Friday, May 23, 2014

Copenhagen, Denmark: Are We Home Yet?

We took our final night trains from Germany to Denmark, and lemme tell ya, I was thrilled. We took a short train from Heidelberg to Frankfurt, then a longer one on to Hamburg where we would change again. We didn't have reservations for our train from Frankfurt to Hamburg so we figured we needed to sit in the second-class upright seats as opposed to the sleeping compartments. I found out with 45 minutes left on our 6 hour train from hell that we were wrong. We could have been sprawled in the sleeping compartments only one car back. Another fun fact: at one stop at least 5 teens were arrested off of our train and escorted onto the platform by security officers. Never a dull moment when traveling with a Eurail pass! 
We eventually arrived in Copenhagen and made a few laps of the train station in search of an ATM where I tried not to cry at the exchange rate. After some searching, we located the bus that would drop us off in the vicinity of our hostel. Or not. Because all of the stops were different than what the website told me. We ended up in the Copenhagen ghetto before we decided we should to backtrack. We finally located Sleep in Heaven, where the deskperson must have noticed the crazed and starved Wifi look in our eyes, because she immediately gave us the password before we even checked in. Food is always the first thing on our minds when we get to a new city, and Copenhagen was no different. We found a grocery store and I discovered....QUESO! AGAIN!! I believe in miracles. 
We spent the afternoon munching chips and queso on a makeshift table (aka a trash can) and taking a smallish nap or two. People began to trickle into our shared room and we met a guy from Lithuania and a couple from North Carolina! 
After a pretty awful dinner, we fought with the shoddy Wifi to download books for our following day of travel, and went to sleep. In the morning we checked out of our digs and wandered downtown, intent on seeing at least the bare minimum of Copenhagen before we had to leave. We found breakfast at a 7-11 (yes! in Denmark! the coolest) and passed a horde of swans around the river. All too soon, it was time to head to the airport to catch our flight to London. We had a final meal to use up the Danish currency and boarded EasyJet, where I promptly snoozed until we touched down in London town. We cleared customs with no issues and my passport was stamped again with a six month student visitor visa, like it was when I arrived in January. I think this means I can legally stay in the UK until October...and I'm tempted to test my theory! 
Our Megabus to Dundee didn't leave until the morning so we spent the night in the Gatwick airport with their cheapskate 45 minutes of Wifi and TV reporting the same news every half hour. It was a relief to be back in a country where the majority communicated in English! I could have hugged every person I saw for this reason alone. 
We caught the train to Victoria Station in the morning and waited some more for our bus to arrive. And then I sat on my ass for almost 12 hours. Longest bus ride of my life. It took less time for me to cross the Atlantic ocean. 
Dundee was the most welcome sight! And even better were some of our friends to greet us and carry our backpacks! I have met the greatest people on this semester-long adventure. And the adventure within the adventure to the greater continent of Europe caused me to treasure them even more. 
I think the entire 24 days can be summed up in the words of Pirate Shada, one of the travellers I met on the train from Salzburg to Venice. He blogged about his travels as well and one of his statements resonated with me. He said "it's amazing how I thought I had it all planned out to realize I had it wrong all along. The trip plans itself out along the way and we just have decided to just go with the flow." It was a tricky lesson for this planner to learn, but I am so much more confident in my spontaneous decisions now. 
It feels spectacular to have seen so much of the globe already at age 21. I've never been happier. But in the back of my mind I feel the pull of the rest of the world. A Very Lucky Girl has so much more to experience. 

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