The Long And Winding Route

By Stephen Ewashkiw | August 28, 2013

6057 km so far.

A dedicated bike path wouldn’t live up to expectations if it took the most direct route. They have been designed with tourists in mind. As such, they twist, turn, and wind their way through the countryside. Today we passed historic locations, ancient churches, rode small roads, dirt roads, cobbled roads, and paved roads. By this point in our trip, bike paths are predictable.

And slow.

However, when we decided to undertake a bike trip of this scale, doing it quickly wasn’t something we considered important. Sometimes the long and winding route is exactly what you need. It gives you a chance to think, look around, take in the scenery, and clear your head.

Why Don’t We Do It On The Road

We did a bit of mix and match today, combining two different official routes, the 56 and the 9, then adding some of our own changes when it made sense. Instead of sending us on winding back roads the entire way, today we got to join the main road for some of the day. This cut off about 20 km and we still got to see plenty.

hairy cows in denmark

Adorable cows. Please do not eat.

fields of rolled hay denmark

Hay rolls, Denmark.

The highlight of the route was all the beautiful crafted thatched roofs. In Denmark, and parts of Sweden, there is an extra layer of thatch at the peak, with large sticks laid on top. Presumably this is to help with snow or insulation. It gives them a distinctive look. It adds some flair.

thatched roof with dormer window denmark

Another thatched roof, Denmark.

Many houses the route passes are in amazing condition. Most seem to be loved and well looked after, with beautiful gardens, and signs of recent improvement. We have not been many places with such a high concentration of people, with even the countryside seeming well populated. This makes for a great ride, as there are homes, people, and gardens everywhere to look at.

Revolution 6,000

A couple of weeks ago we crossed 5,000 km and I commented that we wouldn’t cross 6,000 until we began the second leg of our trip. I guess I didn’t realise how far it was from Helsinki to Berlin, because here we are, a day from Germany, and we are hitting 6,000.

We stopped to take our 6,000 km photo at one of the lovely thatched homes. It was a farm building built in 1899 outside the town of Dalby, on the largest Danish island, Zealand. We didn’t realise when we stopped that the owners were eating lunch in their yard.

As we set up our tripod, the man came over to see what was going on. When we told him this was to commemorate our 6,000th km, his reaction was, “No.” He thought I must have told him the wrong number. We assured him 6,000 was correct. We told him about our trip and then Jane asked him about his house.

Long before it was their retirement home, pigs, cows, and horses each had their own entrance to the building, with each animal’s doorway getting progressively larger. You can see the animal doors behind us in our 6,000 km picture.

We just crossed 6,000 km. That's a lot of pedalling!

We just crossed 6,000 km. That’s a lot of pedalling!

Money (That’s What They Want)

We stuck to Route 9 in the afternoon which took us past countless farms, corn fields, wheat fields, and fields ready for winter. Quite a few have gourds, squash, courgettes, and pumpkins for sale at the end of their driveway.

We bought the best strawberries we’ve eaten in years early in the day when we stopped for second breakfast at a bakery. In the parking lot was an honour system market stall with local fresh fruit and vegetables: potatoes, corn, blueberries, strawberries, apples…

Honour system strawberries, in Denmark.

Honour system strawberries, in Denmark.

For dinner we bought vegetables from someone’s backyard garden. They were on display at the end of their driveway with a coin drop box. The vegetables were all priced quite reasonably so we bought green beans, one chilli, tomatoes, and cucumber.

Long Tall Bridge

To get to our campsite we had to ride across a long, tall bridge that joins Zealand and the island of Møn. It is almost one kilometre long and clears the sea at 29 metres, which, trust me, is quite high when you’re on top of it and the wind is whipping around you.

The long, tall bridge, from the other side, Denmark.

The long, tall bridge, from the other side, Denmark.

I am not fond of riding over large tall bridges, and to add to this crossing, this bridge was in the middle of construction, meaning we had to cross in front of traffic half-way up. But, this was our route. I just pedalled on, partly thinking about nothing to let go of the part of me that would normally focus on the water below, or the possibility of being blown off.

Jane’s note: Hmmm. This explains why Stephen scampered off way ahead of me while I stopped to take photos at the crest of the bridge.

Our camping spot is in a secluded setting on a piece of land that juts out into the sea. It is sheltered by trees on all sides, and a view of the sun setting behind the bridge on the other. We have a picnic table to cook on and eat at, with views out across the water.

dock on danish sea

Slide into the sea, Denmark.

It is perfect, apart from the WC being a tiny bit far away.

Carnival Of Lights

We are far enough away from mass civilisation that once again the stars are shining brightly down on our tent as we settle in for sleep.

Sometimes we want the winding path, we want to take it easy and see the sights. Other times finding the easiest path between two points is what is needed. Being on a trip like this has really helped us see the big picture and find the path that brings both ease and beauty to our day.  

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  1. Comment by David

    David September 4, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I’m always expecting that these ‘honour boxes’ are respected for what they are and really like to see that people can still be confident in others honesty in these days. Kind of humbling, no?
    Btw, thank you for the good work with your blog! The writings and the pictures are always appreciated and I really look forward to follow the next stage of your journey!

    David, fellow canadian!…but the french part!

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen September 13, 2013 at 1:07 am

      It is humbling. Imagine those boxes in the populated areas of Canada, or America. I just don’t think they would get as much respect.
      Thanks for reading David. Nice to have you along for the trip!

  2. Comment by Taina

    Taina September 3, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Congratulations on 6k!! Way to go!

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen September 13, 2013 at 1:05 am

      Yeah, 6,000 km. Kind of insane when I stop and think about it.

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