Left Soham in the peeing rain, the poor donkey was overloaded like, er… a donkey..
Had no more pounds left, so quite annoyed when I arrived at Hein Gerike, to get a refund on some indicators that are far to weeny for my bike, only to be told they only do credit notes. :-(. Just had enough money at Harwich to fill up my tank with the last drops of cheaper fuel, and popped into Morrisons supermarket for a few beers, marshmellows, hot chocolate saschets and chocolate minstrels, I knew the alcoholic beverages on the ferry would bankrupt me further. By the way, M and Ms, smarties and Minstrels are great for tank bags, as the chocolate doesn’t melt and spread everywhere unlike bars of chocolate. Yes, I learnt the hard way! Had a nervous tea and pee, then moved onto the port.
Rolled up to the bike queue at Harwich. Plenty of German and Dutch bikers, on a good mix of bikes, and a strange British couple off to Sweden on their BMW GS. They had plenty of touratech bling, and an alleged waterproof TT tank bag, with a print out of a google map, and by the time they had travelled up from Dorset, through a big rainstorm on Salisbury plain, their route instructions and map, printed on an inkjet printer had turned into a gloopy mush. They were still confident of finding their location in Sweden, as it was a quick blast along motorways.
Despite recent rain, the metal deck was dry, and as soon as I got under the cover of the deck, the heavens opened. Had myself plenty of space for the bike despite being stuck between the GS and a Goldwing. There were some lovely classic cars on board.
All tied down, ready not to roll
Darent go near them
My cabin was near the entrance to the deck, and despite being right next to the stairs and lift, it was very quiet. The cabin was as plush as a nice hotel.
Little did I know that I would be very well acquainted with the porcelain throne by the end of the voyage.
Dumped my kit, and ran off to the prom deck, to go and nerd at the container vessels. My interest comes from the fact that is my job to oversee my companies goods coming in by container from China, so it was very interesting to see the huge vessels in the flesh. Nerd alert!Also saw the old part of Harwich, a light ship all sorts of tugs. I have ‘Marinetraffic’ app on my phone, so could nerd at the stats on the ships that I could see. http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/
Sevenstones light vessel
Nearly everything you are touching, wearing has been hauled by these whoppers
So, settled down, had a shower and went up for my meal. Now for £27 odd quid for the seven seas buffet, DFDS Seaways had better be pulling something fantastic out of the hat, otherwise i’d not be the happy bunny. It was fantastic. A huge spread over ice sculptures of langoustines, lobster, giant green shelled mussels, smoked salmon, gravadlax, baked salmon, rollmops, a variety of picked herrings, sushi, it was fish (eaters) heaven. And then lots of non-fishy mains, cheeseboard, and lots of gateaux, lucky me. As I was saving my $£$ for fuel, I declined on the booze. However, I got chatting to two delightful older gentlemen, one chap, a hospital consultant from the west country, and another ex business man, who was chair of a big retail establishment. I butted in on their conversation about Ely (my home city), and the rest of the conversation flowed. They were off to charter a yacht around Sweden. Yes, found single woman, m/c-ing around Northern Europe very quaint. They were absolute gentlemen though, and plied me with lots of expensive white wine. Of course I happily obliged. These were the first of many interesting characters I met on this trip. I really wish I could find their contact details again, to thank them for the company that evening.
Well, I did take my supposedly super-duper anti-travel sickness tablets, but the combination of three plates of fish, two plates of chocolate gateaux and a bottle and the rest of white wine meant that once we really got out into the North Sea, the toilet was my buddy for the night. Bleugh. The sea was quite rough, I remember falling over, but not sure if that was just the wine. Luckily, the boat didn’t dock until 1pm the next day, so plenty of time to re-hydrate and re-gain my senses.
