Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cycling Scandinavia: East Jutland

Open air art in Arhus
 I left my hosts and their two lovely Golden Retriever dogs refreshed and "refilled".  Plenty of interesting discussions, all my cooking supplies refilled and they had even given me some spare bike gloves as I had left mine a couple of days ago in a public toilet when filling up my water bottles. They had been very old and I therefore did not bother to cycle back half a day to retrieve them. And now I have been given new ones for free. But of course it was raining when I left which will be the theme for this stretch. It is raining ten minutes, stops, the sun comes out and ten minutes later it is raining again... Danish people seem to be used to that weather pattern as they are just nonchalantly cycling through the rain whereas I am usually wussing out and seek shelter under a tree or whatever is around.

Open air art in Arhus
My next stop was Arhus, Denmark's second biggest town. For me the best money-interest ratio was in two museums: the women's museum and the museum of the German occupation. Both proved to be quite interesting, but not exactly world class. At least they had English translations for the Danish explanations. And my timing was great as it was raining hard outside. Both places closed already at 4 pm leaving me with the question of what to do with the rest of the day. I had wanted to stay overnight in a nearby designated camp site but it felt like wasting time and money. I had already seen the camp site cycling into Arhus and it was not very appealing: Close to the noisy motorway and full of people. I decided to cycle on and could even save two Danish racing cyclists. After they had passed me at top speed I found them at the road side half an hour later with flat tire. I stopped and offered help - very welcome as they needed a repair patch. I could not make it to a designated camp site and stealth camped in the forest but I had bad luck. Despite the weather forecast saying otherwise it turned out to be an incredibly windy night and I lay awake most of it fearing that a tree branch would fall down and kill me in my sleep. No such a thing happened but I slept only fitfully.

The next day I discovered that I should listen better to my guidebook that had said that bike route 6 or Baltic Sea Cycle route is very hilly. I had assumed that this was an exaggeration but was proven wrong. Although following the coast line the route was a constant up and down and it did not help that a long part of it before Vejle was on dirt forest path. One short ascent was so steep that I had a big problem even pushing my bike up. After Vejle I was back on roads but had to climb up an ascent that reminded me more of an alpine pass than flat Denmark but maybe my memory is exaggerating. It did not help that it started raining heavily.

 I decided to free camp again which turned out to be a very bad idea. I quickly found a nice and sheltered camp site but too late I found out that the area was full of ticks. They seemed to be everywhere. In the morning I saw dozens of them crawling up my inner tent. I tried to clean my clothes, tent and body but I still picked them off my skin two days later. My only hope of that the infection rate of ticks with Lyme Disease is much lower in Denmark than in Germany. Ticks are another reason to use the fabulous designated camp sites: There you don't have to crawl through brush or high grass. After finding my first Lidl in Denmark and shopping there extensively I finally left Jutland by bridge at Middelfart and entered Fyn.

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