Parting Shots

This is not a set of some Negative parting shots, after all analog photography has been replaced by digital photography. My wanderings are coming to a close. It’s time, after 6 weeks, to head home to NZ.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite moments.

20110811-071325.jpg.
This was the start of cycling up to Norway, well, it’s more picturesque than Waterloo Station.

20110811-071538.jpg
Arrival in Denmark, and the weather was actually nice.

20110811-071654.jpg
Food cooked on the road, somehow always tastes wonderful.

20110811-071941.jpg
The wonderful paths I cycled in Scandinavia.

20110811-072057.jpg
This wonderful “sword” at Snartemo in Norway.

20110811-072203.jpg
The fantastic fjords in Norway.

20110811-072258.jpg
The joy of cycling along the beach for miles

20110811-072411.jpg
Okay, so it rained slot.

20110811-072500.jpg
London’s markets and their wonderful displays. And finally, the same place at Tower bridge, just missing the bike, (now packed) taken over 2,000 kilometres and five weeks later.

20110811-072747.jpg

And finally

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” — Lin Yutang

Brighton ho!

I’m sitting in a Railway Station, got a ticket for my destination… Well not quite, I’m sitting in a pub next to the Railway Station with a pint of beer waiting for a train.

England is losing it’s allure as a cycling destination for me. Actually, more specifically South East England. I decided to cycle down to the South Coast and spend some time here… Nice idea – bad reality.

I have come to the conclusion that cycling thru industrial wastelands, endless suburbia and sterile business parks where everyone is tagged and chipped is not my cup of tea. Particularly when navigating the tangled and frayed Gordian knot that is the cycleways near London, perhaps a local might know how to handle them. I did not.

When I eventually out distanced the monotony of suburbia, the Cycleway followed the motorway. Oh, the tranquility, peace and country smells of The road.

20110808-062517.jpg

I did reach Brighton. Here’s the pier.

20110808-062604.jpg

Sorry that’s the old one that burnt down, here’s the new one.

20110808-062713.jpg

For some reason I’ve always had this desire to cycle London to Brighton. Possibly because of the annual event. Well I’ve done it, didn’t enjoy it and won’t do it again.

Bah humbug.

The Ups and Downs of Cycling

I have made an interesting discovery. Tiredness and fatigue do affect one’s memory. Gosh, what an observation. The reason I actually noticed is was because as I headed out of Harwich back along cycle route 51, I didn’t recognize much of it, but the further on I went the more I recognized most of the route. This seemed to have a direct correlation to the state of my tiredness when I cycled out from London to Harwich. the closer I got to The Fox Inn, yes I stayed there again, the more I recognized the environment. There were two great differences though between the two rides. (1) I was much fitter and (2) blackberries and plums were ripe.

20110807-060611.jpg

I’ve found the hedgerows and fields full of wonderful plums, rose hips and blackberries. All of which make excellent reasons to stop, take a break and eat.

While those made for the upside, the downside was, missing some turns and ending up on an A road for some 10 k. That was frightening with giant lorries competing with tour buses to see who could get closer to me at speed.

The other downer was that I cycled thru Tottenham and passed the peaceful protest, that later turned into a full-scale in the evening.

As for the city itself, well, Boris’s Super Cycle Routes are great when they go in your direction, but once again it was the tourists who made it challenging. They seem oblivious of anything and seem to think that the streets are actually sidewalks.

Oh well, time to leave London…..

Goodbye Denmark and thanks for all the fish

This was my final day in Denmark, so i will refrain from profound thoughts. First two corrections, (1) Ribe is the oldest city in Denmark – no just one of the oldest and (2) the Inn that stayed in, below, was built in 1600.

20110805-102010.jpg

I rode up to Esbjerg with my reconciled friend the wind and arrived with some 9 hours to spare before the ferry for England was due to leave. There is only so many times you can visit the same shops, cafes etc, particularly since Rain came to visit me once more time.

20110805-110159.jpg

I think some people got tired of waiting and decided to try and walk across the North Sea.

20110805-110241.jpg

At least I was able to get a close look at the back side of the Tour of Denmark. It is an amazing operation required for each team. Saxo-Bank had 1 custom touring bus (for the cyclists etc) 1 full sized truck as a mobile work shop plus 1 smaller one, and I saw four support vehicles loaded with bicycles.

20110805-110321.jpg

One of the first photos I took in Denmark was of the four men gazing out to sea. I offer one final cheeky photo of them from a side seldom seen in brochures.

20110805-110526.jpg

Tour de Denmark (aka Post Danmark)

While I had been able to watch the Tour de France during the daytime, it wasn’t the same as being there. But there was an unexpected replacement. I had been in the Viking Museum when a cacophony of sound erupted outside. It was the caravan that precedes a race. Soon after the leading break away came thru.

20110803-075025.jpg

4 minutes later the peleton came thru with Team Sky leading the bunch..

20110803-075443.jpg

20110803-075511.jpg

And finally what seemed like dozens of support vehicles.

20110803-075647.jpg

Then it was over.

And at last to Ribe

Ribe is one of Denmark’s oldest towns and a place I was told I must visit. I had bypassed it about a week ago in my rush to the German Border. So now I made my way west from Kolding using a variety of national and local cycle routes. For the most part the signs were good.

