Copenhagen and the train: Nightmares
It all started with the software update on my phone.
Amongst the most terrible things that anyone could alter on a phone, changing the alarm clock is ripping apart the fabric of our rushed little lives. Amongst these terrible updates, was a feature that allowed the alarm not to go off when the phone was on silence, a week and I realized alarms were not considered priority, and the other, more maleficient, the alarm not going off after one minute.
For preface, I have been suffering from chronic insomnia since April. Yes, yes, I know. Wake up early, exercise, no caffiene blah blah. It gets hard when you finally have time to go outside, and the energy to exercise, after 1 AM.
So I was reading the night before I would take the train to Copenhagen. I bought the cheapest tickets I could, which left around 07:22, and my bike has been broken for some time. Another story.
So, I sit reading in bed until about 3 AM, and then finally curl up and close my eyes. Something in the back of my head told me to move my phone, in case the cover managed to suffocate that crucuíal 1 minute, but we are rarely such rational creatures.
I woke up, and the pickings in the sky were swirling around and the sun was nearly done. It was late. I looked at my phone. 07:00. Alarm silenced after one minute. Yes, yes, thank you for that.
I jumped around and dashed into the rain. It was barely five minutes after seven, and I was in bad shape. Huffing, and puffing, knowing I couldn’t make the 25 minute walk any shorter. This first train was a connection to another train. Halfway there, I realized I forgot my power converters, and I had to do homework. Also I forgot my phone charger. My phone has been my more or less trusty companion when it comes to navigating the slippery streets of unfamiliar cities.
Train station, another ticket, bought, and the expenses only climb from here! The person at the kiosk said I should let the personalle on the train know that I was running late. I did.
It’s hard to explain how stupid I was supposed to feel at the statement (ok, probably not, but I thought I would ask i alla fall). Nej, men de ju väntar inte. ‘No, but they, as you know, do not wait’. Right, right.
Stockholm, 1 minute before my train to Copenhagen was to leave. Lucky for me, I solved that minor inconvience by buying another ticket, a power converter and a cable for my phone, all at wonder train station. You could practically hear the sobs as the numbers shedded and were lost forever.
I had around 2 hours to wait, so I hiked around and tried to find a reasonably distanced coffee shop that I could piss in before my first real train ride. I waited for the coffee shop toilet, my second train fast approaching, probably 15 minutes. Some asshole decided to wash up and laundry in an Esspresso House bathroom, whatever. Fucker.
Just before the train there I ate some cinnamon roll things and some onion and dill chips. These things, I will never be able to snack on and then feel bad about myself, ever again.
The first few minutes of the train were fine. I met this guy from Italy, and I don’t remember what we talked about. Nothing horribly interesting. When we parted I accidentally put my cheek to his ear. (At least I didn’t go the wrong way this time…) Nearly missing trains, horrible morning, the rain, the rain. We were on the back facing chairs, but I assumed I would be fine. I had gum and such.
I got sick after about ten minutes, grabbed some bags, grabbed my backpack, and sat in the spot between the cars (wagons?). Unfortunately, I was too sick to move, and I happened to be right next to the bistro. After awhile, I couldn’t close the doors anymore. Soon, vomitting became something familiar. Train stops. Wow, ok, maybe I can– Doors close, train speeds up. Train does a boogie, and there goes the rest. I was so sick, and had nothing more to thrown up, I think I began throwing up the spit I swallowed. Just like clockwork, wonderful. If only there was something that could make me sleep, the way trains make me vomit my fucking guts out…
I wasn’t recovered until I got off the train. It was a four hour train ride, and yes, I threw up and sat on the soggy spot between wagons, the entire fucking time. I sat there, in the leaking vents and the freezing, shaking, busiest part of the train perhaps. I thought, perhaps, this was my time to die. How could anyone enjoy these hellish nightmares that are trains. I wrote so much, I read an entire book, I did a full stomach cleanse.
There are three types of people that respond to someone hunched over a bag on a train. There are those that hurry as quickly as possible, dragging their children and trying not to look. There are those that simply stand there, their shiny feet pointing at the weakling wretch. And then, without a word, they leave.
And there are those that say, ‘Are you okay!?’ Well, of course not, but I am not that rude. I had nothing left to vomit and was practically foaming at the mouth. I still had three hours left, do you know how slow that train ride was? Please leave before I vomit on you. ‘I will survive, thanks.’ I am still bad with understanding Swedish, so if anyone tells my some sort of saying or slangy words of encouragement, I am utterly lost. Smiles, nods, and oh yes, right. Totally. Wait what?
The nicest person on that entire train was the conductor. He was nice enough to provide me a special vomit bag that stood up all by itself, delivered straight to my cozy little nook. He even gave me a soda, which I threw up about halfway through the trip. He checked on my with every stop, and I tried to pretend I could understand what he said.
‘Yes, I wish there was something I could do. I am so sorry about this.’
‘It’s fine, it always happens. So is it okay if I stay here though.’
‘I’m sorry, what did you say?’
Solemn nod, ‘Right, yes.’
At the train station I asked as woman, Är vi på Copenhagen central station? She looked confused. (Shit not again) Är vi på köpenhamn central station? Åh! Jaja, vi måste gå på…
I didn’t really speak much bad Swedish after that. I tried buying travel tablets in Swedish. That failed. Har du någonting för om man är åktsjuk? Danish words. I’m sorry. What did you say? What do you need it for? Something for if one is travel sick. OOOOoooo Right of course.
Copenhagen was fine until someone threw out my milk. That was a sour, black day. I scowled at the man laughing and smoking at a cafe. He looked vaguely like an author whose work I am more or less in love with, but that didn’t matter. Alone, at a cafe, on the sidewalk, laughter, my milk was nevermore. Smiles and laughter only served to mock the darkness that had casted a shadow upon my soul. Food was not cheap, the tea was undrinkable, and there goes anything that could have ever made me happy. Milk, is everything.
I also got very, very lost late at night, on a ‘walk’ (trek). I had to power walk through the viking and bronze age exhibits because the museum was closing and I was not paying for another ticket. The greenland exhibit was super cool. Everything else I wanted to do was closed, and I still had a day and a night left. There were people everywhere and they all walked so close together. I still can’t eat sausage, and it was Oktoberfest at my hostel. I had to take a shower on plastic bags because I forgot my thongs. I had to buy soap, and it all smelled like food. Everyone was incredibly annoying even though they never spoke to me. There was no free coffee. I got locked out of my room the last day and the girl wouldn’t let me in. I went to the lobby barefoot. I was on the fourth floor, and they were the kind of steps that you kick your shins and make you fall standing up. The only time I wanted a drink, I left my discount bracelet in my room and didn’t want to go all the way up to get it. I never had that drink.
The way back was fine. My train got cancelled, the ticket agent was horribly condescending Well you know, I’m just an amateur. I saw a guy wearing an Canada goose parka (October though?). I left an hour earlier than I was supposed to, got on three different trains, and got home an hour later than I was supposed to. I sustained myself on Digestives, Bilar, and a Kex bar. Also water. No near death vomitting adventure. In Stockholm I bought a salad that didn’t come with a fork. My hunt for a fork proved unsuccessful, so I just used a coffee stirring spoon instead. It was cold on the walk back home, and I accidentally made eye contact with someone. Other than that, it was fine.
Back home, my salad dressing doesn’t move anymore, my insomnia is horrible, and I don’t think it is a train that will bring my end, rather, Icelandic. But at least back home, I don’t wake up one morning to find that some rando has thrown out my milk.
Things could have been worse, and lucky for me, train nightmares can end with travel medicine and sleep.