Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Going to Denmark: rent a car or not, hmm. (And if so, where!)

As I mentioned before, we’ll be doing to Denmark in June.

Now I’m beginning to wonder how best to actually get around there.

I had originally planned to get there on Monday and return the next Friday, since the bus service from the train stations (Holstebro and Struer) to Lemvig is more frequent during the week, but since the holiday home can only be booked Saturday to Saturday, that’s when we purchased the train tickets for. We can still catch a bus; we’d just have to wait an hour and a half in Holstebro either way. (Well, on the way back, there’s a connection with 18 minutes’ time, but that’s cutting it a bit fine for Stella, so we’d be looking at an hour and a half anyway, if we took the earlier bus.)

Now the problem is that we have to pick up the key not at the holiday house but at the office in Vrist—where there is no train service on Saturday afternoons. So we had been looking at taking a taxi anyway, which would apparently cost us 700 kr. or nearly €100 for the 50 km trip Struer–Vrist–Lemvig feriecenter (about 35 km/500 kr. and about 15 km/200 kr., respectively). Plus the same on the way back, of course.

Another option we had investigated was renting a car in Denmark. There’s not a whole lot of choice in Holstebro or Struer, though we did find one place; there are a couple more in Herning, which is also on our route. (And if we had taken the ICE—or is it an EC now? the train timetable gives a new train class when I search it now—all the way to Aarhus, we’d have had even more choice.) But nearly all of them close at noon on Saturdays (and I can’t fault them for that). I wrote to two companies asking whether they’d stay open for us; one ignore that part of my inquiry and the other just reiterated their office hours and said I was free to come in during those times.

Now, there are a couple of options at Karup airport (which I had never heard of previously, and which is not too far off our train route) which are open until late at night even on Saturdays, but then you’d have the problem of how to get from Aulum or Herning to Karup—probably taxi again, since I doubt they’d have the free staff to pick us up at the airport.

Either way, though, you pay through the nose for a rental car in Denmark compared to what I’m used to. (One page I read recommended that you rent a car in Malmö, where they’re a lot cheaper, but that only really works if you’re going to be in the Copenhagen area or at least on Zealand.)

So another option would be to rent a car in Germany: either in Flensburg (just this side of the border) or here in Hamburg.

The downside to that is that the drive would be a lot longer, and I’m not used to long drives: my last long drive was about 3.5 hours to Wuppertal, and I felt that was pretty bad. I suppose splitting it up with breaks could help. Going from Flensburg would cut off 150 km, or about an hour and a half according to Google Maps. Though what the state of the A7 on a Saturday would be I don’t know—that main road to Denmark regularly turns into a giant parking lot on Saturdays when the holiday houses change customers. But fortunately, school holidays will not have started in any German state yet, so things might actually be reasonable.

At the moment, I’m slightly leaning towards getting a car here in Hamburg (at the place where we’ve always rented cars); I called and asked about taking cars over the border and they said that’s not a problem; I’d just need to take out international insurance for about €60 per rental. A Golf-size car would run us about €460 for two weeks that way, quite a bit less than the ~€700–800 I would have been looking at in Denmark for two weeks (and that’s usually only with a limited number of kilometres, 1500 or so; the German one is with “unlimited”, where unlimited=4000). And then making the route more bearable by stops every two hours or so.

The information the company sent us also included two route recommendations by a satisfied customer: the fast way (via Flensburg–Vejle–Herning–Holstebro) and a more scenic way (via Flensburg–Aabenraa–Ribe–Varde–Hvide Sande: this, probably not coincidentally, follows the “Marguerite Route” road network for much of the way, which is also intended to showcase beautiful views, sights, roads, and places).

Having a car would make us more flexible there (and save us walking the ~2.5 km to Lemvig town centre whenever we wanted something), but it’s not indispensable, I suppose: we wanted to go on holidays and perhaps relax, not lead a busy-busy life. And with the money we’d save by doing train + two taxis over renting a car, we’d have some money left we could spend on the occasional taxi there or perhaps a car rental for a day or two.

Meh. So now I’m debating, essentially, three options: (a) train + two taxis and then having no wheels while we’re there; (b) renting a car in Flensburg; or (c) renting a car in Hamburg. With (b) and (c) sub-divided into sub-options (i) fast route via motorways for much of the way and (ii) scenic route over smaller roads—with, hopefully, less traffic=less stress and with more immediate opportunities to stop and look at things since we’ll be passing through towns along the way. At the moment I’m leaning towards (c)+(ii) but I’m not sure how I’d handle a road trip of about six hours (according to Google Maps; probably about eight if you factor in rest stops and traffic). Having a car there would probably be convenient, though, since public transport, even—or especially?—inside Lemvig kommune is limited essentially to one train line and one bus route and those don’t go everywhere you might like to. Hmm, hmm.

What would you do?

(Yeah, I know, this isn’t really a decision you can make for someone else, especially if you don’t know how used they are to driving—or what their daughter might be like on an unusually-long road trip. So far, the longest we’ve regularly been is about an hour and a half to her grandparents in Kiel.)

Tags: denmark
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