February’s not the best time to visit Copenhagen — too cold and windy — but at least the last couple of days have been dry ones.
Today was nice and sunny, so we decided to hire bikes. The only place we’re aware of that has Christiania bakfietsen for hire is too expensive for our liking, so we went to another shop and procured a couple of normal bikes.
Sarah wasn’t comfortable with the low handlebars on her bike, so we went back to the shop after five minutes and she exchanged it for another one.
Well, we must’ve had that second bike for even fewer than five minutes before Sarah crashed down onto the cycle path as she was coming to a standstill. She somehow caught her right foot against the frame as she was dismounting on the left side and hadn’t put her left foot far enough from the bike to prevent her losing her balance.
This really isn’t the kind of thing you want to happen when you’re 34 weeks pregnant, but there you have it. It happened. With Eloïse in a child seat on the back of my bike, I couldn’t even attend to Sarah as soon as she went down. I had to first get Eloïse out of her seat. Luckily, a couple of passers-by rushed to our aid.
Fortunately, Sarah seems to be OK. Her main injuries are a gashed knee, a sprained wrist, a bruised thigh and a bump on her forehead; to say nothing of the wounded pride. The baby, thank goodness, shows no signs of the ordeal its expectant mother went through.
Sarah wanted to get back on and continue riding, but I insisted we take the bikes back to the shop, where the unfriendly owner wasn’t prepared to give us even a partial refund. 200 kr. for five minutes!
The name of the shop is Københavns Cykelbørs and it’s on Gothersgade 157. You may care to boycott it, given the owner’s unsympathetic attitude. He was well within his rights, of course, but I was surprised he didn’t offer to split the 200 kroner down the middle. I didn’t make a big fuss about it, though, because I had an injured wife waiting for me outside the shop.
We discussed going to the other shop and getting a Christiania three-wheeler, but in the end, nothing came of that idea. In spite of Sarah’s bloodied knee, she was able to walk, so she was lucky in that regard, at least.
After visiting a chemist’s and bandaging up Sarah’s knee, we walked south and across the water to the neighbourhood of Christianshavn, home to the very unusual, partially self-governing community known as Freetown Christiania, where the bike company of the same name started its life.
It was a bit of a disappointment, really. Pusher Street was aptly named, lined with dodgy-looking dope dealers standing next to oil drums from which the flames of bonfires licked at the air. Pitbulls and other low-brow canines cavorted together in the gravel, looking as if their antics might turn serious at any moment. Countless hordes of hooded youths stood around, drinking beer and smoking. Are these the idealistic inhabitants of a latter day Utopia?
Most of the places where one might grab a snack or a drink were closed, too, because it’s Monday. One establishment boasted that it was the safest café on earth, because it had had endured several thousand police raids over the years.
The Sunshine Bakery was the undisputed highlight of Christiania, serving delicious takeaway pastries and cakes.
After a quick look around at some of the houses and stopping to peer through the window of the eponymously named bike shop, we left Christiania and headed back to the centre of town, stopping for a late lunch at the excellent Café Kejzer. Through its windows, I spotted a solitary bakfiets.nl CargoBike Long being ridden by.
Speaking of good food, I must mention yesterday’s lunch spot, too: Café Norden. It has a great club sandwich, plus very tasty cakes.
It seems as if the Danes simply don’t countenance bad food. It must be out there somewhere, I suppose, but everything seems to be excellent, regardless of the price category.
A good example of excellent, but cheaper food was last night’s simple dinner at Café Salonen. This tiny place was packed out by 19:00 and we were lucky to secure a table. A DJ span music while we ate, but it wasn’t loud and the atmosphere was very cosy.
Anyway, rain is forecast for tomorrow, so I’m not sure what we’ll do. A café crawl is always an appealing thought, but Eloïse might not agree. We’ll see.