Continuing the trend of taking transportation+ accommodation trips, Brian and I took it upon ourselves to find and book the train from Stockholm->Copenhagen that was an overnight trip. Rick Steves claimed it existed, but we weren’t so sure.
This train seemed to be some mystical creation that didn’t actually exist on any site. After fighting the Swedish train website for hours and clicking different things in a manner in which we still don’t fully remember, we finally found this train of lore and booked it, jokingly making references to the fact that it may all be made up and we just handed the company cash for no particular reason. While booking, it claimed that we had something called “couchettes,” which seemed to be what we were looking for. There weren’t any options to downgrade or upgrade our seats, and since the name of the seats matched our expectations of a cheap sleeper car, it all seemed okay.
That is, until I actually looked at the receipt. In Europe. It said “chairs+table.” This might have thrown up danger signs, but I didn’t fret too much. The couchette myth seemed too prevalent. Come 2200, we went to Stockholm Central and printed our tickets before going to the spar that held our awaiting chariot. We checked in and started walking past car after car of sleepers.
It’s at this point where I should point out the collective mental state of our travelling group. Brian was beginning to get what would be an extremely high fever, and his energy level was slumping fast. Tracey had the misfortune of sleeping in the bunk below me the night before, and as it was a squeaky IKEA bed, my constant tossing and turning meant she was up most of the night and somewhat pissed at me. Oury, well, Oury was just looking for a bed to sleep in. I was pretty full of energy, and was planning on spending most of the time on the train planning our Copenhagen adventures.
We come to our car. Which looks different then the rest. It’s a little more dilapidated than the others, and as we enter the main aisle, there comes the sinking feeling that we may not be in a car like the others. There were no sleepers here, only chairs. Red chairs. Dirty red chairs from the early 1990s. And an interior that could have come out of the Soviet Union. As we approached our assigned seats, I felt the red hot glares of death upon me.
I make some sort of explanation about how it said couchette, and there were no upgrade options. This did little to placate Tracey, who was leading the charge of hate at this point, with Oury right behind her.
Brian and I, fighting the inevitable battle towards illness, were popping cough drops like they were candy, and tried to remain nonplussed at the situation which we now found ourselves in: a good night’s sleep which we all needed was no longer an option, only the train awaited, and our transfer at 6:00am.