Copenhagen Day 2: SANDEMANs Tour

On the last episode of “Jasmine Attempts to Blog About Europe”, we found our heroic dweeb signing up for a Sandemans Tour in Copenhagen, even after she’d read that there were some suspect practices around how walking tour guides were paid.

First victory of the day = getting to the tour group meet location. I was about to add “without getting lost”, but that’d probably have to be tickmarked OH MY GOD STOP disclaimed in the nature of: “without getting lost too much”… so there’s that. The meet location was in the Town Hall Square, in front of what I think was the old palace for the royal family. Maybe. I might be making that up, because I bought my journal this day and started documenting things better after that.

img_9204-2Old Palace? New Palace? Could be either, but the only thing I’m certain of is that people were executed and had tomatoes thrown at them in this square.

Anyway, here are some pictures of modernized Copenhagen for you to enjoy:

img_9200New signs on old (aesthetic) buildings

At first, I’d taken this picture to capture the juxtaposition (and prove to myself that I could take decent pictures despite overcast conditions), but as it turns out there’s a story behind this (and turns out I can’t take decent pictures in overcast conditions). According to our tour guide, the buildings in this area burned down at least twice. (Fires are a common theme in Dutch history, apparently.) They’ve had to be rebuilt time and time again, so the authenticity is questionable, but if it’s Dutch buildings in Copenhagen, could you really be accused of ‘appropriating’ a style? End my attempt at contemplating deep thoughts. Here’s a picture of Asian tourists who made me feel at home with some strange fondness.

img_9212-2Can we please talk about the Psy aesthetic of that one guy?

When it came time to take off, we grouped up, gave a short intro about ourselves, tried to ignore thoughts about how strange it was hearing English spoken by an Asian girl traveling by herself who surely should have been part of that Asian tour group instead? Okay, psych… that last part was just me!!! Overthinking as usual.

First foray with a Sandemans tour and I was not disappointed. Sure, touristy places are touristy, but they’re touristy for a reason. It’s also nice having the bits and pieces of a place explained to you, especially when that place is laid out right in front of you to examine.

img_9216-2You ever get the feeling that a building is too gorgeous for its own good? No, just me? Okay.

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img_9222-2Blurry take on what I think was another nice little site for beheadings and other humiliation. Then again I’m pretty sure you could guess that about most public spaces in Europe and you’d be right.

img_9224-2Call me creepy, but I like seeing what people put in their windowsills.

img_9226-2The first of way too many alleyway pictures in Europe.

img_9229-2Museums! I didn’t stop by because of the strict time budget, but perhaps another time. Apparently the museums had free entry either today or some time later in the week, or maybe they used to? Kristoff mentioned that the government was cutting funding for the arts, museums, and so on—I think they needed to start charging because of that. Sigh.

img_9233-2Guess who feels like she’s back in Westwood?

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Kristoff said to remember who this guy was because he’d be talking about him later, and … I don’t remember who he is. Surprise! 😀 I do remember a story of someone who defied a violent religious group, and back in the days when people thought you’d be struck by lightning or otherwise killed if you did that, that was a big deal. As such, when nothing happened to this guy, other people rose up and the antagonists ceded, acknowledging that their god wasn’t as mighty as they’d originally thought. Might’ve been this guy.

img_9238-2Beautiful clock tower. Also burned down at least once.

IMG_9242.JPGBaby Lourves in front of a shopping center

Somewhere Picturesque

Kristoff took us to quintessential tourist spot in Copenhagen—Nyhavn Harbour. “The place you see in all the postcards of Copenhagen,” he called it. Not quite sunny enough for a postcard attempt, but gorgeous indeed. My AirBnb host’s girlfriend had told me about this area the other day, about how it was a great place to meet up with friends and soak up the sun, laze around with a beer.

img_9247-2Moment of appreciation for the lady sitting in the bike cart and smoking with no fucks given.

img_9254-2Being at a harbor means you have a moral obligation to take a picture of at least one boat.

img_9258-2As postcard perfect as it’ll ever get with me

img_9261-2The ships have their own stoplights. BRUH. ;_;

Also note the lovely restaurants on the other side. If or when I come back in the future, maybe I’ll be one of those people who can afford to dine right next to photo-op destinations. Until then, I am content with taking pictures of those people and walking a little further for food.

