31 July 2011

Natures way

Remember these guys?

June 3rd

June 3rd. Seven.

June 26th

June 26th. Seven became four scary fast. These are the last swans in the Nørrebro side of the lakes, and the parents keep them far away from people. Besides there is no shortage of food, with all the yummy, farty goo floating around. I was never good at watching the weak succumb on the nature channel, and it doesn't help when the show is live. But such is the way of nature, only the strong survive.

July 31st

And today, practicing the hissing skills. How fast they grow up.


30 July 2011

Danish summer

All my focus seems to have been on what is missing from this season, and I have to remind myself that summer is not just about sun and heat. It would not be summer without the new Danish potatoes, fine skinned and buttery, the soil still moist.
 Begging for a slice of rye, mayo and roasted onions, or watercress, or...

The classic Danish potato peeling fork. I mostly eat my potatoes with the skin still on, but nothing beats the sentimental value, and besides I am a sucker for beautiful tools.

And nothing announces summer like the arrival of Danish peas. They should be squeaky to the touch like fresh tulips, not too soft or too hard. I like to weigh each of them in my hand, to make sure they are not faking it (all shell and no meat), a trick I picked up last summer from a fellow pea picker. One of my earliest memories of my grandfather is him teaching me how to split them like a pro. It's all in the thumb.


But the true highlight is the Danish strawberries, according to my vegetable dealer, the best in the world. So good that when visiting family in the homeland, they bring suitcases full of Danish strawberry marmalade. Is it odd how that makes me feel proud? This is the last week of Danish strawberries, and they are in such demand that you (they) have to be there at 2:30 in the AM to get them at the market. 2:30 AM... I shall never complain about the strawberry prices again.

Because this is the grand finale of the season, I went all out and got the whole cream to go with it. It is a ritual: rinsing, drip drying, nipping the top, cutting in halves, the squeeze of lemon, the light sprinkle of sugar, and then the wait. Letting it sit for a while is the hardest thing, and when you can't stand it any longer you add the final touch: the whole cream. Mixing with the bleeding berries and the sweetened lemon, turning creamy. That's Danish summer.

See you next year.

28 July 2011

The Balancing Act

It is tourist season in Copenhagen, and at the same time 40 percent of Danes are on vacation, making for an odd change of atmosphere. The pace is different, and everywhere I look I see people wandering with maps. I am touched that they like my city enough to go here in their free time spending their hard-earned cash, but I can't help but wonder if it meets the expectations. Copenhagen by tourist bus... I don't know.


And the weather... don't get me started, what an insult. The evenings are cold the days are mostly wet, and grey at best. I'm trying real hard to not let it affect me, but it is taking its toll. As always it helps seeing things through a lens, these guys are at display at the Government Square. The Balancing Act is a campaign by the UN for the education of sustainable development. Remember the hovering Obama from the COP15 climate talks? They are made by the same sculptor Jens Galschiøt

 I circled them for nearly half an hour, and it was almost like they were changing their poses for me.

Mid shoot a tourist bus pulled up, releasing a fresh batch of visitors. It was the oddest feeling standing among them taking pictures of my own city, knowing that none of us probably got nowhere near the same view of Copenhagen, or The Balancing Act.


Summer?  Please.

24 July 2011

Supersize that

Rewarding the gaping hole behind the Norwegian massacre with fame, promoting his "manifesto" (please?!) seems counterproductive. If I ran a newspaper, I would try something completely different, like blanking out the space reserved for his face and name (leaving it empty as a message), and refusing to link to his so-called manifesto. It would send a clear message that this kind of action is not encouraged, nor rewarded with instant fame and free publicity. How gutsy would that be? I would marry that kind of newspaper.

Ah, I don't want to waste another syllable on that stain on humanity. Moving on to what makes us feel alive and happy. Well, I don't know about you, but this kind of thing just rocks my world:

Supersize that

Supersize that.

Giant birdhouse :D

Hahaha.

Compensating for a non existing summer. 

 

23 July 2011

The enemy within

Terrorists are nothing but bullies. Regardless of their delusion of choice, they are all the same: fear mongering cowards in a pursuit to end democracy. This time around it was a home-grown right-wing nutcase targeting defenceless and isolated children (13-14 year olds) on a small Norwegian island, taking down at least 85, with the numbers still climbing. I still can't wrap my head around it, and it brings back the sadness I felt on 9/11. No matter how far away it was, it was an attack on all of us, and this is how it feels today.

When I heard about the initial government bombing, I half suspected that it was by some religious fanatic. But when I learned that it was the deed of a right-wing extremist, I was not surprised. The rhetoric and fear mongering of these parties have spun out of control. And no more so than here with the recent reinstatement of border control, and the flaming hatred towards all things foreign. Scaring people out of their wits to manipulate them into giving up human rights and -behavior is an everyday occurrence here. I think of it as legal terror.

Perhaps it is time to re-think the face of our enemy, and make some serious adjustments. Perhaps this tragedy will be the turning point. My heart is with you Norway.

Eternal love

18 July 2011

Tap, tap...

