Floating

I was on a ferry in Denmark. It didn’t catch fire. That’s a fifty percent record for me for being on ferries in Denmark that didn’t catch fire. Not too shabby, given my past form.

Anyway, this was on the way home from CynaraeStMary’s birthday party. At which I met many of the family and survived. So far, so good. I just have to learn Danish so I know what they are saying about me but maybe it’s best I don’t know.

I liked them all, I have to say. Especially Uncle Hairy Blonde Beard from Copenhagen who could be a whisky night pal when CStM is looking the other way… Okay, I confess I don’t remember many names but it usually takes more than one meeting/mention for names to sink in.

There might be a CStM veto in there but you never know. He might like the land of whisky and he might like my biker pals. I am just doing my best to fit in here.  Even though I don’t fit anywhere.

I am not a natural sailor. Rough seas might be fine for Vikings but I’m a Celt. A dry land man. Well, I’m not sure the term ‘dry land’ really works in Wales or Scotland or indeed much of the UK because it’s usually raining. Solid ground then, even if it’s a bit mushy at times. It doesn’t move around as much as the sea. Yes, I build model boats but being on one is different.

But I digress. Rather, I am way ahead of the story.

This trip started with a panic, as all good trips should. I thought last Friday was the dreaded Black Friday when shops offload all last year’s outdated crap to make room for the new crap in time for Christmas. I expected to have to contend with appalling traffic on the way to the airport so set out early. There was no traffic. It was only Grey Friday. I was at the airport far too early and their free wifi is crap. It kept kicking me out. Still, a couple of double espressos and a tuna sandwich for breakfast and all was forgiven.

I also bought a bottle of Welsh spring water in Aberdeen airport and carried it all the way to Denmark. Not that they were short of water in Denmark, it drops out of the sky there too and as any map will tell you, much of Denmark is made of sea.

The plane I was on didn’t go to Denmark. It went to Amsterdam. For a reason I cannot fathom it was much, much cheaper to go that way than to go direct to Copenhagen like I did last time. Last time the roundabout route was more expensive. This time it was an awful lot cheaper.

The plane landed in Amsterdam and after what seemed like fifteen laps of the airport it finally pulled in at a terminal. I suspect it landed at the wrong airport and taxied the rest of the way along the motorway with the pilot muttering ‘I meant to do that, honestly’.

I looked at a map of Amsterdam airport before I started the trip. It’s huge. You could fit three of the towns I grew up in inside it and still have room for a shopping mall and Cardiff airport.

I had to get to a different gate. Amsterdam tell you the gates are A, B, C etc but when you get to the letter (I had to go to C) then they tell you that C1-C50 is this way and C51-Cinfinity is that way. There are many, many gates. That airport might have more gates than there are planes in the world.

I had 90 minutes. Plenty of time as it turned out. I could have sought out a smoking area but didn’t bother. No chance of a coffee, I had British pounds and Danish kroner and not one single Euro. I should maybe get a few of those.

In the middle of my panic rush walk from one gate to a distant gate in an airport in a country I had never visited before, there was a passport check. The guy looked at my boarding pass and passport and said ‘Where are you going?’ It’s on the boarding pass. I was tempted to sigh wearily and say ‘I have no idea’ or perhaps intone ‘I am the passenger and I ride and I ride’, but I said ‘Copenhagen’ because these people have no sense of humour.

One thing in Amsterdam’s great favour is that their free wifi is easy to use. No spontaneous booting out, no complexities, just a click and you’re in.

I wasn’t there long. Soon I was on a plane to Copenhagen and then had to find a train.

Now the last time, CStM met me in Copenhagen and took care of all the train stuff. But she’d shown me the way once, surely I could be trusted to do it on my own this time?

I got it right. I didn’t end up in Sweden and didn’t have to spend the night in a shut down train in a siding somewhere. Danish trains are easy, really, as long as you realise the up and down lines are the other way round from the UK. And I have a map of the entire rail network of Denmark, as you would expect.

(  CStM – shhh 😉  )

I must have been on the train at least an hour before I thought to check for wifi. It was there, so I could reassure CStM that I was not arguing with border control in Malmo nor arrested for being Welsh in a public place. Everything was under control.

The way back was a little different. It was cheaper to go by bus and took no more time but it meant a ferry in the  middle.

You get on the bus, the bus drives to the ferry, then onto the ferry. Then everyone gets off the bus and goes to the seating area in case the ferry catches fire. That does happen, it happened last time I was on a ferry in Denmark. That time the ferry made it from Newcastle almost to Esbjerg before combustion stopped our trip. Lots of little boats came out. We thought they had come to help. They took photos and went away. But that was a long time ago.

This time I knew where the ferry departed from but was on it before realising I had no idea where it was going. The bus was going to Copenhagen airport so I suppose the ferry went in that general direction. All the announcements were in Danish so I just watched what everyone else did and left when they did. All well and good, made it to the bus. Which also had wifi. CStM was able to tell me where the hell I was from the clues I could see.

