Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Arctic Conditions All The Way

What a lovely holiday we had! But it was the wintriest journey and stay I can remember. The first, short leg to Bremen took over four hours instead of three, and Bremen to Malmö, including the ferry between Germany and Denmark, took nearly seven long hours, all due to snow and -10 degrees C. The gritters and snow ploughs ganged up on us, cars, coaches and lorries coming off the ferry, and blocked the motorway driving at 50 kph (30 mph) for about 20 kilometres. Not everybody was happy about that!

The return journey was even worse, close to disastrous, twelve hours and forty minutes! Just before the Danish ferry port the snow started to come down faster than I have ever experienced before . All motorists were very cautious, but about a kilometer from the actual ferry terminal an articulated lorry spun round, jackknifed and ended up the wrong way in the snow-covered field, luckily without personal injuries to the driver. We saw him jump out of the cab with the windscreen wipers still trying to keep off the persistent snow.

When we reached the check-in, the snow fall (some would have called it a blizzard) had intensified and you could hardly see more than thirty metres. The whole waiting area was soon covered in thick snow. Everybody stayed in their vehicles, engines and wipers running. Only some, desperate for the toilets, man and dog alike, braved the conditions and walked, ran or jumped in a rather comical fashion to relieve themselves.

After one and a half hours of waiting in the car, we finally found shelter on the ferry. Most drivers left ample space to the one in front in order to clear the snow blanket, 20 centimetres thick. The cars looked like igloos! Less than an hour later we rolled off to encounter even more winter.

The remainder of the journey was extremely slow, sometimes just crawling on the icy, snow-covered  autobahn in heavy snow fall. Other times you tried to see through the slushy spray from the car in front.

When we finally got home after midnight I found my reward in the drinks fridge!

But between these troublesome journeys we had a wonderful time in Sweden. We celebrated Christmas with family and met up with friends, some of whom I had not seen for sixteen years. Southern Sweden was wintry white, but welcoming.

I leave you for now with some pictures.

DSC_0359 DSC_0107

DSC_0170  DSC_0201 DSC_0375

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10 comments:

Veronica said...

Thank goodness the visit was worth the journey; and that you had safe travel both ways, be it snail like.
Love the frozen cream jug ... would that contain icecream?
We have had crazy wet/cyclonic weather here too, was just about to blog about it ...

oreneta said...

Sweden is making it onto the list of places I'd really like to visit. In June.

Protege said...

Happy 2010 to you and yours!
Sorry to hear about the nightmare of a trip; that is why I refuse to travel during winter. But it sure sounds like you had a lovely Christmas and New Year.
Beautiful pictures, lovely to see old Malmo again in all its Christmas glory... Have not seen that for almost a decade now...
xoxo
Zuzana

Expats Again said...

WOW, what a journey! Glad you made it there and back safely. Your photos are wonderful. Is that ice on that sculpture? Amazing!

CanadianSwiss said...

I'm happy to hear that you made it safely both ways. OX drove 10 hours from Amsterdam to Basel the Sunday before X'Mas. And I've seen Canadian blizzards, so I know how bad it can be!

Glad to hear that the time in Sweden made up for the rough journey ;) Lovely pictures!

swenglishexpat said...

Veronica - The cream would certainly be rock hard!

Oreneta - June would be beautiful with all its midsummer flowers.

Zuzana - God fortsättning to you too. Malmö has changed a lot since I left in -87. It is a very appealing and attractive town.

Expats Again - Thanks. Yes, that's ice alright, making it look even colder.

CanadianSwiss - Thank you. As long as you are safe and sound, I don't mind the snow. It softens and brightens up, making everything a little more beautiful.

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Bjebeje said...

We were very happy to have you here too. Weird weather on your way home. Lucky you have a good, Swedish, car! ;-)

Rachel Cotterill said...

Glad you had a good, if cold, trip - I like your photos :)

swenglishexpat said...

Bjebeje - Volvos were obviously built for these conditions!

Rachel - Thanks for dropping by. I had a quick look at your blog and will return for some more.