20110803-071604.jpg
But every so often, either I would miss a sign or it was missing. This can be frustrating, particularly when you end up with a flat tyre on an unwanted excursion.

Now, just a quick word of praise for the most useful iPhone App. It’s called Maps with Me. Basically off line country maps that don’t need an Internet connection and that can show one’s position. I am amazed at the level of detail in them. Time and time again, I would use the app to get myself back on track.

Anyway, I found the perfect place to stay in Ribe, the Weiss Stue. An old place built in the 1600s and right on the Cathedral square.

20110803-072442.jpg
It is genuinely old and I have to take care not to hit my head on the beams and there are no level floors. I love it.

For the rest of the day I played tourist, went to the museum, and climbed the cathedral tower.

20110803-072918.jpg

That’s the old castle in the photo – no much left of it.

Koldinghus

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, almost an old industrial workplace, but Koldinghus ( Kolding Castle) is one of the most fascinating places I have visited in Denmark.

20110802-080911.jpg

My first impression was rather that of an old industrial building. But first impressions can be so wrong! I would have to say this was one of my favorite places I visited.

Originally built in the 1200s as a defensive castle, it was destroyed by fire in 1808. Not in war but by a chimney fire, accidentally caused by Spanish auxiliaries garrisoned there during the Napoleonic wars. For decades it remained a “scenic ruin” until restoration was completed in 1991. What makes the restoration so good that that, rather than recreate the original castle, it is a mix of the old and more modern that houses art, silver ware and history.

20110802-082757.jpg

There was some wonderful art, including this bronze interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci and his drawings

20110802-083148.jpg

In a quite different mindset was this almost “kitsch” glass sculpture of a dog, bone and puddle.

20110802-083945.jpg
(there are actually two dogs but the other is black and doesn’t photograph well)

And the view from the top of Koldinghus?

20110802-084213.jpg

It is well worth a visit.

This time it really is Lolland

Muggy wet mornings can actually be quite beautiful with a still calm. At 6 in the morning not much stirs and the waters are flat.

20110801-080331.jpg

After the confining, fenced regimentation of the previous camp ground, the one at Kragenæs was a pleasant relief. I camped surrounded by Rosehips and yes it rained but there are always ups and downs.

In 1683 (or there about) Denmark instituted mile stones where each mile was 7 point something kilometres in length. I had been seeing these oblong stones every so often and had wondered about them. All was revealed when Just north of Vesterboro I came upon a sign explaining them and noting that that particular stretch was the last complete set.

20110801-081621.jpg
The stone here is in the bottom middle of the photo and was numbered 1.

Denmark is famous for its architecture and design. But… that style and elegance does not exist with it’s power companies who have gone out of their way to build the most ugly blots on the landscape. The countryside is dotted with these grey monolithic horrors.

20110801-082205.jpg

I am not sure whether to believe in chance or fate. I hadn’t realized that I was going to Lolland until the day before I reached the island. But I remembered that Morfar (my grandfather) after his time in the Faroe isles, has been the vicar in Lolland so I made a detour and an unintentional pilgrimage to his church in Skovlænge.

20110801-083438.jpg

There wasn’t much else at Skovlænge, nowadays most people have moved to the towns. I passed abandoned farms and houses and many houses for sale. It is a feature though out the world, the move to cities.

Denmark is renowned for it’s bacon, but I saw very few pigs. I heard them a lot, I smelled them even more. So why didn’t I see Them? Because they’re all indoors. The fields are given over to grain and fodder. I hope this type of farming does not reach New Zealand.

20110801-084003.jpg

Well the rain is determined to accompany me for a while again so I have decided to take the train back west.

20110801-084130.jpg

Rain 3 – 2 Tent (after extra time)

Last night was the big match up between my tent and the rain. After a beautiful summer’s evening, the clouds started gathering and blackening. I knew something was going to happen, after all the rain had been absent without leave for 6 days now. I was sitting on a bench when the first drops fell and, being brave, went straight into my tent for cover.

The tent held out well for much of the downpour but not well enough. I knew I would be damp that night and I was.

I did try to dry out my tent the next day when I stopped to make a cup of tea, but immediately the sun covered up and the rain came for a return match. So, in the rematch, Rain 1 : 0 Tent. The rain even got my towel as it is now somewhere in Lolland drying on a tree wondering what it did to be left behind.

Lolland and some other Islands

I was quite glad to leave the camping ground at Bøjden, and was unsure of whether to continue on the West Coast to East Coast Cycleway or go back to the West Coast. However I decided to at least go as far as Svendborg. It was at Fåborg that I came across this mini “replica” of the town. At least it was a workshop in progres.

20110731-075921.jpg

For the most part the countryside was rolling fields of grain. Some fields already harvested. In Norway, strawberries were still in season and the corn barely 1 foot high. Such is the difference in latitude.

20110731-080149.jpg

I think it was before Svendborg that I came across some very grand buildings in the woods. This one had Sanitarium etched about the entrance. I can only imagine the history behind the facade.

20110731-080606.jpg

Nearby was some quite peaceful lakes

20110731-080838.jpg

By the way, this was a lineup of frustrated car owners, a queue of some 15 kilometres.

20110731-081110.jpg

For me as a cyclist it was just pathways like this

20110731-081436.jpg

Finally it was on the ferry to Lolland, I guess I had decided somewhere along the way to continue East.

20110731-081635.jpg

For now anyway.