‘Staying in some nice hotel, then?’ asked Mother-of-witch’s colleagues when she mentioned we were going to Copenhagen for the Easter holidays. This was 40 years ago, and we weren’t exactly rolling in money. ‘No, we’re borrowing a flat,’ she said, to which they replied with the 1972 equivalent of ‘cool.’ So, flat trumps elegant hotel. Anyone can go to a hotel, as long as they pay. Not everyone has someone who can lend you their flat.

The Retired Children’s Librarian’s long standing fascination for Denmark had finally got her a three month job exchange, working in a Copenhagen library. Well, Herlev, which is sort of near. We were going to see her, and she had somehow borrowed this flat for us. It was in Nørrebro, which then was a fairly ‘seedy’ part of town. But very central. And listen to this, we drove there, parking in the street!

(Now, of course, it’s the place to be.)

The flat was on the fifth floor under the sloping roof of a 19th century building. Very Danish. No beds, but mattresses on the floor. And a gas cooker! I had never used one and was dead scared, but luckily Mother-of-witch had lived a more varied life and knew what to do. Nothing exploded.

Griffenfeldsgade, Copenhagen

Nørrebro was full of bars. For some reason the young witch required coke one night, so we went into a bar to buy and take out. Apparently illegal, but the Retired Children’s Librarian (young in those days) bargained over the level of illegality and we carried off an overpriced take-out bottle of coke.

We did lots of things that holiday, which you don’t want to know about. Except my mind still boggles thinking back to Mother-of-witch driving round the Danish capital. We visited the library, where the Retired Children’s Librarian did her best despite the language.

Anyway, that flat was furnished in a most up-to-date fashion, presumably lived in by young and with-it people. I was reminded of this when reading about the lampshades in Borgen (on television). Very fancy stuff, it seems. I have to admit to not having noticed, but then I live with such design splendour that it’s a lot less remarkable to me…


2 responses to “Nørrebro

  1. Of course it’s exactly the kind of holiday any right thinking American would find incredibly romantic now.

    I should say, though that the young witch requiring uncapitalized coke might raise a few eyebrows over here too.

  2. Coke… Or even coke. Told you it was seedy.


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