On White Horses: A København Odyssey.

Explorers, Volume 1. – A valiant attempt to traverse a cultural landscape spanning a lot of Copenhagen, Denmark and just a little bit of Sweden.



The second I pulled our suitcases from the trunk of the cab and placed them on what I thought was the sidewalk, was the very second I learned that bicycles jet by at Mach 10 on this small lane that is very much not a sidewalk. Networks of bituminous mini-superhighways border the edges of every single street in Copenhagen. We found the Danish capital highly committal to making cycling the foremost transit option. Some parking areas and train stops contained thousands of bikes, from a distance appearing as entangled webs, contemporary sculptures of modern art.




Our hotel Scandic, in Kødbyen, Meat City – The Meatpacking District in a section of Vesterbro, allowed us sleep-walking privileges to Warpigs Brewpub. Exhausted and bedazzled by jumping ahead seven hours to a new land, this is basically what we did night one. A joint venture between heavy metal brewing trailblazer 3 Floyds and magical mythical gypsy brewer Mikkeller? A fantasy playground, and in that sleep of death – what dreams may come? Two tons of meat per day, smoked up to fourteen hours on one of two enormous custom built smokers, courtesy of Austin-based Mill Scale Metal Works, one of which is the largest smoker in all of Europe.


WarPigs has a distinct feel. Danish meatpackers of antiquated histories, who have long since clocked their final punch card from the monochromatic tiled surrounding, beneath the meat rail, might be shocked to now learn in the grave that people actively choose to go there and partake.

WarPigs’ water supply is channeled via system integrating reverse osmosis, which strips away minerals. The water profile is backward engineered to reflect the waters of Lake Michigan just like they use in Munster, Indiana. They have a pop machine, which includes free refills, and that idea, not unlike Texas barbecue itself, is something completely unheard of in that area of the planet. It’s also a housing for the first White Labs yeast laboratory outside of the States.

The shimmering standout was Snake Pit City, an American West Coast IPA. Pristine ale in all its balanced perfection with a yeast character finishing to the tune of Zombie Dust and malt refracted to me through the master: the Alpha King. They had a New England IPA variation of Lazurite, comically named Lazy, Right? – a perfect label for the style.

They supplied me with a bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout called Smoldering Holes, and they were offering pours from barrels where the liquid was aged three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen and eighteen months. I’d put the eighteen-month barrel on par with Murda’d Out Stout in all of its mellow malt and wood-y, chocolatey tinge with a final round of hellfire and brimstone. The heat from the bourbon twirled about with the Pit Master’s Texas smoked barbecue brisket and highly emphasized my creamy Max ‘n Cheese bowl.

So it goes, if one can sit and do a vertical of all six of the barrels, it would place you on a shamanic plane of existence where golden deer frolic through marigolds to the echoes of children’s giggles. Every time a Nordic child laughs, ten Danes get free healthcare.



In the Trooper Room hangs a chandelier of the skulls of cloven-hoofed beasts. My utmost assumption is that the savage barbarians who contributed to the Trooper level membership get to dine on the flesh of thine enemies in this sanctuary while raising unholy chalices of blood…blood rained down from the Nordic gods and aged on oak planks from ancient Viking warships.

Residing a week in the Meatpacking District grants the nightly ritualistic right to doze off to the smell of smoked brisket doused in BBQ sauce of house Lambic and cranberries, along with the buzzing knowledge that you are within mere metres of the only other 3 Floyds location in the world.



Tivoli Gardens is an amusement-park-glee-jungle, which opened in 1843 right in the middle of downtown Copenhagen. Walking past it to the constant whir of vintage rides and the crescendo of fading screams, I couldn’t help but feel slightly off-put. Look, coming from Chicago, distant screams typically don’t equate to joy.

Primarily a scene for daily pantomime theatre in the classical Italian commedia dell’arte tradition, a pantomimeteatret stands with a mechanical front curtain, which takes five people to operate. It jauntily unfolds to reveal a giant peacock’s tail in a brightly coloured fan.

