Choose Your Own Adventure

By Stephen Ewashkiw | August 30, 2013

6221 km so far.

When you splurge for a hotel it is nice to stay in bed later than you normally would. I am not very good at sleeping in, though, so left Jane to it while I went and picked up a couple of pastries from a local bakery. Sadly, they were not as good as the Danish make ’em, by a long shot. I suppose there’s a reason we call them Danishes.

Our hotel has the most complex system in place for getting our bikes out of (or into) storage. We finally navigated their world of keys and basement alleyways to retrieve our bikes, only to realise neither of us had brought our own key to unlock them.

Jane ran to get a set, while I waited in the basement of an office building, sure this was the start of some Danish murder mystery detective show.

Fortunately, Jane came back, and we were able to get our bikes back to the surface, load them, return the keys, and get out of Dodge. It felt like it took us an hour to go from leaving our hotel room to actually being on our bikes and ready to ride.

Lords And Ladies

Whenever it takes us extra time to start the day, we spend a good amount of time disappointed we hadn’t managed to leave earlier. It always feels harder to push yourself that extra 20 or 30 km; it feels as though you’ve already done them.

We chose to do a “choose our own adventure” route today, not following the official Copenhagen to Berlin trail. This section is quite twisty and we wanted to have a shorter day. See above.

The route began along with the official path, taking us out of Rostock. I was sad to not have the bike route signs once we forged our own path. I missed the simplicity of them. It has been nice to just follow signs, rather than navigating via the iPad. However, today I had to pay attention to PocketEarth’s turn by turn directions. They are a fantastic part of the app, but I keep the brightness of the iPad low, to save battery, and it limits my ability to read the maps in the sun.

Every town of note in these parts seems to have a Schloss, which, without looking up the proper translation, means something like “big ass house the lord of the town used to live in”. We stopped for a coffee, juice, and pastry in Güstrow and then ate lunch on a bench looking out at the local Schloss, a massive home that seemed completely out of place in the middle of town.

We forgot to take a picture, but we got one of the Schloss in Charlottenthal.

The Schloss in Charlottenthal, where the lords went a'lording.

The Schloss in Charlottenthal, where the lords went a’lording.

The Small Folk

We made camp early. Tonight we find ourselves in Krakow, again. This time it’s Krakow am See. Don’t let the name fool you: it is not on a sea, but on a lake. It’s also nothing like Krakow.

This area is filled with summer homes, as well as the campground being filled with summer caravans. Just down the road are very old timbered homes mixed with modern properties. But at the campground, long-term campers are set up on alleys with street signs. Around their campers people have built up patios, wooden floors, and fences, and also brought in settees, dining tables, and other patio furniture.

camping in trailers german style

Camping at Krakow am See.

It evokes a different time, in the same vein as an Aaron Ruell photo.

Here Thar Be Bears

While making dinner tonight we met a Swiss couple also bike touring. They are going the other way, headed towards Copenhagen. As they were putting their dinner dishes and food away, I noticed they were hanging their food up in the rafters of the shelter we were in.

I asked if there were bears in this area, and they explained that this was to prevent the wash bears from eating their food. Excuse me? The wash bears? WTF is a wash bear? Sadly they didn’t know the English word, and had to try and describe, with limited English, this animal that is smaller than a normal bear, bigger than a cat, and likes to eat campers’ food.

We could not figure out what they were talking about, but it gave us plenty of opportunity to imagine the possibilities of a bear that wanted to do the washing up for us.

Google it. Once we got online we did, and if you know anything about this lil critter it does indeed do the washing (of its own food), and it is a little bit like a bear I guess. A bear wearing a mask and a long ringed tail as a disguise.

I told someone else about the warning we had received and she said, “Oh it’s really the hedgehogs you need to worry about. They’ll eat everything.”  

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  1. Comment by Andrée Fournier

    Andrée Fournier September 4, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Here in Québec, we call them ”raccoons”. They are much smaller than bears and are very skilled with their hands. When we are biking and camping, we hang our food because of them.
    I love to follow your adventure!

    • Comment by Andrée Fournier

      Andrée Fournier September 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      Sure you knew about that anyway ; ) But the french name is ”Raton-Laveur”. For those who don’t know, it means ”washer rat”…

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane September 6, 2013 at 1:39 am

      “Washer rat” seems much more descriptive than “wash bear”. We have lots of raccoons in British Columbia, too, but we just could not figure out what the Swiss were talking about.

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