A guy with his hair in a man-bun was on the free piano, masterfully entertaining passengers waiting for their train at the Amsterdam Centraal Station. He was, of course, being recorded from all angles. I watched (and captured) the spectacle for a while before stocking up on food for the CityNightLine CNL 472 sleeper train from Amsterdam to København (Copenhagen).
The Dutch love their fast food automatieks (vending machines), the perennial discussion amongst fans is whether FEBO or Smullers rules the day (and more likely, night), with a comparison of their products being couched in such terms as a battle of croquettes.
Down by the tracks, none of the screens listed either the train number nor the correct destination. I was rescued by a kind white-haired man and his Girl-With-A-Dragon-Tattoo deadringer companion. Neither spoke English so there was alot of emphatic gesturing. Turns out the screen listed where the train was coming from (Praha) rather its destination.
Safely on board and having shared a bit of banter with two Brit boys next door, got myself ensconced in the top bunk of a 6-bed compartment before we stopped at Emmerich, Germany. The German border police were a fierce lot and hauled a man out of the carriage with his luggage.
In the morning, I had acquired two compartment-mates, and the passing buildings assured us we were in Denmark. We were an international bunch: one man was a German working in Denmark, and the other, a Dane working in America. The German, even though living in Europe, felt the xenophobia quite keenly. He pointed out a poster of a representative of the Danish People’s Party and spoke of how even Danes with foreign spouses (that is, anyone who wasn’t a Dane, even if they were within the EU – English, French etc) were falling foul of tightening immigration policies.
This was the last CNL 472 service, someone along the corridor said.
All around Europe, the lights are going off on inter-city sleeper trains, and the borders are closing against outsiders.