Blog 16 Germany 2015 8 Aug - 2015
Heiligenhafen, Fehmarn, Home
In a way there was a sense of completion sailing from Bagenkop in Denmark to Heiligenhafen in Germany, a route we covered at the beginning of our Baltic cruises in 2013. So many ports, harbours, marinas and overnight stops sometimes merge memories together only to be unravelled as, in this case, when we round the long golden sandbank lying parallel with shore where the sun lights the shallows a tropical emerald green. Germany then - every country is different in some way, just cross a border and it is not only the terrain which can change but the more often it is the impact the people have. Their numbers, priorities and ethos.
Heiligenhafen says there are a lot of people in Germany, there is bustle, never a missed opportunity to eat and drink, construction activity, pedestrians obeying traffic lights and smart cars fill the parking lots. Something about work hard, play hard if my impression is right. The fishing harbour is centre of the tourist trap, brightly coloured working boats jostle and sprout ironwork, red and black crab pot flags and aerials, piles of green nets and chain are everywhere and a mass of humanity gawp and swarm around the cobbled harbour.
After three months visiting many towns and three different countries it had to be in Heiligenhafen that the Harbour Master needed to impress the sign of authority on my meagre receipt with an official rubber stamp wielded with theatrical relish and an overarm double thump. Perhaps an example of inherently complying with the rules and attention to detail - I was half disappointed that the stamp was only text and did not have the mythical and magnificent Teutonic Eagle.
When the sun is down for the evening, the wind has died for the day, the sea melts slowly to glass and the birds have quietly settled in thousands on the sandbank sanctuary there is a magical peace. And then all hell breaks loose, against that porcelain blue evening sky the birds are up in a frenzy, clouds of them swirling and flying in all directions shrieking their own warning and above them all being pursued by a few brave fighters, an eagle flying in a straight line towards the shore, his wings huge in comparison, broad and slow, his splayed feathered fingers upturned at the wing tips. A wondrous sight - a wonderful memory - this is the gift sailing gives to me.
Tomorrow, we shall be at Fehmarn, where Talisman will come out of the water and lay in a huge shed, or "hall" as I mentioned last year. As I now write, we have come home and I may not add more to the blog than to say that our friends at Baltic Kolln in Fehmarn are brilliant at caring for the boat and knowing their job, and the yard is a good place to meet up again with old friends who are also leaving their boats - a shared barbecue, long chats and exchanges of adventures and possible plans. A fitting way to end the cruise.
Maybe I will add just this excerpt from a mail I sent to a friend today..
Home again - not a bad trip, good car hire from Avis Fehmarn but it was a Citroen Cactus which I've never heard of and is possibly one of the ugliest cars I've seen for a while - a new mini copy with anti RPG armour down the side, what for I have no idea but it went and got us there. Interesting at Hamburg airport, there is one delivery point for all car rentals, you just drive onto the end of a line like at a ferry port but at a multi story car park by the departures entrance and unload. A team of uniformed guys with computers come and look at the car, take the keys etc print you a receipt and that is it irrespective of who you hired the car from. I said to the guy, I suppose all this lot will be in containers and on the way to Russia by tonight - he smiled.
p.s. I am writing an article of our travels on the Göta Canal which will probably include a link to some video. After publication you will find it on http://www.clivewilliams.co.uk/articles.htm but that will not be until later in 2015.