Gnawing on Scandinavian salted black licorice, we could see a full three-sixty view of the city from the peak of the rickety, krickety World War 2 era Ferris Wheel, Ballongyngen.



The garden is known for a wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen, also known as The Mountain Coaster. Fashioned together with wood and bolts in 1914, an operator actually has to control the ride by applying brakes on the downhill swings just so it won’t jump the rail sending patrons flying off in to oblivion aloft The Star Flyer.

At night the neon lights of Tivoli Gardens bleed colors electric, reflecting ice blue, sweet green mint and sherbet cream orange, on the wet streets of downtown as we stroll passed.




ØL & Brød in Vesterbro, a restaurant in partnership with Mikkeller, displays their take on the Danish national dish, smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich on rye bread. The layout of ØL & Brød reminded us of a comfortable grandparents’ dining room on Thanksgiving. Except it was stocked with over three hundred different aquavits and schnapps, and like twenty Mikkeller tap handles – all beers I’ve never even heard of, and each one sparking intrigue. I was taken aback when I saw five or six bottles of brandy and schnapps on the shelf from Rhine Hall, a distillery located right in West Town, Chicago, which I frequent as much as humanly possible.



I got to revel in sweet and sour, crunch and cream. Cured mackerel with cucumber, dill and buttermilk, pan fried cod, smoked mussels, and a Russian imperial stout collaboration with Great Notion of Portland called Shake Your Stack.

Of course it tasted like pancakes and maple syrup. I would expect nothing less from a Great Notion stout.



Right down the avenue from ØL & Brød is the Original Gangster: Bar Mikkeller Viktoriagade in Indre Versterbro. The beautiful showroom for Mikkel’s world-renowned beers is of course, accentuated with displays by silent partner Keith Shore. The initial and iconic gem is tucked away in a tiny downstairs, humble dwelling. The unassuming, minimalistic and Scandimodern atmosphere designed by Femmes Regionales, is a perfect way to intimately witness the true nomad’s recipes, balancing the fact that they are some of the most glamorous concoctions around.

They had one guest draught: Arthur by Hill Farmstead. I could not pass it up. I drank it in and I basked in the serenity of a hill set, secluded Vermont farmhouse, dragonflies flittering about and goats grazing off to the horizon.








Meandering on foot through a 17th century waterfront, Nyhavn, we past historical fishermen’s wooden cargo ships of antiquity in the canal, and brightly coloured townhouses of wood, brick and plaster to the North. To the South we took in visions of lavish mansions and the brilliancy of Charlottenborg Palace. We stood in poetic silence like steadfast tin soldiers through travelogue and novella, in front of Hans Christian Andersen’s old residence at Number 67.


Constructed by King Christian V in the 1670s, the Nyhavn canal, the gateway from the sea to the old inner city at King’s Square, was dug by slave labor – Swede POWs captured in the Dano-Swedish War.


On foot, from Nyhavn to Christianshavn we traversed the inner harbor bridge Inderhavnsbroen, a controversial pedway with a bulge, which requires cyclists to turn at a sharp angle. We crossed the pedestrian drawbridge of polychromatic tinted glass – gates of primary colour, blue and yellow blend at an angle to the eye in a reveal of emerald green.


We past the Danish Opera House and the indigenous honking birds which flock around the greenhouses at Noma. Over the Margretheholm islet, former Danish Navy housing and constable school building, abandoned for decades, we saw what is now utilized for art community, student and scribe alike.

As a metallic neofuturistic sculpture of design, spanning the coastline, Copenhill, a low heat power plant fueled by waste and intended to help the Capital City reach zero emissions within a few years, proved as a metaphorical gate welcoming us to Refshaleøen, a one square mile island in its own right.


