Friday, September 10, 2010

What Happens When We Get Tired of Wind

Our second full day in Denmark was similar to the first. Not quite as much in the way of bad surfaces, but we did have some challenging stretches. Somehow, we had gone from not quite fall to the beginning of winter. The sky was grey, grey, grey and the fields were brown, brown, brown. We saw not a few trees that were already bare, leaves prematurely removed. Wind.

For a little ways, we were on a really cool path through the heather and highlands. It was conceivable that there were gnomes hiding in the woods and we might turn a corner and see a moose. This green stretch was a beautiful interlude from dry fields, and we were a little better protected from the wind through the trees.

We stopped at a Tourist Info Office that was in a picturesque old windmill.

And back to the fields and wind.

Another interesting interlude distracted us from the general dreariness. I could imagine that in the spring or summer, when things are green and cheery, and without so much wind, it might have been a dreamy day.

We walked up

And found this

And many other stone monuments, this is the front, below is the back

This is honoring Magnus, who fought south during the wars with Germany (date at bottom: 1898). In the late 1800s, Germany and Denmark fought two wars against each other, both claiming Schleswig-Holstein as part of their country. From the 1860s until the end of WWI, the southernmost part of Denmark was a part of Germany. We are not sure if the rest of the stones are specific to the wars or not, some have dates much earlier, and other are more recent.

In the afternoon we hit a fairly big town and after lunch I got a flat and Joshua took the opportunity to change my front brake pads. They needed it! Badly!

But at the end of the day we hit another freshly gravelled road and it was so bad that we turned around and decided to take a highway instead. The wind was brutal, and so loud, and we were on a road with no shoulder and plenty of traffic for quite a long time. Talk about needing a game face. We slogged it out and found the campsite we were aiming for, just outside of Egtved, Egtved Camping

And once again we were rescued. After a day like that, we asked about cabin prices again. We felt like we should save money, so we opted for camping. While we were checking in, Lene asked us about our bike trip and when Helge came in we told him about it too. They even looked up weather for the coming days for us (more wind, turning to be exactly against us, and then rain, too). We then went into their small store to buy a couple of beers and some chips, and we chatted more with the both of them. Helge gave us a taste of some tap beer they had that was really fresh, and then gave us some more chips for free. After we talked with them a while, they had a small exchange in Danish, and then Lene went back into the office. Helge then said they were going to give us their private, small cabin at the lake - they call it their little escape - so we could sleep out of the wind that night. 

It's called Skovhytten - forest hut

It was the sweetest sleep we could have had, and we woke up feeling very rested and renewed.  We were genuinely sad to say goodbye. I hope we go back and see them again one day. 

It was still windy.

In the morning the road dipped and wound a little, which was nice. We rolled into a wide river valley that was flat and open, then up the other side, doing some real climbing in a beautiful forest that sheltered us from the wind for a few minutes. As we rode out of the valley, we passed two roadies walking their bikes up the hill. We talked to them for a minute before continuing on up, and once it leveled out they caught up to us and rode with us until they turned off the route to go home. At one point that morning, we turned west for a moment and our back was to the wind.   We flew, hooting and cheering, for less than a kilometer. Big wind.

We took a slightly more direct route that morning, on the regional route 35, and we were rewarded with a cruise through an art school of some kind, housed in a castle.

There were hand blown glass globes in the fountain and hanging from the trees

Up the hill was a gallery with fantastic mosaic

And then back to the hay bales and big wind.

At a critical turn off, we stopped to talk about our options one more time. Over the previous two days, of horrible wind and gravel bike trap roads, we had mentioned trains to one another. We kept deciding to fight on, somehow. Now we had an opportunity to turn to go towards Jelling, a town with a train station. We were looking towards rain and and more wind, and a wind that would turn south within a couple of days. It was Sept 9th, just 5 days from our birthday (yes, we share a birthday). It could be another 5 or six days to ride our bikes to Hirtshals. We were not having fun. Perhaps you see where this is going.

We went to Jelling, and immediately caught a train south to Vejle, two stops, where we could get a train to Hjørring, and then a local train to Hirtshals. It all happened that afternoon - and that evening we were able to check the ferry schedule to Bergen. Sadly, the next ferry wasn't until Sunday, the 12th. It was late enough that Joshua almost insisted that we just get a hotel room. The campsite wasn't right in town and it was getting dark very quickly.

The next morning we checked a campsite on the outside of town and found it closed for the season. Good thing we hadn't tried the night before. Another campsite on the other side of town would be closing the following day. We might not have had much luck riding north even if it hadn't been blowing 30mph, if campsites were closing already. We didn't really like the hotel we had stayed in, and it was quite over priced, so we went to the Motel Nordsøen just across the street, which was lovely. Now we just had the problem of figuring out how to have fun in Hirtshals for 2 days.

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