Copenhagen, Denmark

April 21-24, 2001

The largest city in Scandinavia and the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen's colorful canal-side facades give it its charm on the port side with classical sailing vessels at dock.

I can not recall an architectural eyesore here. There?s nothing that disrupts the panoramic ambiance of the skyline leaving the center streets to retain their less than 8 story Renaissance peaks and simple styles of the period as well.

I have read before that city cycling here is 12X more safe than in cities like London and I believe it. Every major road has a bike line, separated by a curb on the roadside and another opposite dividing it from the side walk way. Even the freeways have cycle routes tucked near by in the trees.

Fountains, parliament, a palace, castle and churches of glory have the cold weather working against their charms. The center squares are large and open ended without the outdoor cafes lined up. It's definitely preseason still with some accommodation and sites still closed from winter. The advantage? No throngs of tourists in the best places! The everyday business places are more busy just getting on with daily life.

Certainly one of the most distinctive areas in town is Christiania. Squatters took over the unused military barracks in 1971 and claimed it as 'the free state of Christiania.' Nearly 1000 people settled here creating collective businesses, schools and a recycling program. Just the idea that this alternative place exists is refreshing. No photography is allowed due to the open use and sale (most street vendors have a wide open showcase) of drugs (mostly marijuana) that could out do Amsterdam. Perhaps I'm the odd one out keeping clear of even the 'harmless' consumables, but find that strangely enough, there appears to be an anti-HARD drug campaign going on (no needles, etc). Lazy dogs bask in the sun near army camp buildings now painted in funky hippy patterns while reggae and jazz music plays from a building that resembles an oversized tree house, complete with a rope ladder style entrance.

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