We set out to travel from England to Asia without flying. A slower, more sedate approach, in a time when time flies and life is gone in a flash, we wanted to slow time and see things properly. We also wanted to see how we would cope with life on the road. So after 190 days rocking and rolling the final transport count from Kenilworth to Kuala Lumpur is:-
Is there anything I would do differently? At my age, I’d bring nasal hair trimmers.
Have we learnt anything? Well, we already suspected but now we know that your average person is kind and helpful and stereotypes are not always true. Russian and Chinese train conductors, grannies, shopkeepers, dinnerladies, waiters, hoteliers, policemen, security guards and people on the street have all helped us when we have been lost or in need of something. We thank them all.
Up early for the train to Copenhagen. We both commented on how short the train was and realised why when it drove onto a ferry to cross the water to Denmark. (For any train geeks, it was the most stylish interior so far).
We walked the 50 metres to the hostel and dropped our backpacks before setting off to explore with enthusiastic excitement at popping our Scandinavian cherry. Copenhagen is beautiful. Grand architecture, picturesque back streets and canals lined with quaint cottages and a cafe culture with very friendly English speaking locals. We would also discover that the locals like a beer.
We stopped for a posh butty with salad and fish in a small place which was possibly the coolest cafe I’ve trodden in. A really old building with ancient features big old tables and chipped crockery. New is not always better.
We checked in to our luxury 6 berth spacious dorm and wondered what our room mates would be like (best case = Danish women’s beach volleyball team. Worst case = Spanish stoners who shout instead of sleeping). The hostel recommended a bar which was handily located at the start of a self guided city tour so off we hiked via two dark imperial stouts. Our walk was bathed in glorious late summer sunshine and the city was coming out for Friday night so the atmosphere was fabulous. We entered a park where families and friends sat together drinking and soaking up the sun and as we try and always fit in we returned to a Netto we had passed for beer and reindeer salami and then to the park to observe the locals. Picnic finished, we walked down to see the little mermaid and use the facilities.
Walking back to the centre we came across a canal lined with bars and restaurants heaving with Copenhageners enjoying a Friday night. Sat across from them along the canal edge were more budget revellers indulging in cans of carlsberg and tuborg. We headed straight to the nearest can shop. The beer tasted sweet and the atmosphere was so enjoyable we decided to splash out on a second can, I returned from the shop to find Alison being “wooed” by a tanned suited local lothario. Tempted to just watch, I decided to do the right thing and rescue her by pushing him into the canal (joking).
Amazed by our frugality of drinking tins in the park and by the canal we thought we’d have one for the road in a building. Before you could say “We’re British” we came across the Lord Nelson selling pints of ale and playing 80s British rock. Perfect.
Heading home we saw the party bus sponsored by Malibu where drunk young revellers are driven around having a disco in a bus. Coming to the UK soon?
Finally we got home to find an aussie girl waiting up for us in our dorm. Neighbours eh?
Woken by beautiful late summer sunshine pouring through the curtains and the noise of subway trains from the station next to the hostel. Wandered into Hamburg through the historic dock area with its imposing red brick buildings, along the dock front to the edgy St Pauli area and along the seedy Reeperbahn which at midday was just full of drunks. A stroll through the city gardens led us to the centre where due to exhaustion and the extreme heat we had to rest for a cold lager and a currywurst. As usual though, this just inflamed our artistic curiosity so we visited the Museum for Kunst (careful spellcheck) to see a Japanese Hokusai and Manga exhibition. After an afternoon kebab, the heat drove us to a siesta and feeling refreshed we pottered into town for a very foreign experience of drinking lager and a kebab on the way home. (Yes, two kebabs in one day)
Just a day of travelling on trains today. See photo evidence below (yes, it does look like I was gazing adoringly at my husband!)
Obviously as we are experienced international train travellers (!) we have already done some of this route previously in January so knew the station layouts although Brussels certainly had massively increased security since we were last there in January, unsurprisingly. The feeling of unease was not helped by a bottle of water falling from the top of the escalators and landing on the table I was sat at!!
Food was salads for lunch, no photos as quite boring but welcome for us. Afternoon train snack was Germany smoked ham, cheese and Rye bread, seemed odd having no wine with it but we are not ready for that yet!
All trains were on time but in the 27 degree heat were disappointingly not air conditioned!
We arrived at Hamburg Haupfbahnhof and promptly got the wrong tube to our hostel. It was only one stop we needed to go FFS! Eventually arrived at our hostel although took some finding as it is right next door to a doner kebab shop which distracted us. We popped out for supermarket tea which is pictured below – 2 varieties of tinned herring, of which the tomato and mango was definitely the best, mini cucumbers, salt n pepper crisps! Really lush
Slept well according to fit bit but only walked a measly 8099 steps! As most of these involved carrying 12kg rucksack I think I did enough today!