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The Flying Dutchman

North to the Vikings! Aaarrr! (or whatever vikings say)

DENMARK | Tuesday, 27 April 2010 | Views [565] | Comments [1]

Inside Berlin's beautiful new train station, I boarded a train to Hamburg, where I would change to another train headed to Copenhagen, Denmark.  I checked the board and found the platform my train would arrive at.  I was sitting on the platform waiting for my train to arrive, when a woman came walking down the platform.  I took me a second to register, but then I realized who it was: Arpana! Remember Arps? From Prague? Here she was!  What are the odds!  Seriously, what ARE the odds of running into the same person TWICE in Europe? ALL of Europe?  I can see meeting the same person twice in hostels, because there is only a certain amount of people traveling and staying in hostels in Europe at any one time, and everyone goes to the same places, but in a train station??  I couldn't believe, and neither could she!  Even better, she was catching the same train as me, so we shared travel stories of my time in Berlin and her time in Poland.  Our running into each other wasn't AS exciting for her, because she just happened to have coincidentally stayed in the same hostel as Calvin and Jude (the Welsh boys, also from Prague) in Poland.  
We arrived in Copenhagen and got some Asian noodles (typical Danish food), before Arps got on another train (she was continuing on to Stockholm), and I walked out of the station to find my hostel.  The Sleep-in Heaven Hostel (there needs to be a book about all the great names hostels have) was located a little bit out of the cnetrum, so I took a bus, followed the directions I had written out, walked around, asked directions from passersby, and finally found it through a back alley. 
I found my room and had my first ever experience with triple bunks.  What I discovered was that triple bunks are no different than regular bunk beds - unless you are on the top bunk.  I was, of course, on the top bunk, so I was able to make a fair assessment of the triple bunk system.  My conclusion: they're not so great.  Access is the biggest problem.  There was a ladder, thankfully, but it was such that hurt your feet to climb.  This left me with a choice between wearing shoes up to my bed, and getting creative.  Naturally, I got creative, and employed a series of spiderman-esque maneuvers to reach my destination (including pulling my body up to the second bunk and then kicking off the wall parallel to the bed to propel myself up to the top).  Either way, there was no practical method of getting up there safely.  Getting down, there was another dilemma.  I could endure the pain of the route down the ladder, or I could jump from the top aaaall the way down to the ground, as I had learnt from Alice's mad skillz in Amsterdam ("I went to camp, so...).  I only attempted the leap of faith once, as I nearly ended my trip prematurely with two broken ankles.  
Other than the sleeping situation for every third, unlucky, person, the hostel was great!  Cool vibe, cool people, cool setup, cool (they could have cranked the thermostat a couple notches).  Trips up and down from my bed were major ordeals, so I had to plan everything well in advance.  I went to sleep that night surrounded by my clothes, computer, and day-pack, too lazy to put everything away in the safe, which was all the way back down there at sea-level. I'd like to see a thief get into this bed and steal everything without me and everyone else in the room waking up.
The next morning, I took the longish walk to the centre of the city, and enjoyed the clear blue skies and mild weather.  I intended to visit the National Museum, but the directions I had gotten at the hostel got me lost in the downtown.  I asked an elderly couple which way it was (because I was in the land of universal English as a second language!) and the husband gave me directions, and then said "Or you could go this way" and gave me some other ones, before his wife cut him off with "No, no, go this way, and then down there and to the left".  The funny, bickering, old couple finally agreed on what was the best route to get there, and I followed the directions right to it.  
The museum was, for a change, not an art museum.  It chronicled Denmark's history and had lots of stuff about the vikings: interesting museum!
Afterward, I continued on until I reached the water's edge.  The large inlet that Copenhagen sits on was lined with shiny new buildings contrasted with beautiful old ones.  
I walked along the water until I came to a shopping mall and stepped inside for a bite to eat.  There was a cinema in the mall, and I seriously considered catching a showing of Avatar, because I knew I was probably the only person left on Earth who hadn't seen it.  I talked myself out of it by reminding myself I that was in Copenhagen.  I was only in Europe for three months, so there was no time to waste watching movies that I could watch when I got home.  
I left the mall and started to head back in the direction of the hostel, because I was now quite a walk away.  I walked up to Tivoli Gardens, which are famous for something, but I still don't know why they are famous because they were closed until April 12th.  This is the day after I leave Europe, so I would not be seeing the gardens on this trip.  
I continued on my way home, but wasn't familiar with the neighbourhood.  Luckily, I had my GPS thingy with me, and had marked the hostel on it that morning, so I turned it on and it pointed in the direction of the hostel, and told me how far away it was.  I found my hostel with ease.  (take that Alice for making fun of me for being over-prepared.  I also use my alarm clock QUITE OFTEN, thank you very much)
I got to bed early that night and got up early the next day.  I had a train to catch, but still had to see the most photographed thing in Copenhagen: The Little Mermaid.  The statue of a mermaid sat on a rock sticking out of the water on the shores of the inlet.  Any local I had talked to about it had cautioned me, "It's really small you know, don't get your hopes up", but this was THE touristy thing to do in Copenhagen, so I had to do it in the little time that I had.  I walked briskly there and found her, life size, maybe a little smaller, but just as I had expected, except for one little detail: she had legs.  I checked the sign, and, yes, I was looking at THE Little Mermaid.  I was confused.  I really did not understand, but there was no time!
I got out of there and got on a bus to the train station.  I asked if this bus went to the station, and the driver assured me it did.  He went a short distance ahead, stopped, and told me that this was it.  We most certainly were not at the train station, so I said, "No, main train station".  The other people on the bus helped me out too, and told the driver.  He went fifty feet ahead, stopped again, and told me that this was the place.  I was, again, confused, but I got out (they knew this city better than me, so maybe this was, in fact, the train station).  I walked a short ways and found that I was at A train station, it just wasn't THE train station.  I went inside, found that there were trains that would stop at the main station leaving soon, hopped on one, and made it there in time.  I found my train, boarded, and headed to Gothenburg, Sweden.

Tags: copenhagen, denmark, hamburg, little mermaid, neil loewen, vikings




So many exciting things to laugh at! I'm SO excited you got to use your GPS - as if you thought to mark the hostel AND it worked (and I never questioned the need for an alarm clock, thank you very much).

Good thing you didn't try jumping off your bunk more than once...you didn't go to camp after all.

  Alice Apr 27, 2010 3:17 PM

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