Under the world at Cistererne

I have lived here a long time and I have lost count of the times I have said that we must visit the Cisterns in Sondermarken. So this summer we finally did it.

The Cisterns (Cisternerne in Danish) are a former subterranean reservoir which once contained the sole supply of drinking water for Copenhagen and could hold as much as 16m litres of clean water. As the city expanded and other solutions were found for water supply it is no longer used in this way. For many years it has been a venue for art exhibitions and events.

It is an interesting space to visit and at the same time fascinatingly creepy. It takes a little time to adjust to the darkness when you first enter but there are sections of natural light in places, which are often utilised by the artists. You should remember to bring a warm layer as it is chilly in the caves.

When we visited the current exhibition was The Cisterns X Sambuichi, a Japanese artist (you can read more about the exhibition here) and this runs until February. In conjunction with the exhibition there are also associated events.

We walked around three times when we visited as the first time you need to get yourself adjusted to the darkness and also the pathways. We noticed different parts of the exhibition each time we went around. We will definitely be returning to see the next exhibition.

For more information visit their website here

Photo credit for photos 1 and 3: Jens Markus Lindhe

Spring in the Landbohøjskole Garden

Remember last week when the sun shone? I spent the morning working outside in the sunshine in the Landbohøjskole Garden in Frederiksberg. The joys of being your own boss and mobile internet. This park is my most favourite in the city and I have such fond memories of it. Whatever the season, it never disappoints but spring is the best.DSC01691

I thought I’d share a few photos whilst we wait for the summer to come back.DSC01692 DSC01693 DSC01695 DSC01696 DSC01697 DSC01698 DSC01699

More than a park to me

After a couple of days cooped up with my poorly son, on Friday I had a couple of hours before I had to get back to my desk to wander around my most favourite park in the city. This place holds so many memories for me and I love how the flowers and seasons change in this place.DSC01273

I have so many memories of this place. It was the first park we explored all those years ago when we moved to Bulowsvej. We would sit in the evening sunshine and enjoy a cold beer. I sat with friends and studied for our language school exams (read gossiped and sunbathed).  I sat under the trees the summer I was heavily pregnant reading trashy magazines and stroked my belly. I would walk my son around the paths as he slept in his pram as a tiny baby, thinking about how huge being a mum was. We used to take him here to try out his new talent of walking and the massive triumph of walking to the little viewing area over the duck pond. We would spot red squirrels, when they were still a novelty for me coming from the land of big bruiser greys. I wandered around the park with a friend from England looking for a famous tree (we never found it). It is place I always love to take my camera to, in every season. The rose garden holds some of the most fragrant roses in the city outside Tivoli. My son threw his water bottle in the pond when he was eighteen months old and discovered the first time his mummy couldn’t solve everything (although I came back later with a stick and fished it out). It was the place I went to four years ago almost to the day today and wept about leaving Copenhagen to move to Berlin…and one of the first places I came to when we returned two years later to reconnect with my city.

So many more memories. Definitely more than a park to me.DSC01277 DSC01280 DSC01281 DSC01282

New pink in town

After the massive pilgrimage to Bispebjerg for the cherry blossoms last month, there are some new pink blossoms in bloom right now that get a lot less footfall in Frederiksberg on Allegade. These blossoms are also shortlived but still really beautiful. We used to live right next to them and last year our neighbour’s daughter had her confirmation party under the trees with the blossoms gently falling down – what a perfect way the celebrate a rite of passage.DSC00725

Although the blue skies didn’t play ball, the pink of the flowers was still wonderful. Two Kommune park workers were taking a break whilst I shot the photos and we got chatting over the shared love of nature. I find you often have the most surprising conversations when you least expect it. These guys love their jobs working outside (despite the aches the winter brings) but what surprised me was their genuine love of nature. The more chatty one told me that every spring he visits (at least one) a beech forest outside the city when the leaves are pale green and new before they deepen into summer dark green. He said that he needs to do this as it ‘fills his soul with joy’. This big burly man openly spoke about this with emotion in his voice. It made me think about how much closer to nature and the seasons I feel here in the city. I used to feel like this as a child growing up on the North Downs in Kent where our year would be marked out by the coming of bluebells in the woods around our house, the purple rhododendrons along the roads, the blackberries to collect and stain our fingers with, cobnuts along the lanes and then the large juicy chestnuts to roast. Whilst the nature is different here in Denmark, I feel this same momentum of the year here and it brings me joy.DSC00726 DSC00732 DSC00733 DSC00737Last year the weather was warmer and I used this location to share my love of koldskål – you can read that post here.

