Well… it’s been an eventful few days. On Thursday, Malin had a gig at a private party, a graduation event. I tagged along and let me tell you, the rich know how to live! Malin’s show was great and it was kinda cool being introduced to the host as the American Journalist writing an article on his entertainment. Thursday night was late again as I packed and prepared for Friday morning, when I was going to take a sidetrip with Christina and Henrik, Malin’s sister and her boyfriend, to a little place called Puttgarden in Germany. The plan was to go to Puttgarden, then spend a bit of time in Copenhagen, then they would drop me off at the bus station. You already know how that ended so I won’t repeat it, but let me tell you about Puttgarden…
The only reason to go to Puttgarden is to buy alcohol. Seriously. The Swedes and the Danes take a ferry from Rodby, on the Southern tip of Denmark, to this little port village where the company which runs the ferry service has set up a four story floating liquor store at discount prices. This place is the Costco/Sam’s Club of booze, complete with the buffet! That’s right, everywhere you turn, some product is being offered up in sample form. I tried a bitter, which was, and a nice taste of scotch. But my favorite, pictured here, is teh wall with all the wine boxes! Yes, I said wall and yes, I said wine boxes! Crazy stuff! Of course, the ferry itself was fun since as soon as it crossed from one country to another they open up a duty free shop and the crowds go wild. It’s like a cruise in microcosm!
On the way back, Christina, Henrik and I discussed American politics, then we hit Copenhagen. We had lunch at a fun little place on the water called Cap Hack, where they didn’t have a burger, they had a “hurger.” when we asked the waitress what the difference was, she said there wasn’t any, it was a joke since the place was called “hack.” then she said she had to explain it a lot.
We wandered a bit, trying to find a now defunct Hans Christian Andersen shop then they left me at the station. After sorting out a train ticket and bed for the night, I went back into town and checked out the Museum of Erotica.
This morning I woke up early, afraid I would miss my train, and headed down to the station. Got on the train no problem and ended up sitting with a girl from Denmark (but who currently lives in Ecuador) named Ida. We spent the who trip kibbutzing away. We really started bonding, though, when we started talking about Puttgarden (remember Puttgarden from a few paragraphs ago?). It seems the train was going through Puttgarden, then through Hamburg then on into Berlin. Well, I became the resident Puttgarden expert seeing as I’d been there the day before. We decided I was going to be the new Puttgarden tour guide, maybe in an exchange program with a Puttgardner (don’t know if that’s what they’re called, but it should be if it’s not). Then, we wondered how the train was going to get from Denmark to Germany since there’s no bridge! Guess what? That’s right, back on the ferry! So Ida and I ended up on deck, looking for whales! Now, evidently, there are no whales in the little channel between Denmark and Germany so our looking was rather futile, but you know me… I looked anyway and quite diligently! Then we determined our ferry pilot was tired of life and the boring run between the tow countries to bring home snookered Danes and was going to commit suicide by running us into a tanker which was crossing our path!
He didn’t, but it was funny to think about how he had one of the most boring jobs in the world, like a grown-up version of driving the rafts back and forth to Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland. Once we were back on the train, we started trying to spot the differences between the German and the Danish landscapes. There weren’t many. And of course, I was trying to be smart and relate it all back to literature and wondered about Robin Hood in the German countryside. Yeah, it took me about that long as well to realize he was English, too. So that became a running joke for the rest of the ride.
When we finally got to Berlin, there was a bit of an issue since our train was rerouted and we didn’t go to the station we were supposed to go to. Instead, we ended up a few stops away. Of course, Ida’s boyfriend was supposed to pick her up and she had forgotten the cell number of his friend with whom he was staying (he’s studying in Berlin currently and she was coming to spend the weekend with him). After waiting for a bit at the place we were dropped off, I accompanied her to the Central station (where I needed to go as well). We ran around looking for the boyfriend until we made the prudent choice to log into the station’s wifi so she could look up the number and call him. The friend answered and told us to wait for them at McDonald’s. We then decided McDonald’s should just be the central meeting place since so far, every major travel station I’ve been inside this trip has had a Mickey D’s! When he finally arrived, I said goodbye and figured I should have a “Royale with cheese” which, yes, is what they’re called here in Germany.
And now, I’m all checked in at the hostel, have my connection set up and a rough plan for tomorrow. I’m gonna take a tour of the city with a group, just to get the lay of the land. I might even stay an extra day to make sure I see everything.