Dream cake, day dreaming, dreamy days

April 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

This was a near perfect weekend. But before I talk about the weekend, I need to rewind to Wednesday…

On Wednesday, after class, I went with a friend, Brittany, to a collective in Nørrebro that has community dinners every Wednesday night. If you show up early you can help cook (one of my favorite things). Brittany has been going for a while, and I’ve been meaning to, but something always seems to pop up on Wednesday nights, and it was not that easy to access in my pre-bike days. (I’d been there once before but left early to go to a panel discussion, so this was my first time helping to prepare the whole dinner.) The majority of the food is taken from dumpster diving, and there is also a bakery that gives HUGE bags of (almost stale) bread and pastries. (Some of the bread and pastries get put out with the dinner and the people cooking also snack on the pastries. Yum!) I made a roasted red pepper spread (made the peppers using my new skills that I learned from Valentina’s mom in Italy), and also fried these potato/turnip/mushroom/leek pancake things. (Think latkes with a lot of stuff thrown in.) They also had a ton of apples so Brittany and I made a cinnamon/brown sugar apple dessert. What else was on the menu? Pasta, potato salad, and some other delicious things I can’t remember. It was super nice to cook in a [progressive] community environment. I am already looking forward to going back this Wednesday.

Not much of note on Thursday and Friday except that it was so windy I literally could not ride my bike in a straight line. On Friday evening, Nadine came over with beer and cider and we watched a bad/good movie. (So bad it’s good.)

On Saturday I met another friend, Signe, who lives Nørrebro and she showed me around the neighborhood. It was perhaps the first day in København that actually truly felt like spring. I didn’t even wear my jacket (figured out how to lock it to my bike!) and wished I hadn’t worn socks (suffocate my feet). We walked around a bit and went to a schwarma place that makes its own pita bread (I can’t remember if I’ve written about how omni-present schwarma places are here) and also went to Assistens Kirkegård, a huge and beautiful cemetery with Niels Bohr’s, Hans Christian Andersen’s, Søren Kierkegaard’s graves, among others.

[On a cultural side note: apparently in Denmark you have to be buried (even if you get cremated, you have to be buried). It strikes me as a little odd that that is mandated. (Out of curiosity, I looked up burial laws in the US, and they are implemented by the states…. and even mummification is legal? But more to the point, in the US, ashes, for instance, can be kept in an urn or scattered or what not, they don’t have to be buried. Apparently having an urn with ashes is a stereotype of Americans, haha.]

Anyway, we also sat outside in the “bad” neighborhood of København, which seriously must be a joke. I understand everything is relative, but my point of comparison is Chicago. In Chicago there are neighborhoods you wouldn’t even want to be in while in a group in broad daylight.

[As a side note, I actually started this blog post yesterday at about 1am, figuring I would be done by 2:30am or so. I spent over 2.5 hours trying to decipher crime statistics and literature about København (specifically Nørrebro), which served to be very difficult as everything was obviously in Danish, and I could find very few measurements that were meaningful for comparison, such as violent crimes per square mile. So after 2.5 hours I called it a night, but I am back today and this is the best I could find.]

A very quick illustration from what I could decipher:

  • In 2006, there were only 24 homicides in ALL of Denmark
  • Only 9 of these homicides occurred in Copenhagen
  • In the Austin area of Chicago alone, there were 33 murders in 2008
  • In Nørrebro in 2010, there were about 786 criminal incidents in three months, giving it a rate of about 44 incidents/1000 people/year
  • In the West Side of Chicago, by W. Lake Street, the criminal rate is 257.72 incidents/1000 people/year

Ok, so anyway, see what I mean about it not being at all a bad neighborhood? Additionally, apparently in this area, police do not need a warrant or probable cause to search you! That totally baffles my mind. I believe (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), that the only exceptions to probable cause in the US are in schools, prisons, and airports.

Anyway again, back to the good stuff. As I said, the weather was incredibly perfect and it was so lovely to spend the day outside with the sun: walking around Copenhagen, drinking tea in the prettiest cemetery I’ve ever seen, sitting in the warmth, watching children run by.

It was actually the kind of day that makes me KNOW that this 6 month adventure is not nearly enough time in Denmark, and makes me promise to myself that I will find a way to come back here for a more extended period of time.

After my tour of Nørrebro, I came back to my apartment where I met Nadine, and we watched another movie (livin’ large) and Nadine made these awesome drinks with milk, cocoa, and Bailey’s. Of course french fries were also involved.

On Sunday I woke up and it was so absolutely beautiful outside, so I took my bike, some books, sunglasses, and a 2L bottle of Diet Cola (ok, yes) down to the water at Islands Brygge, and had an amazingly pleasant day where I spent 10% of the time reading and the other 90% people watching/daydreaming/thinking. It was SO nice outside. Copenhagen does remind me of Carnegie Mellon in this way: when it turns nice, everyone explodes into the outside world. (I think, like at CMU, it comes from being so suppressed/depressed during the winter months.) Couples and families and friends were all over the grass and the pier, listening to music, eating ice cream, walking dogs.

Then Nadine texted and asked if I wanted to go to Christiania as she had not been there yet, and so I took my bike there where we got dinner in the sunshine. After dinner I got a huge slice of drommekage (dream cake) for only 10dkk (about 2 dollars). For those who have been deprived of this amazingness, dreamcake is this light almost angelfood type cake with a sweet crunchy coconut topping. SO GOOD.

Nadine then came back to my place where we finished off the Bailey’s.

Today I met up with Nadine again (we do have other friends but they are out of town right now), and we spent the day going around shops looking for a birthday gift for her friend (success). We ended up in Christiania again where we went to my favorite little place to eat (ate in the sun again!) and then got dreamcake for dessert.

I am so so so happy it is so so so nice outside, and so incredibly appreciative of the people I am sharing this with as well!

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