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We are now in Oz after two amazing years of traveling Europe in our home built plane. We met many fantastic people who we are proud to call friends and have gained a much better understanding of the similarities and differences between the cultures of the different European states as well as the history and geography that have lead to these differences. We enjoy meeting people with similar interests to ourselves and learning more about other cultures. Please let us know if you're going to be in Queensland and would like to catch up for a meal and a chat.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Copenhagen: design city

We met Regnar on Samsoe, he didn't have much time to chat as he was taking some friends for a joy flight out of Kopenhagen, but he pressed his address and number in our hands and said that we had to come and stay with him and his family in Kopenhagen.  Who were we to say no?
Regnar, me, Storm, Julian.  Kids always seem to be the opposite of their names, Storm is the most peaceful child you could imagine.

Landing was a challenge as we were going into the small private grass strip, Freeslev, that is right next to quite a good sized glider strip.  So we did a circle and then another circle as we tried to find the little grass strip, all the while keeping an eye on the 3 circling gliders and the tow plane that was diving back to the ground.  Finally, the airfield!  And was that people waving from the end of it???  Indeed it was.  We packed up and got moving quite quickly once on the ground, as it turns out that it was Regnar's son Storm's first birthday that day and people were coming around, no photos as I was a bit embarassed.

Kopenhagen is a fantastic city, like Aarhus it is quite compact (we were staying a half hour's bumble on the bike from the city centre), but has all the attractions of the major city that it is.  There are so many possible things to see in a city, that we decided to focus on design for this trip.  So we definitely had to see the design store, Paustian, designed by architect Jorn Utzon's (of the Sydney opera house fame).  They had all the good furniture of the last century (Le Corbusier, Eames, Artek etc., etc.) in a really well redesigned old warehouse.  Normann Copenhagen was also on the list, although its hipness was a little bit over the top.  And of course a bummel along the second hand district, which we couldn't do for long, as it was hip in an edgy, someone's going to steal my bike kind of a way (and you know how I feel about the idea of someone stealing my bike).
looking appropriately depressed (unhappy hipsters?) in the children's department of Normann

Paustian, it's hard to capture the building.
We also had a look at Christiania, of which I of course do not have any photographs: the combination of the sign at the entrance saying both pictorially and in several languages 'no photographs' with the dodgey dealers (what the English police call 'with the hood up', i.e. hoodies) that not only populated the area, but also had trestle tables displaying the 12 varieties of dope they currently had on offer kinda scared me off the idea of photography.  Christiania is quite fascinating, as it was started by hippies in the 70s as a country within a country, at that time no only with legal dope but also with normal stores etc., that just didn't pay any tax.  Liberal Denmark just let them do their thing back then and hasn't really worked out what to do now that the demographic has changed from hippy uni students to big business of the mafia kind with your usual dregs of society dealers.

Wherever we go we've been on a mission to find the best icecream.  Several people recommended the Ismageriet in Copenhagen as one of the best, so we took ourselves off on the 45 min each way journey.  Below is Julian with his well deserved icecream.  The white fluffy stuff is called guf, it's like uncooked meringue with strawberry jam very, very sweet and it really overpowered the icecream.  The icecream itself is really very good, with all the fruits coming from the local area - customers bring them in, or staff collect them.  I really enjoyed my rhubarb icecream as it had the nice tartness of the fruit.
All guffed out
Yum, Ismageriet (ice cream makers) from the inside

Regnar was a wonderful host, very thoughtful and generous.  When we left he made us a packed lunch of Smorrebrod, so that we could see what a Danish packed lunch looks like (yum sorry, too busy eating to photograph) and gave us a variety of Danish conserves to put on our Smorrebrod (open sandwiches on dense rye bread).  This included something called Rogen, which is pressed fish eggs and eaten with a squeeze of lemon and of course the lemon to go with it!  Rogen is really nice, with a good texture and a flavour like crab.  He also gave us some of the beetroot burgers he made for his work (cooking for schizophrenic men), which were really lovely.  Take 1.5kg of raw beetroot, grate it & mix it with some cabbage, onion, feta cheese, a dozen eggs, breadcrumbs, some spices and you have a really lovely vegetarian dish that tastes good to meat eaters too.  Denmark is the only country I've visited which has beetroot available in plastic 1.5 kilo bags, just like carrots.

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