We’ve Almost Made It To The End

By Jane Mountain | August 29, 2013

6138 km so far.

Our campsite last night felt almost like stealth camping. We were hidden behind a little clump of bushes that separated us from the other campers, so we felt like we had a private space. Unfortunately, the sea in this corner of Denmark gives off an unpleasant sulphuric stink, which was actually strong enough to wake me during the night.

Morning at our campground on Møn.

Morning at our campground on Møn.

Also, despite adding patch after patch after patch, both of our air mattresses are still leaking, and we’re spending most of each night on the ground.

Never mind. The morning was bright and sunny again; we are experiencing some of the best summer weather we’ve had the entire trip.

Hay Robots

Our plan for today was to get on and off the Berlin-Copenhagen bike route as it suited us, to avoid needless detours, but still see a few sights. This is Denmark, so getting off of one bike route just means getting on to a different bike route, there are so many from which to choose. Starting on route 45 this morning, we were soon weaving our way through picturesque farmland.

You’d think we’d get sick of all the farmland, and sometimes it does get boring, but today it was just astonishingly beautiful. The hay is so golden, every California bottle blonde would kill for the colour. The hills roll fetchingly across the landscape – and I’ll let you draw your own metaphor.

Renewable energy being generated in the countryside.

Renewable energy being generated in the countryside.

We always find something new to discuss in each area we pass through. Today we observed how the hay bales were now large rectangles instead of plastic wrapped pods.

Fascinating, non?

We have yet to see one of these square bales turn into a robot, as we imagine they do when no one is looking. They have their legs folded under them and roam around the countryside by night. We far prefer these robot bales to the pod people bales they have in Sweden, which are obviously going to hatch any day…

See, always something new to spark our imaginations.

Scatter My Ashes When I’m Gone

Our route took us past some megalithic sites this morning as well. We stopped at this excellent burial mound.

Megalithic burial mound on Møn, Denmark.

Megalithic burial mound on Møn, Denmark.

It was built around 6,000 years ago, during the time that agriculture began in the area. This is when most of the trees were cut down to make space for the fields that roll all the way down to the water’s edge. According to the information sign, the countryside would have looked quite similar then to the way it does today. Apparently the people of the time even built timber houses to live in. Amazing.

burial mound denmark

Stooping to get inside the burial mound.

Crawling inside the burial mound got us thinking about how we’d like to be buried when our time comes. Both of us decided cremation is the best option. For a start, it completely removes the possibility of being buried alive, which is obviously the worst thing that could happen to a person. Second, it means you don’t have to spend your dead years in some fusty box in a hole in the ground. Much better to be floating free on the wind.

So, here’s our official instruction. When we go, please cremate us and scatter our ashes on the wind. If you need to find a very windy place to do so, I suggest Denmark. It never seems to stop blowing here.

But, if you scatter us from a Folgers tin, we’ll never forgive you.

Tick Tock, Beat The Clock

After a slow morning, we remembered we had a ferry to catch, which would take us from Denmark to Germany. Still, we had three hours to go 40 km, so no problem. Except, the wind was turning a little nasty, so we hastened towards our goal as fast as our legs would take us. We wound around a route that was obviously designed to make you get nowhere special slowly.

Since we were trying to get somewhere quickly, we had to make up for this tortuous route design by pedalling like mad. And pedalling and pedalling.

We had a quick lunch on this beautiful, but windy, beach.

We had a quick lunch on this beautiful, but windy, beach.

After a brief pause for a much shorter lunch break than we usually take, we were back on the bikes and, again, pedalling hard. We only had 15 km to go, and an hour to do it in, so we weren’t that worried – until our lovely paved road abruptly ended in a rough dirt path through the forest. We were starting to think Denmark didn’t have dirt roads, since so far even the quietest country roads have been smooth and swift.

With 6 km to go, and 30 minutes to do it in, we still should be fine, but the pressure was mounting. We tore through the forest faster than the rough, sandy surface should have allowed, imagining we were competing in the Olympic Touring Cyclist event.

We have been discussing the idea of a touring cyclist competition for a while now, and it came to us today that the Olympics is the perfect venue for it. The tour would begin on the first day of the Olympics, and continue until the last day. Competitors would be given an incomplete and often incorrect map, several heavy panniers, and not quite enough money to complete the course. They’d then be thrown into all sorts of terrain, traffic, and weather, facing various language barriers, flat tires, and equipment malfunctions.

Upon completing the event, the cyclists would ride into the Olympic stadium, as thousands of fans scream and shout their names.


Photo Finish

With 15 minutes before the ferry departed, we pulled up at the ticket hall. Stephen ran inside while I held the bikes. (See, this is the kind of play-by-play commentary you can expect in the Olympic event.) After what seemed like an excessively long time, he returned without tickets. There was no one working in the ticket hall, the machines were not accepting credit cards, and they would only take Danish Kroner. But we’d spent the last of our Danish Kroner on the ferry we’d taken earlier in the day.

If I had 20 Euros in my wallet, he could change the Euros in a change machine, and get the tickets. I dug through my handlebar bag and, yes, I had the Euros! Our Gold Medal hope was still alive. Stephen ran back into the hall, while I watched huge trucks and busses stream onto the ferry. With one minute to spare, Stephen came back with the tickets.

After all that, no one actually checked our tickets on board, or while we were boarding, so we could easily have gotten away with not paying at all.

Sleep Like The Dead

Two hours later and we were in Rostock, Germany. This is our 15th and final country in Europe. It really feels like we are in the last brilliant days of a summer holiday, before leaving home for our first year of college.

We’d decided that even though it was 5:30pm, and we were exhausted from our sprint across Denmark, that we’d cycle to a campground 25 km away. However, just as we rolled into Rostock proper, about 5 km from the ferry terminal, Stephen’s saddle wiggled itself out of place. We were looking for a place to stop and fix it when we spotted the Radisson.

“Should we see how much it is?” Stephen joked.

“Sure,” I said, in all seriousness.

For future reference, a room at the Radisson in Rostock is 160 Euros. We didn’t stay there, but it did lead us to a smaller, much less expensive hotel in the centre of town. Except for the hostel in St. Petersburg, which was mandatory, we haven’t stayed in a hotel since part way through Poland, which was almost exactly two months ago.

Having a lovely white bed, spotless shower, and a room all to ourselves is a huge treat, and we are so glad we wimped out of that final 20 km.

Now, I’m going to take advantage of the most comfortable bed I’ve had in months, and get my sleep on.  

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  3. Comment by David

    David September 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

    …the cyclists would ride into the Olympic stadium…if they didn’t change plans ‘en route’… like it’s so often the case while bike touring!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane September 6, 2013 at 1:37 am

      Ha ha. So true. “Hey, should we go to the Olympic stadium today?” “Um, I dunno. I was thinking we should head for Bulgaria.” “Bulgaria? Yeah, that sounds good!”

  4. Comment by Cassie

    Cassie September 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Ahhhh, quiet, clean sleep that doesn’t leave you on the floor in the morning. Well deserved!

  5. Comment by Diane

    Diane September 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Loved it !

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