EU-Trip 2023 | Week 5 (24.03 – 28.03)
It's already week 5 of my trip, following the post about week 4. Have no clue/context, then the original post, It's finally time for an adventure, is for you.
24.03 – Last day in the Netherlands
Today is already the last day in the Netherlands. Will take a FlixBus at night, to work around having to purchase several DB Tickets. Taking off at 20:50, will arrive in the morning around 09:00. So will (try to) sleep on the bus.
Kept it rather lean and didn't do too much. For one, my feet hurt, on the other hand, there was not much left I wanted to do anyway. The plan itself was pretty simple, going to Amsterdam and then just kill some time. Didn't sleep too well as it was freaking windy'n'cold. First stop, therefore: Some Café to get caffeine. Thanks to Google Maps found a cozy coffee place from the recommendations. Went to Eastwood Coffee, grabbing a chilled large cold brew. As it was next to a canal, it was pretty entertaining. Spent a few hours there, finishing my blog post for last week.
With fully charged batteries, mentally as well as physically in form of phone and laptop, strolled a bit aground again. Seeing another side of Amsterdam. Not many big surprises, but delightful in any case. Googling for things I could do where no big movement was required, went for a Canal Tour. Booking my tickets online, getting on a ship and enjoyed one hour of roundtrip through Amsterdam.
Pretty hungry, went to a burger restaurant. Not too fancy burgers, to be honest, don't even remember the name of the place. So, no fancy burger photo, sorry. Later, I went to Amsterdam Sloterdijk, where the Flixbus will take off. Having hours until the official departure, went for Gulpener beer in the Bret restaurant next to the station.
Right on time, the bus came at night. Could sleep a bit on the bus, the drivers were really friendly, helpful, making it a pleasant journey.
25.03 – Arriving at Copenhagen
Around 10:00 arriving in Copenhagen at the central station. From there, grabbing a coffee, since I felt exhausted. I am flexible with public transport and would prefer not to rent a bike, so I purchased a Rejsekort via the self-service vending machine at the train station.
With the metro to the a&o hostel, already paying the room, leaving my luggage for further exploring the city before official check-in in the afternoon.
From there, my first stop was the Trivoli Gardens, which I was uncertain if it was open. Unfortunately, it was closed, so I went on. To satisfy my lack of brick stone buildings went to the Radhausplatzen, rested a while and enjoyed the atmosphere. To my amazement, understood way more of the Danish language than Dutch.
Strolling around the city had the same conclusion as in Amsterdam. This city is brilliant to live in, but nothing that is a thing to do for tourism.
With fresh energy and motivation, went on to the Freetown Christania. Such a wonderful place. Great buildings, stores, locations and so much more to explore. Took some great photos, strolling around for hours.
Pretty hungry, went to a restaurant to try some Dutch food. It was a lot harder than imagined, since most restaurants required reservations in advance. In the end, found a good place to eat.
As it was possible to check in, went back to the hostel, got my backpack, key card and went into the room. Greeting the person on the bed in the corner – Sam, as it turned out, a father of a young son and daughter, stopping here to improve his english skills and stopover for going to Belgium. We talked a lot, while I rested my feet. After taking a short nap, we spent the evening together in the city, strolling around enjoying the atmosphere, talking about this and that.
Coming back to the room, another guest had checked in, Patricio, a student living in Mexico, studying in Spain. We talked a lot about beer and that he should check out Bruges.
A great day in Copenhagen went towards its end, we all talked about this and that, which was quite nice. At some point, the silence kicked in where everyone was doing something on the phone, followed by peaceful sleep at night.
26.03 – Second day in Copenhagen
Compensating my lack of sleep from yesterday, slept almost until lunch. The first thing I did was getting something for an improvised breakfast. Pretty cheap and candy to my eyes was the Harboe Bruis, some kind of lemonade. It is delicious stuff. A bit hungry also went for a “Kanelstang”, which is also so damn luscious.
All the danish food I tried, also regarding street food, is so freaking good. Danish people really know how to cook. Even though everything was not too seasoned, it still tasted delicious.
Freshly powered and with a full stomach went towards the center, from there making my way through the streets. Furthermore, going to the typical tourist attractions, while nothing, really got me.
