Leaving Teglholm

It took so long for us to leave The Floating City that Grainne and Brian came back again from their trip to Sweden. Grainne sits excitedly by my sick bed (our latest reason for not leaving) and tells me all about their adventures. It seems they are now referring to my blog as the “Activist Lonely Planet” and used it to find places to visit in Malmö and Stockholm. They were also inspired to try hitchhiking for the first time, leaving their van here at Teglholm and thumbing over the bridge. It seems to have gone really well. It’s nice to hear that my adventures are inspiring others.

Now Brian and Grainne will leave with us. A convoy of two vans with romantic notions of parking up somewhere midway to Hamburg. Two vans, four people and some countryside to enjoy. We can breakfast in one van, supper in the other, sit around our burner in the evening…

Grainne and I decide to spend our last day in Denmark in… Sweden. A day out in Malmö. We will hitch across the bridge, pick up the snow trousers she left there, buy a postcard each for our collections, take a sauna, eat lunch at the Glassfabriken and make it back to Teglholm in time for our final, final night.

Grainne waits at the petrol station entrance with a sign while I walk around asking people at the pumps. We swap over after a while and somebody stops. “Going to Sweden, yeah?” I ask, tucking my “Malmö” sign down by my feet. “I have a friend too, it’s ok?” I say as Grainne runs down from the pumps. “Sure, no problem,” he says.

We are about halfway to Helsingor before we realise we are going the wrong way. Too late to turn back now. Our driver apologises profusely for his mistake, offers to pay for our ferry fares if we decide to go across from Helsingor to Helsinborg and hitch down to Malmö from there. Grainne refuses politely. I’m almost convinced, but even after the ferry crossing, we will still be further away from Malmö than we were back in Copenhagen. We drive in silence for a while and feel the tension mounting.

Our driver says something to Grainne I don’t quite catch… “But… were you wanting to go to Sweden though?” Grainne asks. He has offered to drive us back the way we’ve come and take us over the bridge himself. This is a very large favour. We all laugh as he says, “sure, why not?” The tension crumbles and we get on with enjoying our ride.

A lovely day out in the garage

First we have to take this car for an M.O.T. near Helsingor, then back down to Copenhagen to swap cars and over the bridge to Malmö. It will take a little longer than the 20 minute ride Grainne had when hitching Malmö-Copenhagen with Brian just over a week ago, but at least we will have an adventure. We take sneeky tourist shots and snigger quietly, drinking coffee from plastic cups and reading men’s magazines in the garage while the M.O.T. is going on.

Back in Copenhagen, we swap into our drivers own car in the street next to Teglholm and cross the bridge. I try not to wince as our driver pays the €60 fare to cross the bridge, drop us off and drive back again. Wow, he really was sorry!

We don’t have time for a sauna now, but we have some stories to tell and we have a nice lunch at the Glassfabriken and meet up with Grainne’s CSers before heading back.After a two hour wait we get a free ride in a taxi over the bridge to Copenhagen airport, where we jump first a metro, then a train back to Teglholm. Three hours in each direction. Whew!

We have our final, final night – which stretches on until 6am with a crate of beer and some truth-or-dare based games. We are really leaving this time.

It takes a whole day to put the finishing touches on the van and pack everything away. We have a last supper with everyone and leave late – too late for Brian and Grainne, who will meet us the following day somewhere in the South Danish countryside.

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