Copenhill is capable of processing 560,000 tons of waste a year in order to generate heating for 72,000 apartments, and 30,000 homes with electricity. From what I’ve read, the enormous wedge of chrome will also have a ski slope and trail running course on its roof, as well as the world’s tallest manmade climbing wall, rising 279 feet up its side.

A well-worn series of corrugated boathouse-like structures, La Banchina is set on a pier facing an astonishing view of the shipyard waterway, with an outdoor kitchen, natural wine bar, and a sauna made from a gigantic wooden barrel. Danes believe regardless of ambient temperatures, a dip in the sea followed by a nice sit in a sauna cures all ailments physical and spiritual. Harnessing prized Danish feelings of wellness and contentment helps to fend off depression of the long winters there.

An old shipyard worker punch card clock-in room turned fortress of peace featuring farm to table vegetables and anything the sea can provide naked Norse creatures with crystal water dripping from their god-like bodies.


We ordered grilled Danish cod, smoked potatoes, wilted romaine, sauce and mussels, and bread and olive oil from a breadboy, who gracefully dusted the morsels with sea salt. Honestly, if this breadboy had lived in Hollywood, without any acting skill whatsoever, he would still be cast in roles alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. In Scandinavia, he was a breadboy.

“More salt?”

Initially, we weren’t exactly sure how to order at this place, and we highly expected the breadboy to act like a jerk. But he didn’t. No one there is a jerk. In fact, every single last person we had contact with in Copenhagen was nicer than the last person we had contact with. To be honest the social and business interactions we had there made me feel embarrassed at the way people treat each other in the United States. Our trip was a vacation on multiple fronts and on various levels.

In a “shortcut” to our next stop, Googlemaps led us directly in to a forest, down a wooded path derived from a 1700s picture book. Only wide enough for toy trollies, along the edge of the old city moat, the supernatural trail was the stuff of true nursery rhyme.

As our journey began to mesh all around us with medieval folktale and European lore, we became as children of a poor cobbler, following an anthropomorphic gingerbread man who was foraging for edible snails, to a clearing in the lollipop woods. It was there where we discovered antiquated cottages built of wafers and cream.




As the olde winding path, a tunnel between the wild cherry trees, sprinkled with homes tucked away into gumdrop hills. Lush foliage of lime licorice and flowers of cupcakes, we seemed to keep going and going ad infinitum. We kept wandering deeper and deeper in to the abyss while candy cane carriages whirred past. Every home seemed more interesting to look at than the last, the more submerged in the dream we became.

My trail of breadcrumbs would eventually pause with us in a forest bar…or café. Whatever it actually was, gnomes and giants were smoking cigarettes and joints inside, and shooting pool to Kendrick Lamar Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. In Paese dei Balocchi – The Land of Toys, a haven of freedom and anarchy, we felt like Pinocchio and Candlewick in a place that may not have existed.


As the notion goes, Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island gave way to a bit of a darker theme. Over the path we sought out an ominous history. On the same trail we navigated exists the location of Denmark’s last execution site. Twenty-nine Nazi sympathizers were once shot there, deep in the forestry, the last point blank murder in extreme prejudice was in 1950. All that exists are remnants of the Christianshavn execution shed – a concrete slab with an inlet that allowed the blood to drain.

(depicted below)


We trekked a bit further through the deciduous greenery. The longer we walked, the more colourful murals on industrial buildings popped up, along with vibrantly painted houses and sheds…purples and greens, neon pinks and electric blues.

Twilight approached and as we skipped across a graham cracker bridge over teacup boats and saucers afloat, while a vanilla swirl sunset laid a backdrop for the black and gold baroque church spiral tower, which rises prominently above the skyline from downtown Copenhagen. The shiny exterior staircase winding around to the top of the spire like a soft serve ice cream cone.


