Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Tragedy and Triumph

There are times when we explore the world, that we fail so completely as travelers,  I’m certain if having a passport required a competency test, we’d be asked to return ours.  And then there are the sublime moments, where luck, chance, serendipity or just good planning remind us how much we rock. 

Today we experienced both the highs and the lows. 

The low was not much of a tragedy, but it sucked nonetheless.  We had bought tickets for the ferry crossing from Rostock Germany to Gedser Denmark and carefully timed our tickets so that we would leave at 1:00pm in the afternoon and arrive in Copenhagen at 5:00pm. 

The day took a downturn when we had to figure out where to get lunch.  Would we be able to get food on the ship—we weren’t sure.  So after passing by a McDonalds, we went to two other places that we thought were restaurants, only to find that they were glorified duty free shops and had to U turn back down the freeway to McDonald's. We consider it a personal failure anytime we have to resort to a meal at Micky D’s. 

After basking in the stifling heat of the world’s slowest McDonald's, we made it to the ferry landing with 15 minutes to spare, only to find out that we had purchased tickets for the sailing two hours EARLIER.  Yes, we bought and printed tickets for the 11:00 am sailing.  We know full well that 1:00 pm is 13:00 hours and are still baffled as to how we missed something like a two hour time difference.  So we parked in an alternate lane and watched hundreds of cars drive onto the ferry, eventually resigning ourselves to wait till 3:00 pm for the next crossing. 

In the meantime, I trudged under the hottest sun northern Germany has seen this year, back to the Ferry Office that stood at least half a mile back down the road.  For some reason my phone started playing Christmas carols and I was too teary and tired to even try to speak German to the poor Scandlines official who drew the short straw and had to talk to me. 

I was told that we had an 80% chance of getting on the 3:00 pm ferry, but if that failed, I could try for 5:00 or 7:00 pm.  At that point I  wondered if we should turn around and just start driving to Eindhoven.  Actually, I was ready to drive to Portland if that were possible.

All the while I wondered what the hell we were thinking trying to take a vacation now—after a stressful and exhausting two weeks that included packing, traveling and saying goodbyes.  I was emotionally drained and wondering if the whole damn move was an undertaking we had no business making.  Dylan was threatening  to leave because she believes that she won’t  have decent phone service while we’re in Europe and we all were missing Wasabi.

Needless to say, we were a morose group. The ferry eventually arrived and we were the second to last car to be loaded.  A car had jumped the queue in front of us and we were cursing the driver with an infestation of a million bedbugs, when it was turned back by a German ferry official.  My faith in German orderliness was renewed and I was so thankful, I was ready to kiss him.  The car made it on the ferry, but not in front of us!  “Karma’s a bitch,” I yelled. 

Once we landed in Denmark things turned for the better and we had one of our better travel moments.  Here we were, our first visit in this city and country and we not only navigated our way to our apartment but found a bank, a place to stow the car AND negotiated a grocery store where we bought tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast in a language we couldn’t talk, let alone read.  This we did with no arguments, no getting lost and not one hard feeling.  It truly was a small triumph after a lousy afternoon. 

Lest you think our time on the road is all magic—unicorns farting rainbows made of skittles, that sort of stuff—please know that like anything done with passion: parenting, sports, and art—there are good days and bad.  And if you are like us, you can experience all of this in a matter of hours if not minutes! 

P.S.  It’s well past midnight here in Denmark.  The kids are still outside playing soccer and we are watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  I think the only thing shorter might be the actual Hunger Games!  The uniform designers for the Parade of Nations have been especially creative.


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