Nykøping to Gedser

To the Gedser–Rostock Ferry, 5 July 2010
We went by train from Copenhagen to Nykøping and then took the bus to Gedser to get on the ferry to Germany. The port of Gedser was a sleepy place, and we were intrigued by a family of not-well-off people.
At Nykøping station we quickly find the bus stop for the no. 39 to Gedser, not difficult as it is in the station forecourt. A none-too-new yellow bus pulls into the bay. The bus driver is only the second person we’ve met on this trip to Denmark who does not speak English, the first being the man who sold us strawberries in the market on Sunday morning. Fortunately the single fare to Gedser for two people is 60 kroner which sounds almost identical in English and Danish, pronouncing kroner as krooner.
It’s quite an old bus with seats laid out as on a train, in foursomes with a table. We notice the people on the bus are country-bumpkin looking compared to the urbane and elegant types we’ve been seeing in Copenhagen, and the driver, too, looks like a countryman with his uneven teeth, rolled-up sleeves, and articulated sunglasses. A woman in the front seats is not that old, maybe 50, but has no teeth.
The bus passes close to some beaches and holiday parks and at one of these a family gets on the bus. At first I think that the man paying the fare may be the brother of the bus driver but he isn’t, their conversation is because he doesn’t have quite enough money for the fare. The driver waits until the man finds some more money from his wife before driving on. The driver, I suspect, knows the type.
After driving past fields and then into and through through the empty-looking town of Gedser the bus stops right outside the ferry passenger terminal, which is handy. We get off as does the family that struggled with the fare.
The family consists of a man and woman and various of their children or extended children, ranging from late teens or early twenties down to about ten. There are quite a lot of them, rather rough-looking, the woman blond-haired and very suntanned, the man extremely thin. The couple smoke pretty-much constantly.
They spend their time waiting for the ferry smoking and throwing stones into the harbour. Agitated, unable to sit still. Hyper, especially the younger ones. Fortunately the ferry came in before things got too out of hand.
When we get our ticket we are given a coupon promoting the on-board shop on the Scandlines ferry from Gedser to Rostock. On its reverse is a promotion to encourage you to buy cigarettes.
The reverse side of the coupon promotes the sale of cigarettes. in 2010, surely not! Surely yes!
Gedser Port
Gedser port has a railway station with no trains and a private railway museum that was closed that day – maybe every day. The cars and lorries queue for the ferry, but there’s no café; it’s all rather derelict and deserted looking.
The ferry comes in and the foot passengers get on – handily before the car passengers so we get the pick of the seats. The poor family heads for the slot machines.
Mill-pond sea, we use some of our remaining kroner on beer and coffee.
The boat docks at Rostock port and the foot passengers assemble to await the arrival of the departure tunnel. But no poor family. Now we get it. They are on a booze cruise, in fact a booze and fags cruise, no doubt making full use of their coupons. The supermarket on board is stacked high with booze and it doesn’t open until the boat is outside Danish waters. Though the booze isn’t that cheap, just less than in highly-taxed Denmark.

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