A Travellerspoint blog

Copenhagen Brief

Too short but well worth it.


On my way back to the Netherlands from Sweden and Norway, I stopped in Copenhagen. I had been there about 2 weeks before but only for one night. I was blessed to stay with Dan Meyrowitsch, his partner Megumi and their daughters Simone and Namoi. Dan and Megumi are friends of David King; they were fantastic hosts and put me up on short notice, even after having just had a visitor from Japan. One night they took me out to have dinner with their friends Teresa, Soun (sp), and their two daughters. We had a tasty vegetarian meal in Christiana and toured this colorful anarchist experiment in urban living. Regretfully, I did not take a lot of photos. In fact, I some how failed to get a picture of Dan and Megumi! Let me assure you, this is not a reflection of their most generous hospitality and a delightful stay full of interesting conversation and lots of advice on what to do during my short stay in Copenhagen.

I saw several of these funky bikes in Copenhagen. They seem like they'd be better for Portland than the Bakfiets due to the weather-proof carriage.

Dan and Megumi live 6KM out of downtown (about 20 minutes by bus or train) not far from one of Copenhagen's many miles of greenway trail that connect various parks and greenspaces. This is a shot I took of a cormorant in a large wetland park near their house. The shoreline was a patchwork of wide and thick riparian vegetation, grassy shore, and trail, providing a mix of natural and landscaped lakeshore.

Copenhagen's Christiana
I was also off-the-ball in not taking more photographs of Christiana. The entire atmosphere of the place was a cross between the Oregon Country Fair and a City Repair VBC creation. The "downtown" had a cozy feel of a medieval village food, bikes and lots of hash. But- as evidenced by the photos I did take- I was most intrigued by the forested lake shore interspersed with homes creating a very rural feel right in the heart of Copenhagen.


This is hard to see but it's the sign over the exit to Christiana. It reads "You are now entering the EU." Those Christianians don't like government in any form.

The last day in Copenhagen I went on a fantastic bike ride southeast of downtown on an absolutely stunning network of greenway trails, parks, and natural areas.

I came across this strange linear hill, that I would call a "ridge" or "bluff" if it didn't have such dubious natural origins. Regardless, this odd, mostly forested landscape feature overlooks a low density neighborhood SE of downtown. The slopes were densely forested but the top had a park-like feel with cut grass, orchard trees, and lots of ripe berries and plumbs (kind of like Powell Butte) plus spectacular views of the surrounding city. I had a fun little bike ride along the top, gorging myself on himalayan blackberries and plumbs... before dropping down to and continuing on the greenway trail.


I kept biking south along the waterway. The greenway trail is similar in direction and orientation from Copenhagen's downtown as the Springwater on the Willamette and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is to Portland's downtown... however the former is much longer and the surrounding greenspace much bigger.

Eventually you leave the city and enter a big nature preserve with trails and occasional lookout towers built for birders. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to reach and climb one.

One the way back I followed another greenway trail that cuts north through a newer dense neighborhood the Copenhagen's east side. This amazing structure with natural wood siding and ecoroofs has the appearance of a dense village on a hill. I saw it and instantly new it was special. The next day while riding the train to Germany, I saw it featured in an article on Copenhagen in a travel magazine. Unfortunately the article was in German so I learned nothing new about the amazing building.


Check out this video of this very "cool" Wildlife/Trail crossing. It could be a model for a pedestrian bridge to Gateway Green. See if you can't count how many times I say "cool" in this video?

Here is the map of one of the large parks, Amager Faelled, on Copenhagen's east side. This particular area was laced with trails and mixed landscaped and natural areas. Whether by design or due to limited maintenance dollars, I found this combination to be characteristic of many Copenhagen parks and greenspaces.

On the train back to Hamburg, I passed through the Denmark countryside and saw lots of windmills.

Coming soon. Adventures in Nijmegen, Holland.

Posted by jim.labbe 07:58 Archived in Denmark Comments (2)


Exploring Oslo and Hiking in Finse

I am a little behind in posting this next round of photos. I am actually presently back in the Netherlands. Below are some photos from Norway; look for a video bike tour of Copenhagen's greenspaces soon!


