Freesteel Blog » That was close

That was close

Saturday, June 24th, 2006 at 6:38 pm Written by:

After ranting for one final meeting in the Cimco’s basement, promising that this time we will all stick to a schedule of at least one skype conference call a week to keep in sync, Martin and I caught the 2:30 train from Copenhagen (on the east coast of Denmark). It was delayed for one hour and left the platform very slowly at 3:30. Trains aren’t usually late in Europe, except in England where it’s so predictably crap that you take account for it, so we were in trouble.

Our ferry back to England was due to leave Esbjerg (on the west coast of Denmark) at 7:00. Last boarding was at 6:30. At 5:30 the ticket collector understood our problem and said there was another couple from England in the same difficulty. She said we should all get off at the next station and arrange for a taxi to take us the rest of the way.

We got off among a crowd, found no other couple, went to the information desk, and they wrote us out a ticket for a taxi. Time was short, and we hopped into the first empty taxi we could find as it drove into the taxi rank, which was a single lane driveway between a the pavement and a bus shelter that was completely blocked in by a taxi in front with all its doors open and passengers totally faffing around with luggage and seeming to take forever. Our driver managed to get all the taxis and himself reversed back all the way out of the driveway.

After a swift 110mph ride down the highway, while trying unsuccessfully to phone the ferry (all the numbers on the ticket got to a recorded message in Danish about their christmas opening times), we arrived in the centre of Esbjerg among a maze of roads taped off by the police. After driving over somebody’s front lawn, we got onto the dock road. The taxi meter hit the 1000 krona mark. Apparently the train company had given us a blank cheque. When I joked that maybe he could drive us all the way to Cambridge through Channel Tunnel if we missed this, the driver seemed to take the suggestion seriously.

We reached the checkin office at 6:47. The door was locked. After trying all the other doors, returning and banging on this one until the people inside let us in, they told us we were too late, they’d already sent the policemen who check the passports home. Why didn’t we called earlier to tell them we were late?

We promised them some abuse, and they let us through and said we were very lucky to get on. The other English couple had got through earlier. I met them on the boat. They were so doddery they hadn’t understood what they had been told to do, and the lady had found them still on board when the train pulled away from the station we got off at. So she phoned ahead to the ferry company to warn them and called a taxi, and they were whisked away immediately from the next station straight to the port.

The whole experience: Culture shocking.

You forget that in some places they don’t call train passengers customers, and take account of the fact that a travel product is not the same as an ice cream, which you can throw away or return if you don’t like.

Maybe it would have been cool to have been stuck in Esbjerg over the weekend when the whole country was having its midsummer party. I guess I’ll never know. I’m glad to be home.

1 Comment

  • 1. Freesteel&hellip replies at 23rd June 2008, 10:47 am :

    […] I considered the option of going all the way down to London on an empty bus more extreme than that taxi offer we once had in […]

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