 

Prik – a unique and nostalgic toy shop

DSC00686The first time I walked into Prik, a unique toy shop on Gammel Kongevej, I felt as if I had been transported back in time and a wave of nostalgia washed over me. As a child my grandmother would take me to a little toy shop called Tiger Tiger on the Kings Road in London and some of my most treasured toys came from this shop, including a now very tatty and well loved Snoopy. Prik is full of the kinds of toys Tiger Tiger was all those years ago. Little bright pocket-money toys, toys that I remember from my childhood (and some my mum remembers). Traditional toys that still please children today.DSC00664 This shop is a treasure trove of things for every child. Bright beads, pencils, hand knitted dolls clothes, wooden toys, jigsaws, dressing up clothes, play food and kitchen utensils. The list could go on forever. This toy shop is a unique gem in a city dominated by BR. And in a world of strict gender directed toys, Prik seems to avoid that.DSC00665

Whilst there are more expensive items in the shop (and these are all great quality and in most cases made from wood not plastic), the vast majority of things are pocket-money prices and the kinds of things that really entertain children, grow their imagination and skills without any sounds and flashing lights. DSC00666 DSC00670 I have bought toys and bits and bobs from this shop for my son ever since he was a baby and they have always been enjoyed and treasured. In the main (except for Lego) we are generally quite careful about how many toys my son has, although as he gets older this is becoming harder, but the kind of things in this shop will keep your child’s interest for a lot longer than a flash in the pan must have toy. My son has owned and played with a wooden parking garage for years and it still gets played with now, ditto for his toy kitchen and all its paraphernalia, his doctors kit and dressing up clothes, and jigsaws. All toys I had as a child and loved and all things you can buy here.DSC00671 DSC00672 DSC00673 DSC00674 DSC00678 DSC00680

In a world of plastic and junk toys, Prik offers the perfect antidote. So next time you need to buy a present for your child or for another, you need things for party bags or just something different for your child to play with – don’t just head to BR but try something more unique.

Address: Gammel Kongevej 130, 1850 Frederiksberg C

The new Frederiksberg Centret – thumbs up or down?

When we first moved to Frederiksberg seven years ago we found our local shopping centre small and quaint compared to the Bluewaters of the world. Fast forward five years and this place ticked all the boxes for my converted approach to consumerism. I had all the shops I needed. Around that time they started work on updating Frederiksberg Centre. A more modern face lift was on the cards and a new floor with twenty five new shops. The transformation seems to have taken a long time and in fact I was in the centre the day before the Grand Opening last week and some shops were still pretty much with saw dust on the floor. I heard a number of the new shops pulled all nighters to be ready in time.

DSC00523Was it worth it? Copenhagen has two large central malls (Fields and Fisketorvet,) which on a general basis I tend to avoid. I enjoy shopping in the city centre and individual streets in Vesterbro and Frederiksberg but nowadays malls leave me pretty cold.frb

I have always liked Frederiksberg Centre and on the opening day I felt a little sad. It was very glossy, new and didn’t feel like my place. Plus there were more people than I have ever seen in one place in this city (barring special events such as the vigil after the shootings) and I feared there was that feeling of rabid consumerism I hate. People queueing outside a sports shop to buy something at knockdown price didn’t feel very ‘Danish’ to me. Plus the slightly scary woman dressed as a celebration cake wandering around randomly bursting into song was a little bizarre. The DJ however was a very good move.DSC00537

I was prepared to give it a chance though. I returned the next day when the level of crazy had been dialled down a little and I had a chat with one of the people at the information desk and I started to get more of a handle on what they were trying to do. The new shops are mainly high-end fashion chains and I welcome  & Other Stores, Cos, Ganni and a super big H&M. I love Hay and Bahne so these are good additions. I thought it was very Danish not to have the usual food hall suspects serving burgers and junk but Paleo and 42 Raw (not my taste but can see the link between these places and the new stores). I looked around and realised that this wasn’t another Fields and is still my kind of place (and somewhere my bank balance is not going to welcome!)

