somewhere to house the cats and went for a longer trip, to England where my heart lies. The usual trip with the 12:21 from Stockholm to Copenhagen and then the night train to Cologne, from whence on to Brussels. Well, not so fast!
We were late into Copenhagen, but as SJ in their wisdom had insisted on purveying us with tickets with generous margins between trains, this was not a problem. However, the motion sickness which I had accrued on the X2000, was.
Eventually we boarded our sleeper, which was a Czech single-decker this time, and rolled through Denmark into the night. I didn't sleep very well (Honeybuns bravely slept in the upper berth, risking being tossed to the floor whenever the train lurched) and when I headed for the shower in the morning, not feeling particularly well at all, the conductor informed me that we were already running two hours late, so they were going to dump us in Dortmund, from where we could catch a faster train to Cologne.
We gathered our belongings and then scrambled to this other train, some platforms away.
Well on the train, I withdrew to the lavatory to yell at Ralph, after which I felt slightly better and then dozed a bit.
Instead of the usual Thalys, we travelled with an ICE train. It seemed to me they must have straightened the tracks, because the journey was half an hour shorter and I didn't quite recognise the landscape we passed through, even though the stations were the same. This meant I missed my favourite sights on this leg.
In Brussels we spent a long time going in circles, trying to locate the Eurostar terminal. Finally we found the mysteriously elusive entrance and ended up in long queues for checkin, exit passport control, security control, and entry passport control (Britain not being a part of the Schengen area). Eurostar has a serious case of flight envy, but doesn't quite manage to pull it off: All luggage has to be tagged and “Dangerous items such as knives” are prohibited, so I slipped my Victorinox in my suitcase, expecting it to be placed in a locked hold after being X-rayed, but no, the suitcase was just given back to me, so there I got on the train, equipped with a deadly weapon—not only did I have a knife, but I could…err…use the screwdriver to take the train apart while rolling, yeah!
We had a while before our next train so had a spot of food and then wandered around S:t Pancras and King's Cross, looking for ice cream until I found a Möwenpick freezer in a shop in the former station. Another item worthy of notice: The public lavatories at King's Cross will cost you 60p, but the ones at S:t Pancras across the street are free.
At around 16:00 we were in Lincoln, some 28 hours after leaving Stockholm.
Pulling our bags on a cart we stuck out like sore thumbs and we had hardly exited the station before the locals descended upon us, eager to tell us how to best get to the tourist information centre. On the other hand, the town was already closing down. We had time to get ourselves sandwiches and juice at the Coop, but by the time we had finished them all shops and restaurants had closed. (Later on British colleagues extolled the wild nightlife of Lincoln, to which we can just say “What!?”) We wandered around a bit, but decided we needed rest, so returned to the rail station and took a taxi to our bed & breakfast, which turned out to be just as friendly and comfortable as we had hoped for. Soon we slept.