David King's friend Francesco met me as I stepped off the train. Francesco totally set me up. He took me out to lunch, oriented me to the transit system, and helped me find the maps I needed for my backpacking excursion. Francesco... if you are reading this, thanks again. Your kindness was a great introduction to Norway.

Six days in Norway was not quite enough, but it was expensive and I figure it is always good to leave a place when you are enjoying it. The first three days I checked out museums and other sights by day and the Oslo tango scene by night (more on that later). My favorite museum was the Nobel Peace Center. They are having a special exhibit starting in September about the civil rights movement from Martin Luther King Jr. to the election of Barak Obama.

My mom, Leslie Labbe, was an American Field Service student in Oslo in the 1950s (when she was 16). This is the house she lived in.

Here's the school she attended.

Here's a cute little Oslo freeway. Only four lanes. Adorable! Isn't it? Compared to the freeways in the USA, it is like a miniature golf course. Perhaps the Columbia River Crossing planners in Portland could be inspired.

Oslo has a large wilderness park on to the North and west of the city, much like Forest Park. The Nordmarka goes on for miles. I only hiked a little ways in but got a taste for the coniferous forests that surround Oslo.

On my way to the Nordmarka trailhead I came across this group of young mountain bikers out on a field trip. No signs off single-track in the Nordmarka but lots of wide gravel trails for riders.

I went to the historical museum and took in some viking art. Most of it was rather of gruesome. In this scene someone is getting stabbed with a big sword and blood is splitting out.

The Norwegian maritime museum had some familiar looking romantic paintings of Norwegian maritime scenes. Here are three.

I thought this was a funny name for a Nordic cruise line company.

Check out this schnowzer! I saw this profile and wondered if my Rosenfeld relatives didn't actually come from Norway instead of Germany. This is a statue of Roald Amundsen outside the FRAM museum in Oslo. The FRAM is a massive and hulled wooden ship (the strongest, they say) that carried crews on ventures to the North and South poles.

The train ride to Finse (toward Bergen) was gorgeous.

I got off the train at Finse and started hiking. I stopped at this little bridge for lunch.

Best friends: Me, cheese, and prunes.

Alpine stream feeding into Finse Lake. (I know a guy named Fremont who is an expert at crossing these. I know a guy named Sven who isn't.)

I lost the trail the first day out. Luckily I had my binoculars so I could find the trail markers. But when the fog set in I had to pay extra close attention.

Ringed Plover at my first night camp.

Cold fog and trail markers on day two.

This is little bird, which is hard too see, is a Meadow Pipit, I think.

While this little fluff ball is a Whinchat. There were tons of these curious little fellows flying around me as I hiked.

I struggled to identify this raptor. It is either a Common Buzzard or Rough-Legged Buzzard. Based on distribution and habitat I think it is probably the latter. “Buzzard” is the rather unappealing European term for medium-sized raptors (smaller than eagles and larger than falcons. Our general term for this class of birds is hawk.

Hardangerjokulen is the name of the massive circular glacier (5km in diameter) in the mountains south of Finse. It flows in every direction, sending these huge tongues of ice out into the surrounding alpine landscape.

Some form of herbaceous rubus species. I finally ate one of them: tasty and fairly sweet.

I camped at a lovely spot my second night. Chris (my younger brother) thought this picture looked like it came from an L.L. Bean catalog. Well… when the sun came out and I was kickin’ in the heather, it felt pretty much like being in an L.L. Bean catalog.


When I got back to Finse I snapped a shot of this cool little train bike. I am not sure if this combines the best in both modes of travel, but it is certainly novel.

Here’s the train arriving in Finse to take me back to Oslo. It is coming out of a 10KM tunnel that runs west of Finse! I went through another 10.7km tunnel on the route between Finse and Oslo. The Norwegians will drill through anything to lay railroad tracks.

Alright. That's it for now. More soon.

Posted by jim.labbe 23:58 Archived in Norway Comments (4)

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