No Kerosene: The Journey

Apart from Journey One, the above routes, whilst covering the same places and people, were changed.

First Journey

February 27th – March 16th 2023

Leaving North Shields on the River Tyne

Galleon Gas Field

The ferry sailed parallel to the English coast until resting for a time, during the night, off the town of Grimsby.


Train across the Netherlands to Münster in Germany.

Amsterdam now has a direct Eurostar connection with London….. but to use it requires a wait in what seems like a box attached to the end of a platform at the end of the Central station. Rather appropriate given the largely English (not ‘British’) ‘Brexit Desire’ to be separate from its neighbours.

Landscape in eastern Netherlands.

Entering Germany and change of engine (different electrical power systems)


St Lambert’s church from which, following the failure of a revolt, the bodies of John of Leiden & others were hung in cages following their prolonged torture and death.

In 1534-35 they had established a ‘Millenarian’ communistic society in the city. They were defeated by the local Catholic Bishop who had laid siege to the city.

The original cages are kept in a local museum but replicas still hang from the church tower.

1st March

Gwyd Dewi Sant (St David’s Day, Patron Saint of Wales)

Münster to Kolding through Hamburg (rapid change as the train was very late – a comment from much later in the tour suggested that in the last 10 years or so DB’s performance has declined)

At Münster the police are able to direct people (where necessary) to the ‘mission’ on the platform. Here they are provided with drink and food)

Entering Denmark: full passport check

Most Danish express trains have a very particular appearance)

The Danish Railways “Flying Lamprey” – a type of train in use for nearly 30 years.

The seating design is very definitely ‘from another Age’ (but more comfortable than many more recent designs). This is first class – and the compartment provides a self-serve coffee & snacks service (but only after entering Denmark).

Kolding, Denmark

Kolding: Preening Rituals

The idiosyncratic delights of personal hospitality (compared with standardised hotel chains)

The safety value of extra pillows…..

The ‘Dinky’ Shower head (which in use provided a very satisfyingly concentrated spray cf with the use broad shower head… the intended purpose of such showers is for cleansing of a lower orifice! ). It was directly connected to the basin supply.

Grandmother’s cutlery

shared tables – we met a couple who had come from Germany to Denmark in order to marry (an easier process when one partner is not German by birth).

March 2nd

Kolding to Frederikshavn – Oslo ferry

Another Flying Lamprey

Landscape in the northern Jutland peninsular

Winter comes later said guy on train


We were travelling with DFDS. On the ferry from Newcastle to Ijmuiden we had asked about the boarding timings for the ferry. Despite their own ‘in-house’ searching they could not provide information.

We planned our arrival with considerable time allowance & hoped that somewhere would provide information.

The walk to the ferry port is short and easy. Then matters became more tedious.

A lengthy covered bridge leading to the 2 Ferry terminals. There was no information at the start of the bridge.

The long bridge (looking back to the town) – and eventually (after 5 minutes walking) the first notice stating when it is possible to check-in (nearly 4 hours later).

[we later reported all of this to the attendant supervising our check-in & to staff on the DFDS boat that returned us to the UK. In both cases action was initiated – so maybe (at the very least) there is now a board at the start of the bridge – and maybe information available on-line]

Walk the bridge again – and use time to investigate the dining options in the town. Our decision was to use The Moby Dick restaurant – fortunately very close to the bridge.

We were very pleased by the whole experience.

Then back onto the the ‘bridge of sighs’ (or maybe the ‘Bridge of Expletives’) and a 2 hour wait

To use Public Transport systems as the sole means of travelling is to engage in an activity that requires a love of logistical of process, the delicate inquisitiveness of a mouse searching for cheese & a near saintly patience of tedium.

Thus armed the traveller may step out on a journey knowing that their experiences will be of a quality that far surpasses those who only ever confine themselves to the protective bubbles of the motor car & airplane.

We wait and eventually, on time, the ferry (which started in Copenhagen) arrives

Reverses into its berth, loads and 20 minutes later, leaves.

In this process one critical process – securing the ship – is achieved in completely traditional fashion 2 people hauling a heavy, long rope:

Very efficient – loading is fast & in 20 minutes the ferry is sailing.

