Day 29 – wonderful – but expensive – Copenhagen

Hamburg Hbf – Koebenhavn H

An oddity of this trip as opposed to the previous two is that the schedule, at least for the northbound section, is fairly rigid. I’ve pre-booked a sleeper train from Stockholm on Wednesday evening so getting to that is clearly my priority. The original idea had been to go from Hamburg to Stockholm today, a long day with a quite tight connection in the middle, but doable. However a passing conversation made me think that this was not really necessary and a stop in Copenhagen was an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up. I’d still get more than half a day in Stockholm, if I took the 8am train.

Hamburg station in the morning was still as interesting. I had the sense that Cuneo would have enjoyed painting it and I even saw a mouse (or it might have been a rat) which was his trademark.

Hamburg Station
Hamburg Station

This was another day where I had plenty of work to do, but my eye was certainly drawn to a huge viaduct ahead of us, an hour and a half into the journey. It towered about the houses and fields and as we got closer I realised that it was a railway viaduct and we were heading over it.

The viaduct took us over a huge waterway and as we descended on the far side it curved in what was clearly the “wrong” direction. However it looped around and back under itself, very much like the Ffestiniog Railway or parts of the Bernina Express that I’d seen on the first part of this adventure.

I now know that this is the Rendsburger Hochbrücke (Rendsburg High Bridge) over the Kiel Canal. Really a quite astonishing structure.

Railway_loop_at_Rendsburg (source Open Railway Map)

Shortly after this, we paused in Padborg, at the border with Denmark. The train was here for a while as police wanted to see everyone’s passports. Mine got barely a glance so maybe they were looking for someone rather than it being a standard border check.

The train crew were changed here, and my First Class compartment was suddenly supplied with (self service) drinks and snacks, which we’d not had on the German side. A very friendly Danish train manager now welcomed us, apologising for the service running late due to problems “on the other side of the border” but assured us that all would be well now that we were in Denmark.

I had a bit of a chat with him when he came through to check the tickets and he was was a jolly in person as he was over the PA.

His sense of humour showed a little later in the journey when we came to a halt. He apologised that we were being held due to a contraflow but thought that we should get through the next time the lights turned green, after a train had come the other way.

Passing through the “contraflow”

Like the people, the scenery in Denmark is lovely. I enjoyed the dramatic views as we passed between Nyborg and Korsør, close to the Great Belt Bridge. I did momentarily wonder if the train was going to head over it but we actually dip into a tunnel as the road traffic start to climb. There is some interesting architecture on the way into Copenhagen and the station is unsurprisingly attractive. I especially liked the lighting.

The previous time I was in Copenhagen, around 15 years ago, I bought what is to this day the most expensive pint of cider I’ve ever had and true to form on this trip I ended up in the most expensive hotel that I’ve ever paid for myself. There were options that were moderately priced but all had dreadful reviews. I upped my price limit slightly and found some “OK” places but they were well away from the centre and in the end I went with a brand that I know and like, and have used in multiple countries. It was fine, though by their standards the rooms were small, and the price was 50% higher than either their Berlin or Brussels hotels, which I’d used on the two previous legs of this journey. I passed on the offer of an £18 breakfast buffet; with an early morning departure I wouldn’t do it justice anyway.

Bags dropped, I headed into the city. I’d already walked past the Tivoli, which I’d visited last time I was here so thought I had my bearings, but briefly got lost on my way down to the Nyhavn district, but did happen across a fabulous but seemingly unmarked underwater sculpture. Nyhavn is what I remember most of this city from my previous visit, and it is still lovely.

I decided to walk along the waterfront to the Little Mermaid statue, which I’d only seen from the water when I did a boat trip on my previous visit. There is some super modern architecture which sits well among the older buildings of this historic city. The also REALLY like their sculptures, and many of them are very well done.

The Little Mermaid was donated to the city in 1913 by a local brewery owner who fell in love with the character, when he saw a ballet based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. His wife posed for the statue, which presumably explains why she has legs rather than fins.

I walked back to the city through an area of cherry blossom and then past the Amalienborg palaces, with their uniformed guards dramatically patrolling the various buildings.

After eating I went for a walk around a bit more of the city and ended up by the Tivoli. I’d walked around this for free last time I was here, and would have liked to do so again as I no longer have the photos I took that day, but it is now primarily a theme park and I passed on the near £40 entrance fee.

After that it was back to the hotel, as we had work planned that evening, which went on until well after midnight.

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  1. Celia Lyon

    Some fine sculptures indeed.
    Do you get to go over/under the Oresund bridge? I drive over it last time we were there, truly stunning bridge

    • Yes I crossed it yesterday morning, though I have previously done it both by train and on a coach. Having done both, I think it is more dramatic by road than rail, but it is a wonderful structure either way.

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