(Photo of the back our bus in the bus station at Slagelse - Denmark.)
Cousin Sheila visited from South of France for two weeks, (on way to family in Stockholm!) and I met her at Slagelse Station.
Wednesday last, I was to pick up my cousin Sheila from the train coming from Copenhagen airport.
She was flying to Copenhagen from where she lives in the South of France.
(My brother Peter arrived from Florida 2 days later – and the thing is, we have sold our car as Svend cannot drive any more now he is not so well and has a weak heart.)
We had given her good directions how to get to the train from the airport and bought her train ticket in advance, sent it to her in an email so she printed it out and took it with her before she left home.
Everything went perfectly at the airport - she found the train after a short walk and arrived on the platform in good time according to plan.
She then travelled in style on the Intercity train to Slagelse and arrived precisely on time with me already there on the platform to meet her having come on the 470R bus, which runs 5 mins. walk away from our house.
We hugged and I warned her that we had probably missed the next bus 470R home to us in Slots Bjergby, but if we hurried, maybe there was a chance. (Half an hour to the next one.)
So we raced down two flights of steps from the platform, along a tunnel under the train lines, up two flights leading to the bus terminal and there in the distance I could see our bus parked but with back lights showing red as he was about to go. (They have a 12 minute turn around.)
We hurried across the pedestrian crossing (see above) and up to the bay where it was parked and the driver had seen us and waited for us.
I have a special Danish travel pass with electronic chip that the majority of bus and train travellers in Denmark use and this will allow up to two extra passengers to travel with me, (I pay of course), BUT this time the driver could not get the thing to work when he typed in the request for 1 person extra.
Twice he sent me down inside the bus to the door where you get off to click on the check out “reader” and thereby enable a re-start with him yet again typing in our request and he was almost swearing under his breath with annoyance, but no way could he get it to work and add one more person! So in the end, he disgustedly waved us away to take our seats, almost speechless with frustration and indicated that we would travel free, since he couldn’t get his machine to register Sheila as well.
We found seats and were talking non-stop, there was so much to catch up on and Sheila had experienced several traumas en route as firstly there was a severe electrical storm at Amsterdam airport bringing everything to a complete standstill then, when finally due to board, the captain then announced that there was an electrical fault in the plane so further delays while they sorted this out...!!! and all the while she was telling me this, I was looking out of the window, (difficult to see as Sheila had the window seat and I the gangway, so I only could see bits and pieces) and I was getting more and more worried as I didn’t recognise where we were going.
Suddenly I am looking at some fields and a main road that I realised that I had NEVER driven up here before in my life!
“Just a minute” I say to Sheila,
“I am going to speak to the driver as I have NO idea where we are!!!”
I make my way up to him and ask “This is the 470R going to Skælskør, isn’t it?”
“No” he replied, looking worriedly at me, “this is the 420R going to Holbæk!”
(in the opposite direction - north when we wanted south!!!)
“Oh my gosh! We are on the wrong bus!!!”
I squeaked out in horror and panic, so he stopped the bus dead at the side of the road with fields of waving rape flowers as far as the eye could see, so pretty and glowing bright yellow, despite the grey clouds and rainy day, and said, trying to be helpful:
“You can get off here, if you like???”
So I thought quickly, and replied. “Oh no thanks, as we will have to get the next bus back again so would you please take us to the next bus stop so we can just cross over the road and be ready at the opposite bus stop?”
At which he replied in a very concerned voice:
“You know, the next bus is first in an hour’s time?”
We arrived at the next stop, got off and crossed the road for the next bus back, me in a whirl as to what to do.
As we took place by the bus stop sign, all alone on this long winding main road right out in the country now with drips of rain now slowly starting to plop down and big black clouds coming our way, I could see I had to make a desperate decision:
To get a taxi!
This is the ironic thing: One minute we were both travelling FREE of charge, next minute we took the most expensive form of transport – and had I known I was getting a taxi – I could have got one straight away at the bus terminal and saved all my money and hassle out to here on the Holbæk road and back – and be home by now!
I scout rapidly up and down through my very long iPhone list of contacts, as I knew I had a taxi company somewhere
and finally find “Dantaxi” and ring up.
A nice, understanding woman answered and I explain the whole story (and we both have a laugh over my stupid mistake) and I explain that I have no idea where we are except it was the road to Holbæk and we were not far from a side road called Oksebrovej, where there was also a sign saying “Hotel” on the corner, so she got this noted and then said she knew exactly where we were on her map and she’d send a taxi to pick us up immediately.
There had barely gone 2 minutes when a Dantaxi car shot past us at full speed and I waved like mad to show it was us he was looking for and he screeched to a halt, reversed back up to us and we got in.
The driver, who looked very foreign and spoke with an accent worse than my own, asked where we wanted to go and as the conversation progressed, I realised that this was NOT the Dantaxi sent to look for us, but another man who had come past by sheer chance
– an amazing co-incidence as there are at least 3 other rival taxi companies in this area!
So I compared notes with the driver and told him he had better ring to “Head quarters” and get the “real” driver alerted, because now we did not need him any more.
So he rang up and got a “Jeanette”, who wasted precious time cross-questioning our driver as to whether he had completed
the two last call-outs successfully and then chatting on about how she was going home in a minute and that before she went,
she had one last customer for him in Slagelse - and she started giving him a complicated address – all before he could get a word in!!!
I could hear all this as he drove along.
All this talk delayed our driver in explaining to Jeanette about the two “stranded damsels in distress”, who were now being driven home by himself and that we did not need the original driver sent out to rescue us.
Just at that moment my mobile rings and it is a very heated “John” on the phone, who says he is the driver sent to find us - and where the devil are we, he’s been up and down looking and looking....???
He was absolutely NOT pleased when I started to explain that we were safely driving home with the “wrong” Dantaxi driver
and I only got part of the story told and how it wasn’t our fault as we couldn’t know it was the wrong car etc. etc.
when our driver asked if he could borrow my phone so HE could explain to his colleague exactly what had gone wrong
(and more or less apologise)
- and this is the funny bit that we have been giggling and laughing over ever since... for this “John” was obviously VERY annoyed and put out having driven up and down for some time looking for us in vain, so I could hear our driver saying: “calm down, calm down!!!” in Danish
and then he explained to John that he couldn’t resist taking up two desperate looking “Gypsy ladies” who were standing by the wayside
and insisted on flagging him down!!!!
Now I admit I wear sunglasses all day at the moment despite the odd dull rainy day as my distance glasses are lost
and that’s all I have for a whole fortnight while the optician makes the new ones and I DO have an accent to my Danish,
then Sheila has a multi-colour fancy patchwork knitted jacket and woolly hat with her long hair sticking out under it plus a walk-on luggage trolley on wheels and only speaks English – but that we looked like a couple of gypsies stuck out in the Danish countryside
(without our caravan!!!)
- was completely new idea for us and we have been laughing loudly ever since!
The family came to lunch on Sunday and I hardly could wait to tell them all the story and that their mother, mother-in-law and grandmother (and her cousin) were gypsies!!!!
They howled with laughter as well!!!
I shall never live this down!
So it was a very eventful journey Sheila had from the South of France to our house - but with a happy ending!!!
All part of life’s rich pattern as they say....
Best wishes Janet.
(See below the two gypsies at the main station in Copenhagen on another day.)