Heading North – where’s the Bacon?

After using a shelter for the night I continued to head North. The gloomy clouds hovering the day before had dissipated. At least for now. And I set off along a well used gravel track. This soon turned back into tar.

I looked to my left and saw an elephant! And then a rhino, a crocodile and last of all some bloody great big fish.

A concrete menagerie

These were made out of concrete and the latter big enough to be habitable of used as a bar.

Grimsby Elephant

The elephant reminded me of the film Grimsby! I won’t explain further. But if you’ve seen the film. You’ll know why.

Soon I came across a larger town. Cobbled streets, old buildings and a massive church or cathedral.

Cobbled streets of Ribe

I looked for somewhere to get a coffee. Unfortunately nowhere, even most cafes it appears don’t open until 10am all week. Blimey I’ve normally had at least 3 by then!

Ribe cathedral

Taking a few photos l, with few people around (they’d have more if they sold coffee), I drifted North. Coming across my first Lidl of Denmark. I went in and bought a few bits to have with the coffee that I would have to make myself.

Danish Lidl

It’s interesting to see differences in country’s. To get the pastries, Uk = Tongs, Netherlands and Germany = scoop to move pasties to the side so you can pick by hand, Denmark = disposable gloves. The Netherlands and German model seemed the best to me.

The roads have been pretty quiet so far. Sticking to back roads and parts of Denmark Cycle route 1. The cycle routes taking me through pine forests. The smell of wood with the sun on it, clean smells. I’m sure that’s nothing to do with pine floor cleaner my mum and Nan used to use when I was kid.

Riding through the forest

I had arranged a warmshowers stay with Flemming and his wife Connie near Tarm. I had arrived early and had a coffee in town. There was a cafe that looked after individuals with extra needs. The coffee was good, only 10KR a cup. I had two.

Stop for coffee.

Flemming sent me a message to say he’d be home in an hour. So I packed up and made my way to his place. Through country lanes. Again not seeing many cars. A cyclist went past and commented on how loaded my bike was. On arriving Flemming greeted me, introduced me to his wife and gave me a drink of ice cold water. Well appreciated. Connie then made a coffee and I was shown the shower and asked if I’d like to sleep in or out? The house was extremely warm upstairs but did have good ventilation. Flemming and Connie slept outside in the summer.

After I’d freshened up, Connie showed me a fun house they had been building with all natural products for the last nine years. The walls and floors made of clay. The bathroom was exquisitely tiled by hand of their own design. They had carried out all the work themselves.

Look at that for tiling and design.

Evening meal was home cooked by Flemming, a lovely salad, with avocado, feta and roasted seeds accompanied with sliced rice and chicken. It was delicious.

Connie explained that most Danish people are not very forthcoming or are apprehensive of strangers. It’s unusual for a stranger to be invited into a home. Socialising happened between friends and more often than not, at each others house. I had noticed there were not many pubs or bars.

My first Danish Warmshowers hosts. Flemming and Connie

In the morning everyone had left. I’d been shown where all the breakfast things were and had instruction on how to lock up.

I’m the morning I rode back to Tarm, to the pharmacy to get some relief from mosquito bites I had gotten. I was hoping to buy an electric device that heats up and neutralises the protein from the insect bite. This is what makes the itch. When I was in Africa I heated a spoon to do this or used a heated lighter. That’s a bit hit or miss on how hot you get it. It should only be uncomfortably hot. Not enough to burn. Unfortunately they didn’t have a device. I bought a stick instead.

I needed to call mum. It was then I found out that my phone was not able to make outgoing calls. Incoming calls and using data were fine. I chatted online with Lebara. By the evening it was working on one network. I had a message each time I tried to make a call, in Danish. A kind man that asked to listen to it, explained it says your network provider isn’t supported in Denmark. Odd, as you can get Lebara sims in Denmark!

Reaching the coast again, the cycle patch weaved in, out, up and down over the dunes. The sea breeze was lovely and the smell of the Japanese roses was beautiful.

Beach roses or Rugosa Rose

Part way along I noticed my Dynamo had stopped charging. I decided to take a look. Checked the light that worked. So Dynamo was ok. Must be the the USB plug. Took it apart, checked connections all appeared to be working ok.

Dodgy USB plug.

Due to the stop start, I didn’t get far that day. Decided to cut my losses and camp early at a campsite by the sea. The weather at the start had been cloudy but the sun was out by the time I hit the coast. After the messing around. I decided I’d go out for dinner. The local restaurants looked nice. But being a tourist town, very expensive. I found a pizza place that was much more reasonable and also had a beer. Cheers for the beer Roddy!

Beer was fantastic. Thanks Roddy.

