Scandinavia08 – Day 7: Dirty Hippies and Nordic Cruising

Lowlight: The traveller’s worst nightmare. Having your camera stolen. The pictures on it can never be replaced.
Highlight: The intense relief when I saw Ben holding my camera. I had given up all hope.
Lowlight #2: The Copenhagen train station has public washrooms, which is a huge luxury in Europe. The urinals are trough-style – which normally doesn’t bother me (Ben has a huge trough phobia). However, I was not impressed when the guy beside me checked me out and winked. Not cool. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could. No hand washing for me.
Fun Fact: Christiania is a self-governing community within Copenhagen. It was founded in the 70’s when a bunch of people squatted an abandoned military base. The current Conservative government is trying to “normalize” the area, but throughout Copenhagen you see t-shirts and stickers supporting a free Christiania.
Money spent: 931.5 DKK ($204 CAD)
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 0

This morning was a traveller’s worst nightmare. As Ben and I were checking out of the hostel I realized I didn’t have my camera. Ben told me to calm down and search through my bags. I looked in every pocket and went back to the room, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I came to the realization that it was probably stolen. I had been taking pictures in the morning and I put it in my bag when I went out to brush my teeth, so I knew I hadn’t lost it. I started going through all the people in our room trying to figure out who might have taken it. There was a Columbian couple who had left just before us and the girl had seen my stick my camera back in my bag. There was also this weird guy from Finland who slept both nights with his reading light on and shining in his face – he was definitely suspicious.

The lady at the front counter offered to help me file a police report, but the odds of recovery were slim and I didn’t have travel insurance to cover theft, so there wasn’t much point. I went back up the room to search one more time and question the one remaining guy, but didn’t get any leads. I felt devastated. It sucked because the camera wasn’t worth that much, but the pictures were impossible to replace. When I got back to the lobby, Ben was waiting with the camera trying to get a picture of my shocked face (all he got was a crappy video). He had found it in the bottom pouch of my bag along with my dirty laundry – I don’t know how it got in there. I was relieved to have my camera back and ashamed that I had accused the people staying in our room of theft. I took Ben out for a fancy and amazingly tasty brunch to celebrate.

We spent the afternoon walking around Christianshavn and Christiana – a quasi-independent hippy/anarchist community. I had high hopes for the area, but was a disappointed. Pusher’s Alley was all drugs, drug paraphernalia, and full of shifty characters. I was expecting more colourful and happy locals, but the area had more scary looking people. There was some wicked graffiti and an interesting home-made half-pipe for skate boarding. Off the main drug area the homes and stores looked nicer, but most of the area seemed run down and there was a lot of litter.

I still think the idea of an alternative, counter-culture community is cool, and it’s amazing it has existed within a major city for so long, but I could never live there. At one point I was snapping a picture of a witch and scrap wood set up for the big Sankt Hans aften (St. John’s Eve) celebrations, when 1 guy freaked out on me. Turns out we had stumbled into Pusher’s Alley, where the drugs are sold, and pictures were explicitly forbidden. I tried to explain I hadn’t taken any pictures of any drugs or people and showed him the pictures I had taken. Luckily, another guy came over and smoothed things over and even asked if I wanted to take a picture of some of the drugs on the table. I politely declined and got the hell out of there, happy not to be tied to the witch to await the night’s bonfire.

We ran into Jin again this afternoon. It was weird. We stopped by the library to use the free internet and washrooms, and he was there checking his e-mail. As an aside, I liked the library. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to do some people watching – there were lots of sexy blond librarians and locals, and very few tourists.

We boarded our cruise ship to Oslo at 4:00. Yes, we’re taking a cruise! We considered an overnight train, but the cruise wasn’t that much more expensive, Ben was infatuated with the idea of a cruise, and I figured it would be easier to sleep on a cruise ship then in a cramped train carriage. So here we are in a cruise ship. I’m writing this from a jazz bar on the 7th deck. There’s also a cabaret, a discotheque, multiple restaurants, an indoor and outdoor pool, and a 2-screen movie theatre. However, even with all the amenities, everything is a bit dead right now. Might have something to do with the hurricane-strength winds which is causing the boat to rock violently. You can imagine how windy it has to be to rock a huge cruise ship. Everyone walks around with drunken swagger, occasionally smashing into walls. Standing on the outside deck is almost suicidal. The outside pool has been emptied of water, and the inside one is probably too, but it’s closed for repairs anyway.

I’m going to bed soon, and I hoping the swaying will be comforting. Ben isn’t feeling to hot. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the 7 plates of food he ate at the dinner buffet. The waitress actually had to kick us out, even though he was still eating 90 minutes after he first started pigging out.

Copenhagen Rush Hour  Bounce  Christiania Cargo Bike  Amazing Breakfast  Eat up Ben  Fake Arch  Copenhagen Street Signs  Fairies and Dragons  Graffiti Mural  Half Pipe  Witch  Now Entering the EU  Cyclist's Dream  Aye, Aye Captain  I think I'm flying  Sexy Sloggi's  Wind Power  Eat Me  Dining Room  Blue Skies (for now)  Cruise Sunset  Ready for the Wind  Sea Sick  Polly Likes it from Behind

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