OSLO, Norway – It’s unreal.It’s amazing.
Freetown Christiania is an abandoned military area in the Christianshavn district of Copenhagen that was taken over by hippies in the 1970s. The approximate 850 people that reside in Christiania claim the area as a free city, free of taxes and run by their own laws.
And so, there I was, in a place that doesn’t aloud cameras of any sort, let alone even phones being seen just strolling around figuring out where in the world I just entered.
I wanted to feel safe at first because all I heard was how it is indeed very safe, but it’s a little hard when men and women are walking around in full face masks and you’re thinking “where the hell am I?”
However, you quickly realize there’s nothing to be afraid of, everybody there – infants with their parents to people such as myself to elderly couples – is there just to have a good time, really, that’s it.
Freetown Christiania has just a few simple rules: have fun, don’t run and no photos – simple enough to follow.
So, what’s the big attraction anyways of this place you ask… marijuana would be the answer. Marijuana is illegal in the country of Denmark and in the city of Copenhagen, but that hasn’t stopped Christiania from creating an attraction for nearly anyone living or visiting the area, after all it is located in the heart of Copenhagen, far from the outskirts of the city.
Whether getting high, indulging on a 10 a.m. beer or enjoying a 5 p.m. bottle of wine, these are all scenes to be found at Christiania and the last thing this place does is discriminate – and I’d say that is something great for the world we live in.
How what Freetown Christiania does I may never understand, and have been doing for 30+ years, we’ll know you really got me.
But it’s magical and a must-do if you’re even the slightest bit curious to see life from just a different perspective.
I can’t get enough of this place. If your heart is beating and you can walk, then it’s a place for you – regardless your views on an alternative lifestyle and marijuana.
You walk the dirt roads of this self-governed city with garbage lined along the sides of streets and graffiti filled walls and trees in every direction.
To call Christiana a maze would be an understatement, and that only adds to the nostalgia of the place.
You take a left, you take a right – either way you’re bound to stumble upon something unique with people always to be found indulging in life in some form.
I may never experience something such as Christiania, which is sad, in one way, and amazing in another. Christiania, like many other places I find along my journey, is a one-hit wonder that I’ll never come across again.
But that’s not what’s important. The fact, that at the age of 22, I am giving myself the opportunity to explore a part of life that I guarantee no book, job, show or movie could ever provide is something priceless in my mind.
The difference between watching the best documentary about a place and actually being there is as large as the distance from your couch to that place. Move, as Anthony Bourdain would say. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch. Move.”
See what’s out there because sites like Christiania are places that needs to be seen and appreciated for what it is and how well-run a place that is doing everything on its own operates and lives life on the daily.
Cheers my friends,