Sunday, 25 September 2016

E1: Denmark to Gothenburg

I have hiked this 380 kilometre long stretch in summer 2015 together with a friend for whom it was his first long hiking trip. After an overnight bus trip from Berlin we started at a windy morning in Gothenburg centre. I had been here the year before at the end of my paddling trip and could therefore lead us directly into the only cheap and vegetarian restaurant in the city centre for a last decent buffet meal before setting off. The first day was on the very comfortable Bohusleden passing fantastic swimming lakes - and hordes of vacationing Swedes.

We were hiking South and soon reached the relatively unknown Hallandsleden which soon turned out to be relatively unmaintained as well! Clear cuts had often destroyed the trail and waymarking was generally very poor. We even ended up in a swamp area when looking for a shelter. To sum it up: Hallandsleden is not a highlight of Swedish hiking culture and I was happy to soon reach Varberg. I splurged for an AirBnB accommodation because my 48th birthday was coming up. But with Swedish prices I was celebrating with supermarket food and not in a restaurant ...

We took the evening ferry from Varberg to Grena in Denmark which meant that we arrived after dark - and finding a stealth campsite turned out to be difficult. There was a small forest within walking distance from the ferry landing - and it was crisscrossed by endless trails. Eventually I thought I had found a hidden campsite - only to realise in the morning that I was camping right next to a jogger path. We left pretty quickly and were greeted friendly by some curious joggers when we packed up. The E1 now follows some unknown trails: First Molsruten and then the Silkeborg-Arhus-Trail. Both trails were rather unspectacular and even the sea did not invite me to go swimming.

Last but not least we reached the Haervejen, an old but revived pilgrimage trail. In typical "Camino"-tradition there are "albergues" along the way which were beyond our budget due to Danish prices. But you could even buy soft drinks and snacks along the way ... At least the waymarking was great there were some free camp sites along the way as well complete with fire rings and grates, shelters and dry toilets. One morning we had already packed up and were eating breakfast when a very furious man approached our wild camping site and told us to leave immediately. It turned out that he was the advance party of a big hunting group - luckily we were not shot ...

To sum it up: This stretch has not been the most exciting hiking! It has been a pleasant experience and it was a great hike for beginners but I would not particulary recommend it to anyone. But on every long-distance hike there are connecting bits - and this was one of them.

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