Back to Copenhagen, which had snow and darkness. You can check in there without ever seeing a real person. Even the bag drop is automated. The security isn’t – the queue was immense. The wifi is crap too – like Aberdeen, it spontaneously kicks you out for no reason. I had to rush to the gate so skipped duty free. Pity. I had plans for duty free. Next time…

So, Amsterdam, and another fifteen laps of the airport before parking. This was a nervous time, I had one hour to get to the next gate and it might be the other side of the airport, which you need to charter a flight to get to. The suitcase was less of a worry on the way back. if it was delayed, too bad. They’d send it to me at home. I did wonder if it might be held back because it had cherry sauce, pickled red cabbage and a big bottle of Remoulade in it. Which might be considered unusual by some people, or so I understand.

I was lucky. I landed at gate D60 and only had to get to D14. Only about a mile or so. I had time to stop off at civilisation, aka the smoking area. There are several in Amsterdam airport, but only one in Aberdeen. The Aberdeen one is behind a frosted glass door and exposed to the elements because the UK hates its people. So far we seem to be the only ones to have the Doors of Shame over the tobacco displays and our baccy prices are double everyone else’s. I bought a supply of tubing baccy in CStM’s local small co-op and it was half UK price. And that’s just a local shop, not a supermarket!

In Amsterdam, opposite gate D10 you will find Murphy’s pub. Go through the bar to the back, through another door and there is the smoking area. Indoors, fully enclosed and well ventilated and with a handy pub attached. I wasn’t in Copenhagen very long so the only smoking area I found was outside. It was amusing to see they had yellow lines painted around it to keep the smoke in. Someone will believe it works. Probably someone in high office.

Unfortunately I could not make use of the pub because I had to drive home when I got to Aberdeen. The Spiteful Nannying Party have now made it so you dare not even take cough medicine if you’re driving. I remained utterly sober the whole trip. Well, truth be told, I didn’t drink any booze at all in Denmark. I only had a few days this time so couldn’t afford to spend any time drunk or hungover. I left the whisky at home.

The departing plane only had to taxi about ten yards to reach the runway in Amsterdam, which merely reinforced my suspicion that the landing plane had done fifteen laps before getting  to the gate. The buggers did it on purpose.

Well, that’s my account of my trip. Some will be disappointed at the lack of detail on anything at all in between the travelling bits. CStM will give you an account of the birthday at some point and as for anything else, I’m sure your furtive imaginings will fill in the gaps to way beyond anything that really happened.

I was happy to find that burning ferries are not a Danish tradition. They don’t always do it. Not even when I’m on it.

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59 thoughts on “Floating

  1. Why would anyone want a bottle of Welsh spring water? And to purchase it in an Airport is foolishness to excess! Airport folks are usurious arseholes.

    If you want to transit airport security quickly the next time, write, with a pen, the letters, “S S S S” on your boarding pass. Find the nearest Security person near the lineup, show him/her your boarding pass asking if this is the right line for you. They will see the SSSS and escort you directly to the front of the line where nice folks will ‘swab’ you for explosives. Hopefully, the find nothing and you’ll be put on your way. You’ll be through Security and into the Boarding Lounge in no time flat. Works a charm it does.

    Of course you can take this gambit up a notch
    http://sterculianrhetoric.blogspot.ca/2015/11/frequent-flyer-tip-4.html

    Selected for Special Security Screening.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “……..I am not a natural sailor. Rough seas might be fine for Vikings but I’m a Celt. A dry land man……”

    A Celt you say? Oh dear god! A fecking woad-painted Smurf! The Tutor and I went to the Celt-themed wedding of the daughter of a close family friend. No one was awash in indigo, but it was otherwise quite the accurate affair. So accurate that The Tutor offered to assume the role of Lord of the Manor and exercise ‘droit de seigneur’ if the couple wanted greater realism. He also offered for the ultimate in total immersive verisimilitude, to supply the husband with a little boy for his amusement while The Tutor engaged his Ius Primæ Noctis. This was in keeping with the definition of the traditional Celtic Family Unit – as reported by Julius Caesar in his magnum opus, “Commentarii de Bello Gallico” – as: the father, the mother, the children and the little boy for the father’s ‘pleasant diversions’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “…….I did wonder if it might be held back because it had cherry sauce, pickled red cabbage and a big bottle of Remoulade in it…….”

    All I can say is, Jeez, your bowels must be really loose – and foul.

    “……So far we seem to be the only ones to have the Doors of Shame over the tobacco displays and our baccy prices are double everyone else’s……”

    We have the Doors of Shame hiding tobacco product in Canada too.
    A carton (that’s 200 Class ‘A’ cigarettes) of Chinese smokes in the “Duty Free” shop at the Lao PDR border at Nong Khai, Thailand was $1.00 US. The Tutor tells me they were quality smokes. I believe him. The same carton sells for $4.00 in Thailand! (And about $75.00 US in Canada.) I transited the border daily from Thailand (Don’t ask why, it’s a long story.) and was making $12.00 US per day by bringing back to Thailand 4 cartons a day. It seems Thai Customs doesn’t care to bother the Farangs. Paid for my nightly Singha-fest, it did!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back to civilisation! Land of the Spiteful Nannying Party. I have just been introduced to one of their latest authoritarian/money making scams for us tenants.

