Copenhagen. It is considered outside the EU, and contains an open cannabis trade. What’s really great about Fristaden (Freetown) is that it somehow manages to simultaneously break off from ‘lads on tour’ culture and hipster pretentiousness without trying. Every citizen of Christiana is deemed responsible for the wellbeing of the entire community, this basically means that stag parties would be shot on site and those responsible made into saints. There’s also a no photo rule – sorry folks, but you won’t be able to show your bruvs how much of a sick time you had living it up, choking on a spliff and your mothers’ bitter disappointments. Now that I’ve cleared things up, the sense of community there is so refreshing, knowing that we would ruin the opportunity for ourselves if it was on our turf, enjoy it while you can. If you’re interested, it’s no harder to get your hands on some pretty exquisite hash than it is buying cans from the shop.
Photos: Joshua Edward Noon