As nightfall bestowed on us we came upon a mesmerizing area of the forest completely decked out in glittering Chinese lanterns. A waft of weed smoke bowled in to us harder than anything I’ve witnessed since wandering Haight-Ashbury. Suddenly there were people about. I pulled out my phone to take a picture as we approached, and an elf materialized out of thin air to confidently state, “No pictures, no phones.”


It took me a second to register. But with all of these elements coinciding at once, I didn’t fully feel a need to understand. I pocketed my phone.

We scoped out the world’s largest hang-out session under a firefly convention of lanterns. Halos and swirls and aromas merging to an experience that we simply did not plan for or could ever expect.

People of all ages, lounging around smoking bud and conversing. Laughter and cheer and music. Intimidating concrete bunk structures, turned soft in a decades-old, ironic gesture in jest. Outdoor showering facilities, and an open-air market with many booths selling cannabis products – every varietal and variant one could imagine. From exotic cannabinoid novelties, to just straight up selling bags of weed to the public.

As of this original writing in 2019, marijuana was still illegal in my state of Illinois for a few more months, (and it is/was not legal in Denmark either). Seeing these types of transactions going down out in the open was a bit jarring, and it added even more to the mystification of what in the world was even going on.


We perused incredible art pieces and craft tables of remarkable fair. We noticed a flag waving with certain symbols, and rendered on different tee shirts and other things for sale. We took a seat for a while and just attempted to allow everything to soak in. Was this a city inside a city like a Hamtramck/Detroit situation? Was this even real?

As we walked on toward the fringe of this party we approached an overhead banner reading: “Welcome Back to the EU” I wanted to get a picture but again, I felt a bit on edge.

Then surely, just as mysteriously as we had drifted in to this illusionary, electric forest, we were back on a main urban street.  It wasn’t until dinner at Restaurant Tight in Hyskenstræde, we Googled just what in the hell we had witnessed.

Over Caribbean inspired Danish cuisine tapas dishes we were able to rewind and unwind, dissolving what we took in over the previous hours of backwoods hiking…

Freetown Christiana – an intentional, self-governing community and anarchist commune located in an abandoned military barracks that, well, they just decided to take over in 1971. We had never heard of this. The open cannabis trade on aptly named Pusher Street was dubbed the Green Light District by the Christianian council. I texted my friend about this since he had spent some time in Copenhagen. He told me he once smoked a joint with the devil in Christiana. It was then that I understood.

An economy based on creativity, volunteerism and sustainability. They have their own currency. Private property ownership is forbidden – all real estate is owned by everyone and nobody. There is no class system and everyone there has a voice.

I have no pictures of Freetown Christiana and that’s okay. It exists in my memory’s display case and until I go back again, that is where these monuments of recollection of the craziest thing I’ve ever seen can remain.




Scooting up some chairs at Bird & the Churchkey on Gammel Strand lent itself to some overt partaking in an over the top gin and tonic regime. A gin oasis if you will, along the moat surrounding the Royal Palace. The Naked Horse with Napue gin, Fever Tree tonic, rosemary and cranberries was essential to the evening, and the Run the Jewels with Beefeater and tonic from The Bird Indian along with orange and liquorice root.


Fermentoren back in Kødbyen, the final stop of the night was a dark dungeon basement beer bar with dripping wax from candled bottles, green glass and amber. Presenting an illustrative offering of European beers like Ayinger Munich Dunkel, and closely knit Dry & Bitter Brewing, the glow of the candles in the dimly lit lounge gave an ideal epilogue to our expedition that fine day. We sipped Avec Les Bons Voeux Farmhouse Saison by Brasserie Dupont and faded away.



The next morning, dodging the Mikkeller running club members (a club I would join in the future as a part of the Chicago chapter) and weaving through the Kødbyen farmers market, we spent some idle time with the caring craftsmen at Prolog Coffee Bar.

The Loring smart roaster carefully spun meticulously sourced green beans to lush golden brown eloquence and we enjoyed pour overs from beans roasted just days before.



