Lurgy, seasickness, the hunt for a hotdog and our first stay “i det fri” in Denmark and our first taste of the wind
The last two weeks I’ve been playing with a fluey-buggy thing that wouldn’t really kick in properly. Which, of course, meant that two nights before our departure to Denmark and the start of our 11 day-long cycle tour, I was sick as a very sick thing. So, drugs were bought along with plenty of vitamins since there was no way that I would miss out on this great trip.
In typical Peli and Woolly style the morning of the departure day was used to do some serious fettling. I had to get some new bearings and a new free-hub installed on my bicycle and then there were the train tickets to the ferry to buy. Luckily, our man at our LBS was a great hand with his tools and I was ready to ride with 10min to spare. Thank you Cory! You’re a star and there are beers coming your way when we’re back.
The seven mile ride across town went fine. It is fun to ride fully-loaded through London as there are so many people staring at us in wonder. Luckily, at Liverpool Street Station there wasn’t a long queue at the ticket office. So we had around 45min wait before our train toward Harwich that would see us on arrving at the same time as the Wowbaggers.
The Wowbaggers joined our train a few stops later and commented on how well my sickness was coming along. Weak, blue and very tired were the words used while I could just about nod a yes between blowing my nose, coughing and swallowing more anti-flu stuff.
We spotted two pairs of other cycle tourists heading the same way as us and we saw them again at the cafe at the ferry harbour. I also got chatting with a retired Danish Army officer who has spent all his holidays during the last 40 years on his bicycle around Europe. He was a real character!
I think the staff at Harwich are Danish, or at least have been “Danishified” since motorbikes and cyclists are let onto the ferry before all the cars. It was rather fun to ride onto a ship on a fully-loaded tourer. We parked our bikes in a corner and grabbed the panniers that we needed on the ship.
Our tickets were also our door key, though I had to fiddle with them rather a lot before the door opened. Our little cabin had two bunkbeds where we settled in before heading out on deck for dinner. There was a nice view for a while, but it ended up very windy when we arrived out at sea. So we retired to one of the lounges where we had a bit of chatter and some “medicine” that Mr Wow kindly shared with me. As I slowly got better, Peli’s “sea legs” showed their love for solid ground, so we all retired to bed.
I had a good, but fever-ridden sleep, and didn’t feel much better in the morning. Peli was turning the same colour as the sea so breakfast was not her cup of tea. I managed to fill my stomach and take a substantial doggy bag of lovely bread rolls and pastries for Peli with the Wowbaggers.
Docking in Denmark we rolled off the boat past the passport control and onto our planned route. And the hunt for hotdogs began. Yes, there was the option of entering Esbjerg, but being Danish and having grown up to know that Esbjerg was only known for one thing (the smell of fish) decided to start our cycle tour rather than doing some touristy things.
Mr Wow spend a lot of time looking at birds of the feathered kind, which I couldn’t get my head around since we were traveling in a group which is 50% bird. And what wonderful travelling companions they are too, no, no there is no gun to my head or threat of horrible death while typing this. :)
A few miles later I spotted a hotdog stand and treated the Wows to a real Danish treat, “risted med det hele” – roasted sausage with everything. In the time it took our fellow travellers to eat half a hotdog I had devoured my two. This reason was down to pure hunger and “skill” as in knowing how to master this delicacy. Or, as Peli pointed out, due to having a big gob. :)
We then rolled on and played hide and seek with the rain. The rain won: we got soaked once or twice on route. We also played the “Hare and the Tortoise” with one of the other pairs of cycle tourists.
Our first overnight stay was at a “Skoleskov” – a “training forest”. Where we stayed at one of the many excellent free campsites that are popping up all over Denmark, run by the local council. It consists of a simple wooden shelter and a long drop loo well hidden away within a very groomed forest. We pitched our tents in no time. Well, we did, while the Wows took their time since it was their very first night in their new Hilleberg tent. A rather nice little tent, we are now rather keen on getting one of these splendid things.
We then started up our new trangia cooker for cups of tea all round, before we cooked our dinner. We had some good old chatter and Mr Wow pointed out which bird sang what while eating. Mr. Wow gave me a nice helping of medicine for a nightcap before we settled in for the night. Peli and Mrs Wow could still feel the waves from our 20 hours ferry trip and I was still fighting my lurgy. We crawled to bed around 10pm with the “light still on”, this time of the year in Denmark it get dark rather late. Brilliant for a nice warm summer night sitting around a bonfire which I hope we can get to do later on this trip.
Later on in the night it started to come down in buckets, but our tents stod their ground and kept the water on the outside. After a leisurely breakfast we packed up and were ready to ride by around 10:00.
The ride into Kolding was a nice and simple 20-odd miles, where we hunted down a nice looking cafe for a bit of tea and cake. Though we just about managed to enjoy the cake and tea before we got smoked out by the smokers who lit up en-mass as the smoking restrictions were lifted on the dot at 13:00.
After some shopping we found a bench to picnic on. While eating I spotted a female solo tourer and exchanged a friendly nod. The ride out of Kolding was nice and ok until we found the main A road with a rather narrow cycle lane. Which was a bit of a downer on the else splendid cycle lane and roads we have been using before.
Mrs Wow zoomed up and over Lillebælt broen, the bridge over to the island called Fyn. We stopped and did some sail boat spotting, before we joined her on the other side of the very windy bridge.
We cycled through Middlefart which got some giggles from my foreign travelling companions, which I couldn’t understand. :) I called our camping location for the night, the lady of the manor asked if we wanted to to use the hayloft or use the garden. The voting consensus was the hayloft and the proprietor told me that she would leave the door open since they wouldn’t be home.
A good two hours later we found the little tent sign that showed us that we could camp here for the night. And we cycled down the drive to the farm house and barn where we found a three beautiful palomino ponies waiting for us, expectantly. The barn was stuffed to the brim with various bits and pieces ranging from pipes, farm tools to a bicycle hanging in the loft. We found the big hayloft with plenty of straw laid out (so why a call it a hayloft?). We found some chairs and a table and cooked up a storm on our stoves. Peli made good use of our Trangia to knock up some garlic mushrooms and pasta and tomato sauce stirred through with cream cheese – yummy! The place was in our guide book marked to have a toilet, which was only accessible when the owners were home. This was OK while we had only number ones to worry about, but the more pressing number twos were another matter. A bucket and some straw were found and Mr Wow went hunting for a quiet place in the garden only get caught short when the owners arrived home. Luckily he managed to sneak around the back and came and joined us chatting with the owners like he had been out of a evening stroll :) After that fright others discovered that using the horse stables as a hide out was a good bet when taking care of one’s nature calls.
After dinner we all made up camp on the straw and settled in for the night. We all had a great sleep and didn’t get disturbed by any creepy crawlies or other nocturnal animals.
The whole stay costed us 15DKK per “nose” as the owner said, which is a splendid price for a night stay in the dry.