Monday, April 9, 2012

Around the World: Copenhagen

April 9, 1992

After spending yesterday afternoon trying to pull my melancholy up, I kicked it off and tossed it in a trash can on the way to the train station last night. There's something in the air here, an allergen possibly, that makes me travel weary and I'm not ready to go home just yet.  Maybe it's the chill in the air.  Maybe it's Germany.  The plan was to head to Berlin and sleep on the train last night, but that's not what happened.

I've learned not to argue with the fates.  The train going to Berlin was missing.  I'm sure someone knew where it was, it just wasn't where it was supposed to be, on the track in front of me.  Instead, there was a collection of army green coaches, either heading to or coming from Poland.  Through the windows, I could see the coaches packed with furniture, chair and table legs, lamps, drawers all piled in a heap around the passengers.  Further down the platform at the end of the train, are three empty orange coaches.  The train will split along the way and these orange cars are going to Copenhagen.

Well, why not?

Very early this morning, the conductor wakes everybody up in Puttgarden to announce that the train is going to be loaded onto a ship.  When the ship arrives on Denmark soil, the train is unloaded and the two passengers in my couchette leave.  I now have the entire couchette to myself.  After my ticket is checked and the conductor leaves, I realize the door is jammed shut.  I'm only going to sleep and it looks like no one will be bothering me without a good reason, like rescuing me when the train arrives in Copenhagen.

The air here is definitely different.  I am trying to control the urge to laugh out loud remembering the words of Jorn, one of the many backpackers from Sunny's Guest House in New Delhi.  Every morning, the same Indian waiter would come to take his tea away, asking, "You finish?" to which Jorn always replied, "No, I'm Danish."  I can feel that same silliness in the air here, and it's making me giddy.  Someone approaches me speaking a language I don't understand.  "Sorry, I don't speak Danish" I respond. Or turnover, or strudel.....

I have to find tourist info to get some Danish krone and a map.  The first challenge is figuring out how to use the coin operated locks with Danish instructions.  My backpack doesn't fit in the less expensive, smaller coin operated lockers and I need to purchase a special token for the larger one.  The machine that dispenses tokens only accepts 10 krone coins and the only krone coin I have says "20".  A nearby hot dog stand can't help me.  It appears that changing my 20 krone coin into two 10's is a major undertaking and I am directed to the post office, where my dilemma is resolved while waiting in line.

My next mission is locating a place that serves coffee.  A nearby cafe makes yummy smoked salmon sandwiches for ridiculously cheap.

It's brisk, but pleasant enough as long as long as I keep moving.  I stop to feed some ducks in a few parks, take pictures of a mermaid statue in the harbour and buy some postcard size prints of paintings by Salvadore Dali. Copenhagen seems to have cured my melancholy.

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"If you're feeling low, don't despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back up every morning. The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
~ Dolly Parton