Eastwards now

The wind and I have a turbulent relationship, sometimes we fight, other times we are as one. Today we forgot the fights we had had early and together we journeyed east. For the most part the roads were also kind, but this part of the road near the Royal Castle at Møgeltønder gave new meaning to shake and quake.

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This is the Ecco Shoe factory, near Tønder. Apparently the grey ‘monument’ is that of a foot. Since I was afraid that a giant foot could have a giant smell I did not go closer.

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Soon after I met a couple from Copenhagen who were cycling around Denmark over time. We cycled for a couple of hours together. It is wonderful what you learn from chance meetings. Here we were going back into Denmark having taken a wrong turn into Germany. I think the building to the left maybe the old Border house – maybe not.

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Anyway, it is funny, but we never introduced ourselves, so guys, if you read this, please let me know your names and do come to New Zealand.

Afterwards I pressed on, Going thru Sønderbørg.

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Being late Saturday everything was closed so I continued. Possibly a bit further than I should have, and i took the ferry to Bøjden.

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and stayed at the worst campsite of my trip. Yes, it was modern and clean but everywhere you had to use a swipe card, even the kitchens and the toilet. Fences were everywhere. So, try fumbling for a dammed swipe card in your tent at 2 in the morning when you have gotta go.

Sprint finish to the German Boarder

I had intended to take a rather leisurely day cycling south, but plans are made to be changed on a whim. I did start out as planned, on the local train.

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But I didn’t get off at Ringkøbing, but kept on to Esbjerg. After all, I’d already cycled that section on the cycleway. I decided to cycle the last section of the west coat cycleway (or first section if you’re heading north). This is the section from Esbjerg to the German boarder, just 108 kilometres.

A Swiss cyclist I had met earlier had described it as boring. It certainly was flat and for fifty kilometres I rode along the seawall dykes. My map showed the high elevation points along the way, the highest was 2 metres and it even showed the one high elevation point as 0 metres.

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In the photo below you’ll see the sea level to the left of the lock and the canal level to the right – about 6 foot lower.

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So what is the best way to travel thru dull, flat lands on a grey cool day? With a stiff wind to your back! I flew toward the German border and suddenly it was here. A bit of an anti-climax. Just two signs about 1/2 a kilometre apart. I don’t even know where the exact boarder is.

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Although Højer was lovely little town near the Boarder.

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Lemvig

By now I was retracing the route I had taken north, the long road from Agger to the ferry wasn’t quite so far as the wind was at least from the side, although the ferry itself decided to entertain with a little rock n roll.

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I now headed to Lemvig stopping at some ancient remains or burial mounds. One of which turned out to be a water tank.

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It was here my helmet gave it’s life to save my bike. While I was admiring the view, my bike and panniers ( all 46 kilos) fell upon and attacked my helmet, ending its long life.

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In Lemvig I had a welcome respite from camping, staying with Nancy for the night.

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Thank you Nancy!

In Lemvig there is an unusual planetarium, all outdoors and at a scale of 1:1 billion. This is the sun

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And this is the earth

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To reach Pluto ( I know not a planet anymore) you need a car as it is a long distance.

And now onto Esbjerg to complete the full length of Denmark.

Still southward

Breakfast is an important part of the day- or so all the Cereal Companies keep telling you. So, dutifully, I had breakfast – of a cyclist’s kind.

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Yes, tea and, no pun intended – well maybe, Danish. And so it was onward, the route followed old German defense roads.

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Until I had climbed a Danish mountain ( in Norske a bump).

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Along the coast are the Remains of many German defense bunkers and gun emplacements It is stupid really how nations do not Learn. Only a couple of years after avoiding the French Magenot line, the Germans built their own one. At least today this bunker has been put to good use.

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Okay – it is now a gents and ladies! This next photo is simply a gratuitous photo of grain ripening. It is here purely because I’ve gone thru so many fields.

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They’re back!!! Invading the landscape.