I checked in late using a machine. This didn’t allow me to buy the specialist tokens needed for the showers. Not to worry. Ortlieb folding bowl to the rescue. I filled it with hot water from the basin, took it into the shower cubicle and had a bucket wash.

I had another warm showers host arranged for the next day, Dennis in Thyborøn. I camped outside and we spent a great evening talking about cycling. The next day he even came with me for the first part of the journey and acted as a windbreak for me with his E-bike. Also taking me to see a lighthouse on route.

Dennis my warmshowers host and I at lighthouse

Led in the tent, I had an itchy bite on my leg. Scratched it and thought I saw a tick.. damn. One was on my leg behind my knee. Using tweezers I gently pulled it off. That got me thinking. Some of the other bites seemed big, and itching like mad. I then checked a bigger lump on my back. Using the camera awkwardly. Damn. Another one. I had to use my fingers to gently pull this one off. I’m not sure if I have more I can’t see. Probably won’t go down asking a stranger in the showers to check the bits I can’t see! I’ll have to wait until I meet up with someone I know later in the trip.

Ticks. Bloody loads of em!

As my journey continued north, I’m getting a good routine. Eat something small for breakfast. Ride 15-20 miles and stop for a second breakfast. Stopping at a shop to buy something sweet and make a coffee. This also if good weather gives me the opportunity to charge with solar panel, dry out tents, clothing, towels etc while I enjoy a coffee.

I saw a bin man pull up. All on his own. The driver jumped out, wheeled the bin to the back. Emptied it and then moved the truck to the next one. In Germany I’d seen bin lorries also only with a driver, but with an automated lift. I wonder what the outfall was when all the guys at the back were dispensed with?

One man and his lorry – Denmark

And the German truck with an arm to empty.

One man and his lorry + Bin grabber arm – Germany.

The route followed the coast and Dunes. And I took the opportunity to take a break on an empty beach. letting the cool North Sea soak my feet.

Tiger tan started!

Stopping at a church for water. I took the opportunity to look in the cemetery. Danish families for several generations buried in the same plots. Each plot with a box hedge around it. Nothing fancy on the headstones. Date of birth denoted by a star and cross with date of death. Occasionally one would have “Fred” written at the bottom, Fred translated, meaning Peace.

Earliest born date of 1825.

From Thyborøn, a ferry was needed to cross a 1.2 mile stretch of water. Either that or cycle 80km to use a bridge. The ferries leave on the hour unless high season where they run non stop. There was no opportunity to not buy a one way. Cost was 55kr £6.58. I think for the distance. That’s the one of the most expensive ferries I’ve been on so far per mile.

On the journey Dennis said sometimes you see seals and dolphins. I did see one seal. By the time I got the phone out, he had dived under the water. Bugger.

He was just there!! He really was.

Riding onward I came to Hanstholm. During the 2nd world war, the Germans had installed some large gun batteries, looking out to the North Sea. There was a museum in the town.

One of the many large gun bunkers looking out to sea.

I had another night planned for a shelter. Wild camping. This time in the middle of a forest.

I was surprised to see it was totally vacant. the shelters looked good. There was a primitive toilet. A grill (due to dry weather banned in case of forest fire) and some benches to sit at.

Shelter. Looks good. Until Tye bugs arrive.

I considered trying to sleep in a shelter. But again saw mosquitos. Tried to put the inner only, into it. It didn’t fit. Tent it would have to be.

I got into the tent, or so I thought, just in time. The mosquitoes here are double the size of the ones at home. Then the biting midges turned up. On waking the gap between flysheet and inner was FULL of midges. Shit!! I had to hatch a plan. Right, cycling inner shorts on, full length trousers, get to the bike for jacket, repellant and midge head net. Wow was I grateful I bought the midge head net. I didn’t think I’d need it.

I didn’t care what I looked like!

I packed up as quick as I could ignoring my normal routine of a coffee and got out of dodge, alive but not unscathed. My legs now look as lumpy as the bloody dunes I’ve ridden by! I’d had a big day the previous day, 83 miles.

One last push to Skagen, where I left my mark!

Spot the mark?

Turns out, although everyone talks about Skagen, that’s not the tip of Denmark. That’s actually a place called Grenen. So I rode as far as I could! Took a photo and headed south to Fredrikshavn. Where I have a ferry booked to take me to Sweden.

Grenen is at the end of the road. Not Skagen

I’ve only been to Sweden previously for work, as part of a project team to another DS Smith site in Mariestad. Gothenburg only being the place I landed at. Ross, if your reading this. I won’t need a taxi to get out this time! I have my bike. Onto Sweden.

The good ship Stena Danika

Oh. And where’s the bacon. I only saw about 10 pig farms!

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