Trip Start Oct 17, 2008
16Trip End Dec 2008
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Where I stayed
We had boarded a plane at Tromso's modern airport and taken off from an icy runway, then flown for about two hours over the most picturesque coastline ever witnessed by a living creature.
It was the best plane flight I have ever experienced... usually I am sitting in my cramped seat bored shitless, killing a sudoku and cursing my watch for moving so slowly, but this flight was spent with my nose pressed up against the window ohhh-ing and aaaah-ing at the majestic sight below.
The Norwegian coastline is a scattered mess of pure white mountains and deep blue fjords, there are magical twisting glaciers running down between pristine peaks, and giant frozen lakes surrounded by millions of icy christmas trees. I am not a religious person, but to see this spectacular scenery made me question my beliefs for a moment or so. If you ever have the chance to fly over northern Norway, make sure you book the window seat.
At this point I must suggest to anyone who is planning to travel up here: Spend some money on a really really really good camera!! I had bought a small pocket sized digital thing just before I left Australia, and had stupidly not taken it out and about to see what the photos would be like. Although I did get a few nice snaps with it, it has been a constant source of frustration when the lighting has been anything but absolutely perfect!! Luckily I had also brought my older camera, a fuji with a big lens, so things were not a complete blow out. Spend up is my suggestion, and make sure what you have isn't a toy. It's a shame when some of your best moments and experiences turn out blurry when you finally download them.
We landed at Oslo's airport, which is situated a lot further away from Oslo than it's name would suggest, then jumped on a local train to take us into the middle of the city. An hour later we finally pulled up at central station with about ten minutes left to make it to our ferry. Luckily the ferry was visible from the window of the train as we arrived, so it was a sprint from the train station to the ferry terminal where we sweatily bought our tickets and were ushered on board by grumpy staff, angry because we had held them up for about thirty seconds.
Once again we were in for a lengthy boat ride... 19 hours this time...
The buffet on this boat was no less expensive than the last... and didn't include free beer!!! There was much less of a crowd on this particular trip however, and it was a good opportunity to catch up on a bit of rest. I made the most of the cinema and the bar, then crawled into my tiny bunk and snored my head off until we arrived in Copenhagen.
The ferry terminal in Copenhagen is a short bus ride from the middle of town, and of course Danny and myself disembarked in the wrong place. I had picked up a tourist map from the ferry and after some serious head scratching, discovered that we were about ten blocks from where we should be. We jumped on a city train and made our way to the closest station to the hotel we had booked. It turned out to be more of a hostel than a hotel, and was situated on the edge of a very seedy red light district.
After checking in and walking up another dozen or so flights of stairs we arrived in our tiny scruffy room, unpacked, and headed out to see what was about.
Copenhagen wasn't quite what I'd expected.
Denmark seems to be a poorer country than I had imagined. In Australia we have had plenty of press regarding the Tasmanian girl who married the Danish crown prince, and the images of the wedding were of course filled with plenty of shiny gold things and other such opulance as a royal wedding should be.
Copenhagen turned out to be an ancient place with a beautiful old town filled with winding cobbled streets, (closed to traffic), and grand old buildings and statues. We walked the streets whilst the snow tumbled down, circling the shopping district and wandering through the grounds of the royal palace.. (unfortunately the palace was surrounded by scaffolding making the photo's a bit rubbish). We walked along ancient canals with some very touristy markets along them, then ate some absolute rubbish waffles before heading back to the hotel.
That night we decided to check out the red light district. It turned out to be a dank seedy couple of blocks on a cold and rainy night, dotted with street prostitutes and drug dealers loitering outside sex shops and gay bars with names like "The Spunk Bar". Perhaps it's just that we were there on a weeknight which happened to be very cold and damp, but I would'nt recommend the place. I didn't really feel all that comfortable or safe, so we headed back for an early night.
This district may have tarnished my view of Copenhagen as we were only in town for the one night and did'nt get to see much else, so once again we did'nt really get a great feel for the city. I did like it here though, so I'm going to have to come back for another look.
Next day it was more of the same; wandering around the old city trying not to spend too much of the dwindling balance of my bank account.
Eventually it was time to board the train and head off to Amsterdam.
The train is the only way to head south (as far as we could tell). Due to the terrain there seems to not be a bus service down to Germany.) The internet proved very frustrating when it came to finding transport from Copenhagen, and we found the easiest way to organise travel was to physically buy the tickets from the train station itself. This needs to be done at least half a day before you plan to depart, or you might find yourself in town for another night.
Off we set for another overnight train ride through Germany to Holland.