DSC00525 DSC00528Have you been yet? What do you think?

 

Brødflov – organic loveliness in Frederiksberg

Every morning I cycle along Falkoner Alle and for as long as I can remember there has been a big florist on the corner of Hostrupsvej. It was somewhere I would infrequently stop for flowers but always liked the display outside. I went away to Florida for ten days and then had my mum to stay for another week and the next time I cycled along here I did a double take – in the place of the florist was a new coffee shop, which looked pretty well established. Had I entered an alternate universe?brødflovIt seems not and there is now a great addition to the coffee shop scene in this area which is quite dominated by Danish chain coffee shops and bakeries. Brødflov was first here in 2013 as a bakery at number 34, which is still in operation across the street from the coffee shop at number 36 and in November in the space of just over two weeks they converted the florists into an operational bakery and spacious coffee shop with long trestle tables, and a bright, inviting interior. All the food and drinks are organic and delicious. They are baking bread in the original bakery and cakes in the coffee shop, both in open bakeries so you can see them at work.DSC00308

It has been a learning curve for them. When I first came in here they were serving food on little white, heavy ceramic chopping boards and the drinks in cute little white beakers. These are no longer in use as despite how good they looked, the staff found the plates too heavy and impractical and the cups couldn’t take the heat. In have come Weck jam jars and environmentally friendly recycled materials for the plates – all equally pleasing.DSC00313

I have mainly eaten breakfast in here and it was lovely. Crumbly croissants with Skagen ham and Danish cheese and the skyr with their own made lemon curd (which can be purchased from their bakery) have both been winners for me. My son, the hot chocolate aficionado, has given theirs the thumbs up.  This place is shaping up to be a notable addition to this area.DSC00317

brødflov bakery

Early autumn in my favourite park

Last week I needed some time to relax and the first place I think about going is Landbøhøjskolen Haven. As I have written before this place has such a special place in my heart and I love it at any time or season. It seems perfect to share this on the first day of autumn.

It was a lovely sunny day and the plants were a mix between real autumn and the last throes of summer, especially in the rose garden. I wandered, sat in the sun, people watched and took photos. The best moment was when one of the beautiful butterflies walked straight onto my hand. Some times the simple pleasures are what keep us sane.

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Værnedamsvej – Copenhagen’s Little France

Værnedamsvej is one of my favourite streets in Copenhagen. It is known as Little France due to the number of French inspired shops and cafes lining the street as well as the French school being located behind a metal gate part way along the street. I love the atmosphere here. I thought I’d share a few of my favourite spots on the street.værnedamsvej general

There are a couple of florists on the street but my favourite is Blomsterskuret. They always have such a beautiful display outside and sell some more unusual flowers and plants.

blomsterkuret

 

Les Trois Cochons really makes the street feel like France – I can’t get enough of the cafe chairs and tables outside.les trois cochonsTucked down behind the main shop fronts is a little courtyard with a lovely little cafe called Mad Synergi serving lovely homemade food to take away.mad synergy

Looking for a caffeine fix in a cool place then pop into Rist Kaffebar. I love the brick wall and the little touches in this place.rist coffee bar

If you are looking for clothes you are unlikely to find elsewhere in the city and something a little brighter than the usual Danish rainbow, Kluns is the place to go. I regularly lust after dresses in this place.kluns

Finally my other two favourite places are Granola, its in every guide book but worth a visit and Theimers Bookstore.granola

Mit hjem er mit slot

Mit Hjem er mit Slot is a garden, food and interiors show that takes place from the 5th to the 9th June outside Frederiksberg Have. Every year I see legions of older people carrying bags of plants leaving the show. As you have to pay to get in, I have always been reluctant to pay to look at plants as I have no garden or balcony. However this year, I decided to put my hand in my pocket and go in to the show.SONY DSC I was pleased that I did (although I am not sure it is worth the amount they charge) as there was a lot more to it than just plants. The themes of the stalls seems to be very pastel and girly and also very French. There were lots of stalls selling French brocante wares from baskets, baking tins, old furniture and delightfully on one stall, some old ballet shoes.SONY DSC I loved having a leisurely poke around and came away with a few things but the experience was worth it. The show runs all over the weekend and on Monday too. If you get a stamp on your hand you can return again on the same day.SONY DSCmithjemmithjem2mithjem3mithjem4