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Day 3 & 4 Copenhagen: Vikings and Free Hugs

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 in Denmark, Europe, Travel | 0 comments


Above pic: My name, Althea, in runic form. At the National Museum

Day 3 started out well. We had about 4 hours left from our ticket, and got on the hop-on-hop-off bus this time, heading for the palaces and planned to culminate it at free-town Christiania.

The first stop was Amelienborg Castle, the Danish family’s royal residence in the winter. Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families; however, when Christiansborg Palace burnt down on 26 February 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in. Over the years various kings and their families have resided in the four different palaces.


I wasn’t so interested in going in this time. I usually adore palaces and castles and take the time to know more about the place, but since we only had a couple of hours left, I wanted to explore Christiania so bad. I had heard about the place and wanted to see it for myself, to relive my university days, I suppose. LOL.

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (84 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989 which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. It was closed by residents in April 2011, whilst discussions continued with the Danish government as to its future, but is now open again.[1]

Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. Since then, measures for normalising the legal status of the community have led to conflicts, and negotiations are ongoing.

Among many Christiania residents, the community is known as staden (‘the town’), short for fristaden (‘the freetown’). – Wikipedia

But that wasn’t going to happen. On the way to catch the bus, I realized I lost my ticket. I had put it in my right pocket for accessibility and must have dropped it when I went to the toilet at the castle. This totally ruined our plans for the rest of the day. I guess Christiania will have to wait until next time. Denmark is just close by that you kind of take it for granted.

We just went back to the central station, had lunch, and I went to Lego to shop for my nephews. I spent 3 hours there just picking out bricks. Yes, I’m an adoring Auntie.

The lost ticket mishap really ruined our mood for the rest of the evening as well. We had a late dinner and R conceded to having Vietnamese. We were both so tired that we just wanted to go someplace near the hotel. I was so happy I finally had my pho fix! I haven’t had it in ages! The last time was with Miss May at some hole in the wall in Paris.

Our moods lifted after that and headed back to the hotel to pack up. Luggage was stuffed, as usual.

The next day, which was our last, was spent at the National Museum, where they had a Viking exhibit. We always go to those if we can, R being a huge Viking enthusiast. It was a rather small exhibit, and the highlight was the Viking boat reconstructed using a few remnants from  a boat excavated in Roskilde in 1987.

Contrary to popular belief, real Viking helmets did not have horns. R always points this out every time.


Overall, my impression of Copenhagen changed a bit, from that of a gritty city, to a really charming city, full of really friendly, genuinely helpful people. One morning, we happened to be outside a supermarket discussing whether we should go in or not, when a drunk old man in broken English gestured towards it, prodding, “Supermarket…. supermarket”, as if we didn’t know what the place was. That was adorable, really.

Another incident was when we were on our way to Strøget and was stopped by this woman. I was hesitant at first (worried that she was smelly and dirty, hippie-like), but she gave me the tightest hug. Also, she smelled nice. Her picture, in my opinion, pretty much sums up Copenhagen.


We went straight back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and catch the 4 PM train to Malmö, and from there, take the 40 minute bus ride to Skanör, where we are spending a long weekend with friends. At this point we were so exhausted that we were looking forward to sleep and laze around.

Photos from my Instagram feed.

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