Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Places You Never Thought Would Exist

There are places you never thought would exist. It happened to me to visit one the other day. It's called Christiania and it's located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is basically a little city whithin the bigger city. You stop at the metro station Christianshavn and just walk for 5 minutes. After a while, once you've entered, you'll start noticing big signs warning visitors that it is forbidden to take pictures. This means that you are entering Pusher street. As you walk down the road you'll probably start to notice that people here are not exactly christians as the name would suggest to uninformed visitors. After a few steps forward your nostrils are surely going to smell the unmistakable fragrance of Afghanistan coming from all sorts of exotic pipes and related stuff. The extraordinary experience has begun. You are in Christiana, a former military area that was occupied by a bunch of hippies back in the seventies and that, still today, represents a reminiscence of the old flower power era.

The houses are extravagant. Probably here everyone just built its own house, obviously without following any regulation. Some are tall and coloured, other are like crumbling hovels. There's one completely built using windows (in the picture). Most of them are decorated with graffiti. Multicoloured stands are all along the main road and various qualities of hash are being sold to the curious visitors (yes! they're not hiding it). If you are not able to roll your own, don't worry they also sell ready-to-smoke joints. If you don't feel like smoking your brain out just grab a beer in one of the hundreds shops selling food & beverages and you'll be fine. Anyway one of the nicest things about this place is the lake. After you're gone through the main road, you climb a couple of stairs and you are there. A beautiful and peaceful little lake sorrounded by a bed of reeds always caressed by the ever-present danish wind. Here people sit on the lake shore talking and laughing (ok: and smoking...) and basically just having a good time. This place is totally out of space and time, believe me.

But, now it may be time to go back to the real world. A few steps and you're already out of Christiania. You'll notice that when you're getting out you pass under a big arch with the writing "You are now entering the EU" on it. You are now back in Copenhagen!