Day 2: Saturday the 22 of November
Malmö 6:20 a.m.
The air in the train station was crisp and cold as we left our Swedish train and our Swedish friend (who desperately skipped out of the train in order to have a cigarette) making our way inside the station. Next train would leave at 6:42 a.m. to Copenhagen. Emma and Inga proclaimed pasty faced that they needed fresh air leaving Emmi and myself behind to guard the backpacks. I shortly proceeded to terrorize a particularly grumpy looking Emmi with my camera, gladly holding on to the fact that I am a very energetic morning person.
As soon as the girls met up with us again we made our way to the Ö-train, the metro that would take us to Copenhagen. The train was very nice and silent indeed and though the girls tried to find some sleep on the one hour train ride, I entertained myself by looking out the window at the awakening landscape that flashed by us. Snow still clad the ground though I had first been quite certain that we had left at least the winter landscape behind us in Stockholm.
A slowly rising sun tinged the sky a watery dark blue, growing gradually lighter as the minutes carried on.
At around seven o’clock we left the train at the station named Kobenhavn H, slightly insecure if whether or not this was the right stop seeing as how we had been told to leave at the Central Station.
Luckily as we noticed as soon as we had disembarked the train, H seemed to stand for Central Station.
Crossing between the simmering bustle of the central station we made our way to the Hamburg-Basel train. To get to Frankfurt we had to make a switch in Hamburg after some eight hours traveling. This train would actually take us onto the ferry that would take us over the sea parting Denmark from Germany, something I was very much looking forward to because at the moment, a train driving into a ferry seemed to me as the utter epitome of awesomeness.
The german trains are rather comfortable and we quickly made ourselves at home, every one of us picking out our knitting to entertain ourselves. The hours flew by as we watched the landscape slowly turning from grey into the vivacious green of a Europe not quite having come into the right season yet. We munched gladly on slices of bread coated by a thick layer of peanut butter, and I think we finished two bunches of bananas in the first few hours of our traveling. For some reason I kept making foolish mistakes with my knitting so I made little progress on my wrist warmer during those first few hours, but modern youngsters as we are, despite all the knitting, our laptops came up about an hour before arriving at the ferry.
Emmi lay stretched in front of me on two seats, fiddling curiously with my new red Ipod, Emma sat with her headphones on, writing something on her laptop and Inga was sitting a bit further away, contemplating by herself, her blue eyes glittering as she gazed into the distance.
A well needed break reached us as we arrived in Trelleborg. The train rolled casually into the ferry. There was some scuffling and before we could say “Germany here we come”, we had left the train and stood in the middle of the unsettling chaos of the ferry crossing between Denmark and Germany. The crossing takes only just about an hour thus the thing to do seemed to be to cram into the duty-free shop and buy as much alcohol as possible. The girls and I slowly made our way through the throng of people until we managed to squeeze our way out onto the sun-deck.
The sun was shining bright and windmills brimmed the edges of the land we were leaving, slowly waving goodbye to us with their long white arms.
The wind ruffled our hair rudely, but the fresh air is wonderful and filled my lungs with the peace of the dark sea and the gentleness of the rolling waves. The feeling of absolute freedom at that exact moment was nearly overwhelming, in a non morbid nor insane way I felt I could toss myself off the edge of the boat and sore high up amongst the blue and the vastness of the sky, all worries dissipating like tendrils from a dying flames.
“Coffee.” Emmi said gruffly and peered through heavy eyelids at the sea.
“Tea.” I replied, suddenly recalling the craving after my morning cup of tea.
With no more said than that the four of us shifted inside the ferry, queued for a few minutes at the dingy restaurant oozing with the smell of fried things and bad meat, then carrying a small bottle of Innocent (100% fruit, nothing else added!) and a cup of peppermint tea we met found us a cosy less noisy corner of the ferry and drank our coffee and our tea in tired silence.
