blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Journey to Denmark

We're in Copenhagen and I've just woken up to a snowy view out of the hotel window. According to this computer the time is 02.32, but that's in Canada.

After breakfast yesterday we took the Number 6 tram ("unser Tram" said the man at the Bremen hotel) to Bremen's Hauptbahnhof carrying our luggage, and it took us several stops before we'd worked out how to buy 2.40 euro tickets for the ride, the machines at the back of the vehicle only accepting Bremen transport cards. Schwarzfahren, we thought, we'll be in trouble if we get caught, but then managed to reach the machine at the front to feed it a note.

At the Bremen Hauptbahnhof we had a long wait for our train, and a second breakfast, followed by a visit to a magazine shop, after which we noticed an announcement on the display for Platform 9 telling us that our train to Hamburg was going to be 40 minutes late. This was bad, because, even if it had been on time, we'd have only 12 minutes to catch the connecting train to Copenhagen. Frantic debate. We decided to take the risk of jumping onto the slow, double decker commuter train, that was due to arrive at 13:25, allowing us a 3 minute connection time at Hamburg. It was a peaceful ride, stopping at all the little country stations on the way! Towards the end of the journey we got to know a bi-lingual family who lived in one of the Hamburg suburbs, British, but bringing up their two children to speak German. The mother worked for Hapag-Lloyd.

We knew we had to be on Platform 5 for the Copenhagen train so when we arrived we rushed up the stairs with the suitcases, the escalator being too slow and crowded and along the bridge, pushing past the more leisurely travellers. Rushed down the stairs for Platform 5 but found the train to Copenhagen on platform 6. Leapt on by the first available door. The electronic display inside the carriage said that this train was going to Berlin. We asked the other passengers. No, Copenhagen, they assured us, but they were a bit anxious too. In the end the train set off 15 minutes late, luckily for us, and the driver announced over the loudspeakers that we really were going to Copenhagen, to cheers and applause from everyone in our carriage.

A Ferry Going the Other Way
The countryside was flat, with occasional deer, cows, sheep in the fields, beech woods, canals. Near Lübeck a few hills materialised and the fields had a covering of snow. I saw the twin spires of the Lübeck churches; I have been there before. Then, our first glimpse of the Baltic coast. If it hadn't been so grey, under such low cloud, I'd have seen more. Every few kilometres we passed a wind farm, the blades gently turning.

View from the front of the train
The "Sun" Deck
Eventually we pulled in to Puttgarden harbour and to my amazement (Chris seems to have expected it) the train rolled onto a ferry. It can't have been a very long train; we were sitting at the very front of the front carriage, so couldn't tell. We had just missed one boat so had a 20 minute wait for the next; they are very frequent. Nobody was allowed to stay aboard the train; it remained on its rails in the hold, with the doors locked, while the passengers mounted the five flights of steps to the upper decks. It was a nice ferry with a Sonnendeck outside, although the sun was nowhere to be seen and was setting in any case. The daylight is of short duration here. The sea was grey and smooth; we crossed it for 45 minutes. All the other passengers seemed to be Danish and used to this journey, northern, seafaring types. We passed other ships in the mist, with their lights on, and saw the lighthouses ahead.

We landed at Rødby, then rolled onwards to Nykøbing, Vordingborg, Naestved, etc. over more wide canals with industrial scenery in the dark and commuter trains going by.

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