Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas decoration madness!

Starting with the department stores: some have several rooms dedicated to Christmas ornaments! Balls of all colors, small hearts, dolls, plastic Santas, Danish flags and everything else.
In normal Danish households, everybody fully decorates the inside and even sometimes outside of the house... And sometimes with an astronomical budget ...

A classic this year: the stuffed reindeer.
Last year, the classic was really fashionable black and silver arabesque balls, mixed with transparent balls with a mini-garland inside. Top chic! Time to make your choice!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jul is back

The Christmas season is now well underway, and all around you can find the distinctive signs.
It begins really early in October with the release of the Christmas beer, then it is the opening of Tivoli.
Then come the Christmas market on Nyhavn (and other places too), the illuminations and decorations in department stores and the ignition of public Christmas trees. Meanwhile, you can notice the installation of Christmas trees and fireworks outlets everywhere... And finally there are the culinary specialties that appear on the shelves (gløgg, æbleskiver, jul akvavit, risalamande, brunkager, ...)
Here is a small series of photographs that describe well the atmosphere. We start the serie of Christmas posts withTivoli!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Make room for the guard!

No, we're not in London! This is just the changing of the queen's guard. When she is in Copenhagen, the guard parades every day at 12:30 and with music on special occasions. It's pretty funny to see these guards passing in the streets amongst the tourists, like automatic little toy soldiers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A movie?

Tonight let's go to the movies ...
Here in Denmark, the experience is quite different from home (in France). First thing at the ticket window, the lovely lady (you can also choose the lovely automatic ticket dispenser) presents us with a screen representing the room and you can choose your seat inside the theater. What I should say is we "must"! And we should especially pay an extra for the reservation (5 to 10 kr depending on the cinemas). Added to the price of the ticket itself (70 to 100 kr), the full expense for the movie represents nearly the price of a restaurant in Paris! But hey, at least we have the satisfaction of knowing where we will be seating for the next 2 hours ...

Note that here, the further you sit from the screen, the more expensive it gets. In France, people are fighting to be at the front row!
One detail is important: many rooms have reclining seats. It at least it's classy! In addition, some theaters offer the special last row lovers seats (an extra-wide seat). Nice!

Thanks to the numbered seat system, many people arrive at the last minute and thus avoid the long serie of commercials before the trailers ... there are even more than in France! Here you are also subjected to a lot of very cheesy ads promoting local attractions like the bowling or a shoe store on the street corner ...
Last point, here you can not miss the extravagant size of the candy store in the theater lobby ... very impressive! There are no fewer than 65 bins of bulk candy (I have not checked if they were all different but it is very likely)! Add to that displays of candy bags, chocolate bars, ice cream and the traditional popcorn and sodas and a ride to the movies can turn into a dangerous adventure for the liver!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bikes everywhere!

Here are some more examples of how clever the design of Danish bikes is.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jul i Tivoli…

After Halloween, Christmas .... From November 20 to December 30, Tivoli celebrates! There are stalls, Christmas trees, garlands, thousands of lanterns, entertainment, skating, parades of Santas and festive elves, gifts, local crafts, gourmet specialties ... all of that celebrating the magic of Christmas.
We now have the annual Tivoli cards allowing us to visit when we want, just for pleasure. We try to avoid some nights, because the park is often crowded but otherwise the visit is really nice, especially after night fall (which is around 4pm). So don't hesitate, it is worth it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Elections, danish style

In the serie "let's live fully the Danish life", we have just tried "the vote". Lucky us, we were entitled to two votes for one trip: the municipal and regional.

Since it is the local elections, foreigners - including ourselves - have the right to vote (as opposed to parliament two years ago for example).
Even if the grund principles are the same as in France (sorry I can only compare to what I know about), there are still some significant differences in the proceeds.
Firstly, we were not ask for ID. On arrival at the polling station, a volunteer scans the barcode on your valgkort (received by post one week before) and verifies its validity on a PC. And voila, you're done!
The valgkort is a disposable piece of paper, no, no, no need to reach out to retrieve it - Oh, those silly foreigners ...
Then the volunteer gives you two lists (one for each vote), which I must say are quite bulky ...
It is a big change from the myriad of small papers we get in France (one for each list)

Then comes the traditional trip to the voting booth. Well, where am I going to put my cross (pencil provided)?
Here you can vote both for a party or a person. Following the compting, if one party realizes that his member number 12 get more "personal" vote as member 10, they would probably re-organize the list. Once your choice is written down, don't search for an envelope, here they pay attention to the environment! But apparently no to the confidentiality!
Exit the booth by the opposite side, no, no, not that way, ohhh these foreigners, they don't understand a thing ...
Then you try to insert your ballot in a large plastic trash. Pardon, a ballot box - which is shaped like a large plastic trash.

