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Journey to Copenhagen


By Brian - Posted on 23 August 2010

Got to the airport nearly two hours early for once; as anyone who knows me can attest, I tend to show up as late as I can possibly get away with for just about everything. Call it a lifestyle.

After checking in, I wandered around the airport for a while looking for shit to buy that might prove useful for the trip.

First, a novel for the plane. A longtime Stephen King fan, I've been meaning to finish the last three books of The Dark Tower for some time now, having stalled on the series after Wizard and Glass (seriously, the entire book is a giant flashback, which while interesting, really killed the series' momentum for me after the awesomeness that was The Waste Lands). So anyway, I went in search of the fifth book, Wolves of the Calla, and found a copy at the airport's Coles, score! (The irony is, I have the illustrated trade paperback buried in a box at home somewhere)

Second, travel accessories. I am an insatiable gadget freak. Behold, the Chill Pill:

This tiny little speaker system collapses into a capsule about the size of an egg. All cables retract into it, and it features a USB rechargeable internal battery. And believe it or not, this thing is loud! Obviously it's not going to be shaking any windows with its bass output, but it's actually uncomfortably loud past about 60%. At 100% I think it would easily approach neighbour waking levels. I think this thing might just be the perfect portable speaker set for mp3 players, phones, and laptops.

Also, as I'd never been on a trans-continental flight, I bought one of those crescent shaped neck pillows. Well it sucks and I hate it and I hope its inventor develops chronic neck pains.

Anyway, having satisfied my pre-flight shopping urge, I checked security to make sure it didn't have some insane line, then wolfed down a bite to eat, had a quick smoke, then rushed through security, and made it to my gate with only minutes to spare. Did I mention the late-as-I-can-get-away-with thing?

On the 9 hour plus flight to Frankfurt, I read about a third of Wolves of the Calla's 900 pages, and watched "Up in the Air", which is about George Clooney spending an inordinate amount of time on airplanes. Seemed appropriate.

When I got to Frankfurt airport, I was completely lost. Everything was in German, which I expected, but the Departure Screen listed my outbound flight as being at gate "B". Not B12. Not B27. Just. B. "B WHAT!?" I screamed futilely at the smug, numerically challenged display terminal, as mothers ushered their children hurredly away from me. Every other flight seemed to have a number. Why not mine?? I couldn't even go in the "general direction" of the B gates, because B1-19 was one way, and B20-37 was another way.

I paced. I fretted. Then I attempted both at the same time, and nearly dislocated my shoulder. Luckily, at least my phone had picked up the local carrier and I had internet. I tweeted that I was pacing around Frankfurt airport, wondering what the hell to do. A few minutes later, @Airport_FRA cheerfully tweeted back "Why not check out the visitor's lounge in Terminal 2"? FUCK YOU, Airport_FRA, I've got a plane to find.

An Information Desk person finally steered me towards the B1-19 direction. Alright, better than nothing. So I got to the next section, still completely clueless as to my actual destination. I spotted a smoking booth, so at least I was able to stress out properly for a few minutes. I tried explaining my plight to the other smokers, at least one of whom spoke broken English. They didn't know what to do either. Well at least I wasn't missing something obvious, I thought.

Finally, the display screen changed. B9. Sweet mother of mercy, what a relief. I found my gate at last, and shortly bussed out to the plane on the tarmac (the Germans apparently do not believe in bringing planes anywhere near the actual terminals) and boarded.

An hour or so later I was finally in Copenhagen. I collected my bag, stumbled around the airport until I found the Metro, and managed to figure out what fare to purchase and where I was going to get to my hotel.

Finally, things seemed to be going smoothly. Until I got off the Metro. You see, it had started to rain. No--rain is the wrong word. This was Niagara fucking Falls, pouring down from the heavens. The kind of rain that soaks you to the bone if you're even out in it for a few seconds, umbrella or not. The kind that makes it hard to see more than 50 feet. The kind that makes trying to find your hotel in an unfamiliar city, while towing your luggage and expensive electronics on your back, a fucking disaster. I tried using Google Maps to figure out exactly where I was going, but it was no help. I don't think it could figure out my location properly while in the underground Metro tunnel, and using it outside in that rain was out of the question. Finally I just picked the tallest building I could see, a hazy outline in the rain soaked distance, and headed towards it.

Radisson Blu SkandinaviaI guessed correctly. :) It was indeed my hotel. I checked in, got to my room, unpacked and tried to hang my clothes as best I could (half my luggage was wet), then passed out for a couple hours, having not slept in about 24 hours by that point. I got up later that night, and tried to get my blog launched, finally going to sleep again at around 3:30am for a few hours; my seminar started at 9am and I wanted plenty of time to get ready and find the place.

The jackhammers started outside my window at around 5.

Anonymous's picture

Are you staying at Radisson SAS Hotel?

Brian's picture

The Radisson Blu Scandinavia, if that is the same one.

http://www.radissonblu.com/scandinaviahotel-copenhagen

I have a killer view too, going to try to assemble a panorama later.

Anonymous's picture

That's a nice hotel. I know people who went there just to ride the elevators. Weird people.

Brian's picture

The elevators really are INSANELY fast! I get to the eighth floor in a couple seconds, no exaggeration.

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