Howdy folks! I've been bumming around Denmark for the past few days, after spending half a day in Amsterdam. Found a really cheap flight from Schipol Airport, only $144 Euros! I've always wanted to go to Denmark (I don't really know why), so here I am. How has it been so far? Well honestly, it's been up and down. I would probably be enjoying Denmark more if it wasn't for having to endure a ton of bullshit from the HI (Hostelling International) hostels here. But more on that later.
First, a brief blurb on Amsterdam. The last time I was here was about six years ago, on my first ever backpacking trip. It was pretty cool then, and it's pretty cool now. There's still women in the windows selling their wares and a copious amount of pot-cafes (more, if anything - try to find an internet cafe where people aren't smoking dope. Go on, I dare you!), but one thing I noticed is there's not nearly as many dutch people as I remember! It seems that the dutch people-to-foreigner percentage in the city is about 50-50. Hell, there may be more travellers doing temp-work in the red-light district than
Typical shot of Amsterdam: canals and houses crammed together.
locals! Then again, maybe it's always been that way; I was pretty naive the last time I came here (some people would say I still am) and may not have noticed.
Anyway, Amsterdam is a bitchin' place (why else are there so many tourists here?) and should be high on anyone's list of European destinations. Amsterdam... high on... hee hee, I'm so witty! ... Shut up!
Anyhoo, Denmark. I've been to two places since I arrived here: Copenhagen and Aalborg. First off, Copenhagen. It's not just chewing tobacco people, it's also a city (just in case any rednecks are reading this). It's a really pretty city too, with lot's of old buildings, nice squares and big statues. It's very cute and makes for a beautiful walk!
Not all of Copenhagen is "cute" though. The suburb of Christiania is a throwback to the seventies. According to my ancient Lonely Planet
book, Christiania was an old military camp that a handful of hippies took over and claimed as there own way back in '71. Nowadays it's pretty much a little village of hippies, with the old barracks covered in some bad-ass graffiti and/or converted into stores and cafes. And
Those hippies sure can paint...
of course there's a big area with some bars and restaurants, including one giant outdoor sitting area where locals and tourists alike can all smoke up. Think Amsterdam's red-light district, only more outdoorsy and without the nice buildings (it is an old military camp, after all). Unlike Holland, pot is illegal in Denmark, but the government allows it. And why not? It's a huge tourist attraction here! Money talks, right?
Despite all this, I didn't really enjoy Copenhagen that much. I thought the city was missing something; it had style but not much substance. Like a stereotypical blonde walking down the street! But you know, my view of the city was probably distorted due to a couple of bad experiences at the HI Hostels. And when something puts you in a bad mood, sometimes it's difficult to see things in a positive light.
But please, let me explain my angst. Upon arriving in Copenhagen, I quickly dialed up an HI hostel in Copenhagen and booked a bed with them. However, the price for one night ended up being $46.00 CDN: $34.00 for the bed, $12.00 for the sheets - and that's with my HI discount! To make matters
worse, this hostel, the biggest in Europe with over 1,000 beds, is full of teenagers, from ages 13-16! Goody.
The hostel was booked solid that night, and the place was packed with these little turds! I'm guessing about 950 of 'em! I could barely move around the lobby (especially with my bags), and good luck trying to find a quiet space!
To make matters worse, the sun seems to be rise incredibly early here (it was nice and high at 5:30 am), and for some reason, there were no curtains in the room. There's probably no curtains in the room because the check-out time is at 9:00am. Fuckers! No sleep and fistfuls of teenagers make Tom a cranky boy!!! So I got up, did some much-needed laundry, and went to a different hostel. And good riddance, I say!
Hostel #2 was actually really good. So much so, that I've already made a reservation there for the 29th. There were kids there too, but not nearly as many. Truthfully, I don't mind teenagers, but when I'm surrounded by several hundred of them, I kinda lose it. A few dozen though? No problem!
What set me off at the
Backpacking Dutch Style!
I stayed with my aunt & uncle for a night in Amsterdam. I rode with my aunt to their place from the train station. Bitchin'!!
new place is that I had put my big bag in one of those digital lockers (where you enter a pin code) early in the day, and when I came back in the evening, I couldn't get it out. In fact, I set off the damn alarm trying to get it out! Normally, this wouldn't have bothered me, but I was still kinda stressed from no sleep and lousy kids. Plus people were staring. "Hey, who's the crazy guy punching the lockers and shouting, 'WHY?!! WHY?!! WHY?!!' Oh look, now he's crying and curling up into the fetal position! Ha ha! What a putz!!!" ...Let's just say it didn't help matters!
Anyway, the next day I took off to Aalborg - it's home to Lindholm Hoje, the largest viking graveyard in Denmark, so I wanted to check it out. Jeez, that's two gravesites in one trip - creepy! Actually, Lindholm Hoje was really amazing and chalk full of mystique. The graves are surrounded by a forest, and while the wind whistled throughout these woods, an enormous flock of crows would swoop in and out out of them, squacking all the while. Right on...
Sadly, I didn't escape the
Evil HI Empire in Aalborg either, as the hostel here fucked me over too! I asked for a dorm room when I booked the place (which I received), but because I was the only one in the room, they charged me single room rate: almost $70.00 CDN!!! As if that's not enough, the kitchen there had no cooking utensils whatsoever! If I didn't buy a knife and fork in Copenhagen, my frozen stirfry would've been nothing but frozen garbage! Apparently, the reason there were no utensils here was that people steal them, so therefore they don't supply them. Whatever... BASTARDS!
I tried talking to the girl at reception to see if she could give me some sort of discount because quite frankly, I was feeling a little ripped off. She told me to see the manager in the morning, which I tried to do, but he was on the phone and wouldn't give me the time of day. I'm guessing the reception girl tipped him off. Well enough is enough, so I did the only logical thing I could do when you know you've been screwed over and aren't going to get anything back: I stole the hostel sheets!
Heineken Brewery - Yay!
The Heineken Brewery! Lord be praised!
Payback bitches! Sheets cost close to $10 in Denmark (and probably Sweden), so I figure if I stay in 3 or 4 different hostels, I save between $30 - $40; or about the amount of money I wanted back from this evil, evil hostel. Yes! I RULE!!!
For anyone who doesn't like my opinion of Copenhagen, well don't fret, I'll be giving the city a second chance: I'm coming back on the 29th to see Henry Rollins do spoken word. If no one's ever seen him before, check it out, he's awesome. It's hard to explain, but he basically stands on stage telling various stories about his travels and giving his opinions on the world today. It's usually a 3-hour commitment, and his stories always bounce off the walls. It's never point A to point B; it's usually point A, veer off to point Q, spin around to point M, and eventually get back to point B. Go see him - Ginesh commands it!
Anyway, I'm off to Stockholm, Sweden tomorrow, and hopefully the hostel situation will be better there. I also hope some Danish hostel spy didn't tip 'em off about my stolen hostel sheets. I'm beginning
Heineken Brewery - Boo!
They wouldn't let me in though, something about, "closing time". Damn you Lord!
to feel like a fugitive! YOU'LL NEVER GET ME COPPERS!! YA HEAR ME?!! Insert the Mission Impossible theme music here! Dum-dum-DAH-dum-dum-dum-daaah-dum... DAH-DAAAAH!
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