Posted on 2 Comments

40. Sneaking up to Copenhagen (July 18)

There are two respectful ways to enter Copenhagen, one is sailing in, and the other is rolling softly in on a bike. One should take a full day to do it.

When cycling in these realms, one needs a particular set of skills. Kealena and Bruce kindly gave me a crash course, thereby avoiding unecessary calamity.

We rode north along the coastline from Køge, which was very pretty. Even the factories were pretty! Children splashed around in the sea, old people sat on benches looking over the bay, and cows slept in the shade of trees. Quaint yacht harbours, bridges and waterways chequer the landscape.

Bike ride_0200.jpg

Bike ride_0201.jpg

Bike ride_0202.jpg

Bike ride_0203.jpg

Bike ride_0204.jpg

Stopped to look at the ARKEN MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, which sits on a sand bank. Intriguing architecture – a stranded ship. A large collection of Damien Hirst, some Ai Weiwei, and  other important artists. Definitely worth a visit. The café hangs like a lifeboat on the side of the building. The lunch order took so long to come we thought we had been stranded. When it arrived, it was delicious, and the waitress gave us free coffee as a survival gesture.

Bike ride_0205.jpg

Bike ride_0206.jpg

Bike ride_0207.jpg

This is a super heater, it uses waste heat from other sources, to heat water which circulates through the homes in winter. Very efficient and clean. 98% of Copenhagen’s heating comes from utilising waste heat from power stations or other sources. They also burn straw, wood pellets and similar stuff in these plants, but so efficiently there is no pollution. No more boiler in the cellar.

At least they have these big fans to cool the country in the summer. Although they make it very windy.

Bike ride_0208.jpg

Bike ride_0209.jpg

Bike ride_0210.jpg

Bike ride_0211.jpg

So happy to be in Scandinavia, the last section. At the same time, I’m a bit afraid of that long haul up the coast of Sweden. More than 600kms still to do, with all the mystery and the fatigue.

It’s not over till the Grandchildren sing, which I’m looking forward to very much.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

39. Bridging the Baltic Sea (July 17)

The great crossing began with a blue sun.

Our posh hotel elevator, being slightly too short for a bike body, had the girls doing a circus trick by balancing the front wheels up on the golden hand rail. It was a frizzling hot day, so we had ice-cream at the beach and a large Döner Kebab between fast biking sprints along the top of dykes along the coast.

Bike-ride_0188.jpg

 

 

Regina was slightly shocked at my ability to eat with such ravenous gusto. What with my wiry arms and brown lizard skin, it wouldn’t be far off to call me a wild animal. Mentally and physically.

I hope I don’t scare off my grandchildren.

It was mid-afternoon before we reached the tunnel that goes under the river. Being Germany, and very organised, a shuttle bus pulled up at a cement ramp where we could wheel our bikes onto a bus sized bike-trailer. Special green ‘hands’ are positioned to grip the seats, and off we roared into the gloom.

When we got off, a nice man, who had just booked tickets for Johannesburg, told us to go one way, and the bus driver told us to go the other. So we went the way the bus driver pointed, and arrived at the Fehmarn bridge over the sound to the island, at Großebode.

A small dangling gate, a bit like Alice in Wonderland, was a surprising entrance to a very narrow path leads you up onto the bridge 22 meters above the sea, and the wind whips you all the way.Bike-ride_0189.jpgBike-ride_0190.jpgBike-ride_0191.jpgBike-ride_0192.jpg

Having said goodbye to my two ladies, I spun my wheels for the ship. Time to cross over to Denmark. My battery was running dangerously low, however I made a mistake and went down a long road, only to be told by a boy in a ticket box, that ‘you need to ride all the way back to the main road and take the next left’. A tall fence prevented any sort of short cuts. I sped along as fast as I could, but missed the boat.

Being very early for the next ferry, I stood with my bike in lane 1 of 10 empty lanes for 30 mins, until they began to fill up with cars and trucks. All were allowed to embark, except me, the last. I was also the last to disembark 45 minutes later but very pleased to put my tires on Danish turf.
It was late, so I booked into the hotel which stands between four roads, with a bunch of tired truck drivers. My room was nice, I took a much needed shower, and went to the dining room for dinner. Two men run the place, and the food was gourmet.

The morning was grey everywhere. I pushed my dusty bike out of it’s cozy foyer space and the front door snapped shut. My key had already been put in the box. A man was sitting on a bench smoking, and I asked him if he would mind opening the door for me, since my bags where on the inside. He said he had forgotten his key in his room. So we went around to the kitchen and tapped on the chefs window until he noticed and came to open up.

Bike-ride_0193.jpg
According to La google, a train station was nearby, which raised the important question, would it be ok to take a train for 24 minutes if it was for a very good reason?

I realised that the distance to be ridden from Rødby, to meet up with Helle at Vordinborg at 11am, and still go on to meet Bruce and Kealena at Faxe, and still ride to Køge for the night, was beyond my abilities, even on an ebike.

So, with greyness all around, I attempted half-heartedly, to find the train. There were some big fences along some rusty railway lines, and you know all the stuff that lies around the back of railway sidings, weeds and broken up bits of cement. However, with some perseverance I found a little pathway around the end of some rails, and reached a place that looked like a public office. A ticket machine popped up, so I bought one for my bike and one for me. Then we went out on a very vacant platform with no words or numbers. After standing there feeling like a silly blonde for a while, two men in luminous green jackets yelled over from the far side of the fence, that I was to “come to that side…the train comes off the ferry and stops over here”.
So I pounced on my bike and scuttled around the little path to the far side of about 5 railway lines. A school group arrived with a teacher, who, in a very teachery voice, told me that was the right place as she has done it before and they were also going. “I know” she said, “I have done it before”.
Just then a little train arrived from the Copenhagen direction on the platform that I had so hurriedly left. There was a very large bike symbol on the side. It hummed and haaad for a while, then a conductor shouted over, that I should come immediately that side, as this was the train. So I leapt onto my bike and scuttled back around the rails, and just made it before he blew his whistle.
The school group and teacher stood and stared.
One learns that people are very kind and helpful, but it’s always best to ask the conductor of the train itself. He is the only one who really knows.

So there was my bike, the first train trip of her 3300 km life, strapped to a seat.
It was a short trip, 24 minutes to be exact, and we were soon gliding along the road again. The road would still see us do 130 kms before evening.

I was very happy to see Helle and share a quick lunch and lovely conversation. Then pedalling onwards to Faxe where Bruce and Kealena were waiting with tea and apple pie at the big white quarry. We rode to Køgel, taking the scenic route through golden fields of ripe wheat, dark green woods, and a soft smooth sea to the west. Dinner at the harbour was an Italian affair of linguine allo scoglio and Chardonnay! Again, wild animal me, gulped every scrap on the plate.

Bike-ride_0196.jpgBike-ride_0195.jpgBike-ride_0194.jpgBike-ride_0197.jpgBike-ride_0198.jpgBike-ride_0199.jpg