Never, ever travel with me / I finally made it to Bornholm


Yesterday I visited Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and spent the afternoon in the park, then returned in the evening when the whole place was lit with fairy-tale lighting. There was even a light show from 22.30-22.45, just before the park closed at 23.00. While I was there I wrote many postcards.

It is now 15.00 and I have an hour appointment at the Central Library in Rønne, the capital of the island of Bornholm. I almost never arrived here.

The plane, a small 72-seater, left Copenhagen for the 30-minute flight. I was concerned that I might not be able to bring my Kryptonite bicycle cable lock as carry-on since I had to check it when I flew from Helsinki to Copenhagen. Each airport has its own rules (and own level of staff competency) and when I walked through Copenhagen security at the domestic terminal, my bike lock was okay. So I was relieved I wouldn’t have to wait for my backpack at the Bornholm baggage claim.

A thirty-minute flight means you just take off and land again. We flew over southern Sweden and then Bornholm was in sight, its red roofs visible in the coastal villages. The runway is in the southwest, just 5 km east of Rønne. I wondered why, upon the descent for landing, the plane veered to the right. I thought the pilot was going to land from the opposite end of the runway, requiring him therefore to turn around midair.

Things got pretty mysterious when the plane kept circling, hovering above the runway yet never preparing for the final landing. The pilot broadcast first in Danish, then English, that the plane needed a new battery and since the Bornholm Airport did not have a replacement, we had to return to Copenhagen.

It’s official: never, ever travel with me. I am the travel jinx. Train from Rovaniemi to Helsinki? I will delay you 5½ hours. Train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi? I will delay you 1 hour 50 minutes. Simple 30-minute flight from Copenhagen to Rønne? With me on board, I can get you there in two hours.

We returned to Copenhagen, left the plane and hung around the airport, waiting to find out if we would be able to reboard or to board a different plane. Eventually an announcement informed the passengers of the latter option, and we walked outside to board an all-white, no logo, no nothing No Name 46-seat paper airplane to Rønne.

The landing was fine; no midair encircling required. The Lonely Planet guidebook says that there is bus service from the airport to Rønne, and after waiting a little while, I enquired inside about the bus schedule. Apparently last year, bus service to the airport was cancelled, and now only cabs take passengers back and forth. (I will have to contact Lonely Planet about this, before they publish the new Denmark edition.) I am staying at the Sverres Small Hotel, and the proprietor gave me a room with a private shower at the same price as my original reservation, which was for a private bathroom but shower facilities down the hall. He also said that I could leave my bag of books with him, and I can claim them when I return to the hotel on my last night there, Saturday 8 May.

I am glad he is permitting this favour; I left the hotel, walked around town, and spent about $110 Canadian in Rønne’s only bookstore. I bought some lovely colour books about the island, and I was delighted to find a Dansk-Bornholmsk/Bornholmsk-Dansk dictionary. Bornholm, ever a map inset, is a full part of Denmark yet is actually closer to Sweden, Germany and Poland. The Danish spoken here is very sing-song like Swedish, and there are many regional Swedish influences. I found three such lexica here, and didn’t find any in Copenhagen. I also bought ten postcards and some new stamps.

I checked out the bicycle rental place and I can rent a simple three-speed (brand new) for about $56 Canadian for eight days. I will rent one starting tomorrow, returning it on the morning of 8 May.

Rønne is a small town of 15.000, and you would swear you were dropped into a Danish town sixty years ago. It’s noted for its yellow houses with red roofs, metallic street signs in old fonts, and trees and grass all around the city. Lots of bike lanes and cars that respect them.

For searching Rønne on the Internet, try both Ronne and Roenne.

Happy to be a Bornholmer

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