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Published: June 12th 2017
Geo: 54.3227, 10.1359
We knew we weren't due to dock back in Kiel until around 10:00am, so we were hoping to get off the ship as soon as possible and get up to Copenhagen, so as to maximize our very short window for sightseeing. Luckily we did not need to vacate our cabin until 9:00am, which worked out well, as we arrived into port early. We elected to walk off with our luggage, rather than have it delivered in the terminal, and were told to assemble in one of the lounges by 9:30am. We arrived early, which was good, as around 9:20 the announcement came that our group could leave -- first off the ship. There were zero passport or Customs inspections in the terminal, so it was our easiest and quickest disembarkation ever. We walked off, through the terminal, and down a couple blocks to our parking garage. We were on the road before 9:45am, which was an unexpected surprise.
I had the address for our hotel in Copenhagen already entered into the GPS and was soon following the unit's instructions to get us out of Kiel. Remembering that it had routed us down a week earlier via the long bridge, I
A Ferry Identical to Ours
It never has to turn direction, as there are bows and propellors on both ends.
-- wrongly -- assumed we'd be sent back the same way. In hindsight, it should have occurred to me to ask for a map when we first rented the car. Lesson learned. About 30 minutes into the drive, I realized that we were seeing different things than on the way down. The traffic feature was working and I thought maybe we were being diverted around an accident or such, but then it occurred to me that we were being directed the short way -- which was eastward to the ferry linking Germany and Denmark. Once that was obvious, it was too late to turn around and go the other route, so we pressed onward. I'd originally looked at this route, as it is significant shorter to drive, but the ferry times are variable.
Not knowing what to expect, we followed the road until it literally ended at a tollbooth-like structure where we purchased the ticket for the crossing without ever seeing a person. It was all automated. Our ticket told us in which line to wait, and we queued up with a steady line of cars and trucks which succeeded us. Within 10 minutes, we could see a large ferry approaching. With German precision, it pulled straight up and trucks and cars were pouring off in a matter of minutes. As soon as one of the vehicle decks was clear, they started to load our crossing, so for a while there were vehicles rolling on and off at the same time.
We parked on deck and as we got out and walked upstairs to the extensive lounge and duty-free areas, we noticed that the majority of cars were filled to the gills with cases of beer, soda, food products, etc. It looked as though everyone and their brother had just made a Costco run. Our only theory was that, despite the cost of the ferry, it was still cost efficient for Danes to cross into Germany and stock up and avoid some of the outrageous taxes on those goods in Denmark. We found it interesting, too, that the ferry was essential a mirror image of itself, meaning that it had a bow and propellers on each end, so it never had to "turn around." It would pull into port in one direction, and then pull right back out going the other direction, which allowed them to keep a steady stream of ferries going back and forth as quickly as possible.
The crossing took about 45 minutes, after which we had another couple of hours ahead of very flat and very monotonous countryside, as we approached Copenhagen from the south.
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