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Entries about brexit

Malmö - The Essentials

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Sunday Lunch

Sunday Lunch

To get to Malmö I flew from Edinburgh to Copenhagen with easyJet. Flight time was 90 minutes (a little slower going west) and it cost £107 return. I only needed hand luggage for a 2 night trip.

From Copenhagen Airport I took the Oresundståg train to Malmö Central. The journey time is just over 20 minutes and train frequency is excellent. It cost SEK120 (£9.60 or €11.37) to buy a single ticket in Malmö and DKK91 (€12.17 or £10.31) in Copenhagen.

Sankt Petri Kyrka

Sankt Petri Kyrka

When you go to buy a train ticket at Copenhagen Airport, the first thing you see is a large row of automatic Danish Railways (DSB) machines, with a queue management system. It is well set up, with helpful staff to assist customers who are struggling.

Less obvious (and so less busy) are 2 Skånetrafiken machines close by which will also sell tickets for the Oresundståg. They are also red, and stand next to a couple of green SJ machines - the Swedish Railways ones. Skånetrafiken seems to be the regional transport - trains and buses - operator for Skåne, where Malmö is located.

Malmöhus

Malmöhus

I stayed at the Radisson Blu in Malmö. It cost SEK1,760 (£141 or €166) for the two nights, inclusive of their superb buffet breakfast. The room was massive and I am not sure if that is what I booked, or if I was upgraded.

The hotel was excellent in all kinds of ways - staff, comfort, location, for example. It is an 8 minute walk from the station, and in the centre, but the location is quiet.

Malmöhus

Malmöhus

One of my reasons for choosing Malmö for a weekend away at the end of January was to see the local ice hockey team play Luleå. The Swedish league is one of the best in Europe, and Luleå were top.

No Luck

No Luck

My ticket was super cheap at SEK100 (£8 or €9.47) for a seat on the behind the Luleå bench. I did not understand the details, but it seemed to be a special charity fundraiser match, so I guess prices were reduced. 12,600 took advantage, so the atmosphere was great. So was the game.

The arena is excellent, and easy to reach from the city centre by train or bus. I did not try their food and drink, but they had plenty on offer.

Posted by IainT 00:04 Archived in Sweden Tagged bridges trains scotland edinburgh sport sweden transport flights ice_hockey denmark copenhagen malmö airlines brexit Comments (0)

Brexit

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Escaping

Escaping

Thursday night (30th January) was tough. I had been diverting myself all week by keeping busy at work, and with other stuff at home, but that night the barrier collapsed.

Brexit Blues

Brexit Blues

Yesterday (31st) was better, with more diversion therapy. I took a flight to Copenhagen, and from there took a train to Malmö. I have never been to this part of Sweden before, unless you count passing through on a sleeper train from Stockholm to Copenhagen.

My mood was helped by the hotel - Radisson Blu - upgrading me to a junior suite.

Radisson Blu

Radisson Blu

After settling in I went to find something to eat in the dark, in a strange city, and in drizzling rain. I was half expecting to end up at a fast food place, but only 100m away I found a great wee pizza restaurant.

Pizza Time

Pizza Time

Excellent food and friendly service. My mood lifted even more.

No 25

No 25

Well that’s what I did on 31st January 2020.

Goodbye

Posted by IainT 13:18 Archived in Sweden Tagged planes trains food beer scotland restaurants sweden transport belgium flights ice_hockey brussels denmark copenhagen airlines brexit Comments (0)

Brussels - Travel Tips

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When in Brussels...

When in Brussels...

I flew to and from Brussels (from Edinburgh) with Brussels Airlines (the successor to Sabena, for those who can remember before 9-11). The cost was £104 return, with hand luggage only. Both flights left a little late, but arrived more or less on time.

Otherwise, they were pretty good. Perhaps I have rose tinted spectacles of course, as Sabena was a favourite.

I used the SNCB airport trains to travel to and from the city centre. It is important to know which station you want to use in the city - Centrale (close to Grand Place), Midi (where many Thalys trains arrive and depart) or Nord. The train costs €8.90 each way to any of those stations, and runs about every 20 minutes with a journey time of about 20 minutes.

SNCB Cool

SNCB Cool

Over the years I have stayed in so many Brussels hotels it makes my head spin, but like most cities, location is important. For this trip I wanted a place in the city centre and close to one of the railway stations. I fixed on something near Gare Centrale as I know there are lots of places to eat around there.

When it came to price and value for money, the Novotel was the one I chose. I am in their loyalty programme, so that usually gives a 10% discount. It was their hotel at rue du Marché Aux Herbes, 100 metres from the Gare Centrale. The room cost me €127, without breakfast.

