Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Station)

Covering 600+ kilometers in Germany in a spacious, comfortable private railway cabin at just 30 Euros and arriving perfectly on time at the destination requires luck. Favorable turn of events made this experience a reality when I took the NightJet NJ40470 train operated by the Austrian Railways (ÖBB – Österreichische Bundesbahnen) from Karlsruhe to Hamburg (https://rail.cc/en/night-train/zurich-hamburg-nj-40470/500).

The 6-seater cabin I was allotted had hardly any occupants and I could stretch my legs on the recliner seats for a comfortable nap in the climate-controlled cabin. A sleeper cabin (incl. breakfast) in these NightJet trains readily costs around 100 Euros, even if booked 3-4 months in advance.

 

Miniaturized Vegas and Miami in Hamburg

Starting the trip with the usual free walking tour (https://www.neweuropetours.eu/), I got to know that Hamburg (supposedly deriving its name from  ‘Hammaburg’ roughly meaning ‘Castle on the rivers’, as the Elbe and Alster rivers flow here) has a long history of tax-free sea trade, culminating in its today’s status of being a gateway to Germany. More Vegan/Vegetarian options at Restaurants and cheaper public transport options are noteworthy. The city has experienced disasters in the form of fires and World Wars in the last 2 centuries, yet still has managed to rise back due to its importance as a trading city.

 

Among other ‘must-sees’ and ‘to-dos’ in Hamburg, the Miniatur Wunderland surely excites young and old alike. Miniaturized countries (USA, Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, Swiss), landscapes, monuments, airports, vehicles and lots more have been put together with a sharp eye for the finest details. If this is one’s cup of tea, then it is easy to lose track of time. Online booking helped us avoid queues at the entry (https://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/)

 

Vandalism is a worldwide epidemic (see the seat of the rental bicycle)
Mahatma Gandhi Bridge on way to Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
Creative trash bin slogans (translates to ‘Throw your worries here’)
Practical ideas – currency to coin changing machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flixbus trip from Hamburg to Copenhagen has a 45-minute ferry ride (passengers have to disembark the bus and stay in the Ferry) from Puttgarden in Germany to Rødby in Denmark on the Scandlines Hybrid Ferry. With calm seas, it was a warm, pleasant cruising experience on a Sunday evening.

Life-size Star-Trooper at the LEGO Shop

Staying in the heart of Copenhagen, we did not luckily have to spend a lot on public transport and rather could cover most distances on foot. One notes right away that life in Copenhagen (public transport among others) is more expensive. The locals prefer to cycle a lot, given that Copenhagen is bicycle-friendly and has wide cycling lanes & cycling-only expressways to get around the city (http://mentalfloss.com/article/76848/15-worlds-most-bike-friendly-cities). So much, that we were warned to always stay watchful for the ‘Viking Biking’ cyclists. Copenhagen Bicycles (https://copenhagenbicycles.dk/) located in Nyhavn is an economical bicycle-rental shop for tourists, with prices starting at 90 Danish Krones for 3 hours.

The guide from Sandemans Free Walking Tour covered extensively on the history of the city’s origins and also on the current affairs such as Copenhagen city’s carbon neutral goal (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-copenhagen-climatechange-carbon/cycling-city-copenhagen-sprints-to-become-first-carbon-neutral-capital-idUSKCN1MF061) and its recycling plant that generates heating energy from waste. During the tour-break, we enjoyed the delicious Cardamom and Cinnamon rolls at one of the numerous Espresso House shops.

A life-size Wonder woman (in case you are looking for one)

The LEGO Shops and Comic Merchandise store ‘Faraos Cigarer’ (https://www.faraos.dk/) have enough collectibles, comics and replicas for hard-core fans for a lifetime. The Tivoli Gardens has something for everyone, be it a group of friends or family such as well-maintained gardens, concerts, fun games, thrill rides and various restaurants to choose from (https://www.tivoli.dk/en/). The numerous ticket choices, though a bit pricier, offer much flexibility in each case. Turned out that I indeed had it in me to ride the 360-loop Roller-coaster and the Star Flyer (a caruosel-meets-watchtower swing ride). Despite a last-day flight cancellation due to pilot strikes, the re-booked flight connections ensured everything went as was planned 4 months ago.

Thus in a span of less than 100 hours, I had traveled on foot, a Danish cycle, an Austrian NightJet train, a German Flixbus, a Scandinavian ferry and on Canadian & French-made turbojet Aircrafts, not to mention the thrill rides.

 

Chandra Sekar Venkataramani
Chandra Sekar Venkataramani is from Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, India. Living in Germany since mid-2016, he completed his M.Eng in Automotive Systems at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and now works at IPG Automotive GmbH in Karlsruhe. An alumnus of Madras Institute of Technology, his interests include mobility and reading. Isaac Asimov’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy from George R.R. Martin are among his favorites.
You can reach him at sekarmit2009@gmail.com.
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