Awaiting the Ferry in Hirtshals - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2013

Awaiting the Ferry in Hirtshals

I couldn't sleep because Is laying on top of a hard lump. I don't usually get it this wrong; usually, I check the ground well before putting up the tent. By daylight however I must've slept some. This morning I wasn't going anywhere. I just had to find the ferry company and hopeful buy a ticket for the next sailing. So, I'd a lay-in, remaining in the tent till after seven.

I felt stiff after coming off the bike the day before, when I eventually stumbled out of the tent. And there was still a few mosquitoes hovering about, so it was best I pack up, have breakfast and leave as soon as possible. Good that my morning routine, from first unzipping the tent to pushing the loaded bike away is down to around fifty minutes. This morning I used the last of the one litre carton marked Kaernemelk, butter milk in the muesli. It lasts three days and doesn't go off, supposedly because it's already sour.

Not my ferry.
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I returned to the ferry terminal. This morning feeling fresh and rested, I could make more sense of the port's layout. I found that to the right of the check-in gates, the road continued round on the outside of a chain-link-fence beyond piles of excavated spoil which hid a terminal building.

FjordLine, it said on the side of the ship docked and which dwarfed the building; inside, there was only FjordLine too, but, the woman behind the desk gave me a town-plan and circled with a pen a big service station two kilometres from the centre, saying here I'll find Smyril Line's office.

It was easy to find. Called Hirtshals Welcome Centre: there was a petrol station, a big cafeteria, tourist information and a modern glass and steel office block with various shipping companies among which I found the ferry company for Iceland.

The woman was on the phone and waved for me to take a seat. When she eventually said goodbye sideways into the microphone she smiled as I made my request and simultaneously consulting the computer screen, which meant there was still place on the coming week's sailing. She just had to make a phone call to confirm there was sleeping accommodation left. She smiled again at the invisible person in the headset which meant there was. I just had to pay the sum of three-thousand seven-hundred Danish crowns when she issues the document, which after a quick conversion using the calculator, she informed me was four-hundred and fifty-four Euros.

The rest of the day was filled by finding a place with free Wi-Fi, which I found in the library. The librarian gave me a key-card with a four digit code for access outside working hours, up to 21.00hrs during the week and 09.00-18.00 Saturday and Sunday.

The campsite is basis after the one at Esbjerg, but has most things. Behind the desk in reception there's a large black and white photo of the campsite in 1959, when it looked really basis; a few ridge-tents with sand dunes in the background. The same scene today is built-up and it being Summer the campsite is full of modern tents and campervans. There's also an awful lot of cyclists here. The most I've seen so far. I got into conversation at dinnertime with a group of cyclists that were grilling steak on a smoking charcoal tray and was invited to join them as they'd too much meat, which when done, was smoked and nicely done. We talked on broken bike bits such as the gear hanger and how hard it can be getting a replacement. I related my broken gear hanger story and how I ended up riding to Spain on a single-speed because no shop had the particular gear-hanger I needed. One of the cyclist was a French Canadian with bushy sideburns and cycling to Norway from his job as a translator in Copenhagen. And the others, a couple from Germany on their first cycle-tour.

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