In the past week we have left Sweden with its beautiful forests, lakes and coastline, cycled through Denmark and entered Germany. The cycling has become flatter and flatter which makes it easier in some ways, but harder in others. Obviously we no longer need to put lots of effort into climbing hills, as there aren’t any (!), but it also means that when we have a headwind (most days) we really feel it! There is nothing to stop the wind whistling across the countryside and straight into our wheels!
Having said that, the scenery is still beautiful. Meandering rivers, straight canals and the open sea have adorned our route and we are not bored of the cycling, despite the flat landscape. In fact we have a spotted a lot of birds; red kites, buzzards and storks to name a few that have made our peddling even better!
Our first evening in Denmark we were a little apprehensive as we were finally out of legal wild camping territory. In the end, our first evening could not have been better. We had completed our distance for the day early and, not wanting to get stuck in the city with no place to stay, decided to camp early. We headed deep into a forest just north of Copenhagen and to our delight found a small clearing with a handmade bivouac shelter built from fir branches – still green it was so new. Next to it was a fire pit with a swinging metal grill that we could cook on and big tree trunks as rustic benches. It was fantastic.
We made use of or afternoon off the bikes whittling spoons from wood we found (Arron’s came out much better than mine!). When we slept, we sheltered under the fir bivouac and despite the rain slept soundly and dryly! 🙂
A few days later Arron continued to the building theme and managed to make a rocket stove out of an old tin can he found. It is incredibly efficient, burns incredibly well even with damp wood and has meant we can leave even less of a trace as we camp now. It has been a great way to continue to use camp fires to cook on.
Our wild camping adventures continued and so far, we have managed to camp most nights, with just a few exceptions. Mostly these exceptions are warm showers hosts, which are wonderful, but one particularly special evening was thanks to a small A4 sign pinned to a cycle signpost halfway through our day. It offered cyclists a free bed for the night, a shower and a rest. Enchanted by the offer, and intrigued to meet the person behind it, we followed the trail to his house. Helge, out host, was wonderful. He let us sleep in the roof of a wooden cabin that he had built and we cooked in his outdoor kitchen – half dug into the ground and with a grass roof. It was fantastic!
All in all we have had a great week, and we are less than 500km from the ferry home now, which seems quite surreal!