And the train rolls on. For real. In a both literal and metaphysical sense. I'm now aboard the third train that's assisted me in this leg of the journey. While part of me feels like I'm cheating, the greater, more clarvoyant half of my conscious tells me to sit back and enjoy the views. This far in I can already appreciate the various benefits and luxuries of this hybrid-style touring. But that's not to say it is free of all sacrifices.
The farther south I move, the more colorful and populated the landscape becomes. Bigger cities of course have more potent auras of culture and endless forms of entertainment, but they're a staunch departure from what I've grown used to. Few (if any) places to camp, the absence of public-access rights and congested, dirty waterways were difficult transitions to make after two months in the farm-speckled and pristine wilderness of the North. Needless to say I've had fewer opportunities to fish. Major city centers aren't nearly as relaxed as the local municipalities of Norway and Sweden--saturated with free rowboats and stove- touting wind huts--when it comes to regulating their fishing beats. But exploring each new city brings a fresh variety of reasons for me to appreciate urban dwelling.
Much more so than in The States, Europe embraces bike culture. The universally accepted mindset that cycling should be respected and upheld is reflected in the infrastructure. Copenhagen is a beaming example of this mindful thinking. With more bikes than people, all of Denmark is equipped with not only bike lanes but full-on bike roads with their own traffic signals. Parents haul their children and groceries in cargo bikes that had capacities larger than those of wheelbarrows. Hoards of people in all shapes and sizes make their daily and nightly rounds all by leg power driving their chainrings. Everywhere you go, bikes dominate the road. For this reason and many more, Copenhagen will remain as a premier port-of-call in my travelers log. More than anything, it's just a beautiful city with vibrant culture and many affordances for cyclists. Though my other destinations have proven worthy candidates as well.
Hamburg came and went too quickly. I was lucky enough to have family friends host me while staying there. Their hospitality is much appreciated. Especially as the city itself is quite large and unwavering in propulsion. What used to be several villages separated by distance and water has now morphed into a fully-industrialized seaport that hasn't lost any of it's old-world charm. With an air of capitalist drive the city center seems to have more western influence than many of the other places I have previously visited. But paying €0,5 to use a toilet is an ever-present reminder that I'm in Europe. Not surprisingly, Hamburg has an abundance of water features and plenty of bike trails to complement them. What is surprising is that fishing almost never happens in these smaller waterways. Instead, many locals have taken to fishing Zander from the steep brick embankments in the industrial parts of the city. Deemed "urban fishing", this style of angling is frowned upon and has created cult-like followings that lay claim to their outlawish beats. Strange as it may seem, it is a reasonable response to fish the deep, cold waters of the ship canals rather than the otherwise polluted and high-traffic flows of the Elbe and other waterways in the city.