TAILS OF A TRAVELLING CAT
Greetings, humans! Firstly I would just like to offer my congratulations to anyone still reading this. I know what a short attention span you have and how easily distracted you are by cat videos on the Facebook and the Youtube. In terms of your short attentions span you are not very unlike a cat, I fear you will become bored of me, but then I remember I am the Cheshire Cat, how could I ever be boring? Luckily for you, I can talk about myself all day!
Right, you will be wanting to hear (well, read) what I got up to today. As with yesterday, I shall inform you in two parts. I am currently on the first of two trains for our journey to Berlin. This train goes to Hamburg (mmm, burgers…) and it is late, but more on that later.
The day started with my personal humans as I shall now refer to them, a name I of course came up with entirely without Jack’s help, getting the bus. We left the room we’d spent the night in, crossed the road and boarded my first bus. All was well until my stupid, stupid humans got off at the wrong stop. This was mainly Charlie’s fault, I mean Nørrebro, Nørreport, they look nothing at all like each other! This careless mistake resulted in my humans walking into town looking for the train station, giving up and getting back on the bus. We then arrived at Nørreport station and made the short train journey to Østeport.
From here, it was a short walk towards the Little Mermaid, but on route my personal humans got distracted by the water… oh I am long suffering. Charlie thought the water was star shaped, Jack thought it was shaped like a turtle, frankly I do not care what it was shaped like, as they crossed it and we became surrounded.
Turns out, there was a fort called Kastellet in the middle. We carried on and made it to the Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue in Danish) Not as little as I expected, but not huge, pretty much life-sized. Jack said it is built on a rock in the sea so it is covered at high tide, Charlie said it was something to do with Hans Christian Andersen who was apparently a famous Dane. Now, I might not know an awful lot about human pastimes (mostly because I have no interest), but I do know a lot about books, Hans Christian Andersen was indeed a famous Danish author who wrote the Little Mermaid in 1837 – a fountain of knowledge, am I not?
We then walked back to the fort and through the area within its guarding walls. Not only is it in the centre of such terrifying water, it is built on steep banks and heavily defended by big cannons and a mighty windmill.
The cannons were very similar to those we met at the Akershus fortress (see the picture of me sitting on one from Day 2) and the windmill was truly magnificent, although no one ever explained to me what a windmill is actually for. Based on its position on the edge of the fort and its passing similarity to those wind turbines we saw from the train I can only assume it converts wind into green energy for fort defence purposes.
We then walked back to the station and were given slightly confusing but mostly helpful directions by a mildly drunk Scot who was now living in the area. This was an interesting experience…
Directions obtained we got the bus into Christiania for lunch. We walked through Freetown Christiania, another interesting place. Lots of food, no cars, weed (which I avoided, thank you very much), brightly painted shacks and everything you might associate with an alternative lifestyle. We passed back out of Christiania and visited Fala Fala, a vegan falafel stand inside the Copenhagen food market. This was a warehouse-like building on its own (very square and constructed) island overlooking Nyhavn, crammed full of every type of ethnic street food one could imagine. If you love food and want to try many different cultures’ foods without much walking involved, come here! Fala Fala served up falafel, hummus and tonnes of veg in a pitta with a side of chips and more hummus. Charlie also braved some kind of spicy aubergine based dip with chilli seeds in it. I’m rather glad I wasn’t offered any of that, I have a rather sensitive palate. Despite that I heartily approve of the generous portion sizes, both the chips and the pitta sandwich all for 100 Danish Krone (something along the lines of 11 British pounds.
From the food hall, we also had organic apple juice, made from three types of apple and beetroot juice, including carrot, apple, lime and ginger. I thought this a rather odd combination, but Charlie liked it.
Stuffed to bursting with food, we walked back to the bus and journeyed back to Copenhagen station to get the trains onto Berlin. We arrived early with the plan of checking the platform number and then hanging out in Tivoli Gardens until the train was due. This being us, things didn’t work this way of course.
The train platform wasn’t yet up, so we decided to go to Tivoli Gardens for a bit and then head back to the station nearer the time the train was due. Turns out Tivoli Gardens is a theme park immediately opposite the station and not the free public gardens Charlie was lead to believe by the WebWideWorld.
After this truly heavy disappointment (you may have noticed by now our love of parks), and the lack of green shady areas around the station, we sat and waited inside the station for half an hour. The train was then 20 minutes late and moved to a different platform (fortunately it was the neighbouring platform so all we had to do was turn around). When the train did arrive, there was quite a lot of confusion trying to find the seats. We spent a lot of time trekking through alternating very hot (standard class) and beautifully cool (1st class) carriages before getting off the train and trying from the other end. Seats eventually found, we settled down for a four and a half hour train journey. I’ll be taking a cat nap for the most part, my humans can do as they please.
A final note about Copenhagen before I stop for now. As mentioned briefly last night, it is definitely more full of old buildings than Oslo – no Great Fire of Copenhagen I can presume. In the day it’s not dark at all either which is always a positive, and just as blistering hot as Norway. It’s very flat here (but then compared to Oslo I suppose anywhere would appear flat) but there is too much water everywhere; a river, canals, the sea, it’s too much, I can’t wait to get to landlocked Berlin.
Mein Gott! The train has just made an announcement – the train is going on a ferry and going across the sea. I did not sign up for this, why do these things keep happening to me?!
I shall retire from writing now, hyperventilate for a good few hours and pick up the narrative again later.
Part II – I’m continuing this story technically on Sunday morning, but for narrative purposes, let’s pretend it’s still yesterday.
So, the train actually went on a boat, a very big boat on its own special tracks and everything. To make matters worse, we weren’t allowed to stay on the train in the relative safety of the hull but had to go up on deck and watch the water. Wrapped up in Charlie’s jacket for protection from the evil stuff, I was taken first to an indoor area with sea views and then out onto the decks, once more surrounded by water. 45 minutes we were on this boat before being allowed back into the mildly more secure train and off onto the relief of dry land. My humans had a great time, you won’t be surprised to hear, watching one piece of safe and sturdy land disappearing to be replaced with nothing but water in every direction, stretching out to the horizon before finally being able to glimpse the harbour and the return of safety. At least the boat didn’t bob!
We were now on an island, our arrival point known as Puttgarden. Not long later we crossed some more water onto the mainland by a mildly less scary bridge and carried on our journey through countryside, the hills of Oslo still only conspicuous by their absence. Although we weren’t sure at the time of our exact crossing of the Danish-German border, I now know it was our arrival at Puttgarden which heralded our arrival in our fourth country (I’m counting Sweden as a country even if we were only there for a few hours – our unscheduled stop at Lund allowed us a bit of extra time there).
Around an hour and a half later, we arrived in Hamburg where we had an hour and a half to kill before the next train to Berlin. On looking for a nice place for dinner we unwittingly walked into a street festival. There were food stalls and live music and people everywhere. The personal humans thought it would be wise to sit here and eat dinner on the curb. Despite my fear of being trampled, the atmosphere was amazing, although rather loud for a little cat on a pavement. The music we listened to during dinner was excellent though, so one must not grumble too much.
After dinner we wandered around the city before getting on a seemingly short train (only two hours!) to Berlin. By now it was too dark to see anything and arrival at Berlin was after midnight. The station was gigantic and the outside appeared to be constructed entirely of glass.
From the station, it was a short bus journey on the night bus and a walk up a rather pleasant road to our room which has a massively high ceiling and our own balcony, although we are yet to go out on it.
Arriving so late meant it was pretty much straight to bed, ready to explore the city tomorrow (well today). Until then, Chesh.