Our Train Rode a Boat! The Journey to Copenhagen

This post is out of order, but I thought it was appropriate since we’re taking a lot of the same route today (Copenhagen to Hamburg).

Sunday, June 14th

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about today because it was supposed to be mostly train travel. Thanks to the German and possibly Danish train systems because I am not sure who is operating this train, I am now writing this post on the last leg to Kobenhavn, which may also have another e thrown in there if you use the German spelling and is spelled as Copenhagen in English.

Booking the trains with two connections was easy. The Dutch made it easy. The first train ride, operated by the Dutch was also easy. No problems from Amsterdam to Osnabrüeck, Germany. Just a bunch of low-lying Dutch countryside with the happy Dutch meadow cows advertised on yesterday’s lunch menu.

Osnabrüeck is where our troubles began. We were supposed to have a little over an hour in the town. That was fine. Then the train showed up late, which was a problem. At first it was fifteen minutes but soon changed to 20 and it showed up a bit after that delay. We were only going to have 15 minutes to change trains in Hamburg so the train was going to have to make up time to get there on time. It didn’t. This train, like the last, had a printed timetable at each seat and every stop fell further and further behind that timetable. At least the German countryside was nice to look at in most places. We arrived in Hamburg and the train for Copenhagen had already left about 15 minutes earlier.

Thankfully, the Germans had a international ticket counter. It wasn’t specified as one like every other train station but we were able to easily get tickets to Copenhagen for a train exactly two hours after the original one. Then it showed up late. And they switched the platform for it on us three times! Once the train finally arrived, some people got on and the rest of us were left to stand around until a couple of fellow Americans who also had Eurail passes started waving their reservations around. We started doing the same and all of us were soon onboard the train. Everything went fine after that, right?

We sat around in Hamburg for about fifteen minutes for some unknown reason. Probably someone arguing about train reservations. After a few minutes of moving we had another person come and sit in our group of four seats with a common table in the middle. By the next stop he had left and then there was a problem with the train radio which meant we had to sit around for a while. At least this train has been the nicest so far. We didn’t think it had power outlets which was its only negative aspect, but later figured out they were above our heads when the person in front of me plugged something into the ceiling. The seats are plush, and seem very clean. The headrests almost resemble a pillow, and they are far more plush than the usual one that looks like a Kleenex. The scenery is also the best on this leg. The North Sea occasionally appears on the right side of the train, with villages, wind farms, and farm land on the left.

I thought that would be the end of the post and packed up my little tablet and keyboard. Maybe I would add a couple sentences about our arrival in Copenhagen. Well, things were just getting started.

OUR TRAIN WENT ON A BOAT

Yep. We thought there was a bridge or some land route that connected parts of Denmark to the north, and that’s how we’d get to Copenhagen. It wasn’t. We went straight from the coast of Germany to the coast of Denmark. None of the American group seemed to know what was going on until the train announcement came over in English that we would have to get off the train while it was on the ferry. What ferry? No one mentioned a ferry. So we got off the train on the ferry. The whole thing seemed very surreal, especially after 10 hours of traveling already. No one really told us what to do, but soon enough we figured out that it was best to leave the car/train/RV/semi deck and go up to the decks above us.

You would think that a ferry making a short 45 minute journey from the German to Danish coasts would be pretty small and pretty simple. The boat was like a miniature cruise ship! There was plenty of nicely furnished seating, a restaurant, a duty free shop complete with food, beverage, and an oddly large beauty supply section. There were a couple other snack and store places that seemed to be closed, which was reasonable for a short ferry ride on a Sunday night. Prices were in DK (Danish currency) and Euros, and the going rate seems to be 10DK for 1.34 Euro, which also happened to be the price for any can of beer or soda, which you could buy by the caseload. By this time, the sun was setting, so we basically got a free sunset cruise.

Since we had spotted the American (and English speaking) guys earlier, we talked with them on the boat. They were both from Rice University and were at the end of a month in Europe. They had traveled kind of in a U shape around Germany, starting up north, working south, and then swinging north up to Copenhagen for a flight back to the US. Gave us some helpful pointers, which was nice and it was good to have a conversation with actual native English speakers, which is quite rare over here. We also had an English speaking hitchhiker stop by our table to ask for a ride. He sounded British and I had to break the bad news to him that since we were on a train that our car did not have any extra room.

The train did successfully arrive on the Danish coast, where I continued writing this post into the Danish dusk.

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The Hamburg Hbf station

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The boat on the ferry's car deck.

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The German-Danish waters at sunset.

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