In the heart of Copenhagen, flowers bloom in unexpected places: Say a row of child-sized rubber boots. This is Christiania, or Freetown, the 84-acre former military barracks taken over by residents of Copenhagen during an uprising in 1971. It is perhaps Europe's most famous experiment in alternative lifestyle.
Christiania has always been controversial. Over the years, residents have had numerous confrontations with the police -- one notable incident includes dumping urine and faeces over the police commander -- and war between fractions trying to gain control of the pot trade has lead to a crime problem.
But despite wanting to do away with some of the laws the rest of Denmark follows (legalizing marijuana and the pesky issue of property ownership), Christiania is, as I noticed when I visited last week, one gigantic gorgeous park, with unique buildings and objects d'art -- including innovative container gardens -- that reflect an artistic population.
Christiania is also a very popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen, drawing around 1.5 million visitors a year.
While the status of Christiania remains uncertain, local Henrik Thierlen, international press officer for VisitCopenhagen, the city's official tourist board, assured me that there were two things that would always be part of Denmark: The monarchy (the oldest in Europe with roots back to Viking kings) and Christiania.
Make Your Own Rubber Boot Container GardenWant to make your own rubber boot container garden? You can do it in just a few easy steps.
1. Pick up a pair of used boots on ebay (if you don't have some handy). Ebay has kid-sized frog rubber boots starting at $8.
2. Drill or cut a few holes in the bottom of the boots for drainage.
3. Fill the boots with potting soil.
4. Select a few plants that can function on a shallow root system. Think bulbs, petunias, pansies, morning glories, or impatients. Your cheeky presentation is sure to get attention.
I also loved the graffitied flower pots.