Day 21, Thursday July 30th, Århus
Weather: rain and sun
By bus from the camp-site to Århus and back
Walk through Århus
Århus, Denmark’s second-largest town. Yesterday I bought an Århus-ticket at the camp site, which gives me free entry to museums and other sights and public transport. As it is raining today, I’m going by bus from the camp site to the town centre. At home, I hate the bus but abroad it is much more interesting
II’ve made a whole list of things I want to see: the Dom, various museums, some streets or districts. Since ‘dry, with sunny periods’ has been forecast for this afternoon, I first visit the indoor sights, the Århus Dom and the Kvindemuseet (Women’s Museum).
The only Women’s Museum in the world was opened in 1984. The main theme of the permanent displays and the changing exhibitions concerns “Woman’s life from pre-history to today” and exhibitions on the working woman and ‘Women’s Lib.’
The Latinerkvateret (Latin Quarter) is the oldest part of Århus. I read somewhere that it is the nicest part of Århus. It could be because of the weather, but I’m not so impressed.
Meanwhile it is dry and the sun is shining. Time to go to Den Gammle By! This means The Old Town and is an open-air museum with 75 houses and other buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
There are two more museums I would like to visit: Moesgård and the Aros, but I am a bit tired of museums and go to the library to check my email and then to the station to get the bus to the camp site.
Møllestien, the most beautiful street in Århus
Day 22, Friday July 21st, Århus – Onsbjerg (Samsø)
Distance: 60 km.
Weather: showers in the morning, then sun
National route 5, regional route 35, own route
Bike: Århus, Norsminde, Saksild, Hov
Ferry: Hov, Sælvig (Samsø)
Bike: Sælvig, Onsbjerg, Pillemark, Kolby Kås, Ørby, Ballen, Brundby, Tranebjerg, Onsbjerg
When I get near Norsminde, I see a very black cloud coming towards me. I look for shelter as I’m afraid it’s going to be a very heavy shower.
Very handy, these bus shelters here
As I still have lots of time before I have to be on Fyn decide to implement my resolve to visit as many islands as possible by going to Samsø. This large island, east of Jutland, was already on my list of islands I wanted to visit, so this is a good chance to go there.
Samsø (over 4000 inh.) is the largest island in the Kattegat. In 1997, the Danish government named it ‘renewable energy island’. Within ten years it had to rely entirely on renewable energy. It now almost exclusively uses energy from wind, sun, water and straw. The islanders themselves are shareholders in the wind-turbines, which yearly produce more energy than they need, including the oil for the ferries. Thanks to this use of renewable energy, Samsø is the largest CO2-neutral community on earth!
When I get to Brattingsborg Slot, it is just closing. I ask the girl who sells tickets whether I can just use the toilet. No, that is no longer possible. I walk back to my bike and see an open gate with a notice saying ‘toilet’. I look round but nobody has seen me and I quickly sneak through the gate and after some 20 meters, I see the toilet building. I see that I could now go into the castle, but I had better be good. A moment later, I go through the gate and cycle cheerfully on.
In Onsbjerg there is a primitive camp site behind the church and I put my tent up there. What a lovely spot!
I have only just arrived when a family comes cycling along, father, mother and two sons of three and five. They tell me that they have been going on cycling holidays for years and didn’t even stop when the children were born. The oldest now cycles on his own and they only camp on the primitive sites from “Overnatning i det fri”.
“Also on those where there is no shower or toilet? Or no water at all?” I ask.
“Oh, yes, the boys are used to it and love it”.
Wow, I do admire them!
Day 23, Saturday, August 1st, Onsbjerg – Brigsted (Jutland)
Distance: 71 km.
Weather: sunny, warm
Route: Regional routes 35 and 34, own route, national route 5
Bike: Onsbjerg, Østerby, Toftebjerg, Stavns, Langør, Mårup, Nordby, noordpunt Samsø, Nordby, Mårup, Sælvig
Ferry: Sælvig, Hov (Jutland)
Bike: Hov, Gylling, Sondrup, Søvind, Brigsted
Samsø is beautiful! I’m luck y with the weather, as, since I’ve been on Samsø, the sun has shone. Today too.
I follow the route round the fjord and come past a small church, Langør Kirke, A little further on is Langør where the road ends. I buy a cup of coffee at the harbour and stay a bit to enjoy the view.
I have to cycle back a bit and come past the church again. A woman goes in and out of the church with flowers. Two men, one of them with a camera, are discussing something. Undecided, I stand there.
“Do you want to come inside?” asks a woman who seems to appear from nowhere.
“May I?” I ask.
“Of course, have a look round”. The woman tells me her daughter is getting married in this church this afternoon and that they are busy putting everything in order.
“It starts at two o’clock. If you want to come, you’re welcome!”
How’s that? I’m being invited to a wedding, just like that! I had planned to take the ferry at a quarter past one, otherwise I will have to wait till a quarter to four. Hm ... dilemma. I tell the woman honestly that I want to catch the ferry and she doesn’t seem disappointed.
