So we arrived in Hamburg in Germany, and checked into our hotel. We knew we needed to go to Copenhagen on Sunday, because we had a hotel reservation, so we went to the train station to get the tickets. What a deal.
10:53 Depart Hamburg Hbf
14:14 Arrive Fredericia in Denmark
14:21 Depart Fredericia
16:08 Arrive Copenhagen
Five hours and 15 minutes, $110.96 each. What’s not to like? See the map. There is continuous land from Hamburg to Fredericia, and bridges cross any inconvenient water. Especially observe the very long bridge labeled E20 on the map.
So we showed our schedule to the nice lady at the ticket office, and she gave a look. No way. You can’t go. The train is booked.
Ja, the Danes are returning from holiday, and the train is booked solid. But…
But there is an option.
17:28 Depart Hamburg on train EC39
20:13 Arrive Rødby
20:25 Depart Rødby by bus
22:40 Arrive Copenhagen
Five hours and 12 minutes for $88.41 each. What’s not to like?
Except we have to check out of our hotel in Hamburg at 11:00, and we have to cool our heels for six and a half hours before we catch our train. And we don’t arrive until after ten o’clock at night. And what about this bus?
The woman said not to worry. The train will take us across the ferry, and the bus will be waiting for the train. You get off the train, get on the bus, and off you go to Copenhagen.
There is something to be said for talking to an actual person when buying your tickets. This woman sells hundreds of these every week, and she knows how things work.
But the train on a ferry? You have got to be kidding me. We are going to see about that. And we did.
The day came, and Barbara decided we should spend the afternoon camped out at the train station, especially since rain was forecast. And so we did, having a nice lunch and photographing trains.
The Hamburg station is most cool. There is a humongous mezzanine surrounding a gaping cutout in the station floor, allowing you to visit the multitude of shops and also to view trains down on the tracks.
And we caught our train out of Hamburg.
Things being a bit hectic I put off photographing until the train got to the ferry. The ferry goes from the German island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea, and the tracks end at the ferry port at Puttgarden. The ferry was there, waiting for the train. Fortunately it is a huge ferry. Fortunately it is a short train, two very long rail cars. With hardly a catch of breath, the engineer drove the train down the dock and across the ramp, onto the ferry.
At this point everybody was ordered to get off the train. You can not set off on a sea voyage seated in a rail car. In event of a disaster there would be no escape. Leaving our bags we trooped topside with the other hundred plus passengers and found ourselves in a nice dining hall. I got Barbara situated and walked over to the counter to get some beers. Just what we needed.
Special note. We arrived with only euros and dollars. I paid in euros. The clerk gave me change in kroner. Yes, the ferry is a Danish vessel.
We finished our beers and went out to enjoy the voyage. It was the first time Barbara had seen the Baltic.
Yes, this truly is an ocean voyage.
The ferry docked, and all train passengers were ordered to return to their seats. I had a few seconds to get some photos before Barbara barked at me.
Yes, it’s a tight fit alongside the train on the ferry.
And the ferry docked, and the train started up, and we rolled seamlessly ashore. The train took off and traveled another 200 yards. Then it stopped. Everybody got off the train, taking their bags, and we boarded two very large buses.
No more photos for the next hundred miles. The driver got out on the highway and put his foot to the pedal, not using the brakes until we exited for Copenhagen. In the meantime nothing to see except farmland. There are exits along this motorway, apparently going to towns along the way, but there are no business, not even service stops, along the motorway.
Much earlier than advertised, we began to see civilization, and we were maneuvering through the streets of Copenhagen. The bus pulled into its spot in front of the Copenhagen train station, and we knew we had arrived, because there was the McDonald’s. By this point we had figured that McDonald’s long ago set in place a plan to feature a prominent restaurant at the main train station in every town in Europe, either out front or somewhere inside the station. In all our travels we never once ate at McDonald’s.