48 Hours in Copenhagen – Cisternerne

This last post about my 48 hours in Copenhagen (alternative title – “Did you really go to Copenhagen just for a burger?”) is about possibly the weirdest place you can visit in the city – Cisternerne.

The Cisterns is an old water reservoir found beneath the Søndermarken park in Frederiksberg. For some crazy reason, it was turned into an exhibition space for the Frederiksberg museum – the man who had this idea is a mad genius as it’s one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever been to.

We walked through the park on a wet and humid afternoon on the look out for the entrance to the Cisterns – the tall glass structures which house the stairs down into the reservoir (although one of buildings was closed for renovation when we visited).

Their website seems to suggest that one artist shows there each year, and 2019 was the turn of Superflex; a Danish art collective who flooded the Cisterns for their exhibition, It’s Not the End of the World.

Superflex are best known in the UK for the swings they installed in the Tate Modern. They focus on climate change and dystopian futures and play with this concept for It’s Not the End of the World.

When you enter the pitch black space, you’re asked not to use torches or your phone to light the way, and your eyes do adjust (well, mine did. Husband’s didn’t, so he held my hand most of the way around). There’s a glorious neon sign which illuminates the darkness and reflects on the water. A few other spotlights prevent you from bumping into the concrete walls.

Sidenote – how good is Night Sight on my Pixel 3 phone? It really is so dark down there.

After wading your way over to the neon sign, you walk over to peer into three ‘rooms’ through partially open doors and cracks in the side with light pouring out of them. The rooms are actually flooded decaying bathrooms – super creepy, made even creepier because there were very few people visiting at the same time as us.

Another fun element of It’s not the End of the World – you get super cute welly boots to wear around the reservoir!

The current exhibit runs until the end of November when it’ll close for the winter. Can’t wait to see what 2020 brings.

If a building becomes architecture, then it is art

img_20160910_145328My Mother-In-Law always find fascinating things to do in London, and a few weeks ago she mentioned that she’d booked a couple of events for the Heritage Open Days.  I clicked around the website and saw so many places I wanted to visit, but one immediately jumped out at me – a National Trust tour of the Danish embassy in Sloane Square.

The  Arne Jacobsen designed modernist building was built in the 1970s, and really doesn’t match anything in the area.  Concrete, aluminium, and big boxy shapes look completely out of place, but I love it – it’s so iconic.  I can imagine how everyone would have hated it back in the 70s though.  The National Trust tour took us round the offices and into the residences of the ambassador at the top.  And made me insanely envious.

Our visit started with a mini-lecture on modernism and brutalism which was right up my alley.  One of the first slides was of the Royal Festival Hall so I knew I was in the right place.  We were given a brief history of the building and of Arne Jacobsen’s designs before being split into two groups for the tour.  Weirdly, Husband and I noticed that one of our National Trust guides was Eleanor who had taken us round the Southbank Centre last year – even weirder after speaking with her and finding out that she hadn’t run any tours for a year.  I felt I had to assure her we weren’t stalking her.

img_20160910_124318We then went to the parking garage where Husband and I geeked out over all the concrete.  From there, we made our way upstairs in the world’s tiniest lifts and were taken into the Ambassador’s office.  Within seconds, we’d spotted:

  • Lego
  • a Maersk logo (Husband’s former employer)
  • a framed Radio Times cover featuring Sidse Babett Knudsen
  • A Bang and Olufson TV

I’m sad there wasn’t any smørrebrød on the table to complete the scene.

The Ambassador has a beautiful office, with stunning pieces of art and amazing furniture, including the obligatory Swan chair.  The other two offices we visited were just as impressive – the offices of the press officer and the cultural attaché.  It made me desperately want to be the Danish cultural attaché – she has some beautiful Montana units full of books and ceramics, fabulous chairs, a great desk.  In the corridor were posters of Mads Mikkelsen and Pilou Asbæk.  Why can’t this be my workplace?!

After I had finished making my interior design shopping list (the tour should really had come with a catalogue), we crossed back over the courtyard to visit the ambassador’s residence.  We were only allowed into the “public” area of the residence – it would have been a bit unfair for us to traipse through their house, so the floor we saw was where they entertain visitors and host events.  I loved all the Danish ornaments dotted around the place – dala horses, Normann Copenhagen bowls, wooden soldiers, even “The Little Book of Hygge” on the piano.

