Leg 01 - Vienna-Copenhagen - 2012-07-07
Before there was Willi and when Interrail tickets were still affordable for students we bought two Interrail tickets 'ten travel days within one month' and planned our trip through Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Other than the Interrail transportation we did all the exploring by foot (except that one time, keep on reading), so we didn't buy any additional tickets for public transportation in the cities we stayed in.
Please note that the routes displayed on the maps might note be our actual routes since My Maps by Google Maps cannot draw routes for public transportation.
Our journey started on a saturday evening at Wien Westbahnhof station where we would ride a night train to Hamburg and from there continue to Copenhagen. In Copenhagen we stayed at Bellahoj Camping which - for a campsite - was situated pretty centrally in Copenhagen; we just had to take the bus to get to the city center.
The campsite as well as the facitlities were pretty simple but there was a small shop at the reception and the staff was very friendly. Plus these were the cheapest two nights we spent during our trip (well no, the nights we spent in trains were obviously cheaper).
We spent 1.5 days walking through Copenhagen, wishing the rain to pass and just enjoying the first days of our Interrail trip.
Leg 02 - Copenhagen-Stockholm - 2012-07-10
Most of the routes and trains we took I researched in advance. Most of the night trains required seat reservations, as did the night train which would take us from Malmö to Copenhagen. It was an easy task to make the reservations at the travel center at Copenhagen's central station and so we found ourselves on a short train ride from Copenhagen to Malmö where we would change to the night train to Stockholm.
We only booked seats, not bunks in the sleeping coach, which is fine for people short enough to snuggle up in the seats but less comfortable for one of us who had to figure out where to put his feet and head.
We arrived in Stockholm on a Wednesday morning not-so-well-rested and craving a shower but still had a 15-minute walk ahead of us to get to Interhostel Stockholm where we could leave our backpacks but could not access our room until that afternoon. Oh well, we did what we could do best and explored Stockholm with the camera and a two guidebooks.
The room in the hostel was, well, practical. Two single beds, two night stands, a TV and a small shelf and stool.
On metaltravelguide.com we read that there was a metal-ish pub pretty close to the hostel which we decided to give a try on our last evening in Stockholm. We had a great time at The Anchor with awesome music and nice people.
Leg 03 - Stockholm-Helsinki - 2012-07-14
The plan was to take ther ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki that day which was set to depart at 7 o'clock in the morning. Well, it didn't go as planned as I woke up around 7 and realized that we were about to miss the ferry. After a minute of despair there was nothing else to do but to book a cabin on the next ferry which would depart at 19:00 o'clock. So, we spent the day wandering around Stockholm with our massive backpacks and stopping at several Mc Donald's to relieve our feet and shoulders.
The night ferry ride was actually pretty cool and we were kind of happy that we overslept that morning.
In Helsinki we stayed at Kongressikoti Hotel which was a bit, well, interesting to say the least. We knew that our keys were deposed at the downstairs bar but since we arrived in the morning instead of the night before the bar was closed and we had to wait for them to open. Our calls at the hotel were left unanswered. The hotel was more of a hostel with individual rooms and shared bathroom, kitchen and a small balcony. With creaking doors and empty and shabby walk-in closets our room was a special experience. The owner of the hotel we only saw once wenn she came to collect the payment. We only heard our room neighbors but we never actually saw anyone in the hallway.
Unfortunately, half of our day in Helsinki it was raining and it was rather cold but we made the best of it and explored the city by foot.
Leg 04 - Helsinki-Rovaniemi - 2012-07-17
We left Helsinki on a bright and sunny day but decided to wear warmer clothes since the day before was so cold and we were about to head further north. We did this only to arrive in Rovaniemi at around 19:00 o'clock with the sun shining and 23°C. The 15-minute walk to the hostel with long trousers and our backpacks was a blast.
