Berlin or Bust

After the delayed train in the morning by 20 minutes we were on our way to Berlin. the delay was only 20 minutes, so I didn’t really think much of it until I check my ticket and the exact change over between trains in Hamburg was exactly 20 minutes. I’m thinking this could be a tight changeover. Website says they arrive on same platform, one on platform 5 and one directly opposite on platform 6. If this holds true it might just be do-able. We start making up a bit of time, but this goes to custard when we get to Rodby where the train is put on a ferry, and the ferry doesn’t wait. We have to wait at Rodby for the next ferry. It’s offical. I’ve missed the train I’m booked on and not quite sure what will happen now

Where I was sitting was too good to be true, in all the confusion back in Copenhagen with the delay and two trains coming in, I’d got on the wrong carriage. This train splits and the half I was sitting on didn’t go to Hamburg. Luckily the ticket inspector pointed out my error and I was soon where I should be, with more people around me.

The Danish ticket inspector doesn’t know what we need to do about the missed connections and says to talk to the German ticket inspector once over the border in Germany. When that happened, it was easily sorted. Just get any train she says and tell them this one was delayed. Bummer is I’ve lost my seat reservation. To fix that, there are two trains out of Hamburg that will get be to Berlin before 4pm, so I get online and reserve a seat on both of them just in case I miss the 12.51pm as it even looks like that would be a tight connection.

Putting the train on the Ferry was very interesting, cars, busses, trucks and this train. It’s basically a car carrying duty free shop with a few cafes. Food options were Schnitzel, fish and chips, hot dog or spaghetti. Most of the major European food groups covered… As soon as the cars and train were on, we had to exit the train (safety in case the boat sinks) and almost everyone bolted for the duty free to load up on cigarettes and booze.

Train going onto the ferry, trucks beside it, cars one level up and it was a tight squeeze getting off the train to the stairs / lift up to the main deck.

A few shots from around the ferry. Last one is the train actually going into the ferry. Not sure if it was pulled, pushed in or under its own power.

We get into Hamburg in plenty of time for 12.51 (6 minutes wait) it pulls in and it’s an old Czech Republic run train. Nothing wrong with them really, I took one from Auschwitz to Krakow in Poland and it was fine. A bit old and worn out, but I’ve paid to travel on the high speed ICE trains and damn it, I want that one. It leaves almost an hour later, but only arrives in Berlin 20 minutes behind the Czech one, so decision is made. Turns out it was an excellent decision, the ICE train is wonderful.

Old Czech train vs modern sleek high speed ICE train.

I need not have bothered booking a seat, 1st class was almost empty I had little booth all to my self. Sure enough when the ticket inspector came around I told her the Danish train was late and she said that’s all fine and scanned my ticket.


Train gets up to 230kph. It may have gone faster but this is what it was doing when I stuck my head around the corner to look at the display


Arrived in Berlin, HBF is ginormous. One of the biggest train stations I’ve ever seen. Found my hotel easily, its next door. Fantastic room, ultra modern, decent internet and it also includes free metro travel. Damn… I’m only here for two nights. A few coffee places around, headed over to Alexanderplatz to join my bike/food tour. Thought I might miss this tour with the train stuffups but made it easily with an hour to kill. Photos are of the Alexanderplatz TV tower (built during the East Germany times), the Berlin HBF station and a metro train.

I had an ice cold coffee whilst I waited for the tour.


The Bridge (not too far)

Copenhagen to Malmo. 

So what do you do on a hot afternoon after a bike tour of Copenhagen ? You hop on a train and go straight to Sweden of course!. Copenhagen is one of Europe’s best cycling cities, so I absolutely wanted to experience that, but it also has one of Europe’s most recent engineering marvels, the Øresund Bridge which links Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden. Ideally I would love to cross it by car, but that seems way to much hassle to hire a car just to drive across the bridge. Apparently the toll is also extravagant for single use, around €45, so it would also be an expensive adventure crossing it twice. Luckily there is a train that crosses it, and the bonus with that is I can take some pictures whilst crossing it. Not an option if I’m driving a car.

Well I thought I’d be able to take pictures, unfortunately the actually crossing on the train is visually boring. The train tracks are under the road bride, so you don’t actually see the bride itself when crossing, apart from a few girders holding it up. As the bridge only has a slight curve you don’t see the bridge when going round the curve on the train. Oh well at least I know I’ve crossed it and been to Sweden.

Uber is not an option either, as its been shut down in Denmark, but not quite sure if Uber will work across an international border like this even if it was open, and I’d still be up for the tolls.

Both Sweden and Denmark are in the Schengen area, so in theory you should be able to cross between the two countries without your passport, but given the 2016 refugee crisis and controversy in Europe, the Schengen zone was suspended for some time on this particular crossing and there were spot immigration controls, so there is no way I’d risk crossing this border without my passport on hand. Probably not something I’d ever do anyway (cross any international border without it), but certainly more conscious of the requirement to keep it with me on this one. The killer point though is that when you buy your ticket, no one tells you to take your passport, you just hop on the train like its any other metro service.