Note the old style wooden racket leaning against the urn: here no "Has voted" stamp, instead you get a big slap in the ***. No, I am kidding, actually it meant to be used to stuff the ballots in the ballot box when they get stuck (and they do!). I dare not imagine how the ballots look like when they are retrieved from the bint!
Finally, here is yet another cultural experience!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let's vote

Today is Municipal elections Day! After seeing numerous signs for weeks in the sstreets and received our Valgkort (voting card) at home (yes, foreigners can vote for those elections), it is time to vote! Of course, we are still hesitating, because it is really difficult to make a choice.
Let's look at some campaign promises: one hot meal per day for retirees, bus tickets at half price, one hour free parking in town ... Huuummmm, tough choice!
An interesting initiative worth noting in this campaign: the temporary opening (approximately 2 months) of a Valgcafe (coffee of the elections).

No, let's not dream, this is not a democratic initiative, a place to learn and discuss freely about all candidates. This is only the place for Social Democrats propaganda, currently leading our town.
Finally, if I had to choose between disfiguring the streets with signs and flyers, or have a chat inside and a warm drink, I find this initiative welcome in this cold period

Monday, November 16, 2009

Illum Christmas shop

You are leaving Denmark in a hurry? Not any time left to run errands in town? Enjoy the Illum store in Copenhagen Airport for your last minute Christmas shopping!

You'll find the latest trends in the field, and of course the traditional nisser, julehjerter, kalenderlys ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mulled wine ...

In these cold days, it is nice to warm up with a glass of mulled wine. You go down to the local supermarket, you buy a good bottle (um, a tetrapak actually) of Pinard ... and hop in the pot. It's good and it warms you up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Copenhagen Design Week

The event, organized by the DDC (Danish Design Center) was held from August 27 to September 6. Yes, I know it's a bit long for a "week", but hey there was much to cover ...

The main theme this year was sustainable design, well aligned with the upcoming 15th UN conference on Climate (COP15) to be held from 7 to 18 December 2009.

The program included:
- Index:Award: Project Exhibition designers on Kongens Nytorv with a vote and prestigious awards
- CO2penhagen: green festival producing its own energy from renewable sources
- Copenhagen Showhow: free exhibition to discover the latest sustainable design
- Copenhagen Architecture & Design Days (Cph ADD 09) from 2 September to 6 September 2009
- Link up offered alternative walks in Copenhagen in search of sustainable design (see maps)

Here are a few pictures from last year Copenhagen Furniture Festival, who unfortunately was no longer in the program this year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas beer ... what a night!

For the official launch of the juleøl, Danskviking sent a team of hard working journalists to cover the event.
And when we say event, it's not a joke! In fact, we were surprised to see so many people downtown on a Friday night at that time! Some bars in the Latin Quarter were nearly inaccessible! You had to stand outside in the cold to enjoy the night!

As tradition rules, trucks brought the beer at precisely 20h59 (symbolically of course) and the tasting began. For some it had started much earlier, but not with the same kind of drink ...

If we enjoyed the Tuborg truck, other brands have used more original ways ... Hats off to the carriage of the Royal brand!

We have seen various giveaways (more or less tasteful) invade the city: hats, T-shirts or even Christmas tree costums (I did not dare take a picture due to the advanced drunkness of its owner)!

A little later, it was busy in the S-tog which in partnership with Tuborg offered the ride back home for the price of an SMS. Good initiative (drink and don't drive), but for some the train has turned into a pumpkin before they finished their last beer ...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A well-equipped cyclist

As everyone knows, Denmark is the country of bikes. But it is also known for its rainy climate . To live through it, one has to be well equipped.
1. The over-shoes. Note the reflective tape!

2. The waterproof over-trousers

3. The rain cape, with a few extra reflective tape, just in case ...

And voila, let's go downstairs to the Batmobile!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A small accessory but very useful!

We were very pleased at our arrival in Denmark to find out that our flat was pre-fitted with a totally indispensable accessory in this country: a wall-hanged beer opener. It's so convenient, it takes no space and you don't have to go through yours drawers to find it when you need a quick beer.
One downside to note, however, it lacks an included garbage disposal, so you have to to bend down to pick up the caps falling ...!

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