When I arrived in Puttgarden, the real adventure began. I looked around at the signs, and asked around for information. Everything was closed. The next train to LÃ¼beck was at 5:15. Well, how far to walk? 90km. Oh, nevermind. The ferry terminal was mostly abandoned, the night traffic was trucks. No ATM, so I had no euros, just credit cards, krones, and traveller’s checks.
I considered hitching; I could probably catch a ride to LÃ¼beck, and give my benefactor some krones. I could sit and wait for the train, dozing off as I did so. Find a reasonably safe corner of the terminal to snooze the night away? Hop on the ferry, and ride all night long, or try and sneak in to the hotel before 1AM … stroll down the second floor, innocently singing “Danny Boy” and hope a family member caught the signal?
As of 11:15, I had to call on a service phone to board the ferry as a pedestrian. As the guy was walking over, I saw the well-lit word HOTEL hovering low in the not-too-distant night sky. I changed my mind on the ferry, and decided to press on and try my luck at this beacon of desperation. When the ferry terminal guy appeared, I asked him, with finger gestures that conveyed “walking” how to get over there. He pointed, answering in German, I caught “straat” for “street”. Danke schone, as I went off, in to the dark night, in the direction indicated.
If Rodby’s Danhotel had Basil Fawlty holding down the fort, LÃ¼beck’s Hotel Dania was managed by a tense, mousy Tim Roth a la “Four Rooms” charging me the stellar sum of 78â‚¬ to stay the night.
He explained that there were no hostels anywhere, and the nearest ATM was 6km away. I paid with plastic. The next morning, after a fairly nice complimentary breakfast, I saw a map in the hotel lobby that had an icon for youth hostels in the legend, but none to be found on the map itself.
I recalled the lonely, expensive night I’d spent in Cheyenne, Wyoming when the Beetle broke down on my passage to California. This hotel was more expensive, but I remained in better spirits.