Transportation Adventures to the Island of Sylt

While in northern Germany visiting my friend Stella, we planned an epic road trip. Okay well, semi-epic, because it was only for a day; but we packed a lot in during those 12 hours. We drove about 2 hours to the coast to head over to the island of Sylt. From my understanding, it’s sort of like the Hamptons in New York- the rich and famous vacation here in the summer. I remind you that it wasn’t exactly beach weather when I was there in November, however, I was actually very excited about transportation to the island. It seems that when I mention transport on this blog it’s usually transportation nightmares… such as the Ilala ferry in Malawi, or the other boat rides in Malawi, or the crazy transport to get to Bali.

This time around, things were different. After a two-hour drive to the coast, we boarded a train. Not just any train though. We stayed in our car and road on top of the train, also referred to as the motorail.

Here’s a few clips from our trip to Sylt…. it’s quickly pieced together but at least it gives you an idea of the train we took.

The Tide Phenomenon
On our ride over to Sylt on the train, the weather was shaky. It was sunny with dark clouds in the distance. We were lucky enough to see two rainbows across the fields before we  crossed the waterway. My friend pointed out the shoreline to me on several occasions. In this area of northern Germany there is what I assume to be some sort of tidal phenomenon. During low tide, the water dramatically goes out to sea, revealing large mud flats. It’s pretty neat to see. People post pictures of themselves on the internet “walking on water”. This area of the North Sea known as Wadden Sea is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and countries in the area are going to great lengths to preserve the ecosystem here. Sylt is highly eroded and changing shape as a result.

Once our train arrived on Sylt, we were given the signal that we could go. We drove down the length of the train, and then down a ramp. I’m not sure if there are motorails like this elsewhere, but it’s a mode of transportation I highly recommend.

Our first stop on Sylt was the grocery store. We were in need of some road trip snacks. I had to go to the bathroom and when I asked my friend if there was a bathroom at the grocery store, she found that to be the most ridiculous question yet. I told her that, yes, when we road trip in the US next summer, there will even be bathrooms in the grocery stores. (One of the things I love about US travel- bathrooms are everywhere).
We drove through some of the villages on the island which were very picturesque with the thatch-roofed homes. We made a stop at the beach which you had to pay to step foot on- a bit ridiculous if you ask me. It was extremely windy and cold. After some more driving, we had made it to the ferry to Denmark. The combined ticket for the train and ferry is not cheap at 64 Euros! It is probably not worthwhile to just go over to Sylt for the day as we did, but it was winter and there wasn’t a reason for us to stay on Sylt longer.

Some snapshots of the thatched-roof homes we came across:

The ferry ride from Sylt was, naturally, cold and windy. Once in Denmark, we spent a few minutes getting lost. It actually worked out well though because we happened upon an area of the beach during low tide and could take some photos.

A type of barrier they tried to use to stop the erosion
Mud Flats, Wadden Sea, Denmark
A couple walking during low tide.

Next up? Tasting a Danish hot dog!

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