Near the entrance to the harbor, we also saw what looked like potato sacks hanging off the wall of a huge building. Kristoff didn’t know what it was, so he asked around and found out that the building was an exhibition hall. Students of the associated art school wanted to raise awareness about child labor practices in the cocoa industry, so they hung cocoa sacks off the wall of the hall to give an idea of the problem’s magnitude.

img_9252-2

img_9250-2In a way, it’s nice to see how another country’s people see and respond to issues.

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Another dude whose name and significance, frankly, both escape me. This might be the guy who defied the religious group, but I’m less inclined to think as such, since the first guy had a horse and looked more epic. Now that I’m done with that eloquent bout of deductive reasoning, the real reason I took this picture was in appreciation of the tiny parks and statues scattered throughout Copenhagen. They’re little reminders that history is engrained in this city, in a sacred way that can’t be taken away and marks every person within. *Sideeyes LA* Okay, okay, I’m sure that LA has its share of history and reminders of how this city came to be what it is today, but… it probably takes too long to get there… I suppose that although it feels like we’re glitzed up in images of Hollywood and sunny beach days, we arguably have our own identity in how ridiculously sprawling and diverse LA is.

Somewhere Wide and Open

Next big stop was the area across the opera house and Christiania.

Kristoff explained some of the tensions between the people of Christiania and the Dutch government. As I understand it, Christiania is a hippie society of sorts, where weed and socialism are welcome. Terrible explanation, sorry. There are only a few ways to get to Christiania, via yellow boat or across one of the bridges. One of the bridges had actually just been built and had a funny story behind it. Apparently the architects had built the bridge all the way to the middle, only to realize that the two sides wouldn’t meet… so they had to scrap it and build it all over again. Yikes. On the bright side, it’s now fully built (and connected) and open for people to cross via foot or bike!

Kristoff also mentioned that there had been a police raid recently—something to do with marijuana and increasing tensions with police, or gang-related trafficking of marijuana? Hmm. There were high tensions and people protesting the purchase of marijuana, since it would harm local businesses. Something like that. Oh yeah, and you can’t take pictures of public spaces in Christiania. o:

There’s a related story behind the opera house and its architect. Christiania’s flag is red, with three golden circles across its middle. The opera house’s architect was sympathetic toward the people of Christiania, or something along those lines… so could it have been coincidence that the inside of the opera house is red, and that there are three huge, golden chandeliers in the lobby, and that when you stand across the opera house at night when it’s lit up, it looks exactly like the Christiania flag?

I vaguely remember Kristoff saying it was more or less a finger to those who had funded the opera house. Fun stuff, the intersection of art and politics.

IMG_9288 (2).JPGGorgeous.

img_9266Imagine being that person walking their dog

img_9274
People and endless open area to walk

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Family trips are cute. Yes, I will admit I can get creepy when I photograph families or cute babies, but I usually ask for permission. If that still troubles you, Iiiiii’d just leave this blog now. :3

Our last stop was a few steps away—the royal palaces.

img_9281-2

There were four of these palaces, built in a circle. I think these are the newer palaces—the old palace being the one facing the square we started our tour in. There are flag posts on which flags are hung if the royal family member is currently there. The queen wasn’t there, but one of the princes was! Cool stuff. Kristoff also said something about how the queen was a chain smoker and was rumored to have smoked on her balcony all the time. Less cool but still funny in its own way.

The tour ended here and I was sorry I didn’t have more to tip Kristoff with other than maybe $5 of Krone coins… definitely made sure to plan ahead for future tours. >_< I was a bit wary of being the American that tips too much for a free walking tour, but the guy had given me a thorough and interesting tour, so it made more sense for me to be more indulgent than less in this area.

With that, it was halfway through the day, around 12:30 or 1pm… and there is still so much I’ve yet to write about this day in Copenhagen. Recapping Europe might take a while…

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