Novotel

Novotel

Breakfast was going to cost €22. I found it difficult to imagine what kind of breakfast is worth that much, especially as I would be out of the hotel for 8am to catch a train. I opted for 2 croissants from a nearby bakery.

Dinner on the evening I arrived was quick, cheap and easy - a small tray at an Exki close to the hotel.

Posted by IainT 11:18 Archived in Belgium Tagged trains restaurants transport belgium flights brussels airlines brexit Comments (0)

Köln

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Ice Hockey Accessories

Ice Hockey Accessories

The Sunday of my F*ck Brexit travels brought an early start to catch the 08.32 DB Bahn ICE to Köln. Getting a hotel near the station in Brussels was a good decision.

In September 1970 I went on an InterRail trip to Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and France with 5 school friends. We had all left high school that summer. Our first train journey outside the UK was from Ostende to Köln. As we entered Germany there was some discussion about whether we had to change trains in Aachen. When we got there, I was volunteered to get off and ask.

I did. It was a through train.

DB Bahn ICE

DB Bahn ICE

By the time I turned around, it was leaving - with my bag and (useless) friends on it. The station staff were very helpful and put me on the next train via Mönchengladbach. I was reunited with my rucksack and my (useless) friends at the youth hostel in Köln.

October in Krefeld

October in Krefeld

Well, Sunday morning’s train to Köln via Aachen was less eventful. I did think of getting off at Aachen to take a train to Köln via Mönchengladbach just for old times’ sake, but the ICE was too fast and comfortable.

Köln Hbf

Köln Hbf

Just like during my brief stop in Berlin last month, it felt strange to be back in Germany. It was like a second home for 6 years, and I loved it. Of course that was Bavaria. Berlin and Köln are so different. But it is still Germany.

It brought back a lot of memories, but they just have to be tackled head on.

Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Köln

Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Köln

Some of the memories are also from that 1970 holiday, and those 5 friends. I still see one of them occasionally. Another lives in South Africa, but we see each other if he is back in Scotland. One emigrated to Canada after he got his medical degree. Another to Kuwait, although I think he lives in England now (probably a Brexit fan). The last one died of lung cancer in his 50s.

As for 2019 Köln, well they are still working on the Dom…

Fog on the Rhein

Fog on the Rhein

No, joking apart, I did not have a lot of time in the city - just enough for a walk around the city centre before heading back to Brussels on a Monday lunchtime Thalys. The Rhein is a major feature obviously, perhaps second to the Dom. It was foggy when I was there.

Krefeld v Ingolstadt

Krefeld v Ingolstadt

Most of my time was taken up by an afternoon trip to Krefeld to see an ice hockey game.

Posted by IainT 19:07 Archived in Germany Tagged trains germany transport ice_hockey köln brexit Comments (0)

Brussels

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Galeries Royales

Galeries Royales

Back at the end of March I took a trip to Dublin and Belfast to celebrate my freedom of movement while I still could, ahead of the UK’s promised crash out of the EU. As an aside, the Brits who drool over a hard or no deal Brexit should be locked up for their own safety.

Well, April arrived without a Brexit. Next deadline - the end of October (but it looks as if that has been postponed as well).

This time I decided on Köln as my destination, via Brussels and - dare I say it - Krefeld.

Revisiting Brussels is always great for me. It is like going to visit an old friend. For several years during the 90s I visited the city regularly. I was on the management board of a multinational joint venture based in Brussels, and also had lobbying to do - mostly at the EU Commission.

Brussels Dawn

Brussels Dawn

The whole journey there was just like an attack of déja vu. Brussels Airlines to Brussels - it used to be Sabena until the 9-11 economic shock killed it off. The SNCB train from the airport to Gare Centrale. The short walk to my hotel.

SNCB Airport (semi) Express

SNCB Airport (semi) Express

Just opposite the station are 4 modern hotels built around a square - Ibis, Hilton, Carrefour de L’Europe and a Novotel. Until now I had stayed in 3 out of 4, and this time I stayed in the Novotel to make up the full set.

Novotel

Novotel

Usually it would have been outside my budget but Brussels hotels are often full all week and then quieter at weekends, so cheaper deals come up. I knew I was unlikely to need their breakfast with an 8.30 train to catch in the morning, and at €22 it was going to be easy to find a sensible alternative.

Fast (Green) Food

Fast (Green) Food

Between getting to the hotel about 8pm and that early morning train, I had little time to do more than eat and sleep, but just being in those familiar places was really enjoyable.

Posted by IainT 10:56 Archived in Belgium Tagged belgium brussels brexit Comments (0)

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