Train-hopping from Denmark to the Heart of the Czech Republic (Part I)

Waiting for a train at Malmö Centrale in the dead of the night is not fun. My head felt all foggy, like the blurriness of this tired photo.

07/05/12 3:20PM, Schöna, entering Czech Republic along river (later found to be River Elbe, which flows from Northern Czech Republic, through Germany and into the North Sea)

Sorry, I’d completely fallen asleep last night and was in no mind to write.

Long story short, instead of taking the sleeper train 21:25-06:08 from Malmö to Praha, we train-hopped across Denmark in the dead of the night, extending our trip by some (passing Vilsnice Station) 7 hours. To my relief everyone handled the situation surprisingly well, probably just one of defeat and acceptance. We could’ve also found a place to rest and catch the 06:53 train to Berlin but we couldn’t see the point as it wasn’t comfortable loitering on the station benches anyway.

We grabbed some Burger King (passing Povrly), an Asian sandwich and a salmon salad using some newly exchanged Swedish kroners, cheated a coin-demanding restroom (by holding the door between turns- snap!), and waited… and waited… until boarding at 1:33am for a quick 40 minute train to Kobenhavn. Good evening to you, capital of Denmark. There we changed to a 2 hour ride to the coastal Danish town of Fredericia, where we sat in a lightly lit waiting hall for 1.5 hours til the 7-Eleven opened (we did not bother exchanging Danish kroners so Mom swiped her credit card (hallelujah) without a word of complaint) and our train for Flensburg at 06:33am departed. At this Northern-most town of Germany, we made a painless 5 minute transfer to Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany.

Along the way we saw many charming red-brick houses with multiple attic windows, classic chimneys, and large well-kept lawns. To me, the houses evoked a wealthy life but after passing them ubiquitously throughout the day I realized they were quite common. Probably an effect of living in Hong Kong, where space = money. Already I notice the striking [insert correct era] architecture upon entering the outskirts of Hamburg, and the train station reminded me very much of King’s Cross, London, with its spacious curved steel-frame ceiling and numerous indoor tracks. I was also pleased by the availability/sheer variety of kiosks and shops to choose from; that reassurance only brought to me by the true hustle and bustle of urban cities.

Well, after Hamburg we arrived in and departed from Berlin at 12:46pm. The 1st class compartment from Hamburg to Berlin was EXCELLENT. We dibbed our very own family cubicle with a full-length wooden dining table and wide, cushioned seats. All I failed to find was the socket for my earphones to listen to some music, since my iPod had bailed on me. Just to catch (insert illegible word) (what the hell was I writing?) we then passed Dresden, Schöna, Ustí, and are now (16:50) en route to Praha hl. n. station in the Czech Republic. We’ve been travelling along a river since leaving Dresden but now (passing Hrdly) our tracks have become flanked by cornfields instead.

The Czech country is visibly distinctive from Germany. The same farmhouses and barns look older and unrepaired, with sunken excavations fo plaster, exposing bare bricks. While we were on the river, its opposite bank sported continuous walls of rock faces on which tall woodsy trees grew thickly, some seeming to have burst forth, against gravity, from the cracks of stone. I saw 2 ancient medieval castles perched atop these cliffs and even an arched bridge connected to precarious looking rock faces. Now I see why height was a military advantage.

And now I’m just enjoying the scenery, feeling unlike the sunny weather outside, and dying for a proper shower. My mouth feels gross and greasy from all the biscuits and chips eaten for lunch. Should’ve known that even the plainest biscuits leave an acid, saccharine mark in the mouth after all the starch has been broken down into glucose. Yuck. I’ll probably nap again until we arrive in an hour.

[To Be Continued]

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