Friday, January 20, 2006

RANT://It Snowed in Copenhagen - Surprise! Surprise! 

I always thought that for a Scandinavian country snow in winter is normal. I also thought that Denmark is a Scandinavian country. But according to what I experienced today the Danes are more like Italians pretending to be Scandinavians.

Basically it started to snow slightly yesterday evening when we went back to the Hotel. Today in the morning when I looked out of the window, it had stopped and you could see about 10 cm of snow. No wind. In Vienna this may happen twice a week in January, no problems.

When I left the hotel after 11am for the airport, my first impression was that the city of Copenhagen was completely taken by surprise. No snow removal on the sidewalks, no snow removal on most of the streets, only some main streets where salted, increasing the mess.

The next surprise was at Norreport station: all trains to Kastrup Airport where cancelled (maybe I should have taken this as a warning), so I had to take a taxi.

At the airport I checked in, got my boarding pass for the 2:40pm flight and waited. The only curiosity was, that nearly all SAS flights where canncelled, others where arriving and leaving.

Finally my gate numer showed up, no delay yet, I went to the gate, waited 10 minutes for boarding to start, then a 20 minute delay showed up. The plane was already docked. At 3:10pm they declared the flight cancelled, because of no-show of the crew. Please go to the transfer-desk. This was of course an SAS flight.

At the cattle-class transfer desk there where of course hordes of desperate people crawling over each other, and it was displayed that you should draw a number, but the machines where broken.

So I moved on to the SAS lounge, also hordes, also number drawing, but at least I got one (533).
Up was number 480. At least they called the numbers, so you could sit down and wait with a drink. After two hours I was finally called und booked the 8pm flight to Vienna. At this time the number drawing was over 900 already. But it finally did not matter anyway.

At 8:00pm the display still showed "Wait for Gate" for my flight, when they announced by PA that CPH is closed for the evening, all flights cancelled, but the display still showed some flight with gate and wait for gate (I think they display is now still showing this, because seemigly every airport staff including the computers left already.

Since there was no way to find out anything in CPH direct without a proper number, I finally tried to find out via Vienna what is going on with this plane, they first had no idea at all, and after 30 minutes they located the plane in Hamburg (so definitely no reason to wait any longer for a gate to show up). I also did not use my second spare number, I re-booked via Vienna (I should have done this earlier anyway) for tomorrow at 10:40am. We will see.

So the next problem came up: how to get a hotel? Since in the meantime both hordes (cattle and frequent flyers) had moved on to the next desk to get a hotel), this was not a good idea, so I called back at Kong Arthur and got a room, so I could by-pass the crowd filling up the arrival hall.

Getting out, the next hordes are waiting for a taxi (they also must still be waiting), so I checked the train and they said they where running normal.

Ok, I do not know what is normal for Danish railways, the display always showed a train arriving within the next 5 minutes, only to be replaced by another train after this time, accompanied by some Danish announcements, but finally a train back to Norreport showed up (I have no idea what happened to the no-show trains and I do not want to know it - they are coming from Malmo and maybe they dropped into the sea).

Back in CPH Norreport, it was again slightly snowing, no wind, the streets and sidewalks where still covered with snow. This had the advantage that I could see the additional snow of today, about 3 cm. Nebbich.

Now I am sitting at Kong Arthur Hotel again and hoping, that I will finally get out of here tomorrow.

I just wonder what will happen here if it really starts snowing, say 40 to 50 cm with strong winds. Maybe they close down Copenhagen for the rest of the winter and wait for warmer weather.

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