7:35 adliswil station: over 15 hours of train ride ahead of me, i’m off on my way to the north today, to the little town of struer in the north of denmark where we’ll find (hopefully) b & o.
8:02 the ICE from zÃ¼rich to hamburg is — even in first class — chock-full…in basel i move up one carriage as that is only half-full. no power outlets on this version of the ICE, which means i’ve to run my thinkpad on my three li-ion batteries. shortly after freiburg the sun comes out for a brief stint this day, it will be the only time.
11:10 about 20 minutes before we reach frankfurt main station we come to a full stop: true to DB form we have a point failure ahead of us and need to wait for an ICE going in the opposite direction to pass and clear the track before we can continue: we gather about 7min delay.
perhaps Deutsche Bahn should — instead of adding “mobility” gimmicks to the BahnCard — see that travelling by train really becomes an alternative to flying: make sure each and every train provides power to the people (grin), and take a leaf out of the books of the english railways: coffee and drinks for free in first class (the danish railways, i later find out, do so as well). who really needs a car insurance? or cheap car accessories?…give me a break.
16:05 after a medium walk i make it from the south side of the hamburg main station to the north side where the ticket counters are located and get my ticket extension from flensburg to struer and back without problems. when i ask for the DB lounge (hey, we are travelling first class today!) i learn that there’s none. huh? the very friendly DB sales person (really!) tells me that in the 1980s DB had a stroke of financial genius and did a public-private partnership thing when they renovated the main station…the short of it is that now they would have to pay EUR 36 per sqm to the private financiers to get space for a lounge…apparently that’s more than they can afford and so they’ve been looking elsewhere and a lounge is now going to be available next spring. “oh, well,” i think, “there’s always the intercity restaurant” — just to find out that that has been closed for refurbishment: hmm, i wonder whether that is going to be the lounge? the up-shot is that there’s no place to really sit down and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.
17:16 the EC 174 from prague to åhus is announced as being 15min delayed “due to construction work”…listening to the DB personnel waiting for the train as well it transpires that something else is going on, apparently a breakdown in some switching center or so. i grow slightly nervous as i’ve got only 20min to change trains in vejle…
17:29 the EC 174 from prague has finally arrived and takes off with a total delay of 13min. outside the station it is dark, and the alster and her adjoining shops twinkle through the night. after the almost immediately following stop at hamburg dammtor, the train seemingly tries to make up speed and hurtles through the night, northwards.
21:17 vejle [veij-le]: between flensburg and padborg we reduce the delay down to 9min — thanks to a generous border crossing buffer in the timetable — and i arrive on time in vejle! pheeew!
the IC train to struer actually consists of two coupled trains: the front one goes to åhus, the back part is my train for struer. they detach while still rolling into the station! cool. first class travel on a danish IC is quite nice: you get free coffee and mineral water…
23:10 i’m finally at the end of my train journey today: struer. a small station but still with a little kiosk-shop and a ticket center (both, needless to say almost, long closed for the day). there is but one way out of the station and i follow the instructions of the receptionist from the the struer grand hotel: out of the station turn right and just follow the road for a couple of 100m…struer definitely is an early-to-bed town, almost nobody is out anymore and i bravely follow the dark and wet road (a persistent drizzle is claiming the night) over a traffic crossing into a pedestrian zone: no sign of a hotel. not very uplifting. turning around i notice that what looked like a battered restaurant exterior is in fact also the entrance to the struer grand hotel — or is it? when i try the door, it is closed. hmm. they know that i’m arriving late…hmm…turning back, to try and find an entry from the other side perhaps, i hear the door open: an elderly lady enquiringly gives me the visual once-over…and — after having established that i am mr husemann, i’m let in. the hotel extends from the restaurant front a good way in to the back — which turns out to be the real front of the hotel. i get my key and can finally go to bed.