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And finally, to finish the day as it started. Food I’m talking about. Here is dinner accompanied by pure spring water – plus natural brewed homeopathic ingredients.

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Starting Southwards

This is the lighthouse at Hirstals. What the photo doesn’t show are the dozens of WWII German bunkers that surround it.

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For much of the day I was cycling thru woods on tracks, which is so much nicer than roads.

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However there was a wonderful section of the North Sea Cycle Way that truly lived up to its name.

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Yes, for 15k the “Cycleway” was on the beach – a truly fantastic experience. And at both ends were the Danish equivalent of the England bathhouse.

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According to the sign at Lokken, there are about 485 of these that are allowed on the beach during the summer, then stored elsewhere for winter.
By the way, the sky turned blue during the day!

Farewell to Norway

Well the forecast isn’t good for west Norway so I’ve decided to head south for (hopefully) sunnier climes. There was a wonderful fog, no not in my mind, but all over Stavanger

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So it was onto the train to Kristiansand. A Brooks saddle is very comfortable but doesn’t compare to a cushioned railway seat. As we passed thru fjords, I did feel guilty but it quickly passed.

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By the way, what do the hundreds of Norwegian Railway tunnels have in common with New Zealand Rugby? – they are both All Black . Okay I apologize for that really bad joke.

This, below, is the fish market in Kristiansand. I discovered it by following the smell of smoked fish, no Gps involved, just smell.

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Finally after one torrential downpour, it was back on the ferry to Hirtshals.

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Advice from the road

A word of advice, when traveling by oneself, on a bicycle, far from home, feeling tired and with inclement weather…… Do NOT listen to country music.

If the weather is dry, whatever you need is within easy reach at the top of your pannier bags. If it is raining, it will be at the bottom of the third bag you dig thru.

When someone, who drives a car, tells you “it’s only 10 kilometers” add an extra 15 kilometers.

The weather forecast is always wrong – except when it says it will rain.

There is a often misquoted cycling saying. “For every uphill there is a downhill”. The real saying is “Every uphill is an uphill”.

Another saying “it’s always darkest before dawn” does not apply in Norway during the summer months.

In Denmark, “hill” means you go over a bump in the road. In Norway it means you will climb 500 metres with 6 hairpins over the next kilometer and then you will reach the mountain.

In Norway, a breeze is, a breeze. In Denmark it is a force 10 headwind..

You will pass at least a dozen really nice places to camp during the morning, but none in the afternoon.

Pining for the Fjords

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What to do with another rained out day? Go cruise the fjords of course! We left the harbor, again filled with tourists from the next cruise boat (Queen Elizabeth) and we zipped out to the fjords.

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I’ve upgraded my rating of Norway from lovely to spectacular, even the “bachs” have grass roofs.

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In the photo below is pulpit rock (little rock up in the centre). To give a sense of scale, Pulpit Rock is at 604 metres elevation.

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The scale of the fjords is “super sized”. The ferry below has two full size coaches (buses) on it. You can see the top of a camper van on the left part of the deck.

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After the cruise – yes it absolutely poured with rain and I got soaked again……

Stavanger

The weather like the mood is sombre. This weekend was supposed to be the Gladmat Food Festival. This is the largest food festival in the Nordic countries with all sorts of wonderful food.

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Including this full spit roasted cow. But in sympathy to the events in Oslo, the festival was cancelled. As one stall holder put it to me, “so we lose a little money, that is nothing compared to what happened”.

I’m not sure what all the 6,000 people on board the two cruise boats would now do, although later in the day I could hear any entertainer on one of the boats exhorting people on the ship’s sun deck that “it’s fun to be at the Y.M.C.A”. I don’t think I could do that. Instead I lit a candle in the church

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Next week Stavanger hosts the Tall Ships race, hopefully things will be better then.

It is funny how, when you are spending most of the time outdoors, that rain doesn’t matter as much as when one spends most of the time indoors. Stavanger.

I like Stavanger, while North Sea Oil is its main source of income (so I’m told), it has many lovely spots.

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