Saturday, July 28, 2007

It Only Gets Better

Last night Lise and I had sexy pillow talk discussing how ferries actually make up a lost five or six hours. She was doing the calculations, and had determined that our 8:15am ferry simply had to be late. It was mathematically impossible for it to be on time if the night ferry ran. I was convinced they simply canceled enough ferries until they actually were on time again--- but my mathematical impossibility was that if all ferries were sold out, how do passengers find room on future ferries to rebook? It made no sense no matter how it was sliced. There were no messages on the website. We set the alarm for 6:15 and planned to be at the ferry an hour in advance, exactly as directed.

We woke up tired. Lise checked the website-- there were no messages about late ferries. We loaded up Julian and hurried to the landing. A half mile from the loading area we encountered a massive traffic jam. It was like driving to the Renaissance Festival. Eventually we made it up to the ticketing booth. We were told the ferry was late- that it would be leaving at 1:30pm. We were given a food voucher for 75nok each-- including Julian, our son with one tooth. We were offered a breakfast voucher at McDonalds, but declined. It was around 7:30. We lined up our car and immediately were entirely boxed in. There was no hope for escape. We trekked to downtown Kristiansand and searched for an open cafe. I found a hotel in Denmark. I really wanted to have a reservation, especially with a baby, so we planned to drive to Aalborg and stay at a Radison. We had a light breakfast, wandered around, shopped, ate lunch, shopped, had coffee, and headed back to the landing at noon. We finally saw the ferry pull in. After an endless wait for unloading, we finally saw cars starting to enter. Eventually we filtered into the line.

Just before being swallowed whole by the ferry, the agent asked for our ticket. We had the wrong ticket. Lise had to sprint a 100m dash to the ticket booth. As she sprang from the car, some woman in the car next to us yelled her name. Lise made it back to the car in world record time, and we were on the ramp into the ferry. I have been on many ferries, but nothing like this. I have never seen so many cars packed into just this one section-- and there were several sections, kept watertight from each other.

We scrambled for seats, but it seemed there was nowhere to sit. Eventually we found a spot across from some elevators. As the ferry finally left, the captain apologized for being late, and said there were 4m waves. Lise said that was nothing- she had been out in 9m waves. I wandered around to look outside, and was greeted by the sight of a pool of vomit-- presumably from the return trip. We hadn't even left the fjord yet.

I wandered around the ferry with Julian. The ferry had at least nine levels-- with slot machines everywhere, tax free shopping, bars, restaurants, a movie theater--- and people everywhere. After maybe two hours, we were still in sight of land. I thought about the fact that we paid for the express ferry, and were on the slow boat--- at the same price. When I shared my thoughts with Lise, she mentioned the fact that there is nothing you can do about the weather. I told her the Chinese were planning to control the weather during the Olympics, but she wasn't interested in hearing much about it. She reminded me that we have always had smooth travels. We have never contended with canceled flights, or other travel misfortunes. She said we could have been reimbursed for our unexpected stay in Kristiansand. I reminded her that we would have stayed in Denmark, so it was no extra expense. All in all, nothing was lost--- other that a bit of time in a well-cushioned trip.

I took Julian for much of the trip. He magically acquired a tooth overnight. I find it amusing to joke that he needs to brush his tooth-- but I guess he really should. He has been an amazingly easy travel companion, considering his routine has been completely disrupted, and he is suddenly sprouting teeth where there had been none. The ferry ride itself was rather uneventful. Those 4m waves never really materialized as promised. We finally made it to Denmark after around five hours. There was a massive crush of people trying to make it to their cars. It is moments like that when I fear for what might happen if there were truly an emergency at sea. There would be hopeless bottlenecks, widespread panic, mass chaos. We practically experienced it in finding our car.

We summarily drove off the boat and were back on E39-- the same road we took from Stavanger. It quickly turned into a freeway, and I had no clue what the speed limit was. Europe has these cryptic signs that says what the speed limit is NOT-- in this case, I noted that it was not 110 kph. I then assumed it as 120. Most other driver appeared to agree. I settled in, content with finally letting our car open up- unbound by the slowish 90kph limits of Norway. I cannot wait to hit Germany- although, unfortunately, as of this writing, Lise has just finished reading the Harry Potter book. I am sure she will be attentive of my speed. Of course there is Julian to consider, as well as issues of self-preservation and sanity. Actually, I never liked being a passenger on the autobahn when we were cruising at 160+.

In no time we arrived in Aalborg, although Julian was rather discontent. We settled in. No more ferries this trip, until we return.

1 comment:

EuroCrash said...

130 km/h in DK unless otherwise listed.