They had some pretty amazing furniture and art on this floor as well – pieces painted by the Queen of Denmark and the Ambassador’s wife, Susanne Fournais Grube.  I really loved her paintings – she paints maritime scenes which almost look pop arty.

And then our tour was over after almost an hour and a half and we said farewell to this extraordinary building.  On the walk back to Waterloo, Husband and I tried to figure out a way of getting a job there, but I suspect you have to be Danish.  So now we just need to be Danish.  I’m sure that’ll be easy.

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Copenhagen

Nyhavn

Iconic Nyhavn

Having a husband who works for a Danish company means that every now and again, I get an (almost) free trip to Copenhagen.  I haven’t been for about a year, and I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms so when Husband started planning meetings with his Danish co-workers, I started planning shopping and sightseeing.

It was lovely and cold when I landed on Tuesday (but not quite cold enough for snow – boo!) and after checking in to the hotel, we went straight out to Tight for dinner.  I hadn’t been here before, but it was perfect – perfect food, perfect atmosphere, perfect music playlist, and we had a really great evening.

Wednesday morning, and Husband went off to work (aww, sad), leaving me to have a very lazy morning.  I had a late breakfast in Baresso when I got to Fields Mall.  I was a few days too early for their 10th birthday celebration, but I still had a good morning of window shopping.

I had a three day pass on the Metro so I figured I may as well use it, so from Ørestad I took the M1 back up to Christianshavn, changed over to the M2 and got out at Øresund.  I had clicked around my phone that morning in the hotel room trying to find random things to do, and one of the things that popped up was Amager Strandpark – a beach park a few miles south of the city centre.  Even though it was February, it was so lovely and I spent a couple of hours wandering on the beach taking photos.

Back on the Metro at Femøren, and I got back to the room about an hour before Husband got back from work after spending quite a lot of money on a mocha.  With the addition of Google Now into my life, I had a regular reminder of the exchange rate right there on my phone, so for the first time I had a bit more awareness of how much stuff cost.  That was a mistake – I’d rather not know!  My mocha (with an extra shot of espresso) was £5.60.  £5.60!!!  No one ever said Copenhagen was cheap, so thank god for the free stuff I had found to do.

That evening, we went to Halifax which is my favourite restaurant in the entire world.  I could happily eat here every single day.  Not even exaggerating.

Thursday was another lazy day, with a slow walk down to the Royal Library for breakfast and some reading (you have to read in a library of course).  I walked around Strøget after that, stopping in at Illums Bolighus and Magasin Du Nord for some wish list lusting.

We got home late Thursday, and my whirlwind trip to Copenhagen left me so so tired.  Thank goodness it didn’t leave me broke as well – it’s a very good job I didn’t have any luggage allowance otherwise I would have bought pretty much everything in the above photos.

Swedish Smörgåsbord

Spreadsheet

I’ve only just realised that I’ve had a bit Swedish weekend.

Friends from the south and the north descended on friends in the middle for our first Eurovision party.  But this was no ordinary party – we had a spreadsheet projected on the wall.  It was a pretty damn amazing and I almost fainted at the beauty (visit Mild Concern for all your data needs.  Seriously).

After the songs had been heard, notes had been made and data had been entered, our winner was decided – Krista Siegfrids from Finland with Marry Me.  I loved it for the Vegas theming and the song was so damned catchy.  Whether there was a political message behind it or not, it deserved to win and I genuinely can’t believe she came third from last – SCANDAL!  A very close second for me was Gianluca Bezzina from Malta with Tomorrow.  It was adorable, and I loved the kinetic typography projected behind him.

I’m trying to remember where I placed the actual winner in my voting – Emmelie de Forest from Denmark with Only Teardrops.  I think I had her third.  It was very catchy and it will mean that Copenhagen will be even more expensive to visit next year (I still love it though).  I loved the (inadvertent?) symbolism of Emmelie walking across the Øresund Bridge – taking Eurovision from Sweden to Denmark.  Cute!

However, this all paled into comparison when we saw Petra Mede performing the Swedish Smörgåsbord.  THIS SHOULD HAVE WON! Man, it’s making me want to visit Sweden.

And to complete my Swedish weekend, Tim and I took an impromptu trip to Ikea on the way home from Middle England where I spent £50 on stuff I don’t need and hadn’t really considered too much before today.  And some seeds, which we’re both going to grow separately and try not to kill.

Sweden, I love you.