I think in the end I was a bit scared to actually go. Normally as I approach a deadline I get super efficient and get everything done like Super Woman and I was counting on that burst of energy and anxiety to kick in. But as this deadline approached, I found myself stalling and not being efficient at all. Was I having second thoughts about it all? Was I actually a bit nervous, even though it’s what I’ve wanted for so long? Did I really want to go? I’m not sure exactly what was floating about in my subconscious, but I know it was slowing me down.
But perhaps the problem was only that we didn’t have a completely set deadline – we hadn’t booked the first leg of the trip to Malmö, since the prices didn’t seem to change, and I didn’t want to miss a deadline since preparations for something like this always take longer than we think. The only deadline was that we had to catch the train from Malmö to Stockholm on Thursday morning.
Thus, whatever the reason, although we wanted to leave Monday or Tuesday to give us a chance to see our friend in Malmö, we ended up leaving Wednesday morning. We got to the train station on time, thanks to a dear friend who offered to drive us to the station, got our tickets (which actually had gone up in price – oops), and got on our train from Utrecht to the Dutch border town of Enschede.
The first leg was a bit anti-climactic. Dutch trains are not exactly a novelty for us, so it still didn’t feel quite real. But adventure and dealing with real travel problems came along soon enough, caused by those same Dutch trains, which got us into Enschede 16 minutes late, exactly 5 minutes after our German train had left.
That five minutes meant that we were immediately two hours behind since the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen only goes that often. But, it probably was inevitable, since the route involves six trains and none of the transfer times weren’t especially long.
As it was, we made the other connections (even found seats on the train from Muenster to Hamburg that said not to board without reservations), and we had a bit of time in Hamburg to arrange seat reservations for that leg and get some food to eat, including a jar of good German pickles for the kids, which was gone by the time the train got to the ferry and drove onto it.
On the ferry we had to get off the train and go upstairs, which gave the kids a chance to monkey around,
before getting back on the train to get off the ferry and get to Copenhagen. Then quickly through the train station to get a ticket to Malmö and get through passport control to get on the train.
On the last leg, we had to wait a long time at the first Malmö stop – apparently they used to recheck everyone, but now it’s only spot checks. The kids fell asleep and we had to wake them to get them off the train – L literally sleep walking until we could get his eyes to open.
My friend met us at the station and was a wonderful hostess for an all too short time – I would have loved to stay longer and have a good catch up with her – we will have to go back there. In the morning she got us back on the bus to the Central Station and we got our train, with time to spare to buy cinnamon rolls and lunch before boarding an old-fashioned train to Stockholm.
In Stockholm, we were picked up by my very kind family member (second cousin once removed I think, but who’s counting) and the visit with family began.
The only question that is bugging us about this all, is do we count Denmark as a country that Ivo, L and K have visited? (I was there on my trip in 2004, twice). Normally, our rule is that you can’t count a country if you don’t leave the airport or get off the train, but we only got off at the train station and transited quickly to Sweden. What do you think? I think not, but I may be biased because I don’t want Ivo catching up to me.