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Denmark – Germany – Holland
Early on, the interior loudspeaker in the cabin woke us up that we would soon be docking in Hirtsland (DK) and that we should clear our cabins. Soon we were standing outside – with a coffee cup – on the railing and looked out into the spray that was off the Danish coast. The increasing number of fishing boats announced that we would soon arrive at our port of destination. On our arrival the sun was smiling at us and a pleasant wind was blowing from the land; summer at last!

Our plan for the onward journey was relatively simple and almost unambiguous; as soon as possible to Amsterdam, from where we would like to board the ferry to Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK). There were indications from various news sources that the English government would like to tighten the entry requirements again and impose a two-week quarantine. We would like to visit our eldest son, who has already been living in England for 3 years, without this compulsory leave and we would not know where to spend the controlled quarantine!

So we followed the west coast in a relatively quick drive in a southerly direction. Although flat – it could hardly be flatter – Denmark surprised us with its diversity and very varied landscape.  At the beginning it was still relatively quiet and during the short swimming stops we were only with few locals on the beach and in the water. But this changed soon and more and more resorts accommodated a lot of tourists. Slowly flowing holiday traffic meandered along the sand dunes!

Shortly before we reached Germany we decided to drive out on Rømø and spend another night at the sea. But we were not the only ones who went beyond the dam to the offshore island. Over the weekends Germany had closed its islands for weekend tourism and so probably half of northern Germany was out here on the beach in Denmark. What we saw and experienced on Rømø we could never have imagined. What used to be the bath towels on the Italian Riviera are now the motorhomes. Never before have we seen so many motorhomes, which were packed together or arranged to form caravan castles. Everything was there; from simple self-built motorhomes to survival vehicles for the Russian taiga!

Actually, free overnight stays would not be allowed at this stand and we were very surprised in the evening – the sun had long disappeared on the horizon – that almost everybody left the beach. A handful of vehicles stayed behind for the night. But for this we stayed at the nearest camping site “Ballermann” until sunrise and only after the engines had started to roar during a dune race, peace and quiet finally returned. No sooner had the day dawned again than the x hundred motorhomes returned to their pitches and we wondered where on earth these vehicles had been during the night. Or were they all at the “Ballermann”? Anyway, we were amazed again: a huge traffic jam on the way to the stand. Crazy world!

For the border crossing to Germany we had to turn around twice, because Denmark had closed all small border crossings and only left the bigger crossing points open, where soldiers controlled the people entering the country. In Germany, however, everything was almost normal and there was a lot of activity on the streets. On the other hand, the Corona protection measures and recommendations were followed more than elsewhere; somewhat reassuring for us.

We left Hamburg behind and circumnavigated this large urban area, took a ferry across the Elbe and followed rather quiet country roads through the Friesenland in a westerly direction. To follow the North Sea further north would be more like driving along the dunes than a clear view of the sea.

After “Weener an der Ems” (D) we scurried almost unnoticed across the German-Dutch border and only a small sign informed us that we had arrived in Holland. Up to the Ijsselmeer Holland is quickly told; wide agricultural areas with huge farms, followed by beautiful small villages and small towns. Also, the Dutch were similar to their German neighbours in dealing with the Corona pandemic and were very disciplined, but only in their everyday life. In their leisure time and at the waterfront, the Dutch also kept all recommendations for the protection of a possible corona infection at home.

The Markwasserdeich took us to the opposite side of the Ijsselmeer and into the urban labyrinth of Enkhuizen. An impressive city with its innumerable canals and alleys, but for the continuation of our journey we strayed deeper and deeper into the centre, almost pushing us to the limits of our sanity: Can’t we read our map properly or are we just too stupid for that?

Soon we reached the Dutch Riviera. Here really everything was romping through the streets or basking extensively behind the sand dunes. Simple: See and be seen! The touristic sleeping facilities were booked up to the last place and we had to search for a long time until we found a free place on a farm for the night. We were glad to get the overnight stay on a manageable camping site at the farmer. On the big pitches we would be – close to each other – with other campers, and a mutual avoidance would not always be possible. Long live Corona! And another advantage: It was finally really warm and without wind!

After dinner we rummaged around the internet for a long time to get as much information as possible about further travel restrictions for Great Britain. According to this last information this crossing and entry should be problem-free for us. With the hope that it would stay that way, we enjoyed the warmth of the evening for a short time with a fine glass of wine.

Despite GPS and other information, the journey to the western seaport of Amsterdam was not easy, and only after several odysseys did we find ourselves in the entrance area of the ferry port. Probably due to the Corona Pandemic we were admitted very early and the necessary documents were handed out. Since Great Britain is no longer part of the EU, our vehicle was immediately directed aside by customs and subjected to a closer inspection. After opening the first rear side door, a smile appeared on the officer’s face behind the protective mask and we were immediately involved in a technical discussion about the equipment. Other travellers did not fare so well (too much or forbidden goods on board), and they were allowed to watch from the dock as the booked ferry departed! In the cabin we had to fill in an online form for the British health authorities and send it to them before the ship set sail.

On the ship, i.e. all common areas where it was not possible to take appropriate evasive action, all persons – staff and passengers – were obliged to wear a protective mask. Actually, this worked very well, except for the English travellers, who simply ignored this regulation and paid little attention to all the protective measures. Even when queuing for the dinner buffet, it was unlikely that masks were worn, nor was the distance rule observed. It was actually very irritating and we wondered why the English authorities suddenly wanted to tighten the security measures, even though their own people hardly follow them.

The ferry left on time and in beautiful weather it headed out into the North Sea. After the aperitif – I had to get used to the English beers – the buffet soon followed, where all kinds of delicacies were served.

Whether it was the dinner or the tension of the upcoming arrival in Newcastle (GB), that we both did not sleep well and had stomach problems, we will probably never find out. Despite the confidence of unconditional entry, the tension was very great.

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