Backpacking Europe 2015-From London to Copenhagen

Jagerbomb Regrets and Last-Minute Flights

Sunday, January 11th 2015

10:00 AM GBT

Alex’s Flat, London, England

My blurry eyes open, desperately trying to register the light seeping in through their cracks. The first image that forces itself into my brain is three overly tanned women in skimpy Santa costumes staring down at me from the wall across the room. I blink rapidly, trying to orient myself with the spinning world around me. Damn Jagerbombs, I remember instantly why I had avoided those in college. The music is still throbbing in my ears but the catharsis of letting loose in a way I haven’t been able to in a while has dulled the pain quite a bit.

Alex is similarly quiet as we simultaneously nurse our hangovers. A hot shower improves it some, but fresh air is decidedly the best remedy. Alex offers to walk me to Primrose Hill, promising some lovely views of London and a chance to chase off some of the nausea.

We walk through the narrow winding streets, chatting pleasantly. Alex is fantastic company, we rarely run out of things to talk about and he remains cheery even through the remnants of his hangover. Soon, we arrive in the park, and the land begins to sharply rise, proving a challenging workout as we ascend the hill.

11:30 AM GBT

Primrose Hill, London, England

As we hit the top of the hill, I turn around and before me is the whole of London bordering the Thames just sprawled out before me. My best photo efforts didn’t do it justice, so I put the camera down and just gazed out over the skyline. Embedded at my feet are quotes from famous men and authors who had also stood at that hill and looked over a much older and sparser skyline than I was now staring at, but were inspired by the ever changing, ever bustling town of London. After some time passes and we catch our breath, Alex and I then wander back into the streets to make our way back.

On our way back, a necessary detour is that beautiful piece of history, the Globe Theatre. While I can’t afford to go inside, just standing next to it and gazing at its walls evokes powerful chills. A historical lynchpin of entertainment as it stands today, just inches from my fingers. We amble our way back home, stopping in a pub for early afternoon drinks, and then finally back to Alex’s.

1:00 PM GBT

Alex’s Flat, London, England

As I sink into his armchair, Alex asks me what my plans are for the next stop. I tell him I plan on checking out Copenhagen next. He asks me when my flight is and I shrug my shoulders. His jaw hits the floor. “Aren’t you flying out tomorrow??” He asks. I nod. “That’ll cost you a fortune won’t it?” he responds, flabbergasted. I shake my head. The standard Monday flights from London to Copenhagen on Norwegian in the winter is just a mere $45-80 and Norwegian accepts reservations up to 2 hours before the flight time. A few taps on my phone and I’m booked for a 2pm flight the next day for about $50. Alex shakes his head and gets up to make a pot of tea as I begin to make plans for my Denmark adventure.

One of my former CouchSurfers, Jakob, lives in Copenhagen. I Facebook message him that I’m coming into the country and ask if I can stop by for a visit and a couch. Soon he responds, happy to oblige and catch up. I realize as I’m planning that this will be my very first country where I don’t speak the primary language. I’m excited to get off the British Isles, and Copenhagen has a mythical air to it that I can’t wait to experience. My only impressions of Denmark so far have been Lars Von Trier and Jakob. I have very little concept of what is in store for me and I love it. Jakob sends me his address and I begin to craft my arrival plans and routes.

The rest of the evening with Alex is a quiet one. I’m still exhausted from the night before, as is he, and we opt to have a simple dinner at his flat and watch a movie. Alex cooks a quick pasta dish and we settle in on the couch to watch a dark comedy. The experience is very familiar and homey. Thousands of miles away from home, and Netflix and Chill translates perfectly. Alex’s flatmate comes home and we chat a bit. After the film the boys flip on the news as is their evening ritual and then soon after we all head to bed.

Monday, January 12th 2015

8:00 AM GBT

Alex’s Flat, London, England

I wake up early to say goodbye to Alex before he heads to work and prepare to wander about the streets before my flight. I’m met with a very different version of him than I’d seen so far. He’s dressed neatly in a suit and tie, his hair combed into place. It’s both disorienting and endearing, as if he’d somehow taken off his Millennial facade and replaced it with a stoic and well-constructed “adult”, the appearance of years separating our night of debauchery from this new version of himself. He adjusts his glasses and smiles at me, offering to let me stay in the flat until I need to leave for my flight and giving instructions on locking up. We embrace and kiss goodbye, and I earnestly thank him for his hospitality, having met strangers and so quickly turned into friends. He disappears through the doorway and I’m left alone to pack my things and prepare for my flight. I want to do something nice in exchange for their hosting of me, so after I finish packing, I get to work cleaning the dishes piled up in the kitchen. Of course, with great irony, once I’m finished I notice several pounds sitting on the table in the dining room. The payment for the housekeeper.I laugh at myself. Oh well, at least I made her job a bit easier for the day. Soon the time comes to head to the airport, and I sling my pack on and head out the door, carefully locking up behind me.

12:00 PM GBT

London-Gatwick Airport, London, England

Having essentially snuck into London by cover of night on my sleeper bus ride, leaving London is a much greater production. London-Gatwick is a gaping, twisting maze, but thankfully midday Monday air travel crowds are fairly thin. After diligent sign-reading and following, I arrive at my gate with time to spare, and board soon after. Norwegian is a fairly spacious plane for a budget airline, and I plug my headphones in, hunker down and quickly drift off for a quick nap, eager to wake up in a new city.

I know my posts have been few and far between, but new chapters to this adventure are coming! Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me 🙂

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