I cycle further to the north of the island.
The cycle-route ends at the northernmost point of Samsø. It is very hilly here so that you get a wonderful view over the island and the sea.
As there is only one road through the north of Samsø, I have to go the same way back and come to Nordby again, but here I can take different roads.
I ride on the cycle path next to the main road all the way back to the harbour in Sælvig. Although it is not a cycle route and an ordinary main road, it is very pretty. The road is very quiet and you constantly see the sea appearing.
I’m not the only one using the cycle path. There is a veritable plague of ladybirds here! In no time, I am covered in them. When I reach the harbour, I try to get rid of them all, but that is a hopeless task..
When I am back on the mainland, in Hov, I get back on the national route no. 5. I cycle past Horsens Fjord till I arrive in tiny Brigsted, where there is a camp site on the shore. With a shelter! My first on this holiday. Lovely, I don’t need to put up my entire tent. My little inner tent fits nicely, so that I also have mosquito netting. I am the only guest, until I hear a moped coming. Two boys (one on the buddy seat) come tearing up and stop on the field. They have a small trailer behind the moped with two sleeping bags in it. They aren’t allowed to be here! This sort of camp site is for hikers, cyclists, horse riders and canoeists and completely forbidden for motorised traffic.
There are many such camp sites in Denmark and up to now, I have been surprised that none of the shelters I have used , by this time quite a number, have shown signs of use by young lounge-abouts. I sometimes speak to Danish people about it, but nobody seems to be afraid of that. According to me, this sort of shelter, in the middle of the countryside, would have an immense attraction for the youth in Holland.
But, that aside, maybe this spot is an exception. The boys are about 16 and look at me warily. At last, one of them dares to approach me and asks in Danish whether I am staying here all evening. I ask if he speaks English and tell him that, not only am I staying all evening but also all night. “This is a site for hikers,” I add. I hope the message is clear.
No, apparently not. The boys confer, throw the sleeping bags out of the trailer and drive off. Hm ... I don’t like the situation.
A little later they return. With a tent and two more boys on a moped.
Luckily they settle some way away from me and leave me alone. A little later, a women with a dog comes into the field. We have a chat and she is indignant about the boys standing there and will go and have a word with them!
I don’t understand what is being said but the result is that the woman goes away and the boys stay there. Well, I’ll just have to hope for the best. I’m not scared, but don’t feel at ease either.
I can enjoy the peace and quiet up to about ten o’clock. Then the boys come back with a ghetto blaster and beer. They sit round the camp fire till far into the night. The music is rather loud and not exactly my taste. I say nothing about it. I’m not really frightened but you never know – there are now six of them and the amount of beer has shrunk considerably.
I stay awake most of the night. Wary.
Day 24, Sunday, August 2nd, Brigsted – Daugård
Distance: 74 km.
Weather: sunny, warm. Rain in the afternoon
Nationale route 5
Brigsted, Søvind, Haldrup, Stensballe, Horsens, Sejet, Glud, Overby, Hosby, Juelsminde, Barrit, Stouby, Daugård
Pff ... what a night. I am totally exhausted when I get up at seven o’clock. Some way away there is a tent with two feet sticking out. According to me, there were two or three left over last night who slept here. I have breakfast, pack my stuff and cycle off around eight. There is one thing I cannot resist: there is an iron pedal bin near the tent and when I throw my refuse bag in it, I let the lid fall with an enormous bang. So there, that was my sweet revenge.
I follow route 5 again, most of it along the coast of the bulge between Horsens and Vejle. It is tempting to go straight down, cutting off an enormous piece, especially as I am in a bit of a hurry. I want to be in Magtebølle (where Jørgen and Ingrid live) tomorrow evening already, as I have an appointment the next morning with the lady from the tourist office in Assens.
But I do want to follow this route. If I’m too late, I’ll take the train tomorrow for the last bit.
From Juelsminde it gets tougher and tougher. The route zigzags along the coast, towards it and away again. Alternately climbing and descending. And the lack of sleep doesn’t help.
When I come past a small camp-site in Daugård, I know what I’ll do. I’m staying here and won’t move another inch!
Hanne rings me. I was planning to visit Hanne and Jørn on Sjælland, but everything is turning out differently and we come to the conclusion that I won’t manage it this holiday.
“Maybe you can come in the spring”, Hanne suggests. “Or I could come to you”. Yes, fine, that sounds a good idea. We chat a bit longer and it turns out that we both have had a bit of bad luck this summer. I with my bike and she with her sailing boat. “And I am continually so tired”, I complain. “I’m not doing such long distances and take every opportunity to stay somewhere a day longer. I don’t usually feel like this.”
“Are you eating enough vegetables and fruit?” Hanne asks soberly.
“Well... you may have a point”.
In Sweden I was disheartened by all the setbacks. But here in Denmark, everything is fine. No more problems with the bike, lovely weather. Why am I tired all the time then? Maybe it’s quite simple. I promise myself to take more vitamin C.