On packing for Föhr I had no idea what to expect. Other than that I knew there was a ferry involved and that Luca had grown up on Föhr. The fact that there was a ferry involved made me think of the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, and that ferry, let me tell you.. was my first introduction to seasickness. There was a tenseness between Luca and I while we packed. Finally we were in the van and we were off. I thought maybe we had an hour or so of driving ahead of us, Oh nein.
Highway driving in Germany has got to be one of the greatest things. Everyone is hustling at speeds of 120-160 km. Unlike in Canada if someone is coming up behind you, instead of waiting for them to pass, one moves back into the right lane and lets them. It is so smooth and effortless to be in. There was no road rage that I could see. It just seemed like everyone was moving just as efficiently as the other. Luca asks me if I need to stop to go to the bathroom as I won’t stop squirming in my seat. Nope, I am just terrified at the thought of throwing up on the ferry.
We move cleanly through traffic and Luca and this van move so naturally together. It is easy to see Luca loves this van. He is focused on the traffic and driving but in an easy way. We stop at a gas station to quench Luca’s caffeine addiction. I have a “Kamille” tea, hoping to quiet my restlessness. We listen to San Fermin, I cannot get enough of it these days. We pass by farms, fields filled with cows, chickens, solar panels and windmills. The landscape is without mountains or hills. Still, there is a beauty to the massive blades of the windmills beating ever so slowly, so powerfully. Literally.
Luca stops suddenly at a fork in the road and is unsure of which way to go. He takes a turn and soon regrets it. We follow this way and Luca picks up more speed as now he is sure were going to miss the ferry, or that it will be close. We come to another fork in the road and he regrets this turn as well. “Fucking Shiiiiiiiit!” he exclaims. I laugh, I can’t help myself as I love when he swears in english. I think I love it because he does it so perfectly. It makes me wonder if I’ve rubbed off on him just a little too much. I turn to look at him as he turns the van around to go back the way we came. Only to turn around again.
Luca is German-Italian. I believe it is the italian in him that he has to thank for the darkness on and in him. Brown eyes that turn stormy and almost black when he is cross or lost somewhere deep in thought. Always with the look of someone that’s spent a summer in the sun. After some days here, how many times have I seen those dark eyes cloud over even darker. There is so much there.. The intensity they hold sometimes moves something in me deeply. I suggest he phones his Mom to ask if this is in fact the right way. She says it is the right way but will since the first fork in the road was the wrong turn that we are taking the longer route. Luca is cursing having stopped for coffee and is pushing the van hard to make it to the ferry in time.
We come to a parking lot and Luca asks me to “make ready my things.” So I do. We get out of the van and he suggests we run. Instead we walk quickly. I know if I wasn’t here he would have run. Part of me knows he heavily doubts the ferry is still there. We come over a hillside and I am hit with salty air and strong wind. My long loose skirt all of a sudden looks like tight pants. Something in the salty air makes me feel free. The sun shines but I struggle to feel its warmth. He points to the ferry and we watch it leave. The last ferry of the day. We walk up to the strand hotel and we book a room for the night. We go up to our room and both feel cheated. The room, was far from worth what we paid. Luca repeatedly goes over the trip, if only we hadn’t stopped for coffee, if only we had put the bed back in the van, maybe we should have looked to stay somewhere else.. and he’s starving.
He is on the phone and I am standing with my shoes on in the shower that could have quite possibly have been the ugliest shade of brown I’ve ever seen, not to mention it was tiny. Luca gets off the phone and looks in on me opening and closing the door to the shower, from the inside. “The shower looks like my grandmother.”
We need to find food for him before he completely comes undone so I change into actual pants and layer the only sweater I packed with one of my super unattractive men’s shirt, thrift store, $2 specials. We go down the stairs and we both cringe at the german music playing in the stairwell. This is the kind of hotel that only rich german tourists stay at. Probably because these are the only people who can afford to stay here, not to mention want to stay here. We are the youngest people here by a long shot.
We walk back into the Baltic wind and towards what looks like a diner crossed with a cafe. Luca thinks it doesn’t look like a good place to eat as there seems to be nobody here. We go inside anyways. The man at the front counter looks like the kind of guy that has a severe porn addiction. Luca asks how I could possibly know this, and I say I just do. Luca talks with him in german and I stand there dumbly pretending I understand. Trust me, I don’t fool anyone. Luca tells me to never order fish from a place like this, unless I want to spend the next two days glued to a toilet. He says places like this that try to offer everything, fish, hamburgers etc. shouldn’t be trusted. I order fries. Safe. He orders sausage and fries. Safe enough?
We eat and I try to ignore the fact that his plate is arranged rather suggestively. The sausage. I am sure I have the porn addict to thank for this. Luca suggests we get some beers to go and to go sit on the beach. This sounds really windy and miserable.. but beer twists my rubber arm. I love how beer is drank here. Everyone seems to love beer. You can drink it openly in public and nobody suggests you might have a drinking problem. Nobody bats an eye. I smile at myself and think maybe I belong here more than I thought. We take our beers outside and hunter Luca suggests if we climb over the sea wall to the right of us that it will block the wind. He is right. The sun is starting to go down and our beers taste ever so good. We watch other tourists and make up backstories for them. At one point we are laughing so hard, fat tears are rolling down my cheeks. It feels good to be getting drunk on the beach of the Baltic Sea. We marvel at how far we’ve come, from a cafe in a small town in British Columbia, Canada to the coast of Germany on the Baltic Sea. Luca is lost in how much he needs to be here more often. We watch windmills and sheep and the sun starts lowering into the sea. We breathe and watch.
Once the last bits of light still remain in the sky Luca and I move on from this beach wall and we move onto bigger fish, we want to get drunk. There is a bar in the hotel and we dip inside. The air is so warm in here, much welcome to my cold shivering in the salty wind. We order a beer and it tastes good. We study the people in here too, all older people getting drunk. We feel as if we are the only two bringing fresh life into such a dead, boring place. Luca suggests we do shots. I am nervous as the last few times I took shots, well.. you know. Finally I give in. If were going to get messed up we may has well really get messed up. He suggests tequila as I’ve told him whats happened before when I’ve drunk tequila. He goes to find the bartender and she comes back with something else. She holds a bottle of some mystery liquor and a lighter in the other. I know where this is going. Suddenly everyone in the bar is watching our table. This is not good. I look at Luca and there’s a dare and a spark in his darkened eyes. The bartender is still telling the story and I am trying desperately to get out of this somehow. “Nein! Nein!” I wave my arms and shake my head. I watch a smirk grow across Luca’s face and realize there’s no getting out of this one. Fuck me. She lights the shots on fire. Of course she does. Luca explains to me that we are going to drink the spirits of the people who once lived here. Great. We wait for the fire to go out on the spirits and give them a few minutes to cool down. He downs his in a single swift movement. I take a sip of mine and sickly sweet, minty fire hits the back of my throat. “This is fucking absinthe.” I shoot a glare at Luca and he laughs, it’s not absinthe it’s friesengeist.
I struggle to sip the rest of it down. I feel like my face and skin is on fire. I’m drunk. He asks if we should have another beer and then head up. Fuck it. Yes let’s have another. We end up being the last two left in the bar. The bartender tells Luca her life story and I drunkenly listen to a language so foreign from me. I wonder if I’ll ever speak this well enough, understand it well enough. I mentally write a list of all the things I want to do when I get back. I’m going to learn German. I am going to free myself from everything that doesn’t make me feel as good as I feel now. Ah. Yes. Freedom.
But what do I know, for I am just a drunk on the coast of the Baltic Sea.