Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Malmö - a suburb of Copenhagen

This morning I took a "red eye" -flight from Helsinki to Copenhagen, Denmark, having Malmö, Sweden, as my destination. Why red eye? Some of you know too well the 6 am flights where all passenges are tired with red eyes...

As always, landing in CPH is not pleasant as it feels you are landing in the water and last moment you have cross the coastline.

After landing in Copenhagen after about 1.5 hour flight - at the time guys in Brussels were waking up - I grabbed a bite at the airport (since my flight ticket included only coffee, tea or water as a breakfast) and headed to the train station downstairs of the terminal.

I bought a ticket from the machine, checked that it had a time stamp and a note that it is valid for 24 hours and off I go to the platform. Smooth, trains to Malmö every 20 minutes and it takes only about 20+ minutes (didn't check the time...). Ticket Ticket was 156 DKK, which is about 20 Euros. I have used both taxi and rental car but I must say this was very smooth, fast and economic. However, wait until you get to the downside at the end of the story.

I crossed the water via tunnel and the bridge with a morning sun glazing from the water and a row of windmills. Scene was pretty nice, just like it is when crossing with a car (unless you are driving and need to focus on the traffic).

Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

While I am enjoying the scenery there comes the train conductor as expected. No worries, I should have all covered. But I don't. I have an illegal ticket and I am sitting in a wrong place.

I should have stamped the ticket separately in a yellow box and should have know I am not allowed to sit in the first car. But I didn't. I guess it was highlighted somewhere but I am not a pro with the public transportation. Luckily the conductor was nice and let me off the hook, guided me with the ticket and let me sit for the 5 more minutes in the business car.

As a company I got two Swedish customs officers who apparently travel back & forth all day. They sat down next to me and started to read the latest Metro newspape. Soon we were approaching the Copenhagen suburb Malmö and a 3rd officer joined them and I was starting to worry about me not reporting a box of Salmiakki Läkerol.

Talking about the border control, a positive thing in traveling within Nordics is that you don't need a passport, a driving licence is enough.

I gotta say the landscape just before Malmö is not the something you can see in the postcards but the city centre is another story with some nice old houses. Luckily the sun was shining as it helps also the mind to lighten up.

One tip for Malmö visitors is to try out the traditional sauna on a peer. Take a swim in the ocean and enjoy the view to CPH across the sea. For pictures, click the "Bilder" link on the left side of the front page. More info also from here. (Many thanks Reine for the experience, that one I will never forget!)

Yes, the Bjerreds Saltsjöbad sauna is at the end of the peer.

Malmö also has got many nice restaurants, that one also can be a consequence of being a suburb of CPH. If you wish to have a tip of a good seafood restaurant, let me know. I would put the name here but I forgot to ask for the restaurant card so gotta check with a colleague.

They have also a nice way to see the city form the top.

Just before leaving Malmö I got another proof that it is a suburb of Copenhagen: People are bicycle maniacs!
They have even built a floating bicycle parking place next to the train station. Hundreds of bikes, almost as mad as in Holland...

Ok, overall it is not as bad as in Holland where people drive over you if you are walkingon a wrong lane of the sidewalk.

When I landed back in Helsinki I had the good old friend Mr Rain welcoming me. When sitting in a taxi I got a reminder what can be a result of limited competition: The meter shows 10 Euros before we take off!

Well, the Sweden approach might not be the best either so before copying them do the homework. Good side is that you have many taxis available but the flipside of the coin is fairly low quality and flexible pricing.

Swedish colleagues told me the Malmö train station is THE worst place in Sweden to take a taxi. They compared it with a country south from Mediterranean: While a normal price for a taxi between the station and our office has been about 110 SEK, nowadays the imigrant drivers have a cartell of >250 SEK price.

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