Checking out what I could do, also asked locals around, Monument to Denmark's international activities after 1948 was the next stop. And yes, that's the official name. To my amazement, Denmark is really everywhere helping out, which was really cool to see. Well documented and embraced.
Exhausted because it rained and was windy all day. So went to the next Netto, a local grocery store brand. Grabbed something to eat from their bakery thingy, eating on the way back to the hostel. Resting there, sleeping for a bit, refreshed my batteries.
Street food and small things over the days made me just more hungry, so in the evening went to a proper restaurant. Karla in Copenhagen near the marketplace. Forgot to take a fancy photo again. Had Dansk Hakkebøf med Bløde Løg and a Carlsberg Elephant. Already tried some beer here before and most of the beer is really mild, same as in the Netherlands.
Happily walked back to the hostel, enjoying the cozy atmosphere of Copenhagen again. Will have to leave pretty early tomorrow in the morning to Gotheburg so used the time wisely.
What I realized throughout my entire time is that the lifestyle here is different. Everyone is peaceful, mindful, but not too silent. The bike culture is a contrary story compared to the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam. More civilized, and still pedestrians first.
27.03 – Gothenburg
Planned as stopover, I will stay in Gothenburg for one night. Couldn't sleep too well at night due to a new person joining the hostel room who snored as hell, stopping everyone else in the room from getting sleep.
Woke up tired, way earlier than expected, around 08:00. Took the metro to Koebenhaven central station. From there by regional train, followed by bus and subway. Around noon reached the city, already on the way was fascinated by how beautiful Sweden is. I got out of the central station, looking for ticket vending machines. To my disruption, couldn't find any. Instead, there were really humans helping you choose the right ticket. So, a young, nice lady helped me out with the tickets, giving me a travel card I can use for the next 24 hours in the entire city. Neat, pretty cheap as well with around 10 Euros for my entire stay here.
As it looked really fascinating from far, also walked towards the harbor. Sadly, most parts are under construction, so couldn't take any brilliant photos there. Freaking cold outside, decided to still go to Haga, a famous and cozy shopping street, which is also pleasant and really cozy.
My Airbnb host wrote to me, could check in anytime between 12:00 and 18:00, so used the opportunity, going there by tram. Dropping off my stuff, talking a bit with her. With my camera and powerbank equipped, back to the city, strolling around. Wanted to see some more of the beautiful landscape here, so as it turned out, there are many outdoor pools in the river along the city. Since it is the off-season, there shouldn't be too much people. Took the bus to Hovåsbadet, where literally no one else was, so it was really peaceful.
Took some photos, enjoyed the landscape. As it started to snow, went back to the bus, back to the Airbnb.
As agreed with Knarig, my host, could wash my stuff between 17:00 and 20:00. Really nice concept, you basically lease the entire room with washing machines and driers.
While the washing machine was doing its thing, rested a bit, waiting to use the dryer. Meanwhile, found an impressive place I will visit once the laundry is done. The big cranes, an open air museum. That is closed, but the surroundings really look charming in the pictures. So will definitely have to go there.
As soon as the washer was finished and stuff was in the dryer, packed my stuff and got to the big cranes. Perfectly shortly before sunset arrived there and it was really impressive. Also made some photos with my camera. Since that will take a looot of time, here are some with my phone meanwhile.
And through the barbed fence, here it was already a bit darker
On the way back realized how many photos that actually well be, that will fill my time for a few months. Especially since I won't be able to develop and edit them all at once. But that might be a good opportunity to relive the moment. Unsure, how many of them will be actually good or enough for my standards, but we will see!
After a long day, got back just in time to get my stuff from the dryer, repack and restocking backpack. On the way back also stopped by at the local LIDL, holy crap the LIDL here has so many great local products, beers, plenty of beers, especially IPAs! Knarig also sad they really had struggles with LIDL when it first tried to settle here, but after some time it became really a fancy thing here. Quoting “It became rumsren” – which is the same expression used when pets can properly do their business outside.
I was lazy and exhausted, so went for food delivery again, ashamed to admit. A long, but awesome day came towards its end.
28.03 – Oslo
The morning was nearly to perfect. Woke up a good 30 minutes before my alarm, slept really well and got a lot of rest. Could use the extra time to take a shower, which was not calculated before.