Walking back across the meatpacking district to visit Mikkeller General Store, my personal version of a provisions heaven, we browsed through products from all of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø’s friends from all over the planet. Everything from coffee beans from Koppi, a Swedish roaster, Modern Times bottles from San Diego, and rye whiskey from 18th Street Distilling in Hammond, Indiana.

Bottles of distilled elegance by Phantom Spirits, artisan delicacies, zines, WarPigs barbeque sauces of every variation, natural wine, prints, you name it. I picked up Mikkeller’s homebrew textbook. Although it is in Danish, the keepsake graces my bookshelf alongside the other great beer books of my library collective.




The General Store also houses Bean Geeks, a craft bean-to-bar chocolatier. Handcrafted directly from direct trade Theobroma cacao beans, all the roasting, cracking, refining, and molding happens right there in the shop.

We got to watch as the artistry played out in front of us. Stolen by the Spanish from the Central American Indigenous, and subsequently ruined by Milton Hershey, Bean Geeks is playing a role in taking back the craft of times pre-industrial. Dark and pleasantly bitter, the chemically complex bars shine through. I bought a bunch of them for friends.



Brunchtime at Granola consisted of vibes efficacious and al fresco Belgian waffles and omelets and organic yogurt and Americano. One thing about ordering coffee at European restaurants is that I continuously feel blurry. Oftentimes I ended up with espresso by accident. Whatever it is and whatever it was, bitter and dark, I never wanted the cup to end.


Copenhagen Central Station is the hub of the railway network there serving Denmark as well as international destinations. It was sort of a beautiful mess for us to have to figure out from scratch. Pulling out Kroners from the ATM proved a tick of a hassle and I might add the exchange rates on currency compared to the US dollar seem crazy, though it’s all relative.

Of our efforts to visit Sweden, the train ticket purchasing process proved to be the most challenging aspect of this trip in terms of language barrier. There was sort of a lot of showing our hand as tourists as we confronted random strangers for advice and stood in lines of which we weren’t even sure were the proper lines to be standing in.

But we made it.


Plopping down in the train car on the way to the Öresundståg stop in Sweden we took in the views of the vast Öresund Strait and Peberholm, a manufactured island, as we rode the Öresund Rail Bridge directly over all of it between Denmark and the Swedish coast.

The breathtaking bridge connecting the Scandinavian Peninsula with Western Europe was designed with intent to nudge Nordic noir in to a globalization in Sweden’s decision to apply for membership of the EU.



We approached the medieval, Romanesque Lund Cathedral in Lund Sweden, as the hellish, churning guitars shredded from the vats and caldrons of Swedish Black Metal. Gothic choir stalls, stone sculptures, a glowing glass mosaic apse, and the largest pipe organ in all of Sweden, we got swept away to the alters and pulpits of the oldest Höör sandstone building in the country.


Lund Cathedral houses the Astronomical Clock, Horologium mirabile Lundense. The clock displays a medieval concept of time, based on geocentricism, you know, when all the planets used to revolve around the earth. Ideas reflecting the universe and decorations of religious symbology adorn the tall and bright beast. The clock yields current time of day, the date, current lunar phase, and position of the sun in the zodiac.


Twice daily, inner mechanisms of the antiquated yet meticulously winding clock chambers trigger a parade of statuettes of the Three Kings across the face of the vividly coloured, astronomical divide. A built-in organ plays a carol while the magi travel the land to deliver storied incense, spices and precious metals to the appreciative, swaddled babe.

Beneath the building, a crypt has existed since 1123. Sparsely lit by small, low windows and containing 41 cross vaults of human remains, all supported by geometrically placed pillars. Finn, a Nordic giant hugs one of these pillars. A ghoul spun him to stone for all eternity.

The sarcophagus of the final Archbishop of Lund, is located in the center. We stood in an eerie wake as the fluid distant sounds of twin Ibenez Warlocks sung harmonically a medieval tune “In dulci jubilo”, soloing to the crackling cackles of the Swedish cryptkeeper beyond the final resting place.


