Tuesday July 21 to Tuesday July 28
We were in Denmark when I last wrote. Thursday (July 23) we crossed to Germany. In the six days we’ve been in Germany we have travelled most of the German North Sea coast by bike and ferry. Today we are two days from entering the Netherlands, only about 50km away as a bird flies, but farther following the coast. Since starting eleven weeks ago, we’ve now ridden 4500km.
The weather has changed. The sunny weather we were enjoying has become cool, wet and very windy with occasional very heavy thundershowers. The winds, of course, are usually headwinds that sometimes slow us to 10 or 12kmph, or sometimes gusty crosswinds, trying to blow us off the road. Beaches are empty. Sometimes it clears for a few hours of sun, but then the clouds roll back in.
Our last two days in Denmark took us to Oksbol and Ribe, lovely towns which we enjoyed. As with other national borders we’ve crossed, the transitions are gradual, not abrupt. It was interesting to see the architecture and food slowly change as we approached Germany.
A big change in Germany is prices. I no longer cringe when presented with a hotel or restaurant bill. Beer is cheaper than in Vancouver! And we are now back to the Euro—I no longer fumble with coins trying to remember the value of each. Alas, the food in Germany makes us long for the food in the Scandinavian countries.
As an engineer, I love the manufacturing in Germany. We came into Bremerhaven through the port area. It is an amazing place with a big container port and a vehicle port. The vehicle port handles new cars, but also everything else with wheels: farm equipment, construction equipment, military vehicles, trucks, trailers. The ships are from everywhere.
Lots of cycle tourists on the road here. Good talking to them on the road and in the places we stay. Many are camping and some carry huge loads of stuff; I guess they have never done any backpacking where you learn about light-weight camping.
Today we thought we would outwit the wind and have a day off. We planned a two km ride to a ferry then a train to our next destination. But the winds were too strong for the ferry to sail. We did a windy 45km ride to the nearest train station and didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon.
More and more we are creating our own version of the route. The official 6000km EuroVelo 12 route is a sequence of established scenic routes in the eight countries it visits. The national routes twist and meander to take in every pretty bit of coast, farmland and forest. Somewhere in Denmark, much of the coast began to look the same and the days began to feel very repetitive. We cut out riding up and down the Elbe to visit Hamburg, and we’ve taken ferries across several rivers and inlets rather than riding away from the coast and back out again. With shortcuts and the trains we’ve taken to avoid really bad weather, we’ll probably end up with a 5000km ride circling the North Sea.
The positive side of hills and headwinds is how strong we’ve become. Days that would have been a huge effort when we started the trip we now handle well. It feels good.
Here are a few photos, but we haven’t taken many photos with the rain and longer days: