Sunday, July 8, 2012

Copenhagen, Denmark

I really did not know what to expect of Denmark, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I did not realize it is such a small country either, with just 5.5 million total population, of which 1.1 million live in Copenhagen. I read the Copenhagen Post, the weekly English newspaper to follow local politics, events and news. So far every Danish person we have connected with also speaks English. This has been very helpful as I find the Danish language very hard to understand and read. I spend a lot of time reading ingredient labels and decoding them on my iPhone translator app. Before this year trip I never fully appreciated how isolating it can be to not speak the local language.

Copenhagen reminds me a bit of a European Portland. We are staying in a cute fourth floor flat in the eclectic neighborhood of Norrebro. We found our flat on the awesome vacation rental site Airbnb. People of all ages, genders, sizes, shapes ride bicycles here and there is excellent cycling infrastructure including bike lanes, bike parking and places to buy used bikes or rent bikes. We opted to pick up some cheap used bikes that we hopefully can either sell back or donate when we are ready to leave. We have been biking about 1-2 hours a day.

The vegan food has been quite food here too. We have had awesome vegan sushi and lots of flavorful meals at the three different raw restaurants. With our kitchen we are able to cook at home and have found tofu and other vegan staples at the health food stores. I've been regularly adding reviews and photos to the listings on the Copenhagen section of Happy Cow, an international guide for vegetarian restaurants and businesses. However, restaurants and grocery stores are the most expensive I have experienced in Europe so far.

One day when we were biking around we randomly ran into a Tesla Store! It was great fun checking out the cars and chatting with staff about our own tesla roadster. We were invited to attend their WWF - World Wildlife Fund celebration later that evening. The event was great fun and it was neat to see more cars and celebrate Tesla's donations to WWF.

I absolutely adore Danish design and I have not been disappointed by the offerings in Copenhagen. We have browsed through several antique stores, thrift shops and flea markets coveting the many amazing vintage designs. We visited the Dansk Design Center, which had a special exhibit on innovative product and building materials, such as packing material made from mushrooms, fiber optic fabric, pathways made of recycled shoe soles and so on. Portions of the exhibit were hands on so we were able to really explore some of the diverse materials. The permanent exhibit housed examples of everyday Danish designs through out the years such as; dinner ware, furniture, electronics, fabrics and so on. We also checked out a terrific Finn Juhl exhibit at the Danish Design Museum. Finn Juhl (30 January 1912 – 17 May 1989) was a Danish architect, interior and industrial designer, most known for his furniture design. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of "Danish design" in the 1940s and he was the designer who introduced Danish Modern to America (source: Wikipedia). The museum also held a robust collection of other designers.

In addition the Danish Design Museum had a display on the INDEX: Design to Improve Life, which states "We Inspire by showing people how their personal lives and the lives of people around them can be improved by Design to Improve Life. We do this through INDEX: Award and INDEX: Award Exhibition, showcasing the positive outcome and effect of the world’s best examples of Design to Improve Life addressing issus such as HIV/AIDS, scarcity of potable water, terrorism, sustainable transportation, elderly care, etc." It was neat to see winning designs such as, LifeStraw, a very unique water filtration device, or YellowOne Needle Cap, which turns an empty soft drink can into a safe depository for dirty needles.

To check out my photos see: and to see J's go to:

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Shaista said...

Am curious... did you go to Plum Village?? Am going in two weeks x

voyagevixen said...

we did go to plum village but we left after the first week of the 3 week retreat. It was not what we expected.

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