Sunday, November 8, 2015

Train ride 2015 - Hamburg to Copenhagen, 4th leg

Date of travel: 14th October 2015

I have said earlier that the hotel we stayed in Hamburg is just facing the train station. Our stay in hamburg is rather short in comparing to other cities that we have included in our 4th leg. Therefore, we tried to put an effort to record the last few photos in the city before we checked out from the hotel and pushed our bag to the station that morning. Due to a time constraint we were not able to get any souvenirs, i.e. fridge magnet beside shopping some knifes in WMF shop a night earlier. We also saw a Syrian refugee camp just outside the train station. A pang of sadness suddenly hits me.  

We travelled to Copenhagen from Hamburg taking ICE-TD Euro City train, similar train choice as when we arrived.  There's many option that you may take, i,e, leave Hamburg Hbf at 07:25 am by ICE (effectively runs from 31 March to 27 October 2015) and in any case via a Danish Railways IC3 train that shall arrive in Copenhagen at 12:13 noon.  Or you may leave leave Hamburg Hbf at 09:28 daily all year round by German ICE-TD arriving Copenhagen at 14:13. Please explore more options by visiting DB Bahn website at

I snapped the above photo feeling as if it is an incomplete journey when the train slowly departing from Hamburg Hbf. We experienced twice ticket checks from the German's ticket collector and Danish ticket collector. Hence, photos in this ride also quite a lot. Do not give up reading our experience since we had another adventures crossing German/Denmark country border.

The trains that we ride from Hamburg to Copenhagen are indeed a comfortable German ICE-TD trains (take not that the 1 departure marked 'EC' in online systems is actually a Danish IC train). This train goes onto a ferry for the 50 minutes crossing from Puttgarten in Germany to Rodby in Denmark. Because of its unique crossing, I had a special entry for Puttgarten Rodby Ferry after this entry. It is one of the few places in Europe where trains still goes onto ferries. Everyone should try this interesting experience before the train company decide to use bridges in future and cutting off the seems to be conventional method of crossing. Once the train has securely inside the lower deck of the ferry, all passengers must leave the train and go upstairs into the ferry accommodation decks whilst the ferry is at sea. We were told to bring only our valuable things with us and leave the rest on the train.

It's a cloudy weather again in Germany. We spent almost a full day the train in between Netherland/Germany soils due to 3 times train change to reach Hamburg a day before in a cloudy sky.  It was a 2 days in a row with no blue sky that makes photos look dull. Although, the sun still decided not to play till we reached Copenhagen, I still captured the moments with a scenery in this entry.

ICE-TD is fully owned by Deutsche Bahn's (German Railways) offers quite a premier high speed train, running at up to 175mph (ICE1 & ICE2) or 186mph (ICE3) on special high speed lines and up to 130 mph over upgraded conventional lines.  The ICE is arguably the most comfortable, civilised and impressive high-speed train in Europe, with a very high-spec interior designed to lure German businessmen out of their BMWs.  There are several versions, ICE1, ICE2, the pointy-ended ICE3, and two tilting versions, the electric ICE-T and diesel ICE-TD. Germany is known for it's machine technology ever since the sad episode of Hitler was over. This is the place for Engineers and Manufacturers. I was hoping that Nazhif would find him a job in Germany so that we could come and explore Germany more in the future.

ICE-TD is the diesel version of the ICE, found on routes such as Hamburg to Copenhagen and Amsterdam to Hamburg (you may ready my earlier entry).  Inside it's similar to ICE3, though the bistro car has no seating area. There's only 1 car for 1st class in this route which is next to the bistro car that is annexed to our 2nd class car. While wandering for coffee, I managed to snap a photo of how the 1st class car looks like. See above.

The Puttgarden Rodby ferry route connects Germany with Denmark. Currently there is only these 1 ferry company, Scandlines that operates this kind of ferry service. They operates the crossing up to 48 times each day with sailing durations from and around 45 to 50 minutes. Puttgarden Rodby sailing durations and frequency may vary from season to season. The passenger is advised to frequently check to get the most updated information about the travel. The routes, known as Vogelfluglinie (German) or Fugleflugtslinjen (Danish) is a transport corridor between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hamburg, Germany. The core of the connection is about 19 kilometre ferry link between Rodby in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany. The line is operated by Scandlines. Take note that the ferries operates twice an hour, 24 hours a day, giving it's passengers flexibility on their travelling schedule. The ships act as a car and a train ferry simultaneously.

Scandlines is a major German-Danish ferry operator. It consists of a parent company, Scandlines AG, and under this parent company a German subsidiary named Scandlines Deutschland GmbH and a Danish subsidiary named Scandlines Danmark ApS. Scandlines as a whole operates 17 lines for passenger and freight in and between Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the Baltic countries. These are the information that I obtained from their website. Make sure to view for yourself a departure processing time from the viewing deck. The wind was very strong in a cold Autumn weather. Scandlines has provided a viewing gallery for its passenger, so do not afraid of the wind so much.

Another information about Scandlines that I obtained from the website. Apparently it used to be co-owned by the Danish Ministry of Transportation (50%) and Deutsche Bahn AG (50%). A as of June 2007, it was passed down (sold) to a consortium consisting of 3i Group of London (40%), Allianz Capital Partners of Munich (40%) and Deutsche Seereederei of Rostock (20%). The consortium bought Scandlines for a total of 1,560 million Euros. On 29 October 2010, the remaining 20% of Scandlines was acquired from Deutsche Seereederei (DSR) Rostock. Now 3i and Allianz both hold 50% of Scandlines. The Scandlines services to Sweden are served in co-operation with Stena Line. Stena Line owns several ships of the Scandlines brand. In June 2012 Stena and Scandlines announced Stena will buy Scandlines Sweden and Baltic services. These will be brought under the Stena Line brand. Scandlines will retain the more passenger focused Denmark services.

Once we have done with the cold windy view at the viewing deck, Anne and I has decided to have lunch at the deck below. Scandlines seems to do pretty well with this ferry business. They operated a "Tax Free Shop" inside, beside a couple of restaurants and souvenirs shop. Because of their unique and clever way of doing business, I had another entry to share more photos of what available and to see in during that 45 minutes ride.

The passengers had to gather back to the train when an announcement for arrival was made. It slowly descended down on Denmark side of the soil. Shortly after, it stop at Rodby station to drop and collect new passengers. I was very lucky to have this beautiful Chinese girl carrying Sophie, her well-behaved dog to sit next to me. Her mother (a Danish) sat at the opposite seat. Both of them conversed lovely and in so much loves with Sophie in between their conversation looking adorably cute. Sophie was later sat at the floor and did not even wander or moved around. She's such an obedient dog. How I wish Tottie and Kayla could follow me travel in the train like this too.

As soon as everybody settled down, the ticket collector (on the Denmark side) has approach everyone for ticket verification. They did not ask for passport but merely asked our nationality. Okay, I must also share about a man who sat next to Anne. He has been following me around like a guardian angel when we boarded the ferry. He is a Somalian, on this train with the rest of us to Malmo. Unsure of his next destination but he took a change train from Copenhagen to Malmo. We cannot conversed much as he cannot speak English. We were connecting only with a kind gesture. 

We finally arrived in Copenhagen station. We walked to the hotel as it is nearby but had to wait until 4 pm to enter the room. We had to change our Euro to Danish local currency. The groceries shop where I wanted to buy some items to cook later at night has refused to take Euro. There's a money changer inside the station, so, I went back there again to change about Euro100 to cover all our expenses in Copenhagen that night and the next day. 

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