Monday 16th September: Stockholm to Cologne
Train Ticket: 6 berth sleeper – 112.50 Euros, bought a month before at http://www.Bahn.de
Scheduled departure/arrival times: 12:21 to 06:59 Tuesday
Actual departure/arrival time: 12:21 to 06:51
After about 2 hours sleep on the ferry and couple too many shots, I walked slowly to the hostel trying to clear the cobwebs. That was unsuccessful, but it was good to see the sun rising over Stockholm.
I desperately hoped that I could get into my bed a lot earlier than the designated check-in time. The hostel was full and I couldn’t get in till 2pm,which was a long way away.
So I had a second crack at cobweb removal by hiring a bike and cycling round the city for the morning. This seemed to do the trick. Similar to Helsinki, Stockholm is made up by a lot of islands. A lot closer together though, as there all connected by bridges. Lots of cobbled streets, grand old buildings and interesting looking alleys in this cycle friendly city. The Swedes are an attractive bunch, well-heeled too. I felt as though I was cycling round the set of a Ralph Lauren advert.
The big news in Stockholm was that the King of Sweden was throwing a party to commemorate his 40 year reign. He was opening up the Palace and putting on various music bands through the afternoon and evening. This meant a lot of people were walking round the city waving Swedish flags or wearing blue and yellow viking hats.
After a little power nap I walked into the courtyard of the very plush hostel, where a Lindy hopping dance lesson was starting before going to the palace to perfect newly learnt moves. I thought why not and accepted the invitation to join the class. I was a natural and I imagine I looked a bit like this after about 30 mins practice: Lindy Hop
We walked down to the Palace with a group of other Lindy hop students from the hostel. The concert was taking place in one of the interior courtyards. A big band was just starting and the crowd started dancing. Not dancing like we dance in England or Singapore at a concert, basically bouncing up and down with perhaps a shoulder shake. Oh no, the Swedes do things properly grab your partner by the hand then intricate steps, twirls and jumps.
The band apparently was a big favourite of the King’s and without much fanfare or security presence he watched in the crowd with everyone else. Couldn’t imagine Queen Lizzy doing that.
A quiet night and a lazy morning blogging meant I was refreshed the next day as I continued to my next stop in Germany. It was a grey, wet morning as I left from the Central Station on a tilting express train down to Copenhagen. The train was packed and was very much a commuter train with people hopping on and off or catching up on sleep. Not a chatty place.
I had just over an hour wait once we had arrived in Copenhagen. A couple of people had recommend the hotdogs with the works served from little stalls in Denmark. I was disappointed not to find one. Soon I hopped on the overnight train heading to Amsterdam but I was getting off a couple of hours earlier the next morning in Cologne.
I was sharing a carriage with one other for once, a young man studying in architecture in Milan who hailed from China via Brisbane. He had the same camera as me so we had a good chat about camera functions.
I got one last great train sunset while peering out the window. I’ll miss those.
We crossed an impressively huge bridge, which must have been one of the longest in the world it went on for miles!
Once it was dark, I went down to investigate the German Dining Cart and had some good food, bread and beer. Also met a friendly American couple who seemed very interested in my trip. So I bored them to bed.
After pretty poor nights sleep, we arrived in Cologne a little ahead of schedule, just as the sun started to rise.