Samso, Denmark

After two smooth flights and a short layover in Iceland, I arrived in Copenhagen at 6 yesterday morning. The train from the airport to Central Station was quick, as was my walk from the station to the hostel. The early train was filled with silent, pre-coffee, sleepy eyed folk. During my first walk to the hostel, the streets were almost absent of cars or people, the morning light was partial on beautiful old buildings, and the air was crisp and clean unlike most cities I’ve been to.

I arrived at Woodah Hostel which is tucked underneath an old building. The door was slightly cracked so I walked in and no one was around. I sat and enjoyed the quiet, along with subtle sounds of people shuffling around rooms and showers starting up; it was nice to arrive first thing in the morning before anyone had started their day.

The host showed up not too long after me and started her morning routine of brewing coffee and preparing breakfast for guests. She was kind and told me I could hang out until check in at 11am. A yoga instructor showed up and invited me to join him for a class, which seemed to have benefit after sitting in a plane for many hours, even with the emergency exit’s boasted extra legroom. The class was refreshing and put me in the right spot to take on a city. I unloaded my gear into my room that I shared with 7 others, rented a bike from a woman down the street, and took to exploring.

The graffiti art around the city is great, I only snapped a couple photos but there are some incredible mural pieces scattered about. Biking is the way to go in Copenhagen, it’s extremely efficient with all the wide bike lanes and traffic lights, and I’d say the ratio of people riding bikes to driving cars in the city is 5:1. In one moment I’d be cruising down a strip alone, then turn a corner and be in the center of a pack of 40 cyclists…paying close attention is a must.

I ventured around different parts of the city, meeting various local shop owners and travelers. I spent most my time in Christiania speaking with one of the long-standing members who runs a rustic, well-used wood shop. He crafts bowls of various sizes as well as chairs and abstract sculptures. He didn’t want any photos of his shop, but we talked for a couple hours about how tourism has affected their little village and how he misses the simpler of times. He said they need the tourists money now in order to keep up with the necessary municipal maintenance increased by tourism itself. While we were talking, he was intricately carving away at a 5 ft tall wooden sculpture that he had been working on for 19 1/2 years. He said that before 6 months ago, no one asked how long he had been working on it, and now the question appears frequently. He wondered if that was perhaps a sign of near completion. I purchased a bowl from him crafted from wood of an antarctic beech tree from the southern tip of Patagonia.

A heavy storm rolled through on my commute back to the hostel, and I was blown around on the bridge crossing. People are clearly used to the spontaneous weather, being un-phased by drenched business suits while paying zero attention to finding temporary shelter. I stopped to throw my camera gear in a dry bag and continued on. I dried off at the hostel and made plans with new friends to check out a nearby pizza joint called Mother. The food was great, and everyone was huddled in blankets they provided outside on picnic tables.

This morning I checked out of the hostel because they are all booked for tonight. I came to this market building that houses about 20 different colorful vendors. Amelia, myself, and a couple others from Woodah came to have a cup of coffee at the Coffee Collective. The building is filled with diverse smells and lots of different breads, cheeses, cookies, pies, oils, herbs, and produce are all sold inside. It started to pour outside, so that’s what kept me in to write this post.

I am headed now to check into a new hostel called Generator just a couple blocks away. Amelia, Jody and I are going to a restaurant for dinner recommended to me by a local gal I met in the market.  After dinner we have tickets to go see a performance at the Royal Danish Theatre. The theatre looks incredible, so I imagine it will be an interesting evening. Unless something more exciting presents itself for tomorrow, I plan to head to a town just outside of Kiel, Germany for one night to meet with a man about farming back in the states.

Sun is out now, off to the next hostel.

Cheers, Navi

— Navi Whitten, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, was raised in a small coastal town exploring tide pools and adventuring in the sea. After high school, he began working on organic farms to learn how to reconstruct his lifestyle to be self-sufficient. “At College of the Atlantic, I am driven to find energy solutions for the rural communities on the Maine Islands. I currently help manage North Haven Oyster Company where three of us sustainably grow hundreds of thousands of oysters on a small island. Maine is my home, and I want to increase the quality of life here as much as I can.”