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Lessons learned, part 2: Danish delicacies

‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.’ (St Augustine).

Apart from never being able to put down a good book, for me, travelling is also about having fun, getting into crazy adventures and, with every new place I visit, coming closer to uncovering all the countries on my scratchable world map. On the way I might even learn a lesson or two.

2. Danish delicacies

“I’m surrounded by bubbles!”
“Not like bubble bath bubbles, because there is no real water, but it does feel like bubbles you know?”
“I mean, I know there aren’t real bubbles and this probably doesn’t make sense to you because you don’t feel it. And although it isn’t real, it’s sure bubbly. It also depends on where I have my hands. Wow. This is so cool. Look, I move my hands and it feels different. Oh, no, you can’t see it because it’s dark.”
“Do I talk too much?”
“Well, ye..”
“Because maybe I do, but I just really want to explain how it feels. It’s so cool. And bubbly. It’s almost like diving. In the bubbles. Like a dolphin. Bubble diving. You know?”

Even in sunny daylight Christiania looks pretty weird

Ok, this conversation probably doesn’t make any sense to you. (It certainly didn’t to Kai at the time.) Maybe better rewind a few hours.

Earlier that day we arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark. Without any guidebook (I didn’t even know our destination until I saw it displayed at the gate – which is a brilliant way to travel by the way), but with the goal to look at the Mermaid and taste some Gløg (Danish glühwein).

Seeing as we didn’t have a clue of where to get good food, what better way to find a nice restaurant than to ask the owner of the boat we stayed on where they sell the best Danish delicacies? The top-quality recommendations always come from locals, don’t they?

“Ah, Danish delicacies, you’ll be able to get them in the centre of Christiania. They sell all sorts there,” was the answer of our host.

Expecting a studenty part of town with hip cafés and cheap Danish tapas bars offering various kinds of Smørrebrød, one could say we were somewhat surprised when entering the self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of Christiania. This anarchist community has its own laws. They include ‘have fun’, ‘don’t run’ and ‘no pictures’, while big guys dressed head to toe in black make sure all  visitors abide by these rules, especially the last one.

Ok, we did break the third rule a bit

Balancing in the dark over the uneven floor boards, passing groups of guys standing around fire pits, and avoiding broken bicycles left in the middle of the road, the whole place screams anarchy, even if it’s too dark to actually read the graffiti sprayed onto every wall. Dogs, mostly pit bull types, roam free in the streets and the scene looked so much like the Russian slums in Babylon AD, I fully expected Vin Diesel to appear from behind one of the abandoned containers. (Unfortunately he didn’t.)

When we arrived at the centre, Pusher Street, it turned out our host wasn’t talking about food.

Sellers have huddled their shops in camouflage nets – their sarcastic answer to the request of the Danish government to don’t do their illegal business in the open – and proudly display heaps of weed next to blocks of hash as big as PMS sized chocolate bars. Well, there’s certainly enough choice. Some Dansk Pot or rather a bag of AK-47 anyone? In the end I settled for a few grams of Chronic, the seller’s recommendation.

Still hungry, we bought a banana and Nutella pancake from a stall just outside the neighbourhood. This we decided for ourselves since the seller was too stoned to give us a recommendation – he did however explain the art of making pancakes in 23 different ways.

Back on board of our boat I decided it would be rude not to at least try smoking Denmark’s finest treats. Hence why – after half an hour of hanging over the ship’s railing unable to decide whether I actually needed to throw up or was just being stoned – I felt like bath bubbles.

Lessons learned:
1. If looking for a place to eat just ask for ‘food’. Fancy words like ‘delicacy’, ‘gourmet’, or ‘ambrosia’ could be misunderstood or have a whole different meaning in the country you’re visiting.
2. If in doubt, always go with a local’s recommendation.



1 Comment

    March 27, 2014

    “I didn’t even know our destination until I saw it displayed at the gate – which is a brilliant war to travel by the way”

    My mate in Guantanamo disagrees.

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