Friday, June 21, 2013

Cycling Scandinavia: Hjaervejen

The rain never really stopped that day. It eased off a bit and started pouring down again five minutes later. I had to seek refuge in many bus shelters and farm barns that day. What made it even more miserable was the wind that came from the wrong direction. Still I was determined to make it to the next official camp site with a shelter. And as soon as I got there the rain stopped and the sun came out. Typical!

 The Hjaervejen is also National bike route 3 and is paralleled by the pilgrimage trail Hjaervejen. This is the National bike route with the highest percentage of dirt roads and forest trails. I dislike off pavement cycling to start with and sandy dirt roads after heavy rain make my dislike even stronger. On top of all that the area around Aalborg and Silkeborg is quite hilly for Danish standards and I ended up pushing my bike uphill quite a bit. I'll never be a good mountain biker!

I had bad timing on this stretch and cycled through the cities of Aalborg and Viborg so late in the evening that all the sights were closed already. Aalborg,.Denmark's fourth biggest city was almost a bit shocking for me. After weeks on quiet country lanes all of a sudden I was in city traffic. When I cycled over the Limford Fjord bridge an electronic counter told me that I was the 5,746th cyclist that day.... I just pushed on and was happy to leave Aalborg quickly which turned out to be a very good thing two days later.

Silkeborg had much better timing. I had spent the night before in a nice shelter and when it rained in the morning I just turned around and slept another hour. Unfortunately I was then woken up by a dog owner picnic. It is still a mystery to me what they were doing but at nine am ten dogs and their masters met on the picnic area next to my shelter. I did not try to investigate the purpose of this meeting and just left discretely. I made it to Silkeborg and its museum just in time before the rain - but even after I had studied every little detail in the museum it had not stopped. Even an extended lunch break under a bus shelter did not help.

Aalborg
So grudgingly I set off in the rain knowing that a happy ending for the day was near: I had been invited to stay with someone from a German outdoor forum. My host lived next to Himmelsbjerget which is about the highest mountain in Denmark with an altitude of 147 metres. Once there the usual transformation from a smelly dirty cyclist to a normal human being took place. A shower and a washing machine do miracles. Next day my host worked in Aalborg - and as I had not seen much of the city when I had cycled through it I happily accepted her invitation to come along and spend my rest day sightseeing in Aalborg. This is one good thing about outdoor internet forums: you can meet some very interesting people through them. Again I enjoyed my stay tremendously and had some very good conversations.

As you might have realised I really like cycling in Denmark. I have therefore decided to do the Grand Tour through the country and go to Fynen, Seeland and some other islands. I guess I'll end up staying a whole month in Denmark... but I just like it.

1 comment:

John Harwood said...

Ha! You would never let me see you walking up a hill! I seem to remember you walked up the first when we were together, but refused walk a hill again if I could get up carrying 40kg of crap. You need a bit of competition.

Hope the weather improves for you but glad to hear you are enjoying cycling in Denmark.