    An approved electrician has to come sniffing round our abodes checking all the electrics. They even test anything electrical which the landlord has provided, even if it’s a hairdryer, and put a sticker on it.

    I don’t know what the stickers say yet, but the very idea is hideous. I suppose we’re meant to look at them and read into it, “the SNP ‘pwns’ you”.

    We don’t need no sticking badges…

    I expect it will morph in a ‘Named Person’ scheme for adults. While they’re defacing your fridge and toaster, they’ll be looking out for signs of non-compliance in other areas. When smoking is banned in homes with children they will no doubt have testing equipment for ‘third hand smoke’, so furniture, carpets, curtains and clothing will be checked as well.

    I can’t even see that these electrical tests are legal. My tenancy agreement is with my private landlord, not the ‘Scottish Government’. But then, they think they own all children, so why not adults too?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The electorate of Scotland have a lot to answer for but thankfully are reaping their own sowings. After Fat Eck they got Fishwoman and it serves them bloody well right. By the way – did I mention the fabulous income they aren’t bringing in now that oil prices are at a more sensible level? No, I wouldn’t be so cruel . . .
    Leggy – how did your pickled tissues stand up to alcohol deprivation for that length of time? Coffee and biscuits at Amsterdam to dull the pain?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The electorate of Scotland also seem to have elected a party of political dunces. You see, chance and political stupidity on the part of Westminster has gifted them with a prize of rare preciousness: they currently have the power to vote on things that do not concern them, and will not affect them. As things stand, they can vote on English-only matters in the House of Commons and there is nothing that can at present be done about this.

    Now, a sane and sensible SNP leader would publicly vow that their party would never, ever vote on such matters, and would do their utmost to keep to this promise. Doing so would remove the perceived need for legislation to fix the loophole, and thus they’d keep the ability to vote on English matters for use when it really counted.

    Not so these dunces. First chance they get to stick their oar in on English-only matters, i.e. the risable Hunting Act, in they jump and abandon their earlier promise never to do so with the ink hardly dry on this promise. The English Hunting Act is, in the grand scheme of things, utterly insignificant and importantly it is an unimportant nothing that isn’t any of the SNP’s business as Scotland has its own, better hunting act.

    I honestly do not believe that Cameron had any intention of making the changes he proposed. Rather, he wanted to see just how stupid the SNP were, and how much control Miss Fishy could exert over her party. Turns out, it is a party of idiots with a chief idiot unable to exert control over her rabble. Furthermore it has now been adequately demonstrated that the SNP don’t keep their political promises, another nail in their coffin.

    Liked by 1 person

      • The regional governments need to be given control over at least some of their revenue spending and tax-raising. This will give them the ability to make life better or worse for their constituents, which in turn ought to massively decrease their popularity if they decide to tax heavily and spend like drunken sailors.

        In short, I really think they ought to be given sufficient rope that they can hang themselves.

        Liked by 4 people

      • It was on the radio today about landlords having to get all electrical stuff in their properties PAT tested. It won’t be worth being a landlord soon. Compliance with the regulations will mean nobody can afford what they’ll have to charge in rent.

        And it’s a step on the way to random home checks by the authorities on everyone. Everyone.

        Liked by 2 people

        • A friend was just saying a few days ago that she went to a seminar about letting your house! She’s not sure if it’s worth the expense and risk. You also now have to be a registered landlord just to let out your own house – and pay the fee, of course.

          Yes, I’m sure that every home will be checked in the near future (I don’t think it will be random, but it will probably be voluntary at first to acclimatise people to the idea) and people will love being kept safe and having their smoke alarms and CO detectors checked. Not sure if they’ll like being snitched for something, which will be the whole point.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Heh! They’d have a field day here! One aspect of my business is designing, building and fitting kitchens. That more often than not involves installing power outlets, which I do myself. One place I worked in, I pulled out the wiring to fit a spur to a new socket, and there were two (colour coded) earth wires and one neutral. When I tested them, I found that one of the earth wires was live. It seems that the original electrician must have run out of black wire (it’s black, grey and yellow here), so just used what he had to hand, which happened to be yellow. A potentially lethal choice. Fortunately I’ve lived here long enough to anticipate these things, and never assume anything.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. In Amsterdam you landed on the 6th runway – and that involves a 20 to 30 minute taxi to the airport building, crossing a busy motorway whilst so doing:

    http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/9500/why-does-schiphol-airport-have-such-a-long-taxi

    FYI the smoking room at Murphy’s is located in what used to be their toilets. I jest not. Their view was it was better to have punters exit and use the airport can’s than to continue to do without the smokers.

    Like

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