Back on our Copenhagen odyssey, as voyagers in need of provisions, with takeaway coffee vessels from Rist Kaffebar, we made our way to figure out how to purchase stamps and mail postcards.

This postcard-mailing extravaganza might be a regrettable mini-leg of the trip because the efforts put forth on our end, in some sort of complicated maze of trekking about for Danish Kroner coinage conversion to postage did not seem to be reciprocated by so much as a “thanks”. We lost a bit of efficiency on this march and learned that this sort of thing won’t be happening on future travels. To any reader: if someone sends you a postcard from a foreign country – no matter how simple the act seems, at least say “thanks”. Perhaps any potential do-gooder is smarter or better cultured than us, but regardless it takes some time and effort in a mysterious land.


Lunch at Mad & Kaffe matched a grease fueled free-range burger and oily frites to a crisp, cutting pilsner in authentic glassware, and one additional coffee. After recharging, the mission was able to return to its track and the onset lie before us.


We sauntered along the yellow-orange exterior walls until reaching the entrance of Assistens Cemetery. Spun from the Danish Golden age, the Nørrebro greenspace is what became the burial site of Niels Bohr, Hans Christian Andersen, and Søren Kierkegaard.

Seeking out the humble Kierkegaard Gravestead, to me was a small payment of my respect toward the man, his social critique, philosophy, and theology – namely an intellectual uncertainty toward the way Christianity was (and is) practiced. He was very cognizant of his divisive role in Danish society. He called it his duty “to make difficulties everywhere”. He once wrote that he saw Copenhagen as “one great social gathering”. I see a lot of myself in Kierkegaard.



Also in the northwestern borough of the city, Nørrebro, we got to dine at Bæst, a wood-fire oven pizza haven. The season’s best vegetables grown at The Farm of Ideas over sourdough, skidded to a spinning halt on our austere maple plank table.


We devoured hand-stretched mozzarella made in a small dairy upstairs with raw colostrum from cows grazing only forty kilometers away at Svanholm. We drowned ourselves in red house wine.


Directly across the narrow cobblestone alleyway in an old iron foundry, is Tapperiet BRUS, the brewpub, bar, and bottle shop for To Øl. Rauchbier, American India Pale Ale, and Berlinerweisse traveling less than twenty metres from brite tank to glass, alongside white Russian and bourbon lemonade draught concoctions from Mikropolis Cocktails, blended and mixed on site.


Thirteen 19,000 litre fermentation tanks and two French Oak Foeders storing naturally fermented beers as well as a range of oak barrels maturing an array of To Øl’s recipes of liquid appeal.

In some other reality tangent I’d be able to stagger hither and yon across this tiny alleyway, between these two establishments, BRUS and Bæst in an infinite feedbag loop for all of eternity.


In stamping another page on my relentless passport of Mikkeller locations, we stopped in at Mikkeller & Friends, also in Nørrebro. Mikkeller & Friends, I found, is their true flagship bar where they get to display new releases, their vast array of core range beers, as well as rare, deep-dives from the cellar and hard to find, well-curated, and highly sought-after guest taps. I saw stuff on the forty handle draught system all the way from Mikkeller San Francisco to Cloudwater in Manchester.


The deep purple entry gave way to a below street level venue of seafoam floor, sleek woodgrain boxes hovering above tables, candles, turquoise tap handles, flowers in a bottle and silkscreen prints accentuating the walls.



Beauty generated beauty as I sipped a world renowned Beer Geek Breakfast, spellbound from the source of it all. As Idle Labor by Craft Spells serendipitously played over the stereo in the communal atmosphere, I curiously poked around. Checking out all of the rooms in the building, stumbling, and falling through a trap door, I accidentally found my way back to an adjoining bar.

