Saying Goodbye To Oslo while Traveling To Paris

Yesterday was kind of a bittersweet day for me.  I have a wonderful week in Oslo.  It is a city that continues to charm me with its friendly people, its culture scene and its natural beauty from forests in the city to the Oslo Fjord.  Simply beautiful.

I was able to spend quality time with all of my friends which was the main purpose of this visit. 

My train to Copenhagen was uneventful.  It left Oslo Central Station on time, arrived in Malmo on time, left Malmo on time and arrived in Copenhagen on time.  

Since I was only spending one night in Copenhagen I decided to find a hotel very close to the station since the first of three trains I have to take left Copenhagen at 7:42 AM.  My hotel was just two blocks away from the station which turned out to be perfect.  The room itself was once again small but sparkling clean.  The bed small but comfortable.

One of the things I’m learning is that using internet booking sites you pay a surcharge and so far all of the hotels (three so far) have told me upon checking out that next time I should book directly.  Booking directly saves the hotel money and saves me, the customer money as well.  Point well taken.  So I will keep the reservations I’ve made on my computer and save the hotels I’m impressed with.

At 8:07 AM I am now en route to Hamburg.  I’ll update the blog after I make my second connection to Paris.  This will, I think, be the longest train ride of this trip encompassing not quite 15 hours including layovers to catch connecting trains.  For example my layover in Hamburg will be one hour thirty minutes.  That will be just enough time to have a leisurely lunch.

Update and dateline Lubeck Hbf, Germany.  Well I’m having and adventure within an adventure.  At about 10:00 AM we were informed by DB Bahn conductors that our train to Hamburg would stop in Rødby Færge, Denmark get off the train and take a ferry to Puttgarden, Bahnhof where we would then board a bus that would take us to Lubeck Hbf, and catch a train to Hamburg.  I am writing this on the train from Lubeck to Hamburg.  We are supposed to arrive at Hamburg Hbf at 13:53.  That gives me about 5 minutes to make my connection.

So why did we have to do all of this you ask?  Well, the train usually stops as Rødby Færge and the train is loaded on the ferry, unloaded at Puttgarden and continues on to Hamburg.  However, because of signal problems at Puttgarden the train ceased operation at Rødby Færge.  We will the ferry ride was fine and then when we arrived at Rødby Færge and got off the ferry there were supposed to be three buses waiting to take us to Lubeck in order to catch a train from there to Hamburg.  Two buses showed up.  I wasn’t able to get on either of those buses so the nice folks ordered taxi’s for the 15 of us who weren’t able to board on of the buses.  I told one of the DB Bahn conductors that this reminded me of Amtrak.  He was really embarrassed that the always on time German State Railroad was running late.  No matter that is what traveling is all about.  Adventures!  Once the taxi arrived me and 3 other people rode the taxi at about 180 KPM.  Two of the guys were from Denmark and another was from Wyoming   He is a student studying for the summer in Europe and is on his way to Berlin.  We all had a great time taking while holding our breath every time the taxi driver passed someone as oncoming traffic came a little too close for my comfort level.  We arrived safely and although I am somewhat hungry all is well.  I am  hoping when I get on my train at Hamburg there will be food on board.  I doubt there will be any time to purchase anything at the station.  The journey continues later on.

Well I’m back on my third train and the bad day for DB Bahn continues.  Let me just say at the outset that I bearly made this train.  When I started out this morning I was supposed to have a one hour and forty-five minute layover in Hamburg before boarding my 14:01 train to Karlsruhe Hbf.  My train arrived in Hamburg on time.  I got off and raced over to the track for my train to Karlsruhe.  I made it to the platform with about 3 minutes to spare.  However, there was no train.  Could my connection now be late.  To add to the confusion nothing was posted on the information screen.  Next thing I knew an ICE train pulled into the station at about 14:08 but the conductor told everybody that the train was terminated in Hamburg.  So I and everyone else raced up to the information counter and we were told that out train to Karlsruhe was not cancelled and we had better go to the same track and get ourselves on board.  And so i ran back to track 14 got on coach one and then walked my way to up to coach 12 where I found seat 12 there waiting for me. But, that’s not all.  The train was 10 minutes late leaving Hamburg.  As of right now I do not know if some of that time has been made up.  We certainly are moving  at a high rate of speed.  I’m a little worried however, because if we don’t make up the time we will arrive in Karlsruhe Hbf at 7:23 which leaves me ten minutes to get off the ICE train, find and find the track that my TGV train to Paris is on.. Back in a couple of hours once my TGV train leaves for Paris.

I’m back at the computer on my TGV to Paris Gare de l’Est having just finished my dinner which was part of the supplement.

I’ll post a short video of the TVG coming into the station on the video page.  Just go to Rail fan videos and you will find the link.

I feel better already after thirteen and a half hours with just an hour and a half to go.  I’ve already made the decision to get a cab from Gare de East to my hotel.  It will be late and since I don’t quite know where the hotel is located I think its wise to take the cab and not worry about finding the correct street after I get off the Metro.  Tomorrow I will spend a quiet day in Paris, although I will have to make my reservations for the train to Mont St. Michel, and my upcoming trip to Munich on July 10.  It will be a very busy seven days that will see me quite latterly living out of a suitcase.  That won’t end until Sunday July 13 when I get a week in Seville   I’ll quickly finish this blog when I get to my hotel in Paris.

Quick update.  The TVG is stopping due to air conditioning problems.  I guess they are going to try and fix this before resuming. They are saying the delay will only take fifteen minutes.  So at this point only the Norwegian and the Danish Railroads operated today without any issues.  Again I’ll quickly wrap up this blog when I get to my hotel in Paris.

I finally arrived in Paris at 11:10 PM.  The TVG was 35 minutes late.  What a day this has been.   And it did not end with my arrival in Paris.  Everything in the Gare de l’Est was closed which meant I had zero euros and I was tired from this journey and just wanted to get to my hotel and go to sleep.  So I went outside to catch a cab and not worrying about the fare since these day everyone accepts a credit card.  I guess you know what’s coming.  However, let’s not get too far ahead.

I went outside to the taxi stand and got in line and immediately noticed there were no cabs waiting to pick up at least sixty people.  I was number eleven in line.  The cabs did come but only in drips and drabs.  I waited almost a half hour before I moved to the front of the line.  Finally my cab came and the very friendly driver knew where the hotel was and told me to get in.  So it took less than ten minutes to get to the hotel and the bill was only $17.00.  Not bad for Paris I thought.  I pulled out my credit card and the driver said he did not take credit.  What to do?  I went into my hotel and asked if they could advance me 13 Euros and add that to my bill but the person at the desk said they did not keep cash so that was out.  However, I was told there was a bank with an ATM machine just a block away so I told the driver that I would go to the bank and get Euros.  The ATM was right where it was supposed to be.  I put my card in the slot and the ATM spit it out and said because my card does not have a chip I could not use the ATM.  Anyway, I went back and gave the driver $25.00 in US dollars.  He wasn’t happy and I don’t blame him.  However, he took the money.  I can’t understand why the US is so far behind in issuing chip imbedded cards.  So far I am finding a lot of paces will not take AMEX either because it cost the merchant too much or that my AMEX is not imbedded with a chip.  Thank goodness my MasterCard has a chip imbedded in it.




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