The Cruise Passengers, Bad Külungsborn – 10 July 2010
What do people on cruise ships talk to each other about? Railway trains? Could be.
English voices. Haven’t come across that for a least a fortnight. South-east England accents . . . “Are you here to see the trains?”
Hilary and I have come to Bad Külungsborn. I’d read that in DDR times Bad Külungsborn was where apparatchiks got their perk-hols; we were staying in Wismar not so far away so let’s go and take a look.
Train from Wismar to Bad Doberan, where the map showed you could make a connection onto a branch line to Bad Külungsborn. And when we got to Bad Doberan we found that not only did the branch line exist, it was an enthusiasts line, with steam trains, and not only that, it was the 100th anniversary celebrations of the line. Many people taking many photos.
It must be something about the rivets.
Lots of men with cameras.
We got off the Molli narrow-gauge steam train at Bad Külungsborn, the end of the line, and went to the bar for a drink. And it was there we heard the English voices. Two couples sitting each with glasses of beer.
Yes, they replied, they had come to see the trains. So I asked them how they had got here. It turned out they were off the Fred Olsen Lines cruise ship, Braemar, that was docked at Warnemünde for the day, on its Baltic cruise.
They had come from Warnemünde to Bad Doberan by taxi. Between four of them, it was not so expensive they said. Without doubt there would have been taxis waiting outside the cruise terminal.
Were they train enthusiasts? No, not really, they said, though one of the two women did say her husband had a model layout in his attic, and then the other did too. They also let slip that when they mentioned railways to others on the cruise those others tended to perk up having found a common point of interest. So now I know what people talk to each other about on cruises, it’s trains, or at least for the men it is, I still need to find out about the women.
When I told them that we were travelling around with rucksacks they said that is very bold of us (what, in Germany?) and asked what the food is like and whether it is expensive.
I reply that the food in Germany is generally good, and certainly not expensive in the scheme of things, possibly restaurant food in Germany is the best value in the whole of western Europe, though tends to be a bit samey. “At the moment”, I said, “I never in my life want to see another herring”.
“Oh”, said one of the women, “We haven’t had a herring.” She looked rather disappointed.
“Well it won’t be hard to find one, in fact I expect they’ll do them here . . .”, waving my arm in the general direction of the bar counter. “I speak German, would you like me to go and buy you one?”
“Ooh, no! We couldn’t eat anything. They feed you so much on the cruise, we’re stuffed.”
Typical north-German café-restaurant dish. Herring with fried potatoes and onion. This fish-shaped glass plate (yech) was served to me in Stralsund.
Interesting that: you go away on a cruise to travel, to see different places, but you have been so fed that you cannot experience the food in those places you visit. When (if) I ever go on a cruise, I am going to decline most of the food and eat at places we stop instead. I promise myself that I will do that. Or maybe not go on a cruise at all, since it seems a bit of a waste to pay for all the food and then not eat it.
The man in an ancient uniform is something to do with the Molli celebrations of the day. Behind him is the nice friendly cruise-ship lady who had not been given an opportunity to eat a herring
The nice friendly lady from the cruise is wearing a cruise-goers outfit. On the Fred Olson Lines FAQs page it tells you that, for going ashore, flat, comfortable shoes are a must, and she has these. She also has pale-coloured three-quarter length slacks, sunglasses and a hat. She has had her hair cut short and is wearing a shirt that leaves much of her shoulders and top exposed so as to encourage maximum coverage for the suntan. Her husband, who on this picture is unfortunately only half a man, is also dressed in flat, comfortable shoes, pale-coloured slacks, and a hat. Brits are identifiable everywhere. Notice that the nice lady’s slacks are crumbled and rucked, only Brits wear crumpled clothes. Brits also always wear a hat when on holiday (except for me, but I’m not typical in this regard), I have an idea that this is something to do with being got at by the health and safety inspector. Further comments about this aspect of British life on Crumpled Britskin,
Since the people were keen on trains, I asked them why they had not come from Wanemünde by train. They could have gone to Wanemünde railway station, which is immediately alongside the cruise terminal, and there from the machine bought a Mecklenburg/Vorpommern ticket for €26; this will be good for up to five people on the trains in the region until 3am the next morning. There is an S-Bahn train from Warnemünde every ten minutes, which takes you to Rostock Hauptbahnhof in 25 minutes. Then at six minutes past each hour they could find the Wismar train which will take them to Bad Doberan, the self-same station to where they got the taxi, in another 19 minutes. I told them all that, as I thought they might be interested.
We knew that information, for we had found ourselves in these various places over the past few days, with the need to travel from one of the places to another. We had found it out by necessity. But the cruise-ship passengers did not know that, for had they asked, they would have been told to travel to the railway celebrations with the outings coach, which was leaving for Bad Doberan that very morning. Of course, the outings coach is not free, and we have a suspicion that they decided to take a taxi to save some cost over that particular outing. Information about the train option, which for railway enthusiasts would surely be the most appealing, was not available to them; it was almost certainly being withheld from them in order to sell the coach trip, for it is information that is not hard for someone who is in the area for any space of time to come by.
We told them about it, but without our being able to provide written information one can see why they felt a bit wary of taking our advice for the trip back, though they may have done for all we know.
And when we got back to Bad Doberan on our way home, we met some more train-enthused cruise-ship passengers.