120609 Hamburg back to Copenhagen

Jim: At the Sofitel we awoke early so we could have breakfast with Louise. The breakfast area in the hotel (not free this time 29 Euros each) was very large and the buffet was quite splendid. One could have American or German breakfast or the best of both. We had PLENTY of breakfast then adjourned to the lobby to chat until we needed to disappear to the 8th floor and prepare our bags for the train ride back to Copenhagen.

While chatting, Louise gave us a wonderful coffee-table picture book of Britain. It is just beautiful. The trouble was that we are maxed out on luggage weight and the book weighed four pounds, so I asked Louise if she would send it to us — never dreaming that the postage would exceed the cost of the book — a big mistake on my part. But I think we were a little dithered about the impending trip back to the States.

After the goodbye’s that Sylvia described (in yesterday’s blog), we left in a taxi for the train station about 12:30PM. The hotel really wasn’t that far from the Hauptbahnhof (train station) as the crow flies, but we now have 150 pounds of luggage in tow so we’re beginning to get tired of schlepping it around. So the taxi it is.

The difference this time is that we arrived at a train station that was semi-familiar to us, so we were able to walk directly to the platform — which we did. We waited a few minutes on the platform before the train arrived. There were more cars this time so it took some moving around to find our actual car. We then hoisted the luggage aboard. Again familiarity made all the difference. The actual car was the identical one from last Monday and our seats were the identical seats. I noticed immediately that there were no other assignments to the other two seats in our mini-compartment — on Monday when we boarded it told us at which stop we could expect two more people. This time, the other two were blank — which meant that they were not reserved. We settled in for the ride to Copenhagen.

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Sylvia: To me the transition was the smoothest we have had yet. We are traveling on the train now from Hamburg back to Copenhagen. The most difficult part of the event was heaving our luggage, the two large suitcases weighing 50 lbs. each, up onto the luggage rack, about 50 feet over our heads. Jim made it seem so easy! My superman!

We sit now, moving at a high rate of speed, about 80 miles an hour. At this speed the curves have high centrifugal force. I had a bit of fun as I made my way to the tiny snack bar, swinging to and fro most of the way.

Pretty soon our ride will be interrupted as we move onto the huge ferry boat to cross the Baltic once more, this time into Denmark. The first time Jim explained what was going to happen, the notion of floating a train on a ferry seemed incredible. Quoting my friend Louise, “I could not get my head around it.”

Everybody has to get off when the train is completely on the ferry. We walk for a little while on a very narrow sidewalk, then pant our way up several flights of stairs into the ferry proper. Since this was the second time in less than a week, I feel I know my way around the ferry. (This is not exactly true. On the way back to our train compartment, I noticed another flight of stairs that lead up to another level for passengers to sit out the crossing.)

One can do a bit of shopping on the ferry. There are clothes shops, jewelry shops, food courts, and more. In a shopping area that carried bottles of spirits I also found an aisle that carried candy! Um, um! Huge Toblers caught my eye. (At the end of the trip, the candy was the only customs declaration we made.)

Another thing you can do is, make sure you bring your iPad off the train with you, find a little table near the window, plug in your earphones to listen to your music or your audible book, and journalize, write a letter or a blog that can be sent to someone when you get into a WiFi area again. 🙂

It is so very green outside my window as we speed along. In fact it has been green and lush everywhere we have been. We were so lucky that we had no torrential rains as we traveled during our driving. (There was that one time in St. Petersburg, and the one time as we were traveling from Hamburg to Marburg, but other than that I’m not lying.)

The night we stayed in Bayreuth a wonderful heavy rain began as soon as we settled in for the night. We opened our windows (against hotel rules), drank in the fresh cleansing air, and enjoyed the sound of the raindrops on the plants and grounds. The next morning, as we made our way to the airport, the air was still fresh. The beautiful blue and white sky reminded us of Heber. We decided it was probably time to go home. Such adventures! Such unusual people we met on board the ship and in the German and Austrian cities and dorfs. Such sights and sounds. Such things as we never supposed.

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Jim: As before, after about an hour and 15 minutes we came to the Baltic Shore and were required to vacate the seats and go to a waiting area on the ferry. The ferry ride is about 45 minutes. This time, again, we knew the ropes, so I found a table while Sylvia wandered for a few minutes, then I went over to the on-board cafeteria and got a Bratwurst with a Coke. It was actually really good !!

The time came to re-board the train, so we made our way downstairs and took up our places and chilled with music and reading (iPads were made for this!!) for the two hour ride back to Copenhagen. It was a bit overcast all the way back to Denmark.

We arrived right on time and took another taxi. This time we went to the Crowne Plaza Hotel which was out closer to the airport. I think one of the reasons I chose this hotel was because they have an airport shuttle for tomorrow morning. It was a wonderful hotel — very new — very modern — but not quite as over-the-top modern as Sofitel had been. We had no time to get into Copenhagen for this leg of the trip. We didn’t get to see Thorvaldsen’s Christus (the original) nor did we get back to the Hard Rock Cafe for the THIRD time. After getting squared away in our room, we went to a very nice grill-type restaurant in the hotel and had dinner. It was pretty good, if not great. We then retired to our room. Again, there was only BBC news for English-speakers so we watched something on my iPad then turned in for the night. Tomorrow will be a big and a long day, so sleep is a good thing 🙂

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