As I got ready to leave, Knarig was also waking up, so I could say bye personally. The first thing she said, “I need a coffee”. Really liked her humor and personality, by the way. After saying bye, handing over the key, stopped by LIDL for some “Minibulle Kanel” and “Påskmust” for the journey. As I arrived, the IC was coming in smoothly, ahead of schedule. Realized that I will take the entire route of the IC to Oslo. On the way it was simply wonderful, a lot of beautiful scenery in an almost empty train.
Thanks to the sun coming out, it was really magnificent. We already passed by a few lakes, rivers etc. It was really like out of a picture-book.
The closer the train came to Norway, the bigger the trees and mountains became, and the rivers got less. Really magnificent and still pretty nice, but immediately recognized the passing of the border.
Public transport seemed to be straightforward (as always). Bought the tickets via App and was ready to go. At the central station, followed Google Maps, ending up really irritated searching for the bus stop 22 in a system that was made up of letters. As it turns out, that was the number of a lane where five bus stops are. So Google Maps wouldn't do the trick. Trying to use the local transport app was working out. But it was hard to find your stop still, since there were no clear signs etc. Using the app also wasn't really helpful, since it just told you the route for the initial stop. Since I am terrible in orientating, it was a mixture of using Maps and the local transport app.
A really horrible experience. Furthermore, the bus stops and trams were so badly labeled, most displays were not working at all. The bus and tram were also completely silent, so had to check the monitors (when they worked) to check where we were. The worst public transport experience on the entire trip so far. Which was really shocking for me, since I expected way more from a huge city like Oslo.
Having it somehow working, got to all the tourist attractions and things I wanted to visit. To keep it short: None of them was really worth even mentoring or taking a single picture.
There was one exception to this, Bygdoy, a more rural district in Oslo. As I am not a big fan of museums, searched for something outdoor. Since it already worked in Sweden pretty well, tried with an outdoor pool again. The way to it was basically a single piece of ice, was more sliding than walking for a good two kilometers. Arriving there, thought to myself: “Damn, it was worth it!”. The view was stunning already from a bit far.
Getting there, saw that the other road to there was completely ice free. Which means it could have been so easy. Keeping that in mind for the way back, got closer over the rocks. It was magnificent, got me from the first moment on.
Took the chance to take some photos, stayed for a good hour and went on towards the Airbnb. Being there exactly on the minute, which immediately made my host think I am german, got into the small room. Literally only space for a mattress and my backpack. Since it was just a place to sleep, totally fine.
Not too motivated to go out again, since my feet really hurt. The previous blister was gone, followed by a new one right next to it. Also on my little toe, one formed. I was not too happy to see it, but as a runner know how to deal with these, although It's still annoying. Checking Maps out of curiosity, I already walked & cycled around 300 km so far. It's been a long time since I walked that much in a month. So in that context, it makes sense.
Famished, was checking for places with traditional Norwegian food. Unfortunately, all either served minimal portions or were far too expensive for my taste. Took the decision to move the culinary Norwegian food part to Bergen, which I will visit for a few days. Actually, the start will be on the 29.03, so effectively tomorrow from the “now” perspective. Already really excited about the scenic train I will take to, as well as from, Bergen. Really hyped from the train journey today, so expecting nothing but greatness.
So Indian food it was. Unfortunately, I haven't had this for a long time. Took the chance and got some Indian food, which I ate at the Airbnb. Really lovely and super spicy, so perfect for dinner. Since Oslo didn't have the vibe, as the cool kids nowadays say, got to bed early since tomorrow will have to be early at the train station.
Recap of fifth travel week
A couchsurfing-free week, which was a bit sad that I didn't find anyone for this week. The forecast for next week also looks rather bad. But it's also a good mix of Couchsurfing, Airbnb where I have a private room and sharing a room with random travelers in hostels.
Loved Denmark more than I expected and really regret not being able to be there longer, will be definitely checking by again.
Sweden and Norway were even more beautiful than everyone told me. Glad I will have some great days here coming up. Chances are high that I will also come back in summer for hiking trips.
What is more, the cuisine really got me, will have to adjust my menu of what I cook at home, adding some Scandinavian dishes to the list. Haven't mentioned this in more detail in the above entries, but all the people in the Scandinavian countries had been so kind, it was really a welcoming, warm experience.