Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rest day--not

Sunday June 17, 2018

I did a lot of walking today, yet hit all the hot spots. My favorite thing though was a walk through the graveyard. There I found Hans Christian Andersen's grave and where Soren Kierkegaard is buried.

The most exciting thing was when I was enjoying the Nyhavn a big wind came up and tipped over a woman's rental bicycle. When she jumped up to right it, her jacket blew into the water. I looked for a net, but there wasn't one. The boats parked there are just for show or to serve drinks. So I slipped away, and kept walking.

I've bought food for tomorrow and will plan my trip.

early Sunday morning

look up! above a doorway

walk through local graveyard


One of my favorite spots, Nyhavn
 


Monday, July 30, 2018

Fed Havn to Copenhagen

Saturday June 16, 2018, 82 km (51 miles) - Total so far: 978 km (608 miles)

It was very overcast when I left Fed Havn and began cycling toward Copenhagen. Let me just say right now, it was a cycling dream. Very easy navigating, only one small error that was soon righted.

I had a bakery stop in Køge and then started riding well-defined paths crowned with a symbols of a crown and C. I simple rolled in and to my host's apartment.

I spent the rest of the day organizing and washing out clothes. Devices are on charger.
follow this sign into Copenhagen


Friday, July 27, 2018

Fehmarn Island to Fed Havn, Denmark

Friday June 15, 2018, 128 km (80 miles) - Total so far: 896 km (557 miles)

Very pleasant morning. Did not feel like a pedaling machine. It has occurred to me that I wasn't getting much rest at night. Even though in my tent I sleep straight through, the sun wakes me up early. I'm usually off by 7 a.m.=getting lost.
on the way to the ferry

on the way to the ferry

on the ferry to Denmark

in Denmark follow these signs

Welcome to Denmark

quiet roads

Fed Havn

This a.m. I woke up in my little house, made tea, and sat there enjoying myself. No hurry. The ferry is just down a gravel path, right by the sea, about 5 Km. The sky is a light blue and forever by the sea.
I bought my ticket from the kiosk for bikes and motor cycles, it was 17 Euros. It wasn't possible to get a combined tix for Helsingborg ferry.

At 1:30 I took a lunch break outside of Saksring, at almost 50 KM. Then as leaving made a wrong turn and made a big circle around the town. Sheesh.

Pulled into free camping/campingplads Fed Havn at almost 8 p.m.

A Boy Scout troop booked the three shelters, so I'm staying in a shady area by the water and across from the latrine. Very nice spot, free camping.

Just a very Danish day. Blue-checkered skies, green and yellow fields, rolling hills.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Padenstedt to Niobe Camping on Fehmarn Island

Thursday June 14, 2018, 148 km (92 miles) - Total so far: 768 km (477 miles)

A bit of nervous stomach a.m., but excited, hopefully Puttgarden and Denmark. Oh, I know why so nervous: no way to charge phone which I need for navigation. I've noticed a change in elevation. Yesterday -153 (below sea level), today -50.

The bike path along the busy road was super smooth. Riding at first I was stiff. I had to remind myself to relax my shoulders. Plön was a great town for outdoor enthusiasts. I saw bikers, hikers, and kayakers. I took care of a few things like buying an adapter for 12 Euros and a book for 11 Euros. I find I don't like wasting Kindle battery power reading. Now I can just curl up at night with a book.
After a lunch on a hillside over looking Plön, I began to make my way to Eutin and Oldenburg on forested and quiet back roads, and sometimes the busy road--as opposed to the dedicated path beside the road for bikes. After Eutin I was in for some climbing--sometimes very long. I got to Oldenburg in Holstein at 3 pm. Great! I got this!

Where was the bridge to take me to Fehmarn island? I'd been following the road signs for Puttgarden. The bike signs weren't connecting to anything on my list. They can advertise smaller increments than the road signs. Come to find out I should have been heading to Großenbrod. A woman told me to head to Heiligenhafen, so I swung way more north than necessary. I got to Großenbrod, but where was the bridge? By now I was beside myself. I stopped to eat and tried to ask. I had the feeling the men were making fun of me. Now I see they were asking me if I was going to the island. Anyway the sent me back. Finally, another older lady on bike said I will take you almost there. I would've found it--something so big on my own. Once there I almost kept cycling beyond the entrance for bikes because you have to open a little door to get onto the strip of pavement meant for bikes beside the busy road over the North Sea.

