Thursday, June 19, 2008

Photo Essay: 8 Days in Copenhagen; City of Bikes

The significance of Copenhagen to this blog, is that, like many European cities, it began seeing an influx of cars onto its winding medieval streets after World War 2. Professor Jan Gehl noticed the negative effect automobile congestion began to have on the city's intimate spaces, as well as way of, and quality of, life.

Little by little, he was able to convince the city to start creating "car free" zones that began as the Stroget and with success have continually expanded to the city that exists today, with further plans of removing cars from more areas of the city as the citizens turn to droves.

Train in from the Airport, get to the hotel, first things first... grab a beer. Can't do all that walking on an empty stomach.

Step out of the hotel into Radhuspladsen. The "town square" where City Hall sits.

Stroget, the original car-free street and now the "main street" for shopping, dining, etc. in Copenhagen extends northeast from Radhuspladsen.

Courtyard thru a carriageway off of Stroget.

Stroget, on one of the waning sunny days in Copenhagen.

Modern building showing off the contemporary Danish design sensibility.

Kongens Nytorv. The King's Square. You want a difficult language to learn? Try Danish. Fortunately, they all speak English. "Very well," as one waiter responded to our query as to whether he spoke english, with nary an accent.

Public art display in the King's Square.

To Nyhavn, the area where the typical Copenhagen "postcard" shot comes from...

The Copenhagen Opera House (view shown at the link demonstrates how it terminates the view down Frederiksgade) is across the canal by itself. It was one of the most expensive opera houses in the world to construct, coming in at a cool $500 mill. They don't do things on the cheap over there.
Different day, different part of town. Having a bite to eat in Halmtorvet we witnessed the only "crime" to ever occur apparently in Copenhagen. Demonstrating to us foreigners how safety gets rather boring, a "fight" broke out at an adjacent restaurant. Bored cops with nothing to do were awoken from their naps arrived on the scene in seconds to break it up. The cops then said to each combatant, "now apologize, and mean it....MEAN ITTTT," before sending them each on their way. Okay, we added the dialogue Mystery Science Theater style, but it really wouldn't shock me if it went down in a similar fashion.

Summer is gone. Downpour sends us inside.
Night time reveals blemishes on the window.
You figure this one out.

Danish Design Center. Looking modern, yet urban and humane.

Headed through the more residential Christianshavn on our way to the hippy commune Christiania.

Residential buildings on the canal. Penthouses on the top with private terraces.

Okay, so we we thought Christiania would be pretty cool. Well, we weren't allowed to take any pictures and it was an experience alright. A creepy one, that sent us fleeing walking rapidly to get back to civilization. Check out the Danish version of a park and ride above.

Their brand spankin' shiny and new subway system. Hey, who is driving this thing?

And where did it let us out? Oh, Kultorvet, or "coal square," where danish use to buy their fuel. Now it is a typical plaza with street venders and sidewalk cafes.

Headed back towards Stroget.

El Gordo dreaming of a Danish girl eating a real danish in Denmark.

A: Only if it is Breakfast...which it is...

Kastellet on a rainy sunny day on my way to the US embassy to replace my lost passport.

Architecture nerd.

Breakfast at a cafe near the US embassy, on "The Lakes" and Dag Hammarskjolds Alle.

Rush Hour - Danish style.

For all those bikes, best to make the tunnels more amenable.