Road, Rail and Rostock

We head down to the restaurant for breakfast. Our aim is the same as the previous mornings; to stuff our faces with as much food as possible and smuggle out a ham roll for a packed lunch. Mission accomplished we return to our room on the eleventh floor with city views of Oslo.

Our bus to Copenhagen leaves at 11.00 so it’s a quick shower, finish packing then off to the bus terminal that we’d recced the afternoon before. While we wait for the bus to arrive we chat with a woman from Peru about Jesus.

As we drive away from Oslo we pass by fjords and through tunnels cut deep into the dark rock. It’s been raining for several hours and small waterfalls cascade down the steep rock beside the road.

To start the view out of the windows is mainly of conifer trees but slowly the terrain flattens and arable farmland takes over. The wheat is still being harvested and I’m reminded of the fields in Lincolnshire that we’d walked through weeks previously. The only difference is the use of white plastic instead of black to wrap the bales that are dotted about the landscape like giant marshmallows.

A roundabout three miles from Ugglarp.

A roundabout three miles from Ugglarp.

We have two minor hiccoughs during the journey. The driver got lost in a road works diversion that takes us passed the Berte museum. I try to think of famous Berts that might be celebrated there but can only recall Burt Reynolds and I’m not too sure if he qualifies. The other I suggest was in the Muppets and I do a Kermit impression, ‘Hi Bert!’. The other was an unexpected change of bus at Gotëborg but neither were too distressing.

After Gotëborg – industrial – we make further stops at Halmstad – suburban – and Helsingborg that looked quite a grand and interesting harbour town. I was dozing at times and hadn’t realized we’d slipped into Sweden. One thing we did notice was the odd herd of cows appearing in the farmer’s fields and I did see one sheep too.

A quick cuppa at Malmö station.

A quick cuppa at Malmö station.

Our arrival in Malmö was a bit of an anticlimax. We’d originally planned to spend a night there but I’d managed to double book our beds for that night and was forced to cancel. Malmö didn’t look that exciting anyway but the hour we spent in the railway station was a pleasant enough experience. We bought two teas – Darjeeling and an Earl Grey – from Subway’s and a coconut marshmallow cake from the shop opposite.

Our train to Copenhagen was due on platform 1b. The previous train was delayed and was beside it as we walked along to a bench. Eventually, they decided to scrap it and make it our train time instead so we got on. We found seats next to a slender young man in a grey vest. He sat by the window tapping away at is MacBook that was plugged into the overhead power socket. He looked very intense and had stickers over the Apple logo – something to do with an anti taxation demonstration. Carole told me later that he had been replying to emails and was some sort of political activist.

This was going to be one of the highlights of our day; we was going to cross the Øresund Bridge – the star of the Scandinavian crime thriller, The Bridge, a television series we’d enjoyed a few months previously. We got all excited when we saw the metal steps and access platforms beside the railway where the final scenes of series one were so dramatically played out.

For such a long bridge it seemed a surprise how quickly we crossed it and within no time we pulled into Copenhagen Central.

Tonight we stay at the Urban House hostel in a six-person mixed dorm with ensuite bathroom. This place is alive with activity; people are chatting and drinking while a dude plays sax in the corner. We meet JP (Jean-Pierre) in our room; he’s a French-American and following a similar route to us. We discover later that the remaining berths are filled by two oriental lads – country of origin unknown – and a mystery man in the bunk above Carole – I only ever see his elbow.

It turns out Copenhagen has some interesting history that we manage to discover at the admission free museum. There was an exhibition about the white buses the Red Cross used to extract Danish Jews from the concentration camps just before the end of World War II that raised a few interesting moral questions.

Our journey to Berlin starts at 10.30pm. We’ve decided to try an overnight coach trip that is not only cheap but saves on a night’s accommodation too. The only annoyance was the American couple in front of us who immediately lay back their chairs as far as they go. Halfway through we have to decant and get on the ferry to Rostock arriving at our destination at 6.30am.