Through the ice dock near the centre of Oslo

We walked into the centre of Oslo and found ourselves in a demonstration.

It was of Sámi people- the indigenous people of the far north. Reindeer herding is a major part of their life and culture. Recent permissions granted by the Norwegian Government have created Wind Turbine sites in land that is essential for the nomadic reindeer. The action, seemingly taken without appropriate environmental care and consideration, have caused major disruption both the reindeer and the Sámi whose lives relate closely to the natural movement of the reindeer.

The Sami

click above for more information

Observing birds feeding (and fighting)

Who has ownership – of anything?

“The commonwealth of the material world – the air, the water, the fruits of the soil, and all nature’s bounty.”

Who decides the definition of ‘nature’ & what do we, humans or birds, consider to be ‘bounty’

Bounty: “a gift, a reward, a favour bestowed freely”.

Is that what these birds have discovered and are exploiting?

{The term can have other less positive implications: ‘Bounty hunters’
“I do … promise, that there shall be paid … the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed ….”
[“Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania,” 1764]}

The Sámi demonstration was focused on this issue: the appropriate ‘bountiful use’ of natural resource.

The Norwegian Government, by licensing companies to build wind turbines in the sami nation homeland, were seriously damaging both the ‘natural’ and the cultural nature of the area. They had chosen areas that were important Reindeer ‘birthing’ territories & to which they regularly returned. A culture has been built around such wildlife patterns no being destroyed.

‘It’s a Human Rights Issue’ said the Bishop of Oslo who had to tolerate an encounter & brief conversation with me (she being present in a supportive capacity).

Oslo Cathedral

The art work demonstrates a distinctive northern style.

Saturday 4th March

Nice picture – but not if your seat is next to it…. those who had been reserved place there had to move.

Dombas Fjall

Trondheim: its personal significance relates to our links to Iasi, Romania. It was here that they were confirmed by the presence of a representative from the city attending a follow-up conference to one held in Hamburg.

Trondheim Cathedral

Burial place of St Olaf.

Closed at 15.00 hrs (not surprising in the short days of winter)

Snow storms began – and continued into the evening.

The local authority has a very prompt response to snow. We were delayed at a crossing whilst the snow clearing ‘convoy’ of 8 large vehicles passed majestically.

Sunday 5th March

Curiously charming ‘Muppet engine’ (? – should we expect ‘charm’?) recently arrived.

It has a supporting ‘tender’ ?providing extra power to the carriages?.

along Trondheim Fjord…..

and through Hell.

From the train timetable:

Evil is not easily contained but a frozen station (the lowest circle punishing treachery, in Dante’s vision), would be appropriate.

and gradually away from the coast and into the hills.

The weather had been cold throughout but our arrival in Oslo was the start of permanent zero temperatures (night and day). These gradually deepened as we moved north…. but not necessarily with much snow impact.

The usual free coffee in ‘comfort/extra/premium/first’ class (choose your term).

………on towards the Arctic Circle

marked by a small monument.

There was an announcement from railway staff and the information board mentioned our crossing. The train was also slowed to allow the moment to be observed.

Photographing from a moving train can produce some what mistaken impressions…..

Into Bodø (only an hour late!)

Walking (and briefly living, travelling) in, with & through ice and snow, was (surprisingly) remarkably easy.

Once snow arrives, it stays.

Roads can be cleared to a certain level but then more snow arrives. So snow (‘dry’ compared with what usually falls in most of the UK) simply lies on snow…. and layers build. Where clearance is required (eg on roads after snowstorms) huge piles are created (sometimes in special deposits on the edge of towns).

In places (parts of town centres) there are pavements heated from below & which leave spaces completely clear.

There is no relief from the snow & the freezing temperatures. Adaptation (for those from warmer climates) is required.

Habits (for those unused to continually freezing temperatures, change – and layers of clothing are always worn. The temperatures dropped to around minus 20 degrees at times but were usually around minus 7 or 8 during the day.

