Lifestyle

Folkekøkken here we come

So we did something wonderful last week with a couple of friends, and I really want to advertise it. We ate at a public “Folkekøkken” which can probably best be translated with “Soup Kitchen”, though the target audience is not primarily homeless or poor.

The concept is simple: cheap food aimed at busy families. This time we ate at the Café Rouge on Nørrebro, which is communally owned, and we paid 50 kroner per adult and 30 kroner per child for a simple, delicious meal of roast, different salads, roast potatoes and sauce. We sat outside in the sunshine with our friends and their children, and after an hour of relaxed eating, we went home to tuck the baby in. No grocery shopping, no cooking, no dishwashing. And a bit of much needed quality time with old friends and some sun .

I will recommend Copenhagens different Folkekøkken’s to anyone.It’s really great. And if you have kids, they’ll be busy playing with all the other children and having a blast. And it seems, that there are many more, than I knew. So as a little service to my numerous readers (hi mom!), I’ll give you a short list of some of the most established and well known:

Café Le Rouge, every Tuesday 17.30 – 20.30. 50 kroner adult/30 kroner child.

Café N, Blågårdsgade, every Friday from 17. Vegetarian. 39 kroner.

Korsgadehallen Nørrebro, every Tuesday, veg and non-veg. 50 kroner/25 kroner for children.

Ungdomshuset Dortheavej, Kbh NV. Every Thursday. Vegab, 20 kroner.

Kraftwerket Valby. Every Tuesday from 19. 20 kroner.

When it comes to cheap eating out, I guess I can be very satisfied with living on Nørrebro! Cooking yourself is so yesterday, folkekøkken here we come.

Copenhagen – a city of bicycles

There is no doubt that Copenhageners love bicycles. Just take a look anywhere in the city and you are sure to see lots and lots of bicycles. Both parked bicycles and bicycles being used for transportation from A to B. No matter what social layer people are coming from, they are using bicycles for transportation.

The reason for all the bicycles are many, but according to research from the municipality most people choose to cycle because it’s both easier and faster than any other means of transportation in Copenhagen. In other words, it’s easier and faster to take the bicycle than to take the car or public transportation (of course depending on where you are going. If you are going directly from one metro station to another, it usually is faster to take the metro than your bicycle).

I’m so happy that Copenhagen is full of bicycles. According to tons of research and my own personal opinion, cycling makes a city much more liveable and the people in the city both happier and healthier.

And according to some of the research done by the municipality, cycling is good for the economy to. Apparently the society as a whole makes 1,22 kr for every km cycled – and loose 1,13 kr for every km driven in a car.

But no matter who bicycle friendly the city is right now, it can still get better. My dream is that one day the city is closed for cars, so there is only bicycles and public transportation on the streets!

Unfortunately it seems like my dream is far, far away from becoming a reality. There was hope at one point with the so called “betalingsring”, but as you might know the government decided to scrap the idea because of complains from people commuting from the suburbs and into Copenhagen to work.

But no worries. Copenhagen is still a wonderful city to live in – and it’s still much more bicycle friendly than most other cities.

A new backpack for my nephew

Like the headline says, I’m looking for a new backpack to buy my nephew for school, and I’m thinking about one from Toys’R'Us. Anyway, the point is that there’s a bit of story about what happened to the old one.

I was walking him to school, and just as we entered the classroom, the bottom of his backpack fell out. Out came all his booklets, crayons and toys. Though, thankfully, not his lunch box, which was stored in the front pocket.

Anyway, the large ripping sound and the sound of things hitting the floor was enough to draw the attention of the whole class. They stopped what they were doing to just look at us. You would have heard a pin drop on the floor. And then the kids started laughing.

And you know what my nephew did? No, he didn’t run away in embarrassment or tried to hide behind me l– he took a big bow and high-fived everyone! They were having a great time!

After school, I picked him up again. We ended up carrying his books home in a shopping bag, and that same day I spoke to my brother about chipping in for a new bag and surprise him.

It really made me think about how cool my nephew is – I’m sure in that same situation at his age that I would’ve probably been a little embarrassed because people were laughing.

And it got me thinking about growing up and how it seems that a lot of our personality is already kind of defined through childhood. We might think that we’ve developed a new, daring personality trait over time or done something spontaneously out of character, and our parents will counter with, “Oh yeah, that’s just like when you were little.”

It happens all the time, and after all, it would be preferable to hearing your parents say that they’re not sure who you are :)

But all joking aside, I wonder if in 20 years, something my nephew does will remind me of this day,  or if this kind of easy going showmanship has become part of his basic personality. Then I’ll be the old one and go, “Yes, that’s just like when you were little!

Anyway, gotta go – yet another thing binds him and I together in that I’m also looking for a new bag. No, not a school bag, I’m considering a travelling bag from Regovs – what do you think?

Blue Foundation Fall Tour

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Curiosity killed the cat…

…but at least it died knowing something. What I’m trying to say is that I am curious by nature and act upon this trait quite often!

For instance, if I discover that a webshop has multiple domain sites in a different language (you know, like eshoes.no and ehoes.se), I just can’t help but check them all out and compare if they actually ARE similar. (They are.) I tell myself it’s because I’m looking for the best deal for my shopping. After all, what if an item is cheaper or there’s a sale on? Well, while these are all good reasons, to be honest – the thing that starts this “research” is basically just my curiosity.

Along those same lines, I often find myself checking out sites like mobildeals.dk to check out the cheapest mobile offers, even though I’m nowhere near the end of my current mobile agreement – or checking out garden lounge furniture even though my garden is nowhere big enough to even make a garden lounge! Curiosity is definitely to blame for this as well, because these particular offers will definitely NOT be around by the time it’ll be relevant for me – so it’s not like I’m getting usable information.

However, this trait does not need to apply strictly to shopping.  Part of being curious is also being inquisitive – wanting to know “why” – and at least this trait is shared by many, many Danes. For instance, unlike in so many other cultures, it’s quite common and even encouraged to evaluate your job and let your boss know directly, if you feel certain tasks don’t make sense or could be done in a better way.

Being Danish, I wasn’t even aware how unique that is – openly questioning your superior and the task given to you would be completely unacceptable in many other countries. Similarly, we are quite relaxed about government, politics and general authority – happily challenging these with a certain directness that would make most other cultures cringe.

It is, however, also this inquisitiveness and directness that can make Danes seem somewhat disrespectful and “too honest” in the eyes of many foreigners, which –honestly – is a fair complaint. See, unlike the curiosity of checking out product prices at a store, being direct and inquisitive with someone who’s not prepared for this can have a negative social impact – and at times, we as Danes are probably not as aware of that as we could be.

However, at least from my own experiences, this is not done deliberately. Most Danes do not willingly try to cause embarrassment or invade other people’s private sphere. We ourselves value privacy and tend to be selective about the things we share. It’s just that we may not be as aware as we should be that our way of questioning everything and being so curious is not the way it is in a lot of other cultures.

So, if this ever happens and you take offense, please give us the benefit of the doubt and don’t be afraid to let us know. You see, just as Danes are direct to you, they will also appreciate you being direct to them!