A leisurely journey across Denmark

Ah, Denmark. They have holes in some their coins, you know. Think how much metal that must save.

Anyway, on with the story. Back in September I was invited to speak at DanNotes, the Danish Notes User Group event – not about Notes, but about Lotus Connections. Of course I accepted, and wasn’t put off in the least when I discovered that the event was taking place in a town called Korsør (pronounced ‘Korsur’ because of that ‘ø’ character) which is half-way across Denmark from Copenhagen. I also discovered that my good friend and God-like genius Paul Mooney was also on the agenda, so it was shaping up to be an excellent prospect of a trip. But how does one get from Copenhagen to the far and distant Korsør? By train of course.

My first experience of Danish trains was pretty good. In August I made my first ever trip to Denmark and had to make my way to Lyngby, which is north of Copenhagen… a very easy journey thanks to a short train ride to Copenhagen Central and then another fairly quick hop to Lyngby. As I said at the time it was efficient, on-time, clean and reasonably good value. So without much fuss I discovered that a train went directly from Copenhagen lufthaven (sorry, airport) directly to Korsør in eighty-eight minutes. I arrived in Copenhagen, I purchased my return ticket, the train turned up and left on time, and even arrived at Korsør a few minutes early. I had a comfortable seat and there was even a power socket above my head. On arriving at the Grand Park Hotel I had no hesitation in telling people that I was impressed by the Danish train service. When they scoffed at this notion, I assumed it was merely because they’d never encountered the English trains and were therefore a little spoilt.

Whoever said that irony is a fickle mistress was more correct than they’ll ever know.

The delegates and speakers enjoyed an excellent dinner. I found Mr Mooney and we chewed the fat and laughed until tiredness caught up with me and I caved in for the evening. The next morning I did my talk on Connections, and also a half-hour slot on composite applications which was a late addition to the agenda. Paul was on his way home, and already Google Latitude was showing me that he was in the bar at Copenhagen airport. After lunch I ordered a taxi, leaving plenty of time to catch the train back to Copenhagen, my plans leaving me lots of time to check in at the airport before continuing on to Stockholm. Mrs A is reading this over my shoulder and said “that’s where it started to go wrong”. And she’s right.

According to the train timetable on the Interweb, my train back to Copenhagen airport was supposed to depart at 14:50. But arriving at the station at 14:20 I found that the next train direct (I mean with no changes) to the airport was at 15:14. This wasn’t a big problem as there was a train to Copenhagen Central at 14:43, and I could change there and continue to the airport with enough time to check in for the 18:10 flight.

However, a couple of stations from Copenhagen Central the train stopped for nearly half an hour. Someone was kind enough to translate the announcement which said that the train would terminate at the next station and then we’d have to change over to a local line (with more stops) to continue the journey. So I got off at Høje Taastrup station and waited seven minutes for the next B line train. Time was now becoming rather tight.

A number of stops later, things took a turn for the worse. At Danshøj the train stopped and minutes ticked away until an announcement told the passengers that the train was terminating and they should get off. Someone told me that a person had been hit by a train at Copenhagen Central and there were going to be delays reaching the station. By now it was 16:45, and I had half an hour left to check in. After getting off, another train came to the platform quickly. But two stops later, at Enghave, the train stopped again, and the ticket lady on the train said that we were stopping and they had no idea for how long. It was now 16:57. A train from Copenhagen Central to the airport takes around fifteen minutes, and I could wait up to twenty minutes for that train. I wasn’t even at Copenhagen Central yet. At this point I realised that if I stayed on the train I would miss the flight and the implications started whirring through my head and stomach.

Maybe fortune does favour the brave – I left the train, ran up the steps, and was just in time to see a taxi about to leave after dropping someone off. I banged on the window, the driver stopped and beckoned me in. It was 17:00. I asked how long it would take to get to the airport and the words were music to my ears… “it’s rush hour, so maybe fifteen minutes”. And he was spot on, the cab stopped outside Copenhagen airport Terminal 3 at 17:15. During the journey he said there’s nowhere for taxis to wait at Enghave station so I was lucky to catch him.

The fun wasn’t over yet – inside Terminal 3 I looked at the check-in board and the instructions for SAS flight 1426 were… wait for it… go to Terminal 2. You’re kidding me. So I ran to Terminal 2, where the check-in board said – I’m not making this up – go to Terminal 3. I grabbed someone who looked like they worked there and they said yes, check-in for my flight was at Terminal 2. So at 17:23 I was at the check-in desk where a lovely young lady calmly told me there was no hurry because they hadn’t even assigned a gate yet.

And then I picked the slowest-moving queue for security. But by then I was serenely calm. Maybe even delirious.

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