Monday morning March 6

realising that this journey needed to have more space included… ie days without travel that would allow both chance to ‘take a breath’ and to deal with any issues that may have arisen.

Yesterday we spent 9 hours on train… which was then late and  so became 10 hours…. we were up and off at around 07.15 on Saturday & Sunday. On Saturday we arrived to face snow storms and only enough time to  walk round Trondheim to find pace to eat in the evening. Yesterday our journey lasted from 07.15 to 18.45 – we went to a restaurant had soup, then returned.

Today we are told that we need to take train to point X (07.30 departure… fortunately our hotel is immediately opposite the station), then we change to a bus (we hope!) and will be in Narvik before 14.00. We have allowed an extra night there…. but that was largely to allow for ‘catch up time’ in case of disruption  en route.

This journey is becoming ‘helper-skelter’…. but it will be completed after another week + (it takes 2 night journeys and  3 days of travel to travel back from Finland).

Maybe we should build some ‘extra’ days into the next  2 journeys.

The final section of the northbound journey was by bus.

Onto a ferry


Segregated pedestrian crossings?

There is an extremely steep climb away from Narvik and the coastal area. As with many hill ranges the Steep slopes are on the west – the land gradually rises from the east. So the drama of the journey into Sweden is all on the western side. Once the line has crossed into Sweden it gradually descends to the Gulf of Bothnia

Looking back

… and ahead…. the railway line is marked by the dark lines on the hillside.

and from one of those comes the following picture

Into Sweden

Frozen lakes – the first of many, particularly in Finland

The mining town of Kiruna – and the reason for the railway being constructed to Narvik. It is the nearest ice -free sea port for export of the iron ore.

Click on this link for a detailed article on the history and general background of Kiruna

Image from the above link


A view that became ‘standard’ for much of the rest of the journey through the ‘Nordic Lands’

Boden Central station

Throughout the journey from Narvik we were accompanied by a person we labelled ‘The Brighton Bore’ (there used to be a smart train called ‘The Brighton Belle’). He seemed to manage to pester almost everyone on the train – even sitting in with the staff. Though at times he spoke almost non-stop, asking questions etc, he never listened and thus questions were often repeated.

Our last sight of him was just after this picture was taken as he joined the ‘Sleeper’ train to Stockholm. He had a place in a 6 berth compartment – Jacqui and I felt very sympathetic towards the other members of that compartment – sleep may not have been easy!

He had one ‘saving grace’ – he carried quantities of gin and tonic & did seem to be possessed of a reasonably generous nature – so maybe the night to Stockholm became more enjoyable as it progressed.

8th March 2023

The walls of the underpass at Boden station celebrate the industry of the region

8th March 2023

Boden to Oulu

To the WhatsApp group I wrote:

We have hit difficulties here. Heading for the Sweden Finnish border…. Unreliable services and a cancelled taxi which was to connect us across the border.

So, we are adjusting and hopefully will have a bus that takes us to near the border. At that point we may need to walk in the snow (quite easy because everyone knows how to manage walking on packed ice). The temperatures are around minus 23.

BUT you might be able to watch us. When we get off the bus at the world’s most northerly IKEA, we will be ‘on live camera’.

Here is the link:

We expect to be in Haparanda at around 13.00 CET (midday U.K.)

We will update later and try and let u know when we will be waving at the camera.

We would have better traveled directly to the coast at Lulea. The trains start there & we discovered that train to Haparanda which we required for this day (& recently restored after Covid), were not always guaranteed.

In Lulea it is possible to take a bus to the border with Finland – and its journey (unlike the railway journey) finishes at the bus station placed on the border with Finland.

So we travelled to Lulea – on a train from Haparanda joining it at Boden

From the WhatsApp group:

Snow? The experience of several days in truly cold conditions found in Scandinavia and the Baltics (and as used to occur in Iasi) helps us understand how to live slightly differently than we do in the warmer south where ‘snow’ has become unusual. The train manager (and othered before her) on the first stage of our altered journey was very helpful and felt (like the Brits with rain) that dry cold was considerably preferable to ‘warmer’ (ie zero degrees) precipitation.

