Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alright.  Where were we?  Oh, right.  The part where we actually started using the Eurail passes.  Pretty awesome.  So.  From Basel, we went to Hamburg.  Not bad.  It would appear that being on the train overnight is better than being on the bus overnight.  Though I can’t say I got a ton of sleep, it was still probably better than bus-sleep.  Anyways.  Got into Hamburg on Wednesday morning, August 11, for anyone who’s trying to keep track of those sorts of things.  Right away, we went up to the international ticket office.  We waited a bit in line, and then got to the front of the queue (queue… awesome word.  Really) where we talked to the ticket agent.  Who, it turns out, didn’t really like the game we’re playing.  Mostly because she didn’t understand the rules, or at the very least, couldn’t get her head around the fact that we actually didn’t care where we went, so long as it was overnight.  So… we looked at our map, and then we looked at the departures board, and decided to go to Copenhagen.  The train was leaving in 5 minutes.  We made it, JUST.  And then we spent the next five hours sitting on the floor or the train, in what we’ve dubbed “third class”.

First and second class are easy.  Third is on the floor.  Fourth is in the luggage rack.  I don’t think there’s a fifth.

Well, five hours, except for the part where they took the train on the ferry.  And yes, I am absolutely serious.  There are rails built into the deck on the ferry, and they just roll the whole train on, passengers included.  SO COOL.  We were wondering, before it happened, how it was going to work; were they gonna make us get off and go through the foot passenger entry, or what?  And then…  well yeah.  I still can’t really get over the fact that the whole train went on the ferry.  Which, other than the train part, was reminiscent of the Super C’s… go figure :p

This is a train, on a ferry.  Photo Credit to R. McCoy, since my camera doesn't do low-light very well, even with the flash on.

Anyways.  We got to Copenhagen at about 1400.  We went to the international ticket office at the station, and the guy understood ENTIRELY what we were after.  He booked us on the overnight to Stockholm.  We then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Copenhagen, where it was overcast, and threatening to rain for a large part of the time (and then it actually rained.  We found shelter under some kind of ornamental tower-arch-thing) but that didn’t make it any less pretty.  There was a canal, and some funky-looking row-houses/shops along it.  Well, kinda funky, because of the colours.  Not really that exciting in any other way, except for one.  Because, incidentally, it turns out that all of the Eurolines publishing (the train schedule, the Eurail pass info, everything they gave us) has a picture on the cover that was taken in Copenhagen.  So, of course, we had to take the same photo.  Really.  I mean, wouldn’t you?  It’s not actually that impressive, but it is kinda pretty.

The Canal in Copenhagen.  Pretty.  I'll put in a compare shot of the Eurolines stuff at some point...

Other than the photo adventures, we also walked through the palace, the outside parts (the courtyard in the middle is open to through-traffic and pedestrians) and watched the palace guards saunter around.  And I do mean saunter.  They all just looked bored and had this sort of rolling step that was like a slow-motion version of the catwalk hip-swing thing.  They also had areas pretty much like a goalie’s crease, painted on the ground in yellow.  Got tetchy when people crossed the line and got too close.  Kinda wish I’d had the camera out more; apparently I don't have a picture of the Danish palace guards.

There was also the harbour, which was absolutely full-to-bursting with naval vessels.  National and international.  Apparently it was the Navy’s birthday, so there was a party going on.  It did explain the HUGE humber of sailors we’d seen walking around all afternoon.  My favourite part about exploring the harbour, though, was the mooring system.  There were two methods.  One of them involved two rings, and the other, a ring and a stick.  Both involved pushing an eye-spliced end of rope through a ring, and looping it around something else, either another ring (attached to the ground) or the aformentioned stick.  They had navy boats, moored with this super-simple method.  Excellent. 


After all our wandering, it was kind of close to dinner time.  And we knew that at some point, we would have to get back to the train station.  So we headed in that direction.  Shortly thereafter, the rain which had been threatening all day decided it was time to make an appearance.  We made a quick run towards shelter, and skulked along under awnings and overhangs for a bit, until we found an archway/tower with benches inside.  Made a good place to take a photo of our entire lives sitting in a pile…


And of course, after the rain, evidence of Copenhagen as a very bike-friendly city was found.  There's some kind of sensor in the side of the display, that counts people as they go past in the bike lane.  It was pretty nifty.


The sensor was right next to a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, and... I am so sick of tourists who come in hordes and need to take thirty different photos of themselves and each other with statues.  I had to wait for what seemed like ages for there to be no other people in my way.


Eventually, we did get back to the station, and took the train to Malmo, where we would catch the train to Stockholm overnight.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only border I’ve ever crossed on a bridge…  Tales of over-designed furniture coming up next, perhaps?