Koebenhavn H – Malmo C – Stockholm Central
I’m one of those people who hasn’t seen “The Bridge“, but I certainly know about it, as I do the Øresund Bridge after which it is named. I first crossed the bridge in 2006, way before the TV programme had even been thought of, and seeing it from the front row of a coach on my way into Copenhagen was one of my lasting memories of that trip.
On this occasion I’d left my hotel around 7:30am, and headed onto an early train to Malmö. I very nearly missed it as the main departures board noted a change of platform, helpfully crossing out the 3 and putting a 4 next to it. On platform 4, the overhead sign said it had moved to 5. I made it up and down the stairs with about a minute to spare.
Coming from the Danish side you do the tunnel first, emerging in the middle of the strait. The railway then tucks in to a box structure below the road deck so the views aren’t as good, but it is still a remarkable feat of engineering. The tunnel and bridge together are around 7.5 miles long. My newly learned bit of trivia is that they meet on an artificial island called Peberholm, which means “Pepper Islet.” the name was chosen by the Danes because just to the north is the natural Saltholm “Salt Islet.” I did say yesterday that I enjoyed the Danish sense of humour…
I changed trains in Malmö onto the very busy service to Stockholm. I’d pre-booked this but was glad that I had done so as almost every seat was taken for the whole five hour journey.
The line through the centre of Sweden seems to be an endless run of lakes on one side and forests on the other. Unfortunately, being in an aisle seat meant that taking photos was not easy, so I won’t share the very average results I got.
Arrival into Stockholm is quite impressive. The city is a series of islands, so the train passes through several tunnels and bridges. The station itself is rather charming. Oddly the historic large and impressive entrance is now an almost forgotten side door. The present main entrance is off to the right of this picture, at first floor level I took this shot from.
After a pre-arranged work call, I put my bags into a (horribly expensive) locker and headed for the Modern Art museum, when there was an exhibition I really wanted to see.
My first impression of Stockholm was that it had lots of substantial and to my untrained eye French-style architecture. The waterfront was very busy and an area that I thought was trip boats turned out to be effectively the bus station. There are so many islands that there is a constant flow of locals coming and going. The tourists are also well-served by boat, and if I had more time I would have done one of the trips.
My reason for wanting to visit the museum was an exhibition put together by and about Laurie Anderson. It was a mix of some of her older iconic works, including several of the modified violins used in the 80s, plus some new work, including a virtual reality piece, To The Moon, which was fabulous. After 15 minutes flying around wearing a headset, coming back to the real world felt very odd indeed.
She is thought of a singer and/or violinist, or maybe as a performance artist, and all that is true but more than anything she is a storyteller, and will use whatever medium is appropriate.
These images are a tiny selection of the exhibits, I spent over two hours in there and could happily have spent twice that, without even looking at the rest of the collection.
I walked around the waterfront and ended up on the island of Riddarholmen, which had some lovely old buildings and great views.
From there I went to the old town, which is absolutely beautiful. A match for anything I’ve seen on this whole adventure.
I walked back to the station through the main shopping area, which has some quite decent 20th Century architecture and as modern city centres go wasn’t bad.
I really liked Stockholm and feel I barely scratched the surface of the place in my 7 hours here. I will certainly come back here for another look, and it goes onto the favourites list, alongside Salzburg, Verona, Avignon and San Sebastián.
I boarded the sleeper around 9:45, for a 10pm departure. I’ve done one sleeper train before, from Frankfurt to Vienna, on the night that the UK left the EU (and I wanted to be well away from it all) but this cabin had a (tiny) en suite, making it significantly more luxurious than my previous experience. It’s a shame that they look spartan as they’re actually quite cosy and well thought out. I dropped my bags, checked in with the attendant and went to the restaurant car for a late evening glass of wine. There were only a handful of other people in there.
Just my luck, a work problem intervened and I had to go back to my cabin and get the laptop out for an hour, but I fell into bed around half past midnight. I didn’t make a note of where we were at that time so so the map below only shows the route as far as Stockholm.