Day 1 summary:
91 miles: Soham, Braintree, Harwich,
Harwich-Esbjerg Ship: Dana Sirena
Departing: Sat 18/06/2011 17:45 Arriving: Sun 19/06/2011 13:00
Fare Breakdown and payments
Ordinary Transportation 0.00 GBP
Motorcycle 30.00 GBP
Single with Sea view 188.00 GBP
7 Seas Restaurant 19:00 Dinner Dinner Buffet Carvery 28.10 GBP
Breakfast Restaurant Breakfast Breakfast Buffet 11.60 GBP
Bunker Surcharge 0.00 GBP
European Car Breakdown Assistance not required 0.00 GBP
Booking fee 0.00 GBP
TOTAL PRICE 257.70 GBP
Less amount paid 257.70 GB
Ferry from Harwich to Esjberg docked at 1pm, was a little sad to me leaving my luxury cabin, but very excited at rolling off the ferry into a new country. It is such an adrenaline buzz.
I cheated a little and used googlestreet view from the comfort of home to check out the route from the ferry terminal out of the town as I was a little nervous- wrong side of road, tram tracks, etc, but it turned out to be ok. Didn’t linger in that part of Denmark, as I aimed to camp at The MC Touring Camp in Nødager southeast of Kolind between Århus and Grenå i Jutland. I didn’t want to stick to the motorways totally, so cut aross via Grindsted. The towns and villages were all neat and tidy, and the road signage made it all look like playmobile land. Landscapes and countryside were fairly flatish which is what I expected, hence the burning desire to crack on into Norway. I did detour into Aarhus (well yes, I admit, took a wrong turn) so had a mooch around and stopped for P and T (a wee wee and cup of tea).
Well, this campsite, if Carlsburg did Motorbiking rally campsites….. It is run by Denmark MC touring Club. No cars allowed, only bikes. It had a huge bar/restaurant with sports channels showing the bike racing, swimming pool, big barn area for rallies (where you can order or bring your own kegs of beer), a huge kitchen kitted with all mod cons and pots and pans, barbeques, from small ones up to one big enough for a hog roast, a pressure washer for the bikes. Incredible, and peaceful. Found the Danes a little reserved, and had a peaceful night despite the rain. The site was quiet as it was a Sunday night. It might have been a different story if a big Harley rally was on! It was only £5 to camp. Bargain.
Day 2 Summary:
Roads were good fun until I hit the boring motorway. I do wonder if I’ll ever be bored travelling by myself, but on the motorway, my mind is filled with all these weird ponderings, usually cultural or geographic observations, like how the Danish number plate system works, and smiling at sailors whilst overtaking, wondering what they get up to, or where all these intensively reared pig sheds are (I could certainly smell them).
There was quite a crowd of bikes when I rolled up.
Love barging to the front past the big camper vans. No brits, but plenty of Germans, Danes, French, Italians etc, mostly big bikes, but some very interesting ones like the Zundapp , and the Danish made Nimbus, some with lovely boat shaped sidecars.
When the Fjordcat swung into harbour, I got very excited.
Despite looking dinky compared to the Colorline ferry across the way. It was running about 30 mins late. ‘HSC Fjord Cat is an Incat-built, ocean-going catamaran. It is the world’s fastest passenger vessel and holds the record for the fastest eastbound transatlantic journey.’ Wiki
We all squeezed on, this deck was not so slippery. It makes me laugh, each deck supervisor takes such care about getting the bikes strapped down, and each one seems to have a different approach, and told me off for doing it like I did on the DFDS ferry, so just played the silly woman routine and let them do it, I suppose each bike location is different, and these staff know how their vessel pitches and rolls, and have seen the consequences of bikes being flung into the air!
Once strapped up and onboard, went and had an explore on the little vessel. Once it got going out on the more open seas, my god did it bounce, I suppose it is meant to skim over the sea, but it would bounce, and fling people into the air. Those that were not to good with movement sat tight, and others (like me) walked around and treated it like a bucking bronco. Went out on the deck and got chatting to others, including a dane and yank who were off to do survival things on the Hardangervidda should have got their number. They were nice. We kept daring each other to stick our heads over the side meaning being jetwashed with salt water. Didn’t do much good for my makeup!. Had the first of many hotdogs, and more coffee.
Getting into Kristiansand was quite mad, as the traffic was very heavy.