We should have been in Cuxhaven that morning, but we had missed the overnight ferry sailing from Harwich. So we had bought tickets on a boat going to Holland, the only other ferry leaving that day. Disembarking late at night at Hoek van Holland, we had found a room for the night at an Ibis hotel just off the highway. Cuxhaven to Rostock would have been a leisurely day driving along the coast, but it’s 530 kilometres from Hoek van Holland to Hamburg and a further 300 kilometres from Hamburg to Rostock, around 8 hours driving in all.

We drove east across the Netherlands, skirting Rotterdam and Utrecht and crossed the German border north of Enschede from where we picked up the autobahn to Bremen and Hamburg. We stopped briefly in Hamburg and then continued on, taking first the Berlin road and then heading north from Wittstock. Although a longer drive, at the time I don’t think there was an autobahn directly between Hamburg and Rostock. It’s often the case that you can travel faster on the restricted autoroutes in France than on the unrestricted autobahns in Germany because traffic is lighter and average speeds higher, but here the traffic quickly thinned out and we could make rapid progress, at least until it became apparent that there were few service stations on this section and we had to nurse the fuel.


We have seen a number of interesting films at International Film Night this year. Atanarjuat is a Canadian film. It is filmed entirely in Inuktitat, the language of the Eastern Canadian Inuit, was made in 2001, and is directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It was the first indigenous Inuit film to be produced.

It retells an Inuit legend about two brothers, Amaqjuaq, the strong one, and Atanarjuat, the fast one. At the beginning of the film they are infants. In the opening scenes, at a gathering of the clan, in the presence of a baleful shaman, Kumaglak the clan leader dies and Sauri his son is appointed the new leader. The clear implication is that Sauri has plotted his father’s murder and Tulimaq, the infant’s father, is now under threat, as is Qulitalik, the brother of Kumaglik’s wife Panikpak, who flees the clan

The film then picks them up as young men. Atarnajuat is now a rival of Oki, the son of Sauri, in a duel for Atuat, who was betrothed to Oki as a child. Atarnajuat wins the fight, a formalised contest where they alternately punch each other on the head. Though now married to Atuat, on a hunting trip Atarnajuat stops by Sauri’s camp, where he is persuaded to allow Puja, Oki’s sister, to join him on the trip. Atarnajuat is seduced by Puja thereby acquiring a second wife.