…….walked the short but sometimes icy path to the nearby bus station……

…. and began enjoyed the journey to the Sweden – Finnish Border at Haparanda

The port is frozen… allowing pedestrian ‘short-cuts across the ice……

Snow that is cleared and collected is taken, rather after the fashion of traditional waste clearance, to an official ‘dump’ beyond the town.

One continually impressive aspect of travel in these vast areas of low human population, is the quality of the infrastructure.

The road from Lulea to Haparanda is an important link in the network that covers this part of Sweden. The route is also important in connecting 3 countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland)

Though traffic is at a comparatively low level, the road is structured to allow smooth flow of traffic.

The bus diverts from the main road, serving the local communities.

The curious custom of marking pedestrian crossings with ‘assumptional’ gender based images seems to be normal

Moose Walks

In places special bridges are being constructed to allow safe passage for local wildlife (Moose etc)

and on – and on…. smooth and comfortable travel

Into Haparanda – and a ‘tour’ of the town streets…..

… to the bus station that is technically in Sweden but is is Finnish.

The area is covered by a live video camera (click this link) – which includes the world’s most northerly IKEA (opposite the bus station)

Arrival in Tornio, Finland, walked into in the snows, is a point which completely escaped us, as after crossing the bridge we assume we are in Finland… but there is no marker.

There was also a confusion of information regarding the bus we required that would take us to Kemi railway station.

Some (including verbal requests at the bus station at which we arrived) suggested our bus to Kemi would leave from that main bus station – but various other sources stated the bus we needed did not call at the bus station but left from a point inside the Finnish town of Tornio.

As there are only limited services on the railway line at Kemi it was important to find the (also limited) correct bus.

We walked – and found a bus shelter with sufficient information posted by the differing companies that provided bus services.

We then had plenty of time to wander around and note the variety of restaurants in the vicinity – Turkish, Chinese and Nepalese.

We called in at the nearest ( a ‘Thai’ restaurant) and had pizza and coffee.

The bus arrived and took us to Kemi railway station.

Next to the station building (closed) was a cafe. We discovered that in Finland, whilst railway stations did not have any public buildings or ticket offices, they usually had cafes or restaurants.

There also seemed to be a practice of ‘raking’ the frozen ground & of spreading slightly larger grit than in Norway. It was also mixed with salt. The temperatures were too low for the salt to be effective – but later in the journey, further south, when the temperatures became slightly higher, they had impact.

The history of Finland – an Archduchy in Sweden until the end of the C18th and then a similar relationship within Russia has created some very distinctive features. The railway system was Russian – and has a different (wider) gauge to most other countries. Memorials to modern events also reflect its differing history.

Throughout Finland the railways provide the principle means of moving the vast quantities of timber produced.

Many trains are ‘double-deck’ and have an quiet zone area called ‘extra’. Despite the impression given in this picture they were very busy – and we needed to make reservations. As there are no ticket offices at stations booking seats was either made online or by phone – to the English speaking staff.

We arrived at Oulu at nightfall.

We had completed the most complex(and potentially difficult) day of this part of our tour. Fortunately the online information, from various sources, supplemented by the International Railway Timetable, made the journey comfortable.

information in Finnish, Swedish & English

10th March

Oulu – Pieksämäki

Most (all?) longer distance trains have restaurant/bar facilities. The regulations regarding alcohol are curious… but similar to Poland. Alcohol can only be consumed ‘on the premises’ (ie in the bar/restaurant area. The curiosity element is that where trains operate an at-seat trolley service, alcohol can be consumed anywhere on the train.

Regardless of regulation, prices, as in Norway, are, compared with many other countries, very high.

In ‘Ekstra’ class there are free coffee and light snacks – and a booth (on the right) for use if phoning as it is also a ‘Quiet Zone’…. and the trains moved so smoothly that it really was ‘quiet’.

After only a few days travelling through continually frozen landscapes a view of a machine designed to lift & turn cut grass to assist drying for hay or silage (‘tedding’) seems very strange. In this landscape will the grass ever re-appear? The view therefore creates an air of mystery…. but is also a sign of hope….. no farmer would own such a machine simply for decoration.