By then I'd cycled well over 130 KM. And had decided to camp on the island. I started looking for stealth camping and found a little sanctuary. I sat there and had a tea and rode out instructions for tomorrow. Then a whole family of ducks walked through. I realized it was for them, a duck garden. So got up to leave.

Now about 7:30 and overcast. As I started riding looking for camping it began sprinkling. Then the wind came up. Then it turned into a squall. It took me several KM to find something. I arrived at 8 pm, literally blown in. The attendant Wolfgin showed me tent camping, but also mentioned a little house. I really wanted the little house. He showed me that. And that I could use his potty right next to the little house in a shed. And harbor my bike on his covered porch. I'm in the little house.

Way better than the duck garden.

I was able to wash out clothes and wash up. I have a tea pot that I made hot water in this a.m. And, most importantly, was able to charge all devices to full. Plus, because inside on a real mattress, able to sleep in. What a great feeling.

On to Denmark and the ferry.
fields of blue grass

amber waves of grain

quiet paths

a bridge too far

Fehmarn Island

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Gnarrenburg to Padenstedt

Wednesday June 13, 2018, 146 km (91 miles) - Total so far: 620 km (385 miles)

It cannot be overstated
1) I get lost a lot
2) I'm lost in Germany
quiet roads

thatched roof houses

timbered walls

narrow lanes

crossing the Elbe

stork's nest: I heard a clacking sound similar to oars clanking against the side of a boat, it was their bills 

It's not just big cities, but also the po-dunk one I camped in last night. I swear I wasted 6 K trying to find the right road out to Bremervorde.

I finally got going wearing pants, orange overshirt, and a jacket. All a.m. spit rain and wind, NW 12-15. So in my head grey and sort of feeling like a loser. When people see me, an older lady, the question is always: Alone? By yourself? There is so much between the lines.

So on my way to Bremervorde I stopped at a cafe. I couldn't figure out how to open the door. I could see they were open. Finally the counter person came out and let me in. I was pulling instead of pushing. While sitting there eating the best cake ever I shed a few tears. Alone. By myself. But! I was in Germany, eating the best cake ever!

I took yellow, small roads on my map that were quiet and quite lovely. I took pictures of steep, thatch-roofed houses and tiny lanes. Old churches and timbered walls.

I met an older cycling couple and we went together one KM before Bernd gave tips on getting to the ferry. I followed his suggestions and made it to the ferry by 2 p.m. I wasn't sure what kind of ferry it was, so stopped first to use toilet (what they call it over here) and eat a brat--served from the fryer slathered with mustard, all for 2 Euros.

The ferry was just for cars and took 30 min. On the other side I quickly clicked off the KM. wind was an issue--and something else. I stopped at one point thinking I had a flat or broken spokes or strap caught in the cogs like yesterday. But no. I was simply going slightly uphill. I almost forgot how to shift everything's been so flat.

Tonight at Forellensee camping in Padenstedt, sort of a rip off at 13.50, but offers resort type stuff. On that note, I discovered I'd left my electrical converter in the wall socket at the last place. Will have to fine another, soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wildehausen to Gnarrenburg

Tuesday June 12, 2018, 92 km (57 miles) - Total so far: 474 km (295 miles)

So excited to wake up and get to Bremen, about 39 KM. I left camp at 7:30 a.m. under an overcast sky and arrived in Bremen around 10 a.m.--when my phone battery died. There's really no explanation. I charged it last night to 100%. The only thing I can think of is I overused it navigating into the city, but compared to the first day when I had it talking to me, it lasted 70 KM. Anyway, I found a cafe and plugged in. I bought my typical 3 pastries, eating two and saving the croissant. All for 3.80.

I was sort of blue. People were mean. They wouldn't give me keys to the toilet, no internet, they yelled at me loudly in German. I was afraid I was stuck in a grimy city. In Germany! Then along come 2 Dutch cycle tourists. We sat and chatted and then I asked if I could follow them out of the city. We were all set when they stopped to read a bike sign and a woman riding by asked them if all was okay. All in German. They handed me over to her because the couple was going another direction from me. She had me follow her and brought me to the old city center--yay!I I would have left without seeing it. Then as it was noon the bell tower and chimes went off. I lucked into what the tourists were there waiting for. At tourist info we talk about where I should go and BOUGHT a map. I know, I finally broke down.

Leaving the city was a dream. First, the lady, who was about 70 and her friend that she ran into also on a bike, who was maybe 80, insisted on riding me to a good spot where I saw bike signs. I followed then and also had the map. So I was golden. Except--the wind, the cold.

