Berlin to Copenhagen, No Air Travel

Let me tell you about the walk of shame. Americans gave that name to returning home from a nice sleepover in the same clothes, mainly spotted at university campuses. Sounds right?
Wrong.
The walk of shame, my dear friends, is the walk from the airport, where you arrived to board your flight to Copenhagen, back to the city-bound train.

A little too little attention, and you walk into the terminal five minutes after the check-in was closed. I mean, I thought there was no check-in needed as I received some qr-code. Unfortunately, that wasn’t it. The ladies at Shonefield airport were extremely not nice (I immediately remembered the similar situation in the US and how I got a new ticket for free in a blink of an eye). They offered me a new ticket for 140 euro. Well, fuck that! I paid 4 euro for the internet, figured out that the cheapest flight for the next day would be $100, and gave up. The buses started from 45 euros. And – tadam! – here comes the magic of Blablacar. Turned out a guy’s driving to Copenhagen the next morning. The trick was to get back to Jens’ ASAP and to get one of the two remaining seats. That I failed to do, because the guy never replied…
So, 14.03.13, 11 am. I called Eurolines and they said no seats were avaliable for the day except 11 pm. And even that I couldn’t get. Thanks to Jens, I’ve learnt another possible way: to get to the city of Rostock, where the ferry goes to the Danish city called Gedser, and hitch a ride to Copenhagen as people were traveling on the ferry with their cars.

11:30
I’m putting up a checklist for the day.
Step 1: Find a Blablacar ride to Rostock – check after a few failures
Step 2: Meet Jeannette, my driver, at ZOB (central bus station) at 13:15
Step 3: Get to Rostock
Step 4: Find a way to the ferry – ask Jeannette?
Step 5-6, combined: Get to Gedsen, finding a ride to Copenhagen on the way
Step 7: Find Pauli’s place (my CS host)
Quick note: “Piece of cake? FML!!!”

The first three steps were a piece of cake in comparison with what followed. I found Jeannette’s car easily. At first there were two Chinese girls with us, architecture students from Bejing, who are on semester abroad at Shtuttgart. But they got off pretty soon, while we still were in Berlin. The car was big, so we could only communicate with Sebastian, a nice, though not-so-takative guy. He also studied Russian at school and tried to introduce himself in Russian – which I understood from the third try.
We got to Rostock pretty quickly – I mean, it’s just two and a half hours. Sebastian showed me to the ferry-bound train, and even got me a ticket. I was touched.

16:00
And now I’m on the train on my way to Warnemunde, where the ferries to Denmark leave from. The challenge is to get on the ferry with some drivers and then while on the ferry find a ride to Copenhagen. I AM nervous, I only did that in Cape Town and there it felt completely different. But we’ll see. We’ll see!!! OMG.

17:11
Well, fuck. The kind Sebastian sent me the wrong way… The opposite wrong way. I arrived to Warnermunde only to find out that ferries to Nordic countries start from a different port. There was a beautiful old Russian ship, Sedov, docked nearby, and a kind helpful old sailor who spoke to me in German (and dropped a few lines in Russian), and advised that I crossed the canal and got on the bus towards the port. So I did. A couple on the ferry asked a bus driver, and she said I could make a transfer at Dierkower Kreuz. FMLx3. On the bus. And I could’ve made it on the 17:45 ferry! Well, there’a a ferry at 8 as well…

17:45
Yes, I definitely will have to get on the 8 pm ferry. My bus driver, an energetic lady with short white hair, was the nicest person ever, showed me straight to the connection bus and told the driver my ticket was okay. Please, dear God, let me find some great great people to take me straight to Copenhagen!

18:19
Got my ticket for the ferry – fuck that, I’m not running here in the cold (and it is cold, Baltic Sea cold) in search of a car. It’s just 7 euros, after all. The trick will be to find a ride to Copenhagen when on the ferry…

20:00
The oh-so-familiar vibration under my feet. So settling and homely. A nice old lady (how come I have met so many wonderful people today?) took me under her wing and without speaking a bit of English helped me find my way to the ferry. Looked like she worked for the ferry company. The ferry was huge, almost like our MV Explorer, seven decks and a duty free shop. Funny.
NOW I NEED TO FIND A RIDE TO COPENHAGEN…
Aww, that divine vibration! Okay, maybe a little bit later.
So many people came from down there, where the cars are parked, mostly young people. I really need to find someone to go with… But this Treasure Island book is so cool!

2:41
Swinging in the hammock at Pauli’s place. I can’t believe I made it. I just can’t. Thank God and all the nature spirits and the entire Nordic pantheon.
So, halfway through the ferry ride I just felt a notion to start a conversation with someone, and I approached a blond guy with big earphones. We started talking. It turned out he was from Sweden, on an exchange program in Poland, having an escape to Copenhagen for an underwater polo game, and – most importantly – on the ferry with a Copenhagen-bound Eurolines bus. We talked for an hour and then set out to find a bus driver to ask if I could hop on, as there were lots of free seats (that fact really pissed me off after the events of the morning, but then It turned out the bus didn’t come from Berlin). But the driver was nowhere to be found. And then it struck me, the genius realization: why on earth would the driver check the tickets of the passengers already onboard?!
So I just quietly landed next to Jukf and that was it. I was quite nervous about that little mischief so I started telling him some travel stories and didn’t even notice when the bus took off. I was happy. We chatted all the way to Copenhagen, discovering millions of similar interests – even found out we had the same favorite band, Nightwish!!! There he ran for the train, and I headed to the station to get some wifi, for I had Pauli’s address but not a single idea where it was. Wandered into a hotel where the manager let me use the computer, figured out that my bus was due in five minutes, ran there, got onboard. And there was a little oops: I had zero Danish money, like, ground zero. But it occurred to me I could trade with the locals, which I told the driver. I approached two girls sitting nearby, and told them the story. While they were looking for change, the driver yelled “it’s okay”, and I ended up paying nothing. And – one of the girls turned to be going to the same bus stop as me!
We chatted. She was from Sweden, working with her friend who got off a few stops before us. They had a special bus tradition – her friend would sit with her back to the driver, and she would press the stop button for her.
I was walking down a street, surrounded by canals, breathing in my favorite scent – fresh water. Took me a few minutes to figure out Pauli’s place. He obviously didn’t expect me, as I told him earlier I would either make it in the evening or in the early morning, and I couldn’t warn him as I the wifi on the train station won’t work. I apologized as much as I could, telling him the whole adventure. We ended up chatting for almost two hours and now here I am, in a hammock, finishing this blog. And there’s a canal behind the beautiful huge window, dark water rolling calmly in the moonlight. And there’s a boat that is a bus nearby. And he has a movie team coming in tomorrow to see the place for possible filming. And we may go swimming at 7 degrees Celcius.
And I may sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pauli Østerø says:

    Heh, funny to read about your experiences like this, especially a part of the story myself 🙂 Too bad you didn’t join swimming! Now the water heated so much that i just jump into the canal directly from my living room.

    1. LovingStranger says:

      Damn, I wish I could join! Super jealous – for some reason, it’s freezing cold in Moscow!!

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