Here we are in our hotel room in Copenhagen. I’m staring at the bed in the darkened room and looking forward to creeping between its sheets.
It’s been a long day. We didn’t start out on the journey anywhere close to 09:00. It was more like 10:45 before we got going. We were up and about in time; it’s just that it takes a long time to pack the car, turn off the floor heating, put thermostats on holiday mode, program the lights to come on in the house while we’re away, etc.
With surprisingly few stretches of unrestricted autobahn and several stops for lunch and the call of nature, we didn’t roll into the German ferry port of Puttgarden until around 17:30. It was very busy there, with most of the cars sporting Swedish plates. Judging by the number of such cars, the omnipresent ski-rack on top and the presence of children inside, I’d guess that Swedish schools had their half-term holiday last week and that most of these families were returning from skiing trips in Bavaria, Austria or Switzerland. Honestly, the Swedes outnumbered the Danes by about five to one.
By the time we had rolled to the front of the queue and purchased our ferry ticket, we were just in time to miss the 17:45 sailing. We were literally the first car that didn’t make it on. No matter, though; the next crossing was only half an hour away: enough time for a toilet break.
And the crossing to Rødby in Denmark was a fun one, as it provided an interesting glimpse of Scandinavian behaviour.
Although the crossing lasts only forty-five minutes, the passengers make excellent use of the time, racing around the duty-free shops to load up on fags and booze, and then scurrying to the on-board restaurants to scoff down curried sausage and chips. There were Danish pastries, too, of course, but those seemed to be less popular.
The ferry also had a children’s playing area, which Eloïse greatly appreciated. She wasn’t put off by the older children playing on it, and steamed straight in to make use of the slide.
Once we hit Danish soil, it was a straight 175 km drive through the rain and darkness to Copenhagen, where we were astonished to find that that it took no time at all to drive straight to our hotel in the centre of town. There was almost no traffic, even though it’s Saturday night. We pulled up outside at about 20:40.
A late dinner was had at Chit Chat, just around the corner from the hotel, on Sankt Peders Stræde. Pricey, but good.
The heroine of the day is Eloïse. She has been as good as gold for the entire journey. No complaints about the length of time spent strapped into her car-seat, no soiled underpants, no tantrums, no moodiness… nothing. She even behaved well at this evening’s restaurant, in spite of the lateness of the hour. What a daughter. She really made the drive an enjoyable one. Without her cooperation, it could and would have been a living hell.
Anyway, I need some sleep. I can’t wait to get outside in the morning and see what the city has to offer.