I made it to Gnarrenburg, about 90 KM for the day. Not a lot. I was trying to decide if I should ride 19 KM more to Bremervorde, where I wasn't sure there was camping. It was now 4 pm. But here was camping and several other cycle tourists. We can talk to one another! And I had a fantastic chat with a young girl outside a supermarket. We talk for like 15 minutes. So, overall tired, but not lonely. It gives me hope that tomorrow I will meet other cyclists.







Monday, July 23, 2018

Meppen to Wildehausen

Monday June 11, 2018, 126 km (78 miles) - Total so far: 382 km (237 miles)

Okay, much slower today. But, I'm in Germany. First, specifics.

Bread.

My plan today was to follow route 213 to Bremen. That didn't happen. After leaving Meppen, I got a little turned around, but sorted. I could just tell, though, navigation was not going to be as straightforward as yesterday. I arrived in Hasselunne to pick up the 213 at about 10 a.m. There was a church, there was a square, and a bakery. I pulled in for my first Berliner ever! And a few other pastries. I'm in Germany!

The 213 is a straight shot EXCEPT when it's not. Every town, not villages, there is a diversion, which sucks at least an hour or two. Really. Because you just can't rejoin the 213 anywhere; it becomes a major highway. I had to ride sometimes 2-3 KM further to intersect with it. Leaving Cloppenburg was a nightmare trying to access the 213. To explain: there is a bike path separate from the roadway, very pleasant, often wooded, and when on it I always know where I'm going. At 12:30 had another bakery stop in Lastrup. 2 p.m. was Cloppenburg. By Wildehausen I was at 116 KM and knew I should look for accommodation. I pulled into Acshenbeck Heino Campingplatz at almost 7. Only 8 Euros. It's beautiful.

So overall, a GREAT day, though, I didn't stick with the itinerary.

when in Germany follow these signs

beautiful camping spot

Meppen center

Friday, July 20, 2018

Dalfsen to Meppen, Germany

Sunday June 10, 2018, 94 km (58 miles) - Total so far: 256 km (159 miles)

So my host's came home at 9pm. In their defense they never thought I'd make it. They'd had requests before, but the people never showed up. We stayed up until 11 pm chatting. He is a driver so could advise me on roads to take. She is an obesity coach. I know, really, both of them. To be fair there are bad sugars everywhere now and diabetes and hypertension, it's just that I see so many people on bikes. There are old people here on bikes like there are old people in the U.S. using scooters.
About the different paths and signage:

The mistake I made yesterday was wasting my battery by having Google talk to me. Though it helped me get out of Amsterdam, I didn't need that kind of help today, and was able to conserve my battery. Though using zigzag no-name paths sent me down remote areas. I wasliterally in the middle of nowhere. Feitspad was a strip of cement through fields and forests. I saw no one. I peed beside the sheep. I was alone riding on top of the dikes. But when my phone quit I needed straight forward navigation. At some intersections are white signs with red lettering. These tracks parallel roadways but are very quiet. It's how I left Drauton and got to Zwolle.

The first time.

There a woman explained I must go back and go over a bridge. So I backtracked with her and then she explained the lettered bike path system. Geez, I thought, Why wasn't I doing this already? Well, I'll tell you why. I marked down the paths needed, 17, 18, 19, then 70. I immediately lost 19. By this time I was south of Zwolle, and couldn't find anyway to get over a river and highway. I had to go back to Zwolle. At a gas station a cyclist buying cigarettes got me sorted. Yet there was a bridge out. I was about to just get on the busy road when a guy honked. He told me how to get fixed.

I know why the Dutch like the numbered paths. They are truly away from traffic, in the middle of nowhere, but I need signs, kilometers, the name of the next town. A point of reference.

So today I stuck close to the signs with red lettering. Not once today did I get lost. I only checked navigation once. I either left the phone alone or used it to snap photos. I arrived at my campground in Meppen, having followed pleasant roads with no stress. Yet I was bushed when I pulled in. The last 10 KM were ugly.

The campingplatz is only 9.50 Euros. Now I'm truly doing a European tour. Tonight I sleep in Germany, where when I ordered a pizza I said water was fine, and they brought me a pricey bottled water.

follow these signs

last windmill before leaving the Netherlands

last canal before leaving the Netherlands

Welcome to Germany!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Amsterdam-Dalfsen

Saturday June 9, 2018, 146 km (91 miles) - Total so far: 162 km (101 miles)

I only have myself to blame. But first the good part.