It was a Lambic-specific bar called Koelschip. That’s correct. One of the coolest bars I’ve ever explored in my entire life has an extra room in the back with a bar devoted to the art of Lambic brewing, blending, and spontaneously fermented beer. Mikkeller’s tribute to Belgium.


Hop bines hang overhead, draping down like graduation tassels as I reveled about and gained the knowledge of the existence of the coolest bar within the coolest bar within the coolest city. A true Inception of what was to be. My eye wistfully cascaded over the eight-beer tap list on the wall. They had a gueuze from 3 Fonteinen on tap and hard to locate bottles of Cantillon, just sort of sitting there among an extensive collection.

I summoned the deity of sour and oak aged fermented holy sugar water and pleaded for the Scandinavian Astronomical Clock to freeze time on a plane of my four dimensional existence. I needed the day to stretch in to a twenty-six our interval in order to be able to hang out at Koelschip.


We had to leave. For one, I had left my then-girlfriend sitting alone at the Mikkeller & Friends table, who must’ve assumed I was in the bathroom this whole time. But we also had an itinerary. I needed that structure of a plan because god knows I could sit and drink beer at these places for an everlasting spanse of curved spacetime. One day I will.



On the crowns of gnomes’ peril, heralders don hooves in homage and
brave tales

Saints rue the black sacrament; Final and Solemn

– Christendom on White Horses,

Ronald of Orange


Christiansborg Palace is a sparkling starcastle on the islet of Slotsholmen. It is the seat of Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the location of the Supreme Court of Denmark. The Royal Reception Rooms, Palace Chapel, and Royal Stables are used by the Danish monarch to a stroke of their whim.

The marble bridge to the pavillions lies adjacent to the tower where one might head to lance beasts of the netherworld by golden harpoon and poison arrow. The throne room gives access to the balcony where Danish monarchs are proclaimed henceforth, and the this is very same location where we, being foreign ambassadors presented our credentials to the queen.


The present neoclassical and neo-baroque hodgepodge palace is the third successive castle built on the same site since the erection of the first castle Absalon in 1167. Two former castles in the same location burned down in the exact same way. Some of the ruins from the original 1167 castle as well as Copenhagen Castle astoundingly are publicly accessible underneath the current palace. Laid out in a jarring, charred maze, quite frankly it felt a bit haunting, especially when the hunchback stopped his spinning hay in to gold, and switched the electricity off signifying it was time to close.


The Royal Stables are the carriage house of the Danish Monarchy which provide the ceremonial transport for the Danish Royal Family during joyous wedding events and festive occasions of holiday. The stable houses a small museum for coaches and carriages and twenty platinum white horses. Translucent steeds prepared to ride majestic and traverse the Mists of Avalon.

A preserved Danish army fortress known as The Citadel is a giant island shaped like a star. It looks like this:


We tromped along the ring of bastioned ramparts, stomping Goombahs and dodging Ba-Bombs. We tromped until we just couldn’t tromp any longer.


We trekked, on average, ten miles per day during the five or so days in Copenhagen, and we took a rest at Langelinie Promenade where the Little Mermaid statue resides. A small monument to Hans Christian Anderson, it seems to be somewhat embarrassing to everyone who lives there.

Across the sapphire waves of the industrial port, like a neon halo fit for a green mini-mermaid, you can and will bare witness to the turquoise lettering, a glowing sign for Mikkeller Baghaven. Lit up like a bug zapper it was beckoning me forth like a goddamn moth. There was none in the kingdom, troll nor imp, mighty enough to pause my esteem. I was to make it to Baghaven that very night come hell or highwater.


The warm navy night sky over the cool hues of the harbor brought the scent of rain. We decided to download the Donkey Republic app for the orange bikes we saw all over the city. Soon before finding out whether my new iPhone was water proof or not, I strapped it to the front of the bicylce as a radiating map, pulsating to global coordinates X and Y. And we were off.

Riding the learning curve, and after a couple of wet pavement wipe outs, rim shots and near misses, we biked back toward the island of Refshaleøen in the slick nighttime rainfall.



