Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trains, Planes, Danes and Skåne

Copenhagen airport - rail platformMy 11.30 flight from Heathrow was substantially delayed due to weather conditions in central Europe.  The baggage checkin process was also so slow that it took more time to move through the 20 people ahead of me in the queue than to be driven in to the airport from Brentford. I had my own mental version of the events as seen from the clerk’s POV as he calls up to his supervisor: “there’s more of them coming right at me, and they’ve all got suitcases!”

To avoid paying flight delay compensation to passengers I think BA ended up boarding us and sitting on the tarmac for ages before taking off after the time when I would have been touching down in Copenhagen.

Even the best of overheard conversations can’t make up for 4 hours in Terminal 5, but this gem came from an old lady sitting next to me: “On my last trip to America we went to the Grand Canyon. It had just been built.”

An uneventful flight saw us safely into sunny but snowy Copenhagen where I quickly cleared the entry officials ( it helps when you’re not seen as an unspeakable colonial ) and by following Gustav’s earlier-sent instructions bought a train ticket to Ängelholm , with just over five minutes spare to get to the platform under the airport for the next service.
Once again I crossed the Oresund bridge, this time on the lower train deck, with a view of Malmö to my left and a field of wind-turbines sprouting from the Baltic to my right. The train is a connection-free journey via Lund, Helsingborg and terminating way beyond Ängelholm in Gothenburg. The service announcements are in Swedish and English, firstly using the Swedish Yrtrbrg, and then an almost American twang to the precisely enunciated Goth-en-burg. (NB Skåne does not rhyme with rain).

I asked the Vodafone store at Heathrow if my PAYG SIM would allow me to place and receive SMS messages when I was in Denmark, Sweden and finally Sydney. They assured me that it would. WRONG ANSWER.

Gustav waiting for me at Angleholm My 4.46 train saw me into Ängelholm about 6.10 where Gustav and his dad were waiting to collect me. It’s three weeks today since I dropped him at CDG in Paris, absolutely a sight for sore eyes.

I’ve never travelled through this part of Sweden outside of summer so was presented with quite different vistas from the carriage window and
at Gustav’s house. With the trees bare of foliage I could now see the sea from the kitchen window. The water was now a brilliant azure against the golden sunset, even as snow continued to fall.

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