Scandinavia 2019 Travel Blog – June 27

By Kim Andersen

People waiting in a trainstation
Waiting for the Stockholm train at Malmö Central.

The train rides and the ferry ride are part of the journey. Integral to the course experience. A completely different concept of travel than taking an airplane or driving a car. In a train you can close your eyes, read a book, have a conversation, go to the bistro car. On the ferry you can feel the elements on your face as you ponder the purpose of an ocean. You do not go through the hectic security of air travel, humiliating as you know you are innocent but still is subjected to the impersonal scan by machine and unknowns whose metier is suspicion, without shoes, belts or anything in your pockets. Then the humiliating wait to board the plane most likely overbooked as regular threats of being forced to abandon your carry-on free of charge resonate through crackling speakers. Then the boarding circus. Then the hours in the tube’s constant barrage of static noise. Toddlers screaming, parents negotiating with the confused child, passengers coughing up the air you will soon breathe in.

No, in the train from Malmö to Stockholm you board in full control, place your luggage in the overhead fully visible and accessible at all times. Then you stroll to the bistro, chat with the guy there, and return to your ample seat with a coffee and a kanelbulle, a freshly baked cinnamon roll, which seems to be a Swedish staple in addition to the coffee. Most of all you feel connected to the tempo of travel, it doesn’t alienate you in the way you in a plane surrender to the powers of 33,000 feet and a speed outside that doesn’t make sense. The speed of the train and the ship makes perfect sense.

Few students nowadays seem to master the art of looking out the window. Observing the details of the landscape and wondering how life is in those red farmhouses that dot the forested hills. What it must be like to fish in those lakes that reflect the sunlight. How reaffirming it is to see a cow chewing. Students nap merrily oblivious to the scenery, or, of course, watch movies from home on their phones or pads connected by wires to the speakers in their ears, engrossed, jubilantly. The jury is out on the effects of the digital revolution.

We reached our hostel af Chapman in the afternoon and after dinner in Stockholm’s Old Town and some strolling, it’s time to hit the bunks.