Below us people were still running to finish their shopping in the duty-free store, and I expect the four of us were some of the only ones to be happy when the speakers announced in a heavy german dialect, that the ferry was docking in Leipzig and that all passengers traveling by car or train should return to their respective places. I hadn’t even had time to sip my tea so I carried it back to the train, smiled for a second at the bizarre sight of a large train, surrounded by cars in the middle of the ferry depot before getting in and back in my seat. I finished knitting my wrist-warmer and began a new one, green to match the purple one I had just made.
The landscape changed drastically before us. The north of Germany was flatter than Sweden, and dazzling green. It could very well have been summer to my northern senses, but the others thought it resembled spring more.
At 12:15 p.m. we arrived in Hamburg from where we ran to catch our connection to Frankfurt which was to depart at 12:24.
Once more we managed to find a secluded seating compartment that we immediately besieged, leaving our heavy backpacks and all our things all over the compartment in a messy, squatting fashion.
I set up my laptop and the following 2 and a half hours were spent watching the film depicting Frida Kahlo’s life. We watched the movie in silence, sighing now and then whenever the conductor on the speakers would disturb us with his loud german.
Frida is a movie I surely must have seen to many times, if that is possible. Frida Kahlo is one of my greatest heroes and influences in my life and in my paintings as well. When Emmi, Emma and I visited the Museum of Modern Art I stumbled upon a rare find in the museum shop, a 2009 calender featuring Frida Kahlo’s paintings. It was very beautiful, and I held this treasure of the new year in my mind as the last seconds of the movie flashed by.
“I hope the ending is quick, and I hope to never return.” Her final words. I sigh. Mexico lingered in our hearts and Emma brought out her laptop, proclaiming that she had no intention to leave Mexico before playing Lila Downs as loudly as possible on her computer. I fiddled with some photographs on my computer, attempted to write and once more I found myself
confounded by the speed of time. Emma was hysterically making phone calls to all kinds of family members and after having spoken to someone, I forget who, she announced that we would meet her sister and her brother in Frankfurt. They were in the city centre working in the stall owned by the farm that Emma lives on and if we wanted to we could leave our heavy backpacks with them and have them bring them out to us on the farm.
Emma grew up on D somethingorother, the biggest Biodynamic farm in Germany. From what she had told us the farm was like a small community, half a dozen families at least living there permanently and some 100 people working there from the outside.
We arrived in Frankfurt at around 5:00 p.m., by now the tire had begun to hit me and my morning alertness slowly abandoned me. Leaving the train and stepping out into Frankfurt was more than confusing. I think we might have taken the metro somewhere but I was so thoroughly confused by the masses of people that surrounded us.
It struck me then as we struggled to walk to the city centre that I might never be able to leave in a city again.
The peace and calmness of Ytterjärna had infected my whole body and seeped into my blood. What could there possibly be to long for in the city? Stress, discomfort, restricted and tiny spaces, commotion and noise, causing my head to spin relentlessly as we trudged along. The first thing that struck me as we left the subway and came out into the open was a strong unpleasant odor of meat. The marketplace had stalls selling all kinds of vegetables, meat, pastries, etcetera. We found the Dottenfelder-Hof stall in the middle of the market and I was glad to see the many biodynamic cheeses, breads, pastries and yoghurts they had to offer. Emma surprised her siblings by storming into the stall, though I dare say their reaction was not the best due to the many customers that began to form a queue when Emma rightfully stole their attention. Emma’s sister and brother bore slight similarity to Emma but seemed to contain the same bubbling spirit as Emma. We left our bags in the Dottenfelder-Hof van and left the market hurriedly.
Emma seemed full of energy to be back in the city and she quickly led us to H&M in order to buy herself a proper winter-coat. I however was filled with resentment to be back in the city. It was no doubt fascinating and exciting to be in a new place, and the fact that I can only speak a handful of german words only spiced up the adventure, but the big city held me in a state of discomfort and I longed intently for a warm fireplace, a cup of tea, and the simplicity of the countryside.
Inga and I waited outside H&M both of us feeling slightly overwhelmed by the extreme shift in environment. (Also, I found it suddenly quite impossible to enter the store as an unexpected loathing towards H&M boiled up inside myself.) We found ourselves pressed against the display of H&M so as to not bump into anyone.
