I just got back to Norway today. And that was not entirely my plan in the beginning. I had really planned to be back here some time between Christmas and New Years, but a snow storm all across southern Scandinavia, and in particular in Sweden, made it suddenly more complicated to take the bus, and so I decided instead to spend New Years with some of my friends from high school in Berlin and then to fly back here today.
< %image(20060105-jensine_ski_schuby.jpg|2272|1704|my sister Jensine skiing in Schuby - the village I called my home for about 15 years)%>
Now my high school friend are one of the lasting communities (I won’t go into the definition of community here) of mine but in any way I am always amazed of how they have managed to keep the close connections we all have had in school all throughout our time at university; I myself only see them every six months at the max.
< %image(20060105-verena_and_linus.jpg|2272|1704|friends from high school - a lasting community)%>
But on my way down to Berlin, I met a group that I would say formed an “instant group.” Now I love to make these things to form, and usually they are over just as quickly as they came into existence. The thing is that in Germany the railway has made a rather cheap group ticket for up to 5 people available for approximately the last decade. It’s called Wochenendticket (Eng: Weekend ticket) and although it hads changed quite a bit from the way it was intially set up, it still gives you the right to travel as far as you want to, as long as you only use short-distance trains. Now you can always still make it from any corner of Germany to another, but it just takes a long time, and you have to switch often.
< %image(20060105-bad_kleinen_1.jpg|2272|1704|Hamburg girls in Bad Kleinen)%>
As this ticket has gained popularity especially amongst the youth, certain tiny train stations have become interconnection points for popular travel routes – one of them being the tiny village of “Bad Kleinen” (otherwise only known for a shooting episode between the police and a member of the Rote Armee Fraktion about 15 years ago) on the route between Berlin and the states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. According to the train schedule, one should be able to switch traisn immediately, but if there are any delays on the train going there, you have to wait two entire hours there! Amongst my friends that are studying in Berlin this has become a known issue and a running joke amongst them is that “Oh no, X is not here yet, she/he is waiting for an alternative train in Bad Kleinen.”
Now this time it was my turn to experience that to happen. I started travelling from Schleswig at 12:33 and expected to be in Berlin at 18:44 – after changing trains four times.
And that is how I celebrated New Years the first time that day with my new found “instant community”…