Arriving at Baghaven or the “Backyard”, we found an eerily quiet and dark, outer-most part of the harbour. A nocturnal junction of an abandoned Burmeister & Wain shipyard, Denmark’s one time largest employer – industrial decay, some affluent looking, new construction cubic condos, and an unobstructed, iridescent city-scape view from the opposite side of the port.

The discovery of the Mikkeller koelschip wagon-trailer parked off to the side, marked us in the correct spot, and tinged my soul with a bout of exhilaration.


In awe of the retired shipyard building on the waterfront, the darkness only contrasted with the radiant, buzzing turquoise sign up close, we decided to walk around the north end just to explore a bit before entering the tap room.


Around the bend on that lonely isle we expected to find a scrap heap of iron and rusty anchors and barrels of gutted fish chum set to a soundtrack of crickets and squeals of beady eyed marsupials fighting over feral cat carcasses.

Instead…well, instead we discovered an enclave – a celebration.

An extravaganza inside a repurposed cargo container and wooden pallet labyrinth fit for Peter Pan’s lost boys.


A bustling star-lit street food market was back there, seemingly hidden from society. Crossing the threshold, I was teleported to age five when I’d enter Showbiz Pizza. An overstimulated state of being, magical lights, music and noises, buzzers and beats coming from every direction. Reffen, a start-up provisions center was a food party at the end of the world. Right when we walked in they were playing “Shadowboxin’” by The Genius and Tical.

Novel from the genie bottle. Hit the clutch – shift the gear now, full throttle. Time to bungee. Til the next episode, I keeps it grungy.


It is nearly impossible to put in to words what is going on back there. Here is my attempt. Creativity and innovation in the form of beer, restaurants and workshops from all over Denmark. Every few yards we walked it just got cooler, and more interesting, more captivating and almost as awe inspiring as us stumbling in to Christiana a day or two prior.

Every type of food one could imagine and then some. Scents and aromas of each style from a different wooden stall, with a different décor and a different color neon lighting arrangement from a prism refraction rainbow display of flavor and stimulus.

We read later that Reffen includes over fifty businesses. In that hidden nautical yard in the back of beyond, they have ambitiously constructed a cultural experience like nothing we have ever seen. Pioneers refurbishing dilapidation to creativity on the remote, bleeding edge of the planet.

We randomly entered in to Reffen roughly sixteen minutes before it closed for the evening, thus the reason my pictures don’t feature many people. Regrettably we didn’t get to maximize our time there, but all four saints on the bedknobs of all things kaleidoscopic in dreamland know very well I shall return one brilliant day.


The tasting room at Mikkeller Baghaven, the barrelhouse a stone’s throw from the channel waterfront is where Mikkel houses his California Chardonnay barrels and French oak aging vessels ranging from red wine barrels to 7000-litre foedres. Brewing traditions as old as time, with an adapted meaning in Norsemen heritage.

Spontaneously fermented wild ales and rustic saisons utilizing local terroir and isolated strains from fruit skins, innovated with styles of depth and certain levels of complexity in which only Mikkeller could.


We were basically the only people inside the taproom. Gazing out toward the dark waves and glimmering society across the way, we drank teku glasses of farmhouse blends of cherry Kriek and Lambic stylings, as the pages of our chapterbook flipped ever closer to closing on our Scandinavian voyage.

In my view, getting to hang out there was the most hygge verse in the journey, and an ideal way to end the first leg of the 2019 European odyssey.


To quote Kierkegaard on his love for Copenhagen: “it’s the most favourable habitat I could wish for.”

We drank and chatted for as long as we could and then we closed down Baghaven. Exiting he old nautical building in to the mild night, I felt a calming presence in the light drizzle of rain. Hopping back on the Donkey Republic we began the trek back through darkness. Constellations lit the way amongst the wet branches and guided us as we serenely coasted.



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