Today at 8.24 p.m. I called almost all my close contacts. Only two answered. Most of the others texted shortly after asking if they should call back. Why this sudden need for real communication? Well, I was l flabbergasted! I had arrived to Hamburg with only a five minute delay all the way from Gothenburg. Am-a-zing.
Taking the train meant investing twice as much time as if I had flown, but the only available flight would have been at 7 a.m.. “I won’t use my CO2-budget for such an inconvenience”, I decided and prepared myself for being on the train forever. I left my friend Joraine’s house at 11.07 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at 8.16 p.m.. That’s already a long journey. But I had booked a connection with 7 – seven! – minutes transfer time in Copenhagen, a railway station I don’t know at all. So I mentally had already conceded that I would strand in Copenhagen, take the next connection that would take much longer and if I’d be lucky I’d make it home before midnight. But then the Swedish train arrived a minute early, the connecting train was late and I had plenty of time waiting for the train.
After going on the Öresund Bridge with its impressive views, we chugged through Denmark (they stop in like every village?) until we came to the boat. Yes, the train goes on the ferry boat! There are actual tracks on the boat. Of course I knew this before but I felt like a child on an adventure. The 45-minute-ferry-ride allowed for a visit to the deck breathing some nice Baltic Sea air, having dinner and browsing the somewhat tacky boat shop.
I had brought countless newspapers for work and leisure to read, made plans to write letters, and do lots of work. I had downloaded some Netflix that I had been wanting to finish. I texted back and forth with Ingrid for a while, I looked out the window and marvelled at being able to follow the route and feel the distance. I also ate way too many dates. I could have been on the train another five hours and still have stuff to do?! (It wasn’t that comfortable, so I was glad I didn’t have to.)
But suddenly, we were already there! “Next stop Hamburg”, it sounded and I was, as I mentioned, flabbergasted. It was only a little after 8 and I was home! My mind was still set to getting home past midnight so I had to readjust to reality. Time is relative, I noticed once again, and expectation management is everything.
Upon arrival, I texted my godchild who I’m going to Paris with next year: “We’re totally going by train”. She replied, “Obviously”.
Now I’m home and finished watching Swedish “Quicksand” and following the shows about the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The East German channel has their theme for the day on the screen, and it’s “Freedom 89”. I started this day with my friend who was born in the GDR and who I’d never have met if it wasn’t for November 9, 1989. I spent the day travelling through three countries without being asked for my passport once. And I am ending it missing the little girl who is Swedish-German-French, a real European.