Frederiksberg winter blues

This week I attended meetings at Copenhagen Business School and walked through Frederiksberg Have (park). I’d love to write a novel or poem about the park as it seems a world of its own in the middle of Copenhagen. Actually, Frederiksberg is its own municipality in the middle of Copenhagen.

Frederiksberg park is not the fanciest, biggest or calmest park I’ve experienced. But it has some magic to it, perhaps due to Baroque influences. Trees are old and paths windy. In the middle of the human size park there is a huge palace and a zoo.

Instead of words, I offer you photos. Frederiksberg winter blues got me into poetic images of the park and streets on my way to the train.

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Always looking for an oasis

Currently, there are two things that characterise me as a traveller: I like to revisit places twice and I’m a park and garden enthusiast. The first goes to say I love visiting nice places twice or more let it be a country, a city, a restaurant, or a park. My park & garden enthusiasm means in every urban setting – after eating regularly – I’m most eager to go and find a park or a garden.

Parks and gardens are the city oasis. In some way they reveal the essence of the city too. Besides, usually you find locals at parks and gardens. And a good sign for me as a tourist on any trip is the ratio of locals. Then it is more likely to be something I might enjoy too. A kind hint to all those visiting Finland during winter: you don’t see many locals dipping in the sea or lake via a hole in the ice although it is said to be something very Finnish.

I stayed in Trento, Italy, for few days due to work and this trip made no exception in my park & garden spotting. Time will tell if I visit the nice North Italian town again, but at least I found a park and visited it twice. This park via Via Livio Marchetti and Vicolo San Marco has a peculiar air to it, as it has been there for a while. Moreover, the worn-down benches and cigarette butts are a valid proof of high use of the area. In addition to flowers and trees, it has a kitchen garden and this gives the park a very practical feeling. The area is not very big. A garland-covered brick wall and two old three-storey houses create cosy cover from passers-by. And yes, it had mainly people from Trento with their crossword puzzles and shopping bags, just popping in on their way to somewhere else.

I love CES

You recognise a good idea when you get to know one. Some of the details might be still a bit hazy but you love the idea all the same.

For personal and research interests, I joined my local Community Exchange System (CES) called Stadin aikapankki, freely translated “the time bank of Helsinki area”. CES is a great idea. I am still a beginner but I love it.

A quick introduction to community exchange systems met globally. They are based on the exchanges of services between members: private people and groups. Most importantly, no money is used. Instead, members have some sort of procedure to keep track on exchanged services and members’ exchange balance. The brilliant thing about CES is that my personal account enables changes between people I didn’t know before. Thus, I can provide member A with a service B and get a service D from a member E.

So far I received my account details and information about offered and needed services. I have also put out what I can offer. To my great delight I was contacted about a translation task and I have now received my first “payment” called tovi, as one hour of work equals to one tovi.

The hardest part for me has been to figure out what I could ask through my CES and use my tovi. So far I have added a request for help in the garden, as we have to turn the land for cultivation. Anyone who has dug clay ground hardened by the winter knows how it is: hard work and backache. Thus, help is appreciated.

One of the most interesting requests I noticed was written with three sentences: “I am building a house. I need an architect. A student is acceptable too.” I am very curious about this house project. What are the plans like? Seriously, could one get a house built nowadays with using only community exchange services?


I conducted a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities) on relocating our home in the capital area of Finland. My spouse says it is funny and abnormal. Well, too bad as I already did it.

I came into conclusion that staying where we are is the best alternative for now, event though I have a huge garden fever. Not least because we can enjoy the good things we have at the moment.

However, one opportunity in particular caught my eye in both alternatives. That is developing the community. What a chance! Actually, it is my accusation targeted towards me. Why always nag about the fact that there is not enough sense of a community instead of actually contributing into it.

I know one neighbour sings in a choir and has a lovely voice. One plays the piano and maybe the guitar and their teenager loves loud music. Two neighbours have dogs. I talk to one of my neighbours in the hallway as we both have a rented garden nearby and we stroll in muddy boots (yes Mr. Janitor, I am one of them crooks). But can you consider hearing your next-door neighbours as knowing them?

Thus, I have decided to become more community oriented while I am dreaming about my house with a garden. This must end up as a triumph, a total failure, or something in between.