Monday, October 01, 2007

Logbook: Coping in Copenhagen

Copenhagen1The ride from Emden to Copenhagen on Friday was just another episode of efficient train travel in Europe: An hour's ride to Bremen with just enough of a stop to get a cup of coffee, then another hour or so to Hamburg with an immediate connection on to Copenhagen. On this last leg of the trip, a really cool thing happened: I had looked at the map and seen that there was some water along our route, but I figured there must have been some kind of tunnel. To my surprise, the train rolled straight onto a ferry! It was like pulling into a train station except that there were cars, buses and big trucks parked next to us. We all got off the train and went upstairs where a huge number of people were eating, drinking and shopping in a variety of duty free stores. It was borderline pandemonium!

Copenhagen2Happy to have an unexpected -- if brief -- boat ride, I went out on deck and enjoyed having a long look at a turbulent sea. The wind was blowing a pretty good gale, but I enjoyed the ride and the relative solitude away from the crowd. After about 45 minutes we went back to the car-bus-truck-train deck, re-boarded and rolled off the boat to continue our trip. The remainder of the ride into Copenhagen was uneventful and I arrived there a little after four o'clock. I can't say my first impression of the city was very positive because it looked like most other big, gray, dirty cities I've seen. I can blame some of it on the weather which was pretty cold and rainy, and some of it on the fact that it was also pretty dark due to the combination of time of day, season and latitude. I completely missed the fall last year because I was in Central America, but I'm being reacquainted with it in grand style now.

I checked into the little hotel I had arranged, went to my so-so room and discovered no internet connection. So, I dropped my gear and went down to the lobby to go online, check my mail and update my map. For the first time, I had trouble getting my map uploaded and took it as a sign that I was in a not-so-good place for me. I went out to get some dinner, then scouted around the area for a different hotel. I found a generic Comfort Hotel with room for the next two days, so I booked and went back to the other place to crash.

The weather on Saturday was pretty miserable, with heavy rain, biting wind and dark skies. I packed up my gear and moved over to the new place where I found an excellent web connection in my room to fix the map and do a variety of other stuff. Partly because of the weather and partly because I was due for some more down time, I didn't do any exploration of Copenhagen. I did brave the elements to go back to the train station, figure out the metro system and catch a ride to the ferry terminal to try to arrange my passage from Stockholm to Gdansk next week. The metro dropped me off a few blocks from the ferry ticket office and the rain had let up a bit for my walk but, as you have probably already guessed, the ticket office was closed and would not be open again on the weekend. You will understand if I was not terribly surprised and had yet another good chuckle to myself as I retraced my route back to the hotel for a quiet night in.

Copenhagen3Copenhagen4_2Yesterday was still pretty bad in terms of weather, but I was fine with it. I slept in, read a great thriller cover to cover (see my Amazon recommendations to the right) and just hung out. After two days in Copenhagen, I can't say I've seen any of the city except the fairly seedy area around the train station and a bit of the ferry docks. I didn't even take any pictures! I'm not disappointed by it because I really only stopped there as a waypoint going north. I am now on another train, heading to Oslo for just a couple of days before continuing on to Stockholm later in the week to visit with Inga who was part of the group at the castle in Agel, France back in April. I'm looking forward to seeing her again and continuing some of the conversations we started months ago. We will be without our precious dog Achilles to keep up company, but we will try to carry on without him!

1 comment:

Russ said...

I too have taken the train ferry to Denmark from Emden. I believe before the Chunnel the same occured from France to England.