Tap, tap... hello? Is it just me, or is it awfully quiet on the internet at the moment? Not that I have anything remotely interesting to say, but that does not mean I have nothing to share. I was on a big safari on Vesterbro today (warming up to that neighborhood, I have to say), and I am just itching to show you the harvest. Look at this:

Air
Air..

Air
..for your bike.
 
And a strange newfound interest in houses. Old houses with a hint of new, mmm.

Vesterbro blue

Vesterbro



This orange... I think there was something going on with the light today, it reminds me of that magic day when I found the beautiful house hiding in the latin quarter.

Check

And this bike was completely covered in checks, varying in size depending on the position.

Vi spiser Ota Solgryn

A warning for the burglar: We eat Ota Solgryn (classic Danish oatmeal cereal claiming to build strength).

Hold up

You may be exposed to burglars and guns, but that doesn't mean you should give in to fear and let evil win. The most important thing is to maintain a sense of humor.

Birthday bouquet

And my birthday bouquet. :-)

What more can you possibly ask for?


14 July 2011

Summer whine

The crazy heavy never ending rain notwithstanding, the summer holiday is on and the city seems abandoned. It is even more quiet than usual because those who are left, are hiding indoors. But I am wondering if staying dry is really worth it. If this is what the climate is going to be like in the future, maybe we need to make it work for us? Dress for it (oh, the business of keeping wet people cool and cool people dry, I smell it) and maybe even look into some outdoor water games? Keep hand towels at the bars, and offer access to hairdryers? Something. Anything. We can't just sit here and watch summer go by, as we wait for the rain to pass.

Where did all the people go? Oh, I know:

[Explored] Happy 100.000 :-)

Haha.


10 July 2011

Birdie Num Num

When I heard that Red Bull was going to host a sports event on the lake yesterday, I was not amused. My concern was as always the well-being of the swans (I am exhausted from worrying about them). All but the single breeding couple have fled the scene, as the lakes are filling up with more boats and canoes and activities than ever. The last couple is stuck until the young ones can cross the street and join the pack on the Østerbro side of the lakes. All that's left in the water these days is the smelly and fast growing algae, the Birdie Num Num.

Because of the sports event (that turned out to be confined to the far end of the lake, everybody got along just fine, proving once again that worrying is such a waste of time) the city had swooped up the algae and left it to dry in heavy piles. And then somebody decided to make my day:

Algae troll

Boo
Hahaha. So cool!

Algae

Birdy Num Num

It smells foul, but it is crazy beautiful. Nobody's perfect.



What in the world is that? I can't imagine. Hahaha.


07 July 2011

The human touch

There is something welcoming about the traces of a human touch, and nowhere more so than in the public space, where you can sometimes feel like herded livestock. Maybe that is why street art is so important, like some sort of reassurance that we are not alone. Or maybe the term "street art" doesn't even cover it anymore, it has to do with interacting with the space we inhabit. Guerrilla gardening is a part of that, and you can hardly call that street art? Or how about street furniture:

 
Pallet chair. Surprisingly comfortable and way too cool for words.


This one totally made my day: a hand painted wooden ramp for wheelchairs, spotted at the Round Tower. Accessibility is required by law, but this is the first ramp I have seen that actually looks inviting. It is beautiful and it beats the loud and banging metal version. I am pinning a Classic Copenhagen Award on this one (one day there will be a big award show, just you wait..).

And speaking of the human touch no major construction site is complete without Bert. The latest show is on at Nørrebrogade, where the bicycle highway is nearly done.

Bert on Nørrebrogade




You see what I mean about the human touch?


 

04 July 2011

Wetlands

So we had a couple of monsoons this weekend, did you notice? The first one hit on Saturday. Not your pedestrian Scandinavian monsoon, more like hammers and nails from a vengeful sky, and more water in two hours than we would get in two months. Plus crazy thunder, massive lightning (5000+) and hail. If you don't count a hundred thousand rats, there were no fatalities, but judging from the footage there just as easily could have been. Especially if anyone had been caught in some of those drowned cars. The sewer system burst in several places, streets and highways were flooded, and basements and businesses all over Copenhagen have been more or less destroyed.

I always thought of heavy rain as a "clean" disaster, but not so. It is dirty, contaminated and smells like death, wrecking everything in its path much the same way fire does. In a way we have been lucky in this part of the world, with so little exposure to extreme climate, but that is changing fast. Is it terrible to wish this had happened pre-COP15? If it could have secured a better outcome? I can't help but think that this is the price we pay for neglecting the climate situation. And that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.



Salvaged goods in the street today.

(Forget about decent monsoon shots, have you ever tried to capture falling rain? Ugh!)

02 July 2011

Charging... clear..

Copenhagen is almost freakishly quiet at the moment, the party heads are at the Roskilde Festival, the families are on summer vacation and the jazz crowd have taken over the city with the annual Jazz Festival. It is all very laid back, bordering on comatose. If you know what I mean?

Street art to the rescue once again, with a lamb post: 

Lamb post

A lamb post with a twist..

Surprise!

...oh!

Paging Mr. Right:

Get here

Paging Mr. Right

Welcome to Comahagen.