Luckily I’d researched this before and had the presence of mind to remember to come back to the hotel to get my passport. On the train just after crossing into Sweden, border control did go through the train and asked to see my passport. One the question of “how long are you intending to stay in Sweden” my answer of “10 minutes” received a bit of a chuckle, however she did check I had a return ticket to Australia, and a valid Schengen stamp in my passport. The immigration crisis in Europe is real, and its constantly mentioned by people.

To Sweden and back costs about A$35. There is an automated machine for “tickets to Sweden” but I couldn’t work out how to buy a return ticket. Luckily there was a Danish Transport person at the machines helping people buy tickets. Once I got to Sweden, I bought a cold drink from the supermarket, walked outside the station to snap a few pictures “I’ve Been to Sweden Too !” and then caught the next train back to Denmark. (no passport checks heading back the other way)

Tickets and Ticket Machine in Copenhagen


Waiting for the train


Unfortunately you don’t see much from the train itself.


ABBA land approaching….


A few photos from Malmo below. I think this is the record shortest time I’ve ever spent in a country. The cool ice coffee was much appreciated on this hot day. Apparently this is the hottest and driest summer in Denmark since they have been keeping records (about 174 years). As Mike mentioned on the bike tour, the climate in Copenhagen is terrible, Danes have waited 174 years for a summer like this. Too me, being Australian from Sydney it feels totally normal, if we didn’t get a majority of summers days like this people would be ranting. Of course the news from home today is that pipes are freezing over. This is the Winter Sydney has never had before…

Malmo in 10 Minutes..


The Mouse in Paris

Today we did something Emma really wanted to do, which was visit Disneyland Paris, officially Disneyland Parc.

Getting here is actually super easy, just take the A line RER train to the end of the line and that’s right at the entrance to Disneyland. There are two Disney parks here, the bog standard Disney and a Walt Disney Studios Park. We just visited the standard one. The trip on the RER takes about 50min. The train is a similar layout with double decker carriages to Sydney trains. It was air conditioned and very clean. As a bonus the “navigo” cards we got yesterday work all the way here so we didn’t have to purchase tickets.

Leaving the train it’s virtually like we are no longer in Europe. It does feel like the middle of California, the only reminder is that announcements are mostly in French and you pay (exorbitantly) in euros for everything.

In many ways we picked the perfect day, it wasn’t too hot, only got to 24c at the most, and with the France vs Belgium game stacks of people left before 8pm.

We had lots of fun and went on some great rides like Indiana Jones “Temple du Peril”, Starwars, space mountain, big thunder mountain and a lame dodgem car ride. Emma loved them all, although I’ve discovered I can’t handle the dark roller coaster rides like I once could. Where I can see ahead it’s not an issue. I’m writing most of this over dinner hotdogs and fries….. (aaarg, the irony of being in the global food capital and eating hotdogs again….). Finishing it off on the ride back to Paris on the train (Good way to pass the 50 minute ride)

Emma now loves rides and was happy to go on as many as she could, a massive change from a few years ago when it was impossible to coax her into a roller coaster. She even mentioned she didn’t want to go home and was sad the day was ending. A successful family day out.

We got a few fast passes which cut down wait times from about an hour to 15 minutes. You can only hold one fast pass at a time, and most of the passes closed operation at 2pm as they had all been allocated for the day. Disney have this really thought out, what do you do when you hold a fast pass and just need to wait (But not in the actual line) ? You visit the stores and buy things!!

The highlight of the day is the light and firework display. It was fantastic. My hot tip for Disney ? Everyone goes to watch the main street parade. Sometimes it can be good, more than often it’s super lame. Use this 1 hour window when people start heading to the centre of the park for the show to get some rides in with smaller queues.

We positioned ourselves as near the park exit as we could so we could bolt to the train as soon as it was over. We missed one by seconds and had to wait 15 min for the next one. I was a little stressed that we would not get on the train with the throng of people, but it was actually fine. We got seats easily and out carriage was mostly empty. It would seem most people either drove, left early, caught busses or stayed in the hotel.

Having the “Navigo” (Paris oyster/opal card) paid dividends too, we just cruised past the people trying to buy paper tickets then stick them into the turnstiles. They have limited turnstiles that take tickets, all of them take the tap and go pass.

I’ve now been to Disney parks 7 times and weather wise this one was perfect. Past times have either been extremely hot (USA – Florida) or extremely cold (Disney Sea – Tokyo). Emma has been to 4 Disney parks herself. Not bad for a 14year old ! As far as transport goes it was also the easiest, even easier than the train in Tokyo for Disney which until now I had thought was the best. Sorry America, but the French have whipped your ass when it comes to organising transport to theme parks.

As for the Coffee? Two words, frickin disgusting. Machine made and I suspect powdered milk. Avoid avoid avoid

Is it worth coming here ? If you love Disney, don’t mind taking a day away from your Europe holiday to do an American thing, Pay a few hundred Euros to stand in queues all day and then pay the same on merchandise and food, then you will totally love it 😂😂 🇺🇸

Shit-Haus Coffee :-

Nice trains :-