Fishing holes

The wood depot at Kontomaki – in sequence

Houses near a lake

It was Friday afternoon and the train became very busy. We realised that we needed to have reservations for certain trains as, if they full, access would be refused. As some services only operate once or twice a day we did not wish to stranded.

Our train to Pieksämäki filled with young soldiers – conscription is still applied in Finland (there is a community-work option).

Pieksämäki is a railways junction of national significance – and the infrequent trains are timed to connect….. after which the timber traffic flows again.

There is a railway museum… requiring crossing the tracks (we waited until we saw others using the crossing)

………..closed in the winter.

As were some other facilities

Finding our accommodation proved difficult due to instructions being sent to us by the owner in Finnish. They involved meeting her mother in the town and collecting a key…. which we failed to do. We found the address in buildings partially hidden by mounds of snow but didn’t quite believe it was correct. After 2 telephone calls mother arrived with the key.

In the supermarket: Not a urinal

As this map shows – Pieksämäki is at the end of a large lake – like all the others, frozen.

In the town we also discovered an official ‘liquor store’. All drink above 5% is sold through these stores (or restaurants, where consumption is only on the premises).

We bought a small collection of plastic bottled ‘liquor’.

The night was not so comfortable… but not due to alcohol consumption.

At one point, shortly after retiring, we were surrounded by flashing blue light….. not police, nor the Aurora Borealis….. but static electricity from the bed clothes….. ! It did not stop until the bedding was changed!

11th March

To Joensuu

It seemed that the trip along a minor line would be in a largely empty train – but two long distance express trains resulted in every seat being occupied – with most people travelling the whole route.

We created a small but annoying problem by putting our wheeled cases on the rack. The people underneath suddenly found themselves in a gentle shower of water as the ice trapped in the wheels melted. The white tissue was a satisfactory solution…. But not before a degree of concern was expressed by those effected (including Jacqui). I was spared and remained blissfully unaware of the issue.

‘We don’t have this problem on our other trains’, said the passenger most effected, ‘the racks have a solid base’

Joensuu is the most important town in eastern Finland – close to the border with Russia.

It was established by Czar Nicholas 1st in 1848.

Finland became an independent nation on 6th December 1917 following the chaos initiated by the Bolshevik revolution. Previously it had been an Arch-Duchy first of Sweden and after the C18th of Russia. Since its independence it has survived various crises (especially during WW2) and unlike other Nordic nations in the EU, had no difficulty accepting the Euro when it was introduced.

The original station building is presently fenced off as a new station is being constructed

In many major stations keeping a specimen of a previous Age is popular

The city of Joensuu had most of its trade (logging timber) based around the major river & associated canal

Its present economic life is closely related to its importance as a University city with older buildings situated near the river

Some areas in the town have streets heated from below ground

One impact of a continually frozen winter is that people do not engage in social activities outside or take gentle strolls around parks & city centres. One consequence is that those with various personal difficulties become more obvious. This we saw in the empty but warm sections of a mall.

The individual pictured was sitting opposite a group who we noticed in various places in the town – and included the sharing of ‘substances’ amongst younger members & a couple of older drunks who had ‘greeted’ us as we walked to our hotel.

Sunday 12th March

Overnight the weather changed and a light, dry but persistent snowfall began.

Everything was quickly covered

including historical relics

Joensuu to Tampere through Helsinki

The route follows the white line and at one point is very close to the border of Russia (thicker red line)

There is a rail link with Russia that has been maintained despite the sanctions applied against Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Looking into Russia, on the other side of the frozen lake.

Lunch in the dining car:

a Finnish meat pie with sausage

A Vegan Risotto


Though Finland had been part of the Swedish and then Russian Empires it developed a distinctive ‘voice’, expressed in various art forms. The most obvious (ie easiest to observe) is the public architecture created during the late C19th.

Probably the most significant architectural site is the Central Railway station which was not in ‘Nationalist Romantic’ style. It was intended as the western-most terminal of the Russian Empire but was not completed until 1919 by which time Finland had become an independent national state.

It is regarded by some as one of the world’s most most architecturally significant railways stations.

