Monthly Archives: June 2011

Day 15 Oland, Sweden

Day 15 Oland, Sweden, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Guide book made Oland sound good, but it isn’t. It’s rubbish. And it’s windy, which just exacerbates the buffeting I get from the rubbish screen on the F800. It’s mid-summer’s day, which apparently is a big deal over here, but there’s not much life. Everything is shut, and everyone must be in another part of the island.

Day 14 Tranquility on Sweden’s Baltic coast

The heavy rain subsides by early morning and I leave Copenhagen in the dry, which makes navigating my way out of town a little easier, and soon I’m approaching the Oresund bridge to Sweden. On paper it sounds like co interesting bridge. The first half is a tunnel, several km long, which emerges on a small island and turns into the bridge, one of the longest in the world. You cross the border part way along the bridge. In reality, it’s a bit dull, and in strong winds on a bike it’s quite frightening. I nearly get blown over several times. EU borders being a non-event I’m onto Swedish soil in an instant and make for the coast road. Sweden is very pretty, very yellow and blue, but the weather spoils things. It’s cold and very windy all day, but thankfully dry. And just as I think that, the heavens open and I decide to stop. Camping is out in these conditions, but I get lucky and find a campsite with a cabin, So I can be warm and dry. No sooner am I inside than the sun comes out. I walk the 100 yards down to the shore, which I can see from the cabin. It’s sensational. There’s no-one there but me, and there’s no man made noise. The sea is calm, almost like a lake it’s so smooth, and it’s a rich dark blue. The slowly setting sun (it is mid-summer’s eve after all) turns the sand and the rocks a bright gold. The only noise is the gentle breeze in The trees, the water lapping at the rocks, and the sea birds talking to each other. They seem to be as relaxed as I am, it even looks like they are yawning and stretching too. It’s beautiful, serene, pure. A perfect moment, and pay-back for all the rain.

Day 14 Southern Sweden

Day 14 Southern Sweden, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Quick lunch break (sandwiches made, and technically stolen, at breakfast buffet) overlooking the Baltic sea on the south coast of Sweden. Cold, windy, expensive, and busy, but at least dry. For now, anyway, though the large black clouds that have followed me everywhere are looming on east and west horizons.

Day 11 Baltic coast

Day 11 Baltic coast, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

I leave the Ansgarhus motel (surprisingly good) in dry, but predictably cold, grey and windy weather, heading east. The wind and the kamikaze seagulls nearly take me out crossing the long bridge to Sjaelland, and then I turn north to see some of the coastline. The rain comes back with a vengeance, and I’m very glad I invested in the Gerbing heated jacket and gloves. It makes a huge difference, like being inside with a real fire watching a storm rage outside, instead of being out in the storm getting cold and wet. I pass a desolate coastline, and villages that are probably quite nice when the sun is shining. I see Helsingore castle, as in Hamlet (I think), but it’s too wet to bother stopping and I continue to Copenhagen. The traffic is pretty bad but I make it to the hotel, where ham pleased to discover a secure underground car park for the bike, and working wi-fi for a change. Now begins a couple of days off the bike doing the regular tourist thing.

Day 10 Odense, Denmark

Day 10 Odense, Denmark, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Sorry Denmark, but if you’re going to lay on horrendous weather and make hotels so expensive that I need to sell a kidney, then I’m going to have to do what every other tourist does and go straight to Copenhagen for a couple of days and then leave. Denmark turns out to be much like northern Germany – cold, wet, grey, flat and empty. The rain eases as I enter Odense, where I decide to stop at a cheap hotel rather than push on for the capital. After yesterday’s marathon, I need to have a shorter stint. Odense turns out to be quite pleasant in the old town, with lots of pavement cafes and people who seem a lot friendlier than most Germans. It isn’t cheap, though!

Day 9 1km south of Denmark

Day 8 1km south of Denmark, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

This photo is co attempt at capturing me sitting in a posh hotel restaurant surrounded by glamorously dressed wedding guests, while I’m wearing wet smelly biker gear. What a day! Northern Germany is crap. Crap weather, crap roads, crap food, crap scenery, crap traffic. After trying to stick to the plan for a while, I decide that the aimless meandering thing isn’t for me. I need a purpose, a target, a reason. So I decide that Copenhagen is my next target and hop on the motorway to cover some miles. The beemer is so much better than the XT for motorways, but it’s still hard work concentrating on riding a top heavy adventure bike at 100mph, in the rain, being passed by big Audis doing 140, navigating, keeping one eye on the gps, one on the fuel gauge, one on the road and one on the traffic. That’s four eyes, but I do have four. Knew it would come in handy. I see brooding, grumbling storm clouds threatening, and despite racing to out run them, I get a cold bath. My heated gloves and jacket make it so much more tolerable that I decide to add heated trousers to the mix one day. I head for a hotel, camping clearly out of the question in this rain and after last nights noise, but I arrive in town in The middle of a yacht festival thing and every hotel is full, the street s are full of people, it’s chaos. I head on, and get the same story for the next 2 hours of riding. Every hotel is full, and the rain gets worse. Utterly exhausted, and just when I’m sure I’m running out of options, I know I have run out when I see a sign saying Denmark 1 km. That means I’ve done over 500 miles today! And then, salvation, a hotel. It’s a bit posh do, my budget, but view have a room, and I’ll take anything at this point. 30 minutes later all the hard times are forgotten as I tuck into a steak and a beer. Another typical day on the road!

Day 8 waren, northern Germany

Day 8 waren, northern Germany, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

The previous night’s rain lets up just in time for breakfast, and I leave in sunshine. It’s windy though, and this part of northern Germany is wide open, rural, and quite dull. It’s an event free day, and I find a camp site by a lake, which turns out to be the size of a small town. After cruising round for a while, I select a spot that is relatively free of sprawling German motorhomes complete with fences, washing lines, satellite dishes and garden gnomes, and set up camp. The second I finish erecting the tent and unloading all my gear, 3 bus loads of school kids arrive and it seems my spot was quiet for a reason – all the locals know this is picadilly circus. Good job I’ve got ear plugs and am half deaf from wind roar on the bike. The kids are almost as annoying as the gazillions of flying insects. No, actually the German tourists who all insist on doing the really naff socks and sandals thing is worse.