Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Planes,Trains and Ships

With some buses, trams and unfortunately some taxis.
I dream that one day I will front up at the airport and be asked if I would like an upgrade. It did actually happen way back in 1980 between London and New York but sadly not likely these days.
The flight from Sydney to Bangkok was bearable at just over 9 hours arriving 4.30pm . Sadly the hotel shuttle bus did not arrive but a taxi in Bangkok is not expensive and my hotel is in sight of the airport. I did have the shuttle back the next day for the Midday flight to Frankfurt. However all the Europeans were flying home from their summer holidays and I was jampacked into the middle of a row of French people for over 11 hours. The Thai Aircraft was the same type as I remember 2 years ago with just one central screen. Although staying in Bangkok is cheaper I think I will choose Singapore or Hong Kong for a stopover when I next decide to brave the flight to Europe. Being a Europhile who hates flying is a problem.

I arrived Frankfurt at 7pm (Midnight Bangkok time, 3am in Sydney) but managed to focus enough to travel the 15 mins by S-Bahn(metro) to the main station and my hotel where I stayed in 2008 was across the road. They did not have my booking although I had a printout but luckily they had rooms or I might have dissolved on the spot.

Saturday I was on the fast ICE train by 9am and arrived in Hamburg just after midday where I bought a salad roll while waiting for the connection to Copenhagen. On that train I sat opposite an elderly German lady who had been to New Zealand and Australia. My poor German and her poor English (she occasionally threw in French words) resulted in a limited conversation.

The train goes onto a ferry at Puttgarten and we all had to detrain and go upstairs where I experienced my first very expensive Scandinavian coffee.

Into Copenhagen at 5pm and the hotel was not too far away. It was called the Cab Inn and the room was tiny like a ship's cabin. I am finding the rooms getting smaller but more expensive as I go north. I went to a Pizza restaurant and the simple salami pizza, 2 glasses of wine (you could not get just one glass) and a lemon sorbet (it was terribly humid) came to 60 Australian dollars (NZ75, US53). I am glad all my meals are paid for on the ship over the next 10 days or I would be on a diet.

I did not expect the high humidity, it was higher in Bangkok but aircon everywhere but no such luxuries in Copenhagen, so it was a sleepless night.

Sunday I left my luggage in the hotel locker and set out by a local bus to the Amelienborg palace.  As it began to rain, I went  into the Royal museum. The guide book said only of interest to Danes but I am an Australian Royalist and loved seeing photos of 'our' Princess Mary with Prince Frederick and generally the history and room furnishings were interesting. When I came out it was pouring and I took refuge with others in a bar under a large umbrella. The $6 beer was well worth it this time. Fortunately the storm stopped. I had seen poor souls going past in the tour barges in plastic raincoats looking miserable but found a barge with perspex covers (over on right in picture) which was actually cheaper and obviously more popular. It did not actually rain for my hour tour of the harbour and canals.

 then wandered the streets (picture is of statue of Hans christian Andersen obviously) and bought  lunch again seeking cover from just a shower until 3pm when I collected my bags. Rain began heavier but I reached the station fairly unscathed and caught the metro 4 stops to a station about 500 metres from the wharf. My plan to walk the rest of the way was thwarted by another huge downpour and so I called a taxi.
I am not sure of the cause of the altercation at the wharf. As we pulled up the taxi behind blew his horn and then parked so close to mine that we could not open the back (a hatch back style) to get my luggage. The 2 drivers had words but there was no budging and my driver finally hauled my bags through the front. By this time I was soaked and I am afraid I told the 2nd driver what I thought of him in good Aussie language I usually keep under my breath.

The time on the ship (about 15 hours) was very enjoyable and the next morning we arrived in Oslo in beautiful weather although I splurged on a taxi to the hotel rather than negotiate the bus with my bags. I was pleasantly surprised to find my room available at 10 am.
However I was soon out to see some of the city which I will relate later.  (picture sailing up Oslo Fiord)
Although Monday was hot and sunny (but not humid like Copenhagen) it rained much of the way by train on Tuesday to Bergen and it is pouring now on Wednesday morning. I have bought a Bergen card and may spend much of the day in museums until boarding the SS Richard With at 4pm. I am not sure of the internet facilities on board so may have to save up messages until I leave at Trondheim in 10 days


Fran said...

The ups and downs of travel - but such adventure! Good wishes continue!!

Birdie said...

Wow, I'm exhausted just reading about it! When do you rest? I'm especially enjoying your pictures.

Sophytofu said...

Oh, Brain what a trip, you have done so far. I am looking forward too hear more about your boattrip a long the fjords. And I hope the weather will improve.