The room in Guesthouse Outa was the cutest and best-equipped room of our trip. It even provided coffee filters, an own microwave oven and it even had a balcony where we would sit and eat our dinner.
That evening we wandered around the city where some kind of town fest was going on and had a few drinks sitting on the grass near the river. Eventually, I looked at my watch and was so surprised to find out that it was 23:00 o'clock and the sun was still bright in the sky. It was a surreal evening.
The next day we took the local bus number 8 to get to Santa Claus Village where we met Santa Claus and wrote post cards in 25°C weather listening to christmas songs.
Leg 05 - Rovaniemi-Luleå - 2012-07-19
Luleå was only an intermediate stop on our way to Narvik since the public transport connections weren't to good on this route. On this route we actually had to change transportation twice. We took a train to Kemi, then a bus to Tornio and a second bus took us to Luleå. In Luleå we stayed at Luleå Vandrarhem & Minihotel which when we saw it were glad it was only a transit stop.
Leg 06 - Luleå-Narvik - 2012-07-20
We took an early train to Narvik where we were greeted by misty, rainy weather.
We got a room in Spor 1 Gjestegård which was the most expensive accomodation we stayed in during this trip but it was clean and quite nice and in the basement there was a big kitchen and living area for shared use.
Actually, we wanted to take the ski lift to go up Fagernesfjellet but the lift wasn't operating due to the bad weather conditions. So we did a bit of hiking up the mountain until right below the blanket of fog.
Leg 07 - Narvik-Gällivare - 2012-07-22
Gällivare, like Luleå, was just an intermediate stop, but at least a very nice one. We stayed in one of the cabins of Gällivare Camping and enjoyed a nice and sunny afternoon just doing nothing at all.
Leg 08 - Gällivare-Gothenburg-Oslo-Gothenburg - 2012-07-23
From Gällivare we took the Inlandsbanan to Östersund. We didn't actually know what that was all about only that it was one of Norway's scenic railway routes.
Although it was kind of a tour group train ride with a tour guide and organized stops to eat local food or buy hand-crafted accessories, it was fun and we did see a lot of reindeers and even one elk, which only the two of us saw :-).
We arrived in Östersund around 21:00 o'clock and had planned to take a night train southwards, change to a train to Oslo, spend three hours in Oslo and in the evening take a train to Gothenburg.
Well. We got on the night train, bought seat reservations on the train and since there were so many vacant seats, made ourselves comfortable for the night. This should have been the second and last time we overslept. At quarter past seven we woke up just to find out we had missed our stop and were going straight to Gothenburg. It seemed like visiting Oslo was over for us but with the help of a very nice train attendant I moved heaven and hell and when we arrived in Gothenburg we squeezed our backpacks into the biggest lockers we could find and took a rail replacement bus and then change to a train to Oslo.
In Oslo, we had only a quarter of an hour until the last train to Gothenburg left so we rushed down Karl Johans gate, had a beer in the Hard Rock Café Oslo, took two pictures from the castle from afar and hurried back to the train station.
When we arrived back in Gothenburg we took a tram to Liseberg Camping but since it was almost midnight noone was at the reception.
Only a security guy gave us the directions to a small patch of grass for tents, everywhere else was packed with campers and cabins. The security guy couldn't give us entrance cards for the facilities so we had to sneak in with other guests. You wouldn't believe how few people use the bathrooms at one in the morning on a campsite.
We spent the next day wandering around Gothenburg and enjoying the great weather and the beautiful city. However, after the solitude on our hike in Narvik and the relaxed afternoon in Gällivare, all the tourists and city noise in Gothenburg were overwhelming and exhausting.
Leg 09 - Gothenburg-Copenhagen-Vienna - 2012-07-26
Since we would consume more than our ten travel days for which our Interrail ticket was valid we decided to use our last day to get to Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup Airport) and travel back home by plane. They didn't have any self-wrapping-stations at the airport so we had to secure everything to our backpacks with Gaffer tape.