Saturday, July 30, 2011

Roadtrip north: Germany, Denmark, Sweden

2011-07-29 ROADTRIP 3 Malmö

Today’s journey would be the longest of the three driving days this week. Left Cologne at 6.25am and other than a couple of short stops for refueling food and self, didn’t really notice much off the road until the outskirts of Hamburg nearly five hours later. Even then it was simply the surrounds of the New Elbe Tunnel, 3km of darkness under the Elbe River before it empties into the North Sea.

By this time I’d decided to foreswear the “85 euro route” via ferry, which my GPS now assured me would save perhaps 3 minutes off the alternate route. So we ploughed north through Schleswig-Holstein and into Denmark, turning east near Odense and then crossing the first looooong toll-bridge. Even before reaching the border the roads were starting to crowd with Danish campervans returning home like migratory birds who’d swarmed all over Europe during their annual vacations. I remember well getting stuck behind many of them on narrow roads in Ireland and Scotland, unable to get the attention of their drivers – do they have autopilots perhaps?

At some stage we stopped at a “Tulip” roadside services place perched on the edge of a cornfield. Munson at least got a good run-around on Danish soil, but the human refreshment offerings and ambience were of some old-fashioned high-school cafeteria.

It was nearly 4pm when we rounded the outskirts of Copenhagen for the Öresund Bridge to Sweden. After a truly dull but smooth journey, two potential hiccoughs came in quick succession. First of all, as soon as I got onto the bridge my fuel light came on. I’ve not tested the fuel reserve on this car, but I’ve been in vehicles where that light means you’ve got enough left to gracefully coast to the side of the road. I hoped that wouldn’t be the case in the middle of Europe’s longest road/rail bridge. I asked Brian the GPS to find the next fuel station so I would be ready to top-up on the other side of the toll-booths.

As it happened after paying my 40 euro crossing fee, a customs agent waved me over to ask if Munson had had his worm tablets. I had a mental d’oh at this point as I thought that this was only an issue in Norway. His vaccinations were not enough – he had to have had tablets within the past 10 days. I saved the situation by saying I had some worm tablets with me, so she watched me pop them down Munson’s throat and allowed me to continue but said I should have them (expensively!) administered and certified by a vet before crossing.

I went to get some fuel but realised at the last minute that the station was on a one-way road straight back across the bridge to Denmark. D’oh again. I spun around, found another station and continued on to Malmö.

 

Munson excited by adding two more countries to his CV


That evening, as I stepped out onto the streets of Malmö with Gustav and his friends Magnus and Jesper to buy some Chinese take-away food, I saw a guy across the road armoured with a tin-foil helmet and clutching onto a plastic bucket. I was told that he must be a groom-to-be celebrating his last week of freedom. A few minutes later he came over and showed us the contents of his bucket: thousands of screws and bolts of varying dimensions and degrees of rustiness. We were to take one, no two! of these as a gift. I picked out a couple and pantomimed attaching them to my neck in the popular style of the Frankenstein monster. The friendly groom smiled and said “Yes! You are Einstein now”.  Einstein indeed.

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying the cyber trip with you both. I have a phobia about running out of fuel, especially on a long bridge or motorway, so I can relate!
    Safe travels.

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