There is a very detailed description of the history of the station in the following link:

Click here: Helsinki Station

Travelling on railways systems is to travel with a degree of uncertainty as each national system is idiosyncratic & requires experience to understand.

On one occasion a group of us were left behind in Krakow due to failure to realise the terms in which Poland describes its train ‘arrival/departure positions’. I use that phrase because the term for such positions varies & sometimes systems use more than one term.

In Finland the word ‘track’ and a number occur – but this is a more recent usage as in the Helsinki station there is evidence of the term as used in UK

On to Tampere:

Such is the precision of standardised train lengths that it is possible to keep a space on the platform clear of snow for staff and crew.

We were told that Tampere was the ‘Manchester of Finland’. A centre, thanks to the availability of water power, of the textile trade established by a Scottish business entrepreneur James Finlayson


Scottish engineer James Finlayson establishes a cotton factory by the Tammerkoski rapids in the city of Tampere.

Over a short period in the 1800s Finlayson became the largest industrial enterprise in Scandinavia. This growth was based on unique courage and open-mindedness. The company’s weaving hall had the honour of switching on the first electric lights in the Nordic. The company had its own hospital, daycare centre, school, fire brigade, pharmacy and nursing home. The company even its own social security system at a time when no one had yet heard of such a thing. More significantly, Finlayson was the first company in Finland to offer women an opportunity to an independent life: an apartment and livelihood. Women’s status in Finnish society is evident in the fact that in 1906 Finland became the first country in Europe to grant women the right to vote.

There is, now, only one working mill (paper) in the town centre. The chimneys are not functioning but were kept as reminders of the history of the town. They have impressive sculptural impact.

Our hotel was fine – but had a somewhat severe ‘penitentiary’ style. Access to breakfast was controlled by locks.

The resurrection (Magnus Enckell) still requires women to dress ‘appropriately’… curious.

The artist, Hugo Simberg, was criticised for placing a snake/winged serpent at the centre of the ceiling.

This is maybe to have mistaken Simberg’s approach to his work. He has also included a positive theme of boys (from Tampere) carrying a symbol of life – the green and fruitful cord.

A ‘cord of life’ to which the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas refers:

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age”

(excellent summary & poem in English & Italian)

Much of that poem seems to bear a similar understanding of life as may be seen in Simberg’s work, which also maintains a humorous aspect:

The serpent is usually a symbol of evil. Simberg’s other frescoes in the church demonstrate an approach to artistic expression that requires the observer to engage sensitively. The symbol of evil that is placed centrally is not alone – it is surrounded by angel wings. Angel wings also cover other parts of the church ceiling. It is as if Simberg is stating that evil is a central issue for humanity – but that those who sit in this building are surrounded by the protective power of angels. The serpent itself is shown as contained (and somewhat ‘uncomfortable’)

Of the Garden of Death Simberg stated that is was a place where the dead wait prior to entering heaven.

His ‘wounded angel’ was reproduced several times and in this case he has located it in industrial Tampere (the chimneys & footwear are different from the original version).

The centre of Tampere is equally fascinating – with the industrial buildings re-purporsed, providing connectional & recreational spaces.


more station reconstruction (this is being composed in Turkey – all the way railways are being remodelled)

we leave the train (which continues to the port) and immediately it starts snowing – but its light snow so we decide to continue walking to the ferry (to Stockholm)

After 3 kms+ we had a brief stop to eat a Stromboli

The final 2 kms were in a worsening snow storm

It was good to see that the road crossing was gender neutral

Our ferry to Stockholm was with Viking Line.

Aptly named.

It has always been assumed that Viking boats did not have much ‘accommodation space’ for their warriors. This tradition has been continued by the present company, who managed to squeeze two of us into a space that only allowed one person to stand inside the cabin. The other had to be on their bunk-bed or outside. Opening the door to the lavatory was not possible unless every other space was clear.

Not much could be seen as we ploughed, in the dark, through the ice

…….. and the decks were dangerously covered in ice and snow

We were sailing into a fierce gale which, at one point, became very turbulent when we lost the shelter of the islands that cover most of the Baltic Sea between Turku and Stockholm. The Baltic is a shallow sea and therefore the turbulence arrives & departs rapidly.

