Monday, March 12, 2007

Scandanavian experience...

I realise that this blog is turning into a 'wish you were here' programme and i assure you i am not on commission from Thomas Cook! However, this time last week i was over visiting my friend Alan in Sweden. I went to school with Alan and he has been living in Sweden in the city of Lund with his girlfriend Helena since last June. Above is a picture of the 3 of us and one of Lund.

This was my first experience of Scandanavia and it was a very positive one. Lund was a quaint little city with a huge student population. The Swedish pace of life came across to me as being a little more relaxed than home as people mostly got around on their bicycles - people seemed less in a rush! It was a very relaxing few days for me with lots of time to just potter about the town and chill out together and play some cards - they play this game called 7's at which i think i excelled!

Lund is situated only 50mins from Copenhagen (Denmark) by train. So on Monday as Al and Helena were both working i took myself off to explore another country for the day! Copenhagen is a beautiful city and well worth a visit. It's quite small so it was great for me to just wander about for a few hours. One really interesting place i visited in the city was a
community called 'Christiania' which is home to approx 1000 people who are seeking to live an alternative way. The community started with a group of squatters in 1969/70 in an area that was an abandoned military base. The area covering 85 acres soon attracted publicity which resulted in massive immigration of people who wanted to create another life based on communal living and freedom. This led to a political situation with the government trying to remove the people by force on several occassions but the numbers of people and large area have made this impossible. So they are left with this constant tension. There is a constant heavy police presence in the community which was intimidating for me at first. This was heightened as you see many groups of men standing warming themselves around barrels of fire on every corner (see picture). Part of me felt like a riot could ensue at any moment but i was reassured that this was just normality for Christiania.

The people see themselves as a community living independently of Denmark and the EU and so don't pay taxes. Anyone who lives within the community must therefore have to contribute in some way to make it work. For lots more info on the history and current situation within this community click here.

Anyways, ive just had a weekend at home for a change and it was lovely, i must try it more often!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hope no 'surprises' this trip Neil! LOl See you for lunch with Barbara soon. AJQ

Adrian Eagleson said...

and now you are off to castlebar! look forward to seeing at NUA this weekend

Ivonne said...

sounds ever so cool,neil..though I can't hide the tiny green-eyed monster I feel inside!!! Grrrrrrr! Hey,if ever you fancied a change in carreer path, I am sure Thomas Cooke will take ya any day! (",)

dave wiggins said...

haha, you're like a gypsy who calls home once in a while.

John Johnston said...

Hey Big lad, didn't know how else to connect with you. I know you called ages ago and i never returned your call cause we deleted the message by accident and didn;t have a number for you.

ANyway drop us a line i'd love to connect and here all the craic.
john@william-eds.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Neil,
Glad you got to visit my home country and glad you enjoyed it! There is no place more beautiful than Sweden!! :-)

Nina (from Emmanuel)

Stefan McNally said...

i'm sick of this post now!!

Anonymous said...

Happy 27th birthday!