July 3 – Vadehavs Camping to Husum
The sun set on our final day in Denmark, although it wasn’t really dark, it was still very light, as the sun sank very slowly over the water. Dusk happens at about 11:00 pm and the moon doesn’t rise until 3:00 am, then the sun rise it at about 4:30 am, so our time in Denmark was a very brightly lit one!
We woke to another blustery day and last night we were chatting to our tent neighbours, two young fellas from Germany. They had planned a 300km ride through Denmark, but they said, “The wind is very bad, so we have decided to turn around and ride home again tomorrow.” So, the conditions cut short their trip, because it just wasn’t fun slogging into a headwind. We said we could understand completely!
We set off this morning along a main road, but it was so quiet, with hardly any traffic, that we tootled along quite happily and peacefully. The wind was still there, but dare I say it, it didn’t feel as blowy as the last couple of days. Then it even turned on our tail. Ripper! We had it coming in sideways as well, but we also had it behind us, pushing us along.
“While we’ve got a tailwind,” I called to Steve in front, “you should belt it and see how fast you can go. See if you can get to 30 km/h.”
“Thirty?” said Steve, looking at his speedometer. The legs started going and nothing more needed to be said. He was off! I think Steve’s been missing the rush of blazing down hills, with all the flat riding we’ve been doing, so with the suggestion of a wind assisted speed challenge, he needed no further encouragement. The Big Fella became a blur in the distance, rocketing along the road, while I wound up the Road Runner legs and pedalled as fast as I could behind.
“What did you get to?” I asked when I eventually caught up.
“Thirty-five,” came the triumphant reply. Adrenalin rush achieved.
I made it to 28 km/h thanks to the flat road and tail wind. A bit of fun to start the day. We pedalled on, past fields and grassland and wetland.
The road took us all the way to the border and before we knew it, about 16km on, we were all of a sudden in Germany again. Farvel Denmark, thanks for the adventure!
As we pedalled on, I called out to Steve, “So now we have…morgen…entschuldigung…ich spreche kein deutsch…” as I reeled off the words and phrases we’d learned, hoping to recall some German after trying to wrap my head around Danish. I pedalled on, looping some German in my head again, and saying some out loud, to retrieve it and hope it would stick once again!
Once we were back in Germany, our route signs became familiar again and we had the names of towns and distances on our cycle signs, just like regular traffic signs, which always helps the navigation. We were heading for Niebull and there it was on the sign, so we turned and followed the arrow. Then…our road became gravel again.
“Noooo,” I heard Steve say as he stopped to look at the GPS. Whenever we get a gravel road, Steve instantly looks to see if there’s an alternative. It didn’t look like this one would go on too long though, so we hit the pebbles again and paddled on.
Then…the gravel stopped. Then..the gravel became a grass track.
“Well, we’ve had it all now,” came Steve’s comment. “At least it’s mown.”
Yep, not so much a road or a track, as a mown strip to show us the way to go. Just when I thought riding on cobbles was the best rear-end pummeller available, I discovered the clods and mounds in grass are even bumpier and the rear-end flew up and down and banged around on the saddle as I bumped over what was essentially like riding through a paddock.
We did eventually make it back onto a sealed road and we pedalled on the last few kilometres into Niebull. It was here we were implementing a problem solving strategy. We’ve been having trouble finding places to stay and towns with supermarkets along our route and each night has involved hours looking at maps and searching for locations that wouldn’t either mean a serious detour to get to a location with accommodation or an extra long ride from our pitstop to a town that had supermarkets. Supplies and campsites or other accommodation have been few and far between. So, to avoid either having a very, very long ride to a town with somewhere to stay, that would also give us supplies, or finding ourselves stranded in the pit stop department today, we decided to ride-rail-ride. We rode into the Niebull train station and hopped aboard for a quick 30 minute choof down the line to a town that would give us a pit stop and give us supplies. The 30 minute trip turned into an hour, due to a damaged bridge on the line, but in no time at all, we walked off the train and into rain, in Husum. To have made it there today completely under our own steam, would have meant an 80+km ride in wind, which we thought would be a bit too much of a challenge, so a ride part way, then a quick break in the middle to shoot us along, then a ride to a pitstop, seemed to solve the problem. If we hadn’t made it that far, we would’ve been in the same predicament with sparse options in the accommodation and supplies department.
The first thing we did when we arrived, was put our coats on. We still had wind, but we also had rain. It seems our superpowers were kicking in once again. The rain didn’t last long though and we rode on into the town for a look around. We’d read about Husum and it sounded like a nice little town, so we pedalled around the streets for a look and it was indeed, a lovely place, with a small harbour and cobbled streets and laneways. After an explore, we parked ourselves by the water for a spot of lunch.
On we pedalled and we soon discovered we had left our tail wind behind us because we were most definitely riding straight into a gale. The gears clicked down, the legs pushed hard and we slogged it out along the road, before finally wheeling into our pitstop. We found a sheltered spot and pitched the Nylon Palace, which had finally decided to reclaim its identity as a tent, after impersonating a parachute for a few days. We settled in out of the rain that had started again, did some laundry and had a post-ride cuppa.
So here we are, back in Germany, as we continue our onward pedal towards The Netherlands. It was great to ride in Denmark and here are some impressions and observations of that top place:
- The people are very friendly and very helpful and very welcoming. Everyone we encountered was friendly and kind and we always got waves or greetings from people we rode past. Lovely.
- The drivers are great. Whenever we found ourselves on a road, the drivers would slow down or give us a lane’s width distance when they passed us, even buses and truck drivers. Thank you one and all.
- It is very windy!
- It is very expensive!
- Denmark has the biggest sky I have ever seen. That may sound odd because the sky generally is quite big, but in Denmark it just seemed bigger! Because it’s so flat, there is nothing on the horizon to break up the sky, so it is just an enormous, expanse of blue (and sometimes grey), and it is just thousands of acres of sky. It looks amazing.
- Denmark has the most amazing clouds in that amazing sky. They are fine and wispy and nothing like the cotton wool clouds at home. Across that vast sky, those fine, almost gossamer clouds, look simply amazing.
- The towns and villages and cottages are gorgeous.
- It doesn’t matter where you are, if you look ahead, left, right or behind, you will always spot a wind turbine.
- Everyone we met spoke English and was very generous in helping us with language, by intentionally using a language we could understand, despite our efforts at Danish. Again, we thank you whole heartedly for your kindness.
- Did I mention it’s a bit breezy?!
It seems we have left the hot weather behind us and we are in for some cooler rides and back in jackets again, so we will pedal on into Germany, into the elements and whatever happens to be thrown at us along the way…probably some rain…probably some wind…probably some gravel…probably even a paddock to bump across…whatever it is, we’ll take it because challenges or not…every day is a great day on this adventure of ours!
Distance ridden: 40.6 km
Time in the saddle: 2 hours 37 minutes
Weather: cool, some sun, some rain, windy but not quite as windy as it has been, 17C