My phone talked me out of Amsterdam. I was living the dream, cycling on flat paths, mostly without traffic. Google map lady nudged me when to turn. I only got confused twice, once at a roundabout (of course) and again when I had to circle back and get on a path parallel to a major road. It looked like an on-ramp. Really there were long stretches where there was no one. After lunch I put on sun screen.

My GPS worked up to Elburg where there was a vacation resort for campers. I pulled in for a break and ice cream cone. I pulled out my battery and tried to charge the phone. It was slow going, but at 25% I turned it back on. It wouldn't stay on, but kept turning off. After an hour I decided to go using direction I'd written down off my kindle. Signs for bikes got me to Zwolle, and there it was lights out.

sheep on pathway, not dead
I probably went in and out of that damn town 4 times. It's my own fault for not having a back up plan and paper map. Let's just say the 5 or 6 people I talked to had their own interpretation of how to get to Dalfsen. After getting sorted out for the last and final time it took me less than an hour and less than 12KM total. All in all I spent almost 2 hours riding needlessly around.

quiet lonesome paths
I'm at my host's house, but they aren't here. I've been here for an hour sitting on the cement ground. Must figure something out for tomorrow, as I cannot have a repeat of today.
my hosts

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Free Amsterdam Bike Tour--not

Friday June 8, 2018

Well. I felt very excited that my GPS got my to the location meetup,a very sketchy dockside warehouse, a perfect place to get murdered. When I arrived several people were waiting. I must have exuded confidence because I said I'm here. Those waiting surrounded me and began to ask questions. I realized they thought I was the guide. The very idea was comical, I couldn't stop laughing. Soon they joined me, and then started speaking German.

We waited, in the rain. Nada. Then left. Because of the rain it was harder to follow my phone. But managed to arrive at Westerwerk Church next to Ann Frank house, for a free concert. Then because I was still wet from the rain, I found a cafe and ordered soup.

I'm pretty stressed out about navigation tomorrow. Hope I can make it to my next host's house.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tourist in Amsterdam

Thursday June 7, 2018

Today I was a tourist on foot. I barely made it to the Van Gogh museum for my timed ticket and was early for the Ann Frank house. But Amsterdam is a good place to waste time.

When crossing intersections,I have to look out for cars, delivery vans, bikes, bikes, motor bikes, bikes, electric bikes, everything.

Maybe it's the jet lag, but I felt very emotional at both the museums. You sort of know the end of the story. As soon as you come upon the portrait of Van Gogh with his bandaged ear, you get a funny feeling in your stomach of what's next. I did enjoy the precocious little girl asking Daddy, Why does Van Gogh wear a hat? Then as I was wandering toward Ann Frank's house a guy came up to ask directions--except he asked if Ann Frank was here. Sadly no, I said, but her house is.

Tomorrow I'm taking a free riding tour. Which is okay because I did way too much walking today.
bookcase concealing steps leading to the secret annex

typical Amsterdam

Yellow House, a good idea that went wrong

Monday, July 16, 2018

Greetings from Amsterdam

Wednesday June 6, 2018, 16 km (10 miles) - Total so far: 16 km (10 miles)

Greetings from Amsterdam. I'm not sure what day or time it is, let's just say it's good to be here. Right now having a tea overlooking a verdant green courtyard. A family is dining outside and kids are playing. This is all in contrast to the getting lost, riding in circles in the heat, and getting to my host's house late. But first the good.

Flights went smooth. My bike arrived with me and was waiting in oversized luggage. A guard invited me to assemble it off to the side. Assembly went fine, about 1 hour. Then I exited the terminal.

Terror.

I had no idea how to follow my direction. Yet I made it out of the airport and toward Amsterdam. About halfway I figured out my navigation. Feeling pretty good about everything. Snapped a pic of a windmill, then got turned around and cycled almost back to Schipotal. Sheesh.

So by the time I arrived it was 4:30 and my host was not answering her bell and I had 1% battery left. But a neighbor feeling bad for me took me in and meanwhile a house guest of my host finally answered the door (she had headphones on and didn't hear the door bell). I carried my bike up 4 flights of narrow twisty stairs to the THIRD? floor.

I went for a walk and got a few things and am now chilling on the courtyard balcony--realizing I made it to Amsterdam!!

Bucket List