Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Sorry all for the delay in posting something here, but you can well imagine the chaos involved with trying to visit three sides of the family, and see a whole country at the same time, all in eight days. I will summarize our travels to date, and will add some photos if I can figure out how. Otherwise I will get Ingrid to post some photos when she has time.
It all started at the Vancouver International Airport at midnight as we prepared to embark on what was to be an adventure of a lifetime.
Though it started small, at least the space we occupied was small, for anyone who has not travelled trans-continental on a charter flight, do prepare yourself. Warm up by spending the night in the highchair you used as a baby that you know your parents still have. This will give you an idea of the space allotment you will recieve. And if possible practice sleeping in the highchair in the back corner of a daycare centre, you will start to get the idea.
11 hours later we arrived in Munich, Germany around 19:00 local time, stunned, cramped, and a little confused. (I was more confused than I normally am for those about to ask, you know who you are.) we made our way down to the subway station and took the train to Munchen Hausbaunhof, or the Munich Central Train station.
And what’s the first restaurant we see… Burger King… so much for getting away from it all. We had reserved seats on the overnight train from Munich to Hamburg but were told the sleepers and couchettes were booked up, so we had settled for 2nd class seats in a non-smoking car.
The bad news: we were right behind the smoking car, and the door between kept jamming open. The good news: when the conductor came by we asked if we could upgrade to a couchette, and there was one available.
So we moved about six cars up the train into a couchette, which is a two seater booth that folds down into two single bunks. Man was it nice to get horizontal for a few hours. We were scheduled to arrive in Hamburg at 8:00 in the morning, and we were gently awoken about 5:30 by the sun starting to stream over the horizon on our side of the train. We sat together silently drinking in the sunrise until the nice conductor came by and offered us coffee and tea at about 7:00. If you know Ingrid then you know how important that morning cup of coffee is.
We disembarked in Hamburg, (does anyone recongnize the train station?)…
We had about an hour to kill before our next train to Copenhagen, so we had some breakfast, and wandered around outside of the train station a bit, listened to the beautiful classical music playing from speakers outside the station, and then found our first European outdoor public pissoir… good times. (Ingrid thought the contrast between the flower stand, classical music and public pissoir funny.)
We got on our next train and found ourselves sitting next to Bill. Bill was an Aussie who had taken 4 months off to travel by train all over Europe. He was getting to the end of his trip and had been from Italy to Spain, from the UK to Sweden, and most places in between. He was a neat guy.
The train from Hamburg to Copenhagen was relaxing and beautiful. The highlight for me had to be the part when they put the train onto a ferry to travel from Puttgarden in Germany, to Rødby in Denmark – the whole damned thing. And then you can get off and wander around the ferry while underway. It was a bit trippy. I can’t imagine BC Ferries, and CN Rail getting along like this.
So we arrived in Copenhagen and changed trains again, this time onto a highspeed express train headed for Stockholm. Once again nice train, beautiful scenery, and friendly polite staff. Though as you can imagine by this time we were getting tired. By the time we arrived in Stolkholm we had been on the ground and moving for 21 hours, not including the wait at the airport, and the 10.5 hour flight, so we were beat. Thankfully Ingrid’s cousin Johan met us at the train station, and drove us to his place where we were going to be staying. I was pretty happy to get to bed that night I can tell you. All in all it’s been a fun adventure travelling in Europe, so far, and we are looking forward to our jaunt into Germany.
Stay tuned for more about our adventures in the land of the Vikings.
Neil, and Ingrid.
The Puddle Jumpers