Denmark 2012: Odense to Aalborg

It has been a very long day.

I started off quite late, all my luggage on my back, wandering Odense, looking for the canal where you can go on the boat. Not because i wanted to go on any boats but i wanted to find it. That took a while, wandering the back streets and then following the river. By the time I reached the lock (where there was a sculpture of a horse in the river, a horse with frilly fins, a river-horse, therefore an actual hippopotamus, I’d realised a small bowl of cornflakes and an equally small glass of orange juice was a totally inadequate breakfast and that I really needed to find some food – not an easy job on a Sunday morning in Denmark when all the shops, even the 7Elevens, are closed.

Fortunately for me, there was one supermarket open in the whole of Denmark’s third largest city and I stocked up before traipsing back through the pedestrianised town to the bit of river behind Knut’s Cathedral for a picnic.

My feet were starting to ache so i headed back up to the other end of town to the station, bought my ticket to Aalborg and killed time for 59 minutes – I’d timed my arrival well, to get the absolute maximum waiting time.

The trouble with the journey was that for some reason my Danish is not equal to, there’s a rail replacement bus between Vejle and Horsens during this long weekend. I got a train from Odense to Vejle, then onto a coach for the next bit – and i really do kind of hate coaches – just in time to catch the next train from Horsens. Only the next train wasn’t going quite as far as Aalborg. It was in fact only going as far as Aarhus. There I had a half hour wait before getting on a small train nowhere near up to carrying the number of people whose travel plans had been disrupted and had ended up all needing to get the same train to the same place. It was packed. I found a seat and perked up suddenly when I heard the words “-to get you in and the cable out.” Even having only heard half the line, I knew that was Mission Impossible 2. A woman opposite and her son were watching it on a laptop. I settled down for an hour and a half of listening. I couldn’t see the screen but i knew exactly what was going on, my mind could supply the pictures. It finished ten minutes before we reached Aalborg and it felt weirdly like I really had watched it.

What would normally be a nice peaceful easy three hour train trip had taken more than four hours and involved three changes. I didn’t even look at Aalborg. I wanted to get to my hotel, put my bag down, collapse onto a bed and then have some food. In the continuing lesson of ‘look for something more than ‘cheap and near the station'”, this hotel is lopsided. At first I wondered if the reason the bathroom made me feel a little seasick was just because I’d been travelling for so long but some suspicion made me put a bottle on the floor and it rolled away. My floor really is on a slope.

My sort-of plan to go and look at the town after I’d eaten sort of didn’t happen. It was a long day and besides, I have two almost full days here. And it doesn’t start to get dark until 10.30. Google Maps says I’m no further north than Aberdeen but i seem to be getting the nearly-perpetual daylight Scandinavia is known for. It was bright light by 4am in Copenhagen and this is further north than Copenhagen so it might be light again in an hour or two (it’s now 23:07)

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