Emma got herself a brand new burgundy winter-coat and we immediately set off. She proceeded to leading us around some of the sights of Frankfurt, apologizing for the fact that Frankfurt unfortunately was quite an ugly city. Dodging between people and traffic we crossed a few streets, (or Strasse I suppose) saw some houses and entered one of the biggest churches in Frankfurt. It was pretty.
Then we set off towards the metro, missed our connection to Bad Vil...something and thus found ourselves back at the marketplace next to the Dottenfelder-Hof stall. We received a sesame pretzel, helped them carry some boxes to their van before waiting another few 15 minutes before the train arrived that would take us to Bad Vil... something. While waiting we studied the difference in how people dressed in Frankfurt, comparing them to the youth in Stockholm.
“Everyone in Stockholm dresses so, woah,” Emma said, gesticulating violently. And I suppose her observation was quite correct. Swedish people are one of the biggest slaves to fashion in the world. I did not think about that particular aspect of Swedish fashion, mostly I do my best to avoid following the trends as much as possibly can.
Finally the train arrived and we hurried inside along with a mass of germans all trying to score a seat. Emmi found a seat but the rest of us had to stand up. A man standing in front of me had a big black dog with a lock for his mouth. I swallowed and looked in a different direction. Now time seemed to run slowly as opposed to how it had been acting all day up until now. I eventually got to sit down and fell asleep dreaming about a biodynamic farm, a calm life on the countryside and a ma-....
Emma woke me from my dreams with a start. Time to get off.
I found myself simply following the stream of people that rapidly poured out of the train station. The air outside was very cold but there was little to no snow on the ground. Emma’s father greeted us the second we stepped out of the station. Without having met Emma’s mother yet I was quite sure that Emma looked more like her father than her mother.
The five of us squeezed into a two door blue car of some kind and drove off into the darkness of the countryside. A colourful sign announced the farm, we turned left off the main road and drove down a wide tree-brimmed road.
Through the dark, Emma’s farm unfolded itself before us. It was definitely big. Large houses with lights glittering in the windows loomed over us and from what I could see most of them were a couple of stories high and very old.
We passed by the café and the dairy shop as we were ushered up a few stairs and into Emma’s family’s house. Well inside we were greeted by Emma’s mother, grandmother and her sister’s boyfriend. They all proceeded to greeting us in english, taking turns to shake each of our hands.
Candles were lit in the house and from a distance I could see that the dinner table was already prepared for our arrival and completely covered by various dishes and food.
The house was very beautiful and reminded me deeply of a house I had stayed in when I was England a few years ago. It had that same pleasant waldorfy touch to it, though I might add that Emma’s house was much tidier and cleaner. Candles flickered in the living room, adding a cozy warm light to the space along with the colourful textiles that hung on the white walls of the house and the pillows that lay scattered in the living room and on the kitchen sofa. We proceeded to washing our hands before sitting down at the table. Salad, olives, bread and dried tomatoes were offered to us, and we ate with much glee and satisfaction.
Though I do consider myself a fan of peanut butter, eating a nice salad seemed like the best possible replacement of what we had been eating previously. My stomach always gets quite upset when I fall out of my eating routine. Usually I eat a big breakfast, lunch, a fruit, supper and something before bed. Now because I had been traveling that routine was utterly shattered, thus I was very happy to get a proper meal at last.
We spent the remainder of that evening listening to loud discussions in german, myself struggling quite desperately to recall some bits of what the german I learn in school. Emma’s family was absolutely lovely, bringing cakes and biscuits, making sure all the time that we were happy and full.
At around ten o’clock us four travelers were finding it exceedingly difficult to keep our eyes open, thus Emma led us across the farm to the guest lodging. She had reserved a few rooms for the YIP’ies and Emmi, Inga and I squatted in a cosy loft, not finding the strength to make our beds but simply dragging out our sleeping bags and collapsing in them.
I fell asleep to the sound of a rooster singing outside our window along to the pleasant sounds of the countryside.