Rock Im Park, Day Five: The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell

Having had our fair share of Germans, weird nightly howls throughout the camping areas and interrupted sleep, Tina and I sat in our darkened tent, clutching our luggage and waiting for Dunkel to show up. After a short shouting match on my behalf with a couple of passer-by Danes (what were the odds?), we heard something stirring in the rear of the tent and out of the darkness popped a visibly confused Dunkel. Apparently, after being up front for The Offspring, he’d suffered quite a brutal treatment at the hands of the crowd and had sought back to the tent for some rest. Apparently he’d then fallen asleep, oblivious to our return.. Skipping the details, we grabbed our luggage and rushed on in search of a train to the main station.

.. Or a tram for that matter. As it turned out, things weren’t quite as simple as I might have thought, so for the greater good and after some asking around, we decided to take a tram we knew would be heading to the main station rather than get lost looking for the damn train station. Good call on Tina’s and Dunkel’s part! After about 16 minutes of waiting, we were on a tram heading for the main station. The ride was long enough for us to fall into a bit of small talk with some more or less local Germans on board who sure felt a lot of pity for the poor Danes who had to travel a total of 13 hours (with layovers) through the night to get home.
. We even got a round of sympathy “awwwws”

After some 15 minutes on the tram, we arrived at the main station where we were lucky enough to encounter a 24 hour Burger King which offered some comfort, a couple of real toilets (all of which were broken on the men’s side), heat and food for Dunkel and Tina.. Me, I wasn’t hungry so I skipped. As did Tina about two bites into her cheeseburger.. Poor thing. Afer an hour or so of resting up, we decided to locate the track from which our train was departing at 2:20 AM that night.. morning.. whatever. We did so in pretty much no time, leaving us about a 45 minute wait. We unrolled Tina’s sleeping mat, Tina hid under her sleeping bag and we all sat down to wait. My wait was pretty much spent trainspotting, talking with Dunkel add cursing the fact that I hadn’t brought a jacket while I was trying hard not to shiver too much from the cold as to wake Tina who had fallen asleep with her head on my shoulder. Oh, and I just had time to curse the state of German trains and how old and worn down they were.

Which of course once again came back to bite me in the ass (karma again, anyone?) when our train arrived and turned out to be the most luxurious train I’d ever seen.. Even second class was fancier than any first class I’ve seen on Danish trains. We ended up in some huge, spacious seats in a small, quiet compartment up front with only eight seats. All of which we had to ourselves for the first five hours of the trip. Tina once again hid in her sleeping bag and pretty much immediately fell back asleep while Dunkel and I talked for a bit before he once again started snoring.. I must have dozed off for a while myself because the next thing I remember clearly was a 5:55 incoherent speaker call saying something about a delay and what have you. Which pulled me right out of my sleep as I knew we had a transfer in Hamburg to catch with only 30 minutes to spare. An inquiry with the staff, though, showed the delay to be insignificant, so we pressed on through the night, actually making up for the lost time and arriving in Hamburg at 8:57 as planned.

Here, after a bit of an inevitable flare-up of tempers caused by lack of sleep and everybody wanting to just be home, we located the right track for the train departing for our final destination, Kolding, and after the longest, most boring 30 minute wait of my life, we boarded the last train.. Aka the train from hell! By now we were weary, tired, more or less pissed off and really, really longing for a shower, a bed and some food, and we happened to stumble into a train full of f’ing loud German youngsters who were apparently heading for vacation in Denmark.. “Just great!”, I thought and shook my head as we settled in for the last four hours of our journey.. And man what a trial it was.

The only good thing I can think of about it all was that we met an incredibly nice train steward who sold Tina and I some cheap sandwiches and showed general compassion for us when he learned that we had barely eaten anything for over 24 hours, by not only getting us water, but bringing us a couple of free biscuits on
top if the piece of chocolate that came with our sandwiches.. A gesture which, along with the sensation of actually eating something made both Tina and I smile for the first time in about ten hours.. Okay, another good thing was that compared to what we’d been through, it was a pretty short ride which landed us back in good old Kolding by around 1 PM on Monday afternoon.

Stepping wearily off the train, we walked on out to the main entrance, said or goodbyes and headed off in our seperate directions. I, after an uphill trek, arrived home around 20 minutes later and immediately went to work hanging my wet clothes in our washing cellar. Here I had a pretty quick chat with Mia from upstairs who must’ve found me a bit incoherent to talk to but none the less thought it sounded like we’d had somewhat of an epic adventure.. Which I’d have to agree that we did, albeit with one major unplanned accident overshadowing parts of it.. Would I do it all again? Well, stick around for the conclusion.


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