Regardless of the weather the dancing continued. I suspect that many of the people who were travelling were on a a short return trip that provided 2 nights of such pleasure with a day ‘sightseeing’ (as occurs with many other ferry journeys such as the one we used between Newcastle and Amsterdam.

Karaoke also featured

Arrival in Stockholm was at 06.30 hrs

Followed by disembarkation (what else!) and a walk to the Central Railway station

The weather system that had brought snow to Turku in Finland had fallen as heavy rain in Stockholm. This made some of the walking more treacherous as it exposed the compacted ice – but we were now, for the fsince arriving

Though a rather lengthy walk it had interesting features.

The Royal Palace……

……. and some of its neighbours

The Central Railway Station

It became the first place in which I paid for a loo visit by credit card

The venue also, rather curiously, provided a screen with fire image

Our train was supposedly to Copenhagen – but announcements on board began to raise doubts

There were decreasing amounts of snow & lakes were thawing

In places the ground was littered with rocks of varying sizes.

It was difficult recording the variety of rock formation due to the speed of the train.

Nearly a month later we saw a picture (‘Early Spring’) by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela that accurately captured the landscape:

It hangs in the Belvedere in Vienna.

Just before Malmo station we had our suspicions verified when suddenly we were told the train would not continue to Copenhagen.

There was a dash from one platform to another… involving stairs to a lower level and obstructing the doors of the t rain to allow us – and our cases – onboard. Then a crossing of the lengthy road-rail bridge between Sweden and Denmark and we were then, once again, saying hello to (and joining) one of the Flying Lampreys that had featured in the early part of the journey.

The Danish equivalent of a trolley service:

The person who provided this curiously limited service was also required to carry tanks of water strapped to their back.

The style seemed very archaic.

Over the great Rendsburg High bridge spanning the Kiel Canal. It has a vehicle transporter underneath the railway line.

The railway line rises and descends from the bridge in a great looping metal framed bridge, crossing over itself – trains go over and then under – we were travelling south thus went through Rendsburg station and ‘Under’ (on the long circuit), then ‘Over’.

Hamburg, for one night.

A place of considerable personal significance, Here lived ‘Uncle’ Helmut Kalbitzer.

My childhood was never marked (as many in UK seemingly were) by the sense of Germans as ‘enemies’. My parents had connected with Helmut & Emi (amongst others in Germany) who would visit on occasions bearing gifts (Nürnberger Lebkuchen). Both Kalbitzers were radicals persecuted by the Nazi regime. Their visits to us were welcomed and in 1966 I arrived as darkness fell & unannounced at their house (‘interloping’ with a stray Scotsman wearing a kilt). Though surprised (shocked probably), hospitality was automatic. I then learned something of how the relationship had developed after my parents made contact (sending, through these contacts, food parcels).

Writing these notes revised powerful family emotions – as I realise an aspect of my ‘upbringing’ that was never properly discussed with my parents.

At the end of my stay in Hamburg the Kalbitzers insisted that I should visit Berlin – which became an action of some significance as it gave direct experience of placers such as ‘Check-Point Charlie’ & the Russian directed redevelopment in East Germany.

In 1998 I was again in Hamburg for a conference on pilgrimage that was led by a Lutheran Minister from Trondheim. Here I met, for the first time, the Romanian who became our first link to Iasi in Romania. That place has remained significant.

Arrival on this latest occasion had a certain drama as we witnessed an attempted (and failed) robbery….. and its aftermath.

We stayed at the Graf Moltke Hotel. It is a curiously faded old fashioned place but it is named after of one of those who resisted the Nazi regime – and was murdered by them.

Our evening was completed at a restaurant opposite the station entrance

The next day we woke to discover snow & iced windows (again)…. but not for long

he journey to Amsterdam was without incident. The bus to Ijmuiden and ferry to Newcastle…..

……… sailing up the River Tyne & docking at North Shields.

Journey 1 was completed with a lengthy drive home.

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