Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Visiting Vikings

Memories of a lovely time with some wonderful people in Paris are still fresh and it is to make sure they can follow this that I write this in English. I may have been to France, but quite frankly, English seems to be my strongest language these days. Also, I have fresh memories from some funny cat & mouse games with the police in Milan, but do you really want to read about that? Don't think so …

Recent experience has taught me that one of the loveliest areas in Europe, with even lovelier people must definitely be Scandinavia. So, let's talk about Denmark, shall we?

It was last year in July when I got this cheap cheap plane ticket to Copenhagen. I thought this might be a good opportunity to fill some gaps in my plane pictures collection and also a chance to finally get a sniff at visiting Scandinavia again, more than ten years after I had last been there. The way up to Copenhagen was almost boring, apart from the last few minutes on approach to Kastrup where my Helvetic eyes were treated to how they make use of the sea over there.

I made my way out of the airport into the very same approach path very quickly and got a first feel for what they apparently call normal weather. Living lightyears away from the North Sea I rather felt this was gale force wind. Nevermind that, once I was used to it, I had to change my position anyway. The Flyvergrillen on the other side of the airport is much more cosy and wind-protected, but probably the only thing close to a jungle in all of Denmark. None of the pictures taken from there would give that away however.

Firing rounds and rounds with a Canon generally makes one pretty hungry, so I decided to try out one of those nice danish hot-dog sandwiches. They are basically the five-star-deluxe version of what you get back home and should be easy to get there, because the people behind the bar should speak English, right? Everyone does so in Scandinavia, up to the extent that you'd even expect the boss' 13-year old child helping out at the kiosk to do so. Well, that particular girl didn't, but nonetheless, I got my sandwich and my Coke.


24 hours later, I had just left my last photography spot to head back to the warm safety of the terminal building. Flight radar information suggested that the plane for my flight back home had just left Basel on time, so I had to be back in the terminal in time too. Expecting a stroll through security I just hastily threw a look at the departures board. London Gatwick Gate 5, London Luton Gate 7, Stockholm Gate 6, Basel Gate … oh hang on … Basel cancelled. I am not one to spread panic if I see that word, but in this case cancelled was not going to mean "no photo", this time it meant "no way home".

Not surprisingly, mere ten years' experience in or around the airline business were now going to pay off. And while I have a habit of being generous to people in immediate need for help in complicated situations, this time it was a case of making hay before anyone else could. Thankfully I did not have to recover any luggage from anywhere and after a few text messages from and to my connection within the airline, I decided to proceed on my own. Proceeding by plane would have cost me an arm, a leg, some more and probably the entire next day. But in the back of my mind I had what I thought was something brilliant.

From running around in the terminal before I knew where the DSB railway counter was. I asked the lady behind the counter if she could get me a ticket for the night train. "Do you think you are the first one today?" she asked back with a dirty smile that beat almost anything that I had seen in Scandinavia before. The price? I did not care, because a) my airline was going to pay for it anyway and b) I was just glad to be in for another 15 hours of pain.

In downtown Copenhagen I did not have much time to lose, so I took a look at the Tivoli, albeit only from the outside and I treated myself to the traditional danish gourmet cathedrals that are McDonalds and Seven-Eleven. A burger, some fries, some danish pastry and some water for the long way down south. I probably paid a fortune for the train and the food, but the experience as a whole? Priceless!