Coziness and a Pot-Lover’s Heaven in Christianhavn

There is a word called “hygge” in Danish, which sounds alot like the word “hug” and translates to cozy. I found it in a place called Cafe Wilder and it was the perfect refuge from the rain-soaked streets of Copenhagen. The bartender greeted me warmly and I took a seat at the bar. It is definitely the corner cafe and reminded me of one I might find in Paris. There’s a table with a young couple and child, two friends catching up and a couple of larger gatherings. I can tell they feel cozy, too. I order a brown ale and steak and fries, then pull out my Nook. When a table becomes available, the bartender offers to seat me and it has a nice view for people watching. When my steak arrives, it is perfectly cooked and the potato coins are crispy. Sometimes, when you travel, you wonder if you lived in a place, where you’d hang out. Cafe Wilder would definitely be a place that I would frequent.



I could have spent all day there, especially since it was still spitting rain, but the place was starting to fill with others seeking refuge and I still needed to see Christiana, a “free state” within Copenhagen. In the 70s, squatters, then hippies took over a military camp in Copenhagen and declared it a state separate from Denmark, creating an alternative, tolerant, ecologically-conscious, self-governing society with its own schools, housing and businesses. But drug culture started to prevail in the little Utopia.There is even a “Pusher Street.” Hard drugs are outlawed, but the sale of marijuana appears to be brisk. I smell it as soon as I step through the brick archway on the corner of Prinsessegade and Badsmansstraede. A building to my left is covered, door-to-floor in graffiti. I can’t decide if it adds to the charm of the place or if it is an eyesore. A feminine metal figure stands tall in a junk garden, her skirt billows with metal tin sheets and bike wheels. A totem pole entryway says that I am now entering “ell.” Not sure if this is the Danish spelling of Hell and start to wonder if I should turn back. But I see other curious tourists mixed in with folks who seem to have come to enjoy the day in Christiana despite the rain. I come to a colorful street of commerce with “No Photography” signs everywhere, which makes me really want to take a picture. The pot is particularly pungent here. I see an older white woman with locks in the window of a trailer selling sweets and immediately wonder if she’s selling hash brownies. I keep moving because I hear music, kind of a hip-hop reggae mix, and I find myself in Nemoland. It’s an open space with a stage and picnic tables. I sit to listen for bit. I think the artist is called Son of Sun and he must be preparing for a concert as he and the band stop and start several times, but I like what I hear. At this point, I start to notice that folks have joints the size of cigars. One guy just lets loose and starts spinning in front of the stage, joint in mouth. I venture inside the nearby bar, also called Nemoland to find the toilet and inside I see the words of a bathroom wall scribe, “Don’t drink and drive. Just smoke and fly.” Think that about sums it up.




 I also saw a bit of the alternative art scene in Christianhavn atOvergaden before lunch at Cafe Wilder. I am not sure what to make of what I saw. One exhibit included a video of a man doing rope tricks. See my pics of more alternativeness on display.







Copenhagen, Denmark

About Robin

Robin Bennefield is the author of the blog Robins Have Wings, which is not just a blog; it is a travel manifesto, reminding her—and maybe you—to take flight and embark upon unexpected journeys near and far.

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