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Two weeks to cross Denmark

Posted 1/9/2019

After seven weeks in Norway, we board the ferry in Oslo on Sunday night (18th of August)to take us to Fredrikshavn, Denmark.

Friends will meet us in five days in Thisted, so we have plenty of time to explore Northern Jytland

Our first station is Skagen, the northeastern tip of mainland Denmark which grows up to 50 meters pre year as the sand gets deposited here, we look at a church or rather the remains of its tower, that has been abandoned 300 years ago, as more and more sand blew onto it. This sand movement, however, was human induced, as the vegetation got disturbed so much the wind started moving the sand masses in this part of the coast again.

In the visitors center built by Jörn Utzon, the famous architect of the Sydney opera house we learn a lot about his approach to architecture, later we visit another of his works, the Musikhus in Esbjerg.  

We have learnt from a German cyclist in Norway about Denmark´s shelter system, try it out and are very impressed: the app shelter shows were they are located and which services to expect in each of them: all have either possibility to set up a tent and/or 1-several wooden shelters open only on one side where you can sleep in (you need to bring a mat and sleeping bag) and are protected against rain and cold. Most have a fireplace, a good proportion drinking water, some toilets and very rarely even a possibility to use a shower. Most of them are provided by the Danish ministry and are completely free of charge. As they are located along cycling and walking paths, they are a great way to enhance low-impact nature tourism. In addition, private people offer options, i.e. to set up your tent in their garden and use their shower for a small fee. We spent most nights in these shelters.

Cycling is a bit tiresome, as the wind seems to always come from the wrong direction, sometimes the well signaled and beautifully led paths get very sandy, after breath-takingly spectacular Norway it takes a while until we can fully appreciate the beauty of the Danish landscape: heaths now in bright pink or purple, small woods, sandy dunes, and a lot of mushrooms.

On Saturday we meet Ysette and Rainer, who have left their car in Ringkobing; we jointly cycle back there, along the coast from Hanstholm southwards. We have wonderful weather, spend the nights in the impressively well-equipped and beautiful youth hostels, where most of the clients are our age, and the prices are equivalent to medium-class hotels in the rest of Europe. We enjoy 4 wonderfully sunny days, visit a museum on the life and life-saving technical inventions of small fisherfolk and another on the biggest seabattle (1916); it feels like vacation again.

Unfortunately the weather changes a lot again, and it is clear we will have several interruptions so we give up the plan to visit Kari, who has kindly accompanied me on the Camino de Santiago, when Andreas had to pick up his passport in Bordeaux. Settling back into our routines we cross world heritage wadden sea, first the Danish part and then continue on the German side. We both like Ribe very much and abandon our initial plan to cross over to the Ile of Romo when we see how many cars are crossing the 8km long dam. Instead we spend a lot of time admiring the reet-covered houses and towns, learn about milling techniques and regulation during the last 2 centuries and two golden horns, that were found in 17th and 18th century only to be stolen from the royal palace in 1802 and melted and sold.

We will cross the Danish-German border on the 2nd of September in Rudbol, a town separated between Denmark and Germany by a 1920 vote on which country the population wanted to belong to.