June 23 – Rostock to Marielyst
I sat eating breakfast, binge watching YouTube videos of Danish lessons, trying to wrap my head around another language. I knew there’d be a lot of English in Denmark, but I always try and speak a little of the language of every country we go to, so I was in student mode, trying to remember some words and phrases. I’d done my lessons, so I was ready to leap into a Danish adventure.
We rode out of Rostock, along a cycle path and made our way to the ferry terminal. With the assistance of the cycle path, signs pointing the way and the GPS as back up, we found it with no wrong turns, bought our tickets and rode through the port to the boarding lanes, to wait for the ship to arrive.
We waited with a group of other cyclists and I chatted to two German women, who were off for a week of cycling in Denmark. There were tour buses beside us and an older man stepped out and asked, in an American accent, if we spoke English. We got chatting and when we said we were from Tasmania in Australia he said, “Well my accent might say otherwise but I’ve actually lived in Perth, Western Australia for forty years.” He grew up in California, told us about being drafted to the Vietnam war and now he lives in Australia. He was on his way to a two week Baltic cruise before heading back home to Australia. It was a friendly, chatty time waiting in line.
The ferry was due to sail at 11:00 and we watched it arrive and dock at the port. I looked at my watch and it was 10:46 when the cars started rolling off. When the last one went past, we were waved on and we joined the peloton of cyclists as we wheeled on alongside the cars, parked the bikes and then made our way up the steps into the ferry. We took a seat by the window and settled in for the journey. The next time I looked at my watch it was 11:03 and I hadn’t even noticed we were moving. I could see the port in the distance and we were out on the water. They had emptied the ferry from the previous crossing of all the cars, trucks and passengers and then got all the trucks, campers, cars and bikes on board for our crossing, all in under 15 minutes. That was impressive!
We docked in Denmark and we rode off the ferry, in the group of cyclists again. As we rode off, the large group of cyclists waiting to get on, saw us all riding down the ramp and they all began ringing their bike bells. So we all pedalled off to the “ting-ting-ting-ting-ting-ting” beside us of a chorus of welcoming and encouraging bells. That was just fantastic!
We stopped at a small mini mart in Gedser to get a few supplies, already feeling excited to be back in a country with seven day trading and we could have the luxury of getting supplies on Sunday again, instead of having to stock up for two days to cover us for everything-closed-Sunday that we’d been used to for two months. I bought a few things and went to pay, all ready to try my new language skills. The young fella serving, put my items through and asked if I wanted the receipt, “Ja,” I said, “I mean, sorry, I mean…yes, ummm.” Grrrr, dang tarn it, I hadn’t remembered a thing! I’d gone straight back to German! Epic fail on the first attempt.
We rode on and the scenery was countryside, with spelt fields and wheat fields and wind turbines on the horizon. It looked lovely. But…the one thing we got as soon as we started riding in Denmark was the thing we knew we were going to get. Wind. The trade off for a flat ride, is always going to be wind. It was draughty in Denmark, that’s for sure! I was working the gears as the wind pushed and I went down a gear to try to force my way through it.
The path was pretty flat and we were tootling along on a bike path and then on a quiet country road. We passed thatched cottages and then rode through little villages and I was loving the landscape. The wind stayed with us though. It wasn’t giving up. It seemed to envelop us and it just wrapped itself around me, pushing and shoving.
“Is this a cross wind or a head wind?” I called to Steve in front, since it seemed to be everywhere.
“It’s a cross head wind,” came the reply. Well that was helpful.
“I thought it had to be one or the other,” I said.
“Well, it’s coming in at an angle,” he replied.
OK, I’m going to take that as meaning it’s just darn well everywhere!
We stopped for a late lunch in a park at 3:00 and then rode on, past acres of green fields beneath acres of blue sky.
We were nearing a campsite so we thought we’d stop, when another supermarket appeared and we decided to top up on a couple of things we couldn’t get at the mini mart. I went inside, picked up a couple of things and presented myself to the smiling young chap at the checkout. As he put through the items, I was ready to thank him at the end, so I began my Danish loop in my head, preparing myself for the second attempt at implementing my newly acquired Danish learning. “Say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak, say tak,” I repeated over and over in my head, so I’d be ready to say the word for thanks at the end. The young man put the items through, I paid, he said something and I said… “Danke.” I immediately knew I’d got it wrong and that I’d used German again, so I quickly added, “sorry, no, I mean thank you, no that’s not right, I mean…” At which point I’d got myself so befuddled that I instinctively then just slipped into Australian. “Sorry mate,” I said, “I’ve been in so many countries I’ve forgotten where I am.” All of which was completely unnecessary information for the poor young fella who smiled in a friendly and understanding way the whole time, no doubt amused by my befuddledness. The whole exchange was over in a flash as I jumped from the wrong language to an apology to another wrong language. Come on brain! Lift your game! Epic fail number two! I think it’s going to take a while for the brain cells to get themselves into gear for another language. I have nailed “Hej” though, because that just sounds like “Hi”, so I said that to a lot of people today. One word, that happens to sound just like an English word, has been my only success. No prize for me.
We rolled into our first Danish campsite, assembled the Nylon Palace and here we are, we have arrived in our seventh country this trip. We will roll along, making our way north towards Copenhagen, taking in the sights and villages and scenery along the way. The wind is supposed to be even stronger the next few days, so it might be slow going, but that’s OK, slow travel is what we do. I’d rather not get pushed around while doing it though, but I reckon Denmark’s left the door open and there’s going to be a draught for a while. We shall explore our way through its scenery though, wind wobbles and all. Tomorrow though, I am determined to get my brain working on this language! Determined I tell you! My ropes are ready and tied, my crampons are buckled on and ready to dig in…language barrier I am ready for the climb. Up and over!
Distance ridden: 36.3 km
Time in the saddle: 2 hours 37 minutes
Languages spoken: 3 with two of them being surplus to requirements in this country
Weather: sunny, windy, mild, windy, 20C but felt a lot warmer