We awoke in a damp tent to be greeted by a warm cloudy morning and relatively scuzzy showers. Our ferry wasn’t until four o’clock in the afternoon, so in theory we had all the time in the world to get there. We had breakfast, dried the tent a little and went for a wee walk through the long-stay caravans and along the harbour shore. It wasn’t the nicest of all places so we headed on out. After only a few kilometres we stopped by the beach outside the Strand Hotel Seeblick and purchased a very good coffee. We shared the September sun and our sandy shore terrace with a woman who was friendly and quite content to share her drink with her book. We were still trying to wake up and were in that end-of-holiday state of mind of trying to maximise every experience. We milked that coffee for every ounce of experience and every minute of peaceful, restful time it gave us. The holiday season was over and the cafe staff seemed content to just let us sit there comforting our books and making the cafe look busy.
Eventually and reluctantly we picked ourselves up and cruised in to the ferry terminal. We were quite early. Bearing the scorn of many, I unpacked our tent and threw it over a couple of chairs and gave it a good airing. The DFDS ferry terminal and especially the toilets had the distinct stink of Lithuania. Though I hadn’t missed the smell, coupled with the sound of Russian and Lithuanian, was making me ready for home.
Our instructions for boarding were to cycle the last 800 or so metres right behind the bus. This was a fun but exhaust-filled experience. I could see the bus driver keeping an eye on us in his rearview mirror and at the same time testing what speed we could get up to. As we left the rear of the bus we came under Lithuanian control. Immediately a young man popped out of nowhere and flagged us on to the ferry. I always get a thrill from riding on to a ferry. Amongst the exhaust fumes and clatter of trucks we endeavoured the arduous task of peeling our panniers off our peddle-bikes. I always get slightly anxious ridden during this stage of boarding.
I was in the process of throwing those heavy saddlebags over my shoulders when a Lithuanian voice hued from the bowels of the boat. It said, “you can leave your bags in the locker.” We wanted to air all our damp stuff in our cabin, so I replied, “I want to take them up to my cabin”. The male face behind the Lithuanian voice smiled (I might be romanticising that part) and answered, “whatever you want”. Oh I was so happy, I was being allowed to think for myself again; I had to fight the temptation not to run up to the non-scowling man and hug him.
Anyhow we lumbered our stuff up to our cabin. Turned all of our bags upside down, unpacked damp sleeping bags, tent and dirty washing and threw them across the beds and floor. After showering and dressing in our last pair of clean clothes, we raced on deck to say good bye to Germany. It was a pleasant day and a nice time sailing out of Kiel; we stayed on deck for at least an hour.
Quietly and perhaps melancholically, we returned to our room. Upon opening the door we were greeted with the most overwhelming of stenches you could imagine. Gosh, perhaps yesterday’s faces had furrowed so deeply at us because we totally and utterly stunk. Quickly I wrenched the air-conditioning on to full, we grabbed our books and fled the fetid air.
The 7.4km we had cycled felt like multiple times more. Sleep snuck up on us early this evening, wrapped his arms around us and rocked us away into a deep, deep restorative slumber. If we dreamed, we didn’t remember this.
Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Training, part 1
Day 2 – Training, part 2
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 1
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 2
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 1
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 2
Day 5 – Each Other, part 1
Day 5 – Each Other, part 2
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 1
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 1
Day 7 – Bonking, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 3
Day 8 – Time Keeping
Day 9 – Homeward
Day 10 – I Love Germany