Today we will travel through three capitals cities, learn how the Germans clamp a ferry to a harbour in order to get a flashy modern train on and off it, and eat two of the biggest sandwiches on earth. Smörgåstårta. They each weigh over two and a half kilograms.
The day begins with a punctual arrival at . We have a few hours in which to acquire the now doubly sourced smörgåstårta and collect our latest supply drop of beer and cheese from an old acquaintance of Darren’s. The smorgs are nearly £100 each. There are faces being pulled at this. I am unrepentant. And in any case, we’re only paying for one, the other appears to be a gift to Steve from grateful clients.
Things take a turn for the worst on the next train. We have a squeakily tight connection at the next stop. This is an error in planning. The timetable was changed right at the point of booking and we elected to go for an earlier connection and get to Berlin before 9 PM. The plan left only 20 minutes leeway in Copenhagen, and very quickly it becomes obvious we aren’t going to make the connection.
At Copenhagen I march off in a sweat to the booking office in a bid to secure tenure on the next train. This is the last train that will get us to Berlin that day. Despite clearly holding reservations for 12 people, a stack of InterRail passes, and a T shirt explaining what’s going on for anyone stupid enough not to get it yet, I am dismissed in the direction of the SJ office (Swedish Railways) by the uncharacteristically unhelpful Danish bloke. The nice lady at SJ is far more comforting, and assures me that we’ll be able to get on, if not sit down.
We hang out in the grand station, eating more of the smorgs and drinking the beer Darren’s mate has brought us. We hit the train with military precision. An advance party of crack troops nail a corner of the bar and our Gurka platoon follow on with the rest of the bags. We are back on track.
I then have my second run in with another of those delightfully tyrannical DB train managers. Apoplectic that I hadn’t filled in the current train on my InterRail pass he spits at me threatening a charge of 60 euros. My apology rebuffed, I really couldn’t care less any more and withdrawing my wallet I offer him the 60 bucks. An honest offer which seemed to diffuse, or confuse him. I never the less scuttle up the train to warn the other likely suspects in the gang who will not have filled their tickets in.
What comes next is worth a whole train load of over officious German railway staff. A piece of spectacular German engineering. The Fugleflugtslinjen is a ferry that carries a train. In order to get the train on and off, the boat is clamped by a massive ship sized vice. The high speed ICE train is then rolled on, and all the passengers get off to enjoy a short cruise. The ferry crossing, brilliant sunshine, and refreshing sea breeze, are sensational. The second of the smörgåstårta is carved up and dished out. Everyone is all but blown away. I am nothing short of ecstatic.
At Putgarten our ship is clamped to the wharf. The train rolls off and then zooms off to Hamburg. The station there is a glorious affair. A magnificent cathedral of a building. There is food and beer galore. All kinds of pork based food stuffs, healthy fruit shakes, and hop based refreshments are had. Deutsche Bahn even boast airline style hospitality lounges. I doubt they would let us lot in even if we were holding the required credentials. May be next time.
We are all pretty knackered, and by the time we hit any thoughts of going out on the razz are forgotten by all but the hardy. Darren, Mike and I manage to make it out for a late night stein with an old colleague before collapsing back in our mini-dorm.
Start: Somewhere in Sweden. Has it gone dark yet ?
Train 10 – continued sleeper from Boden
Train 11 – 08:21 Stockholm to Sweden
Train 12 – – 15:44 Copenhagen to Hamburg
Train 13 – 21:07 Hamburg to Berlin
Finish: Berlin. Showers, stationary beds, and a lie in.
Also on this day
Paul’s Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_clarke/sets/72157634581554533/
Lloyd’s Blog http://www.lloydshepherd.com/2013/07/10/day-5-a-nordic-downturn/
Darren’s Blog http://blog.darrenf.org/2013/07/supersize-mike.html
Dave’s Blog http://disorientateddave.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/next-we-take-berlin-but-bit-late.html