Today I started the trip back south down the eastern coast of Denmark heading towards the port of Grenå where the North Sea Cycle Route expects you to head east and board a ferry to Varberg in Sweden. I will turn west and head to Esbjerg and the ferry back to Harwich.
My new found Danish travel advisor, Jens, recommended a short day and I wasn’t going to argue as my legs need one! in fact after the 36.5 mile ride to Saeby I collapsed asleep on the bed at this lovely DanHostel, only to be woken later by a Facetime call from Sally telling of her latest biking record!
The ride started in a bakery, I love the range of breads & pastries, for breakfast. Then it was of back down Route 1 fair flying along with at last the wind behind me, for a while at least!. At Hulsig you hit Route 5 which goes the full length of the east coast of Denmark, it will be my home for the next few days. 🙂
The route is far more paved (90% as opposed to allegedly 70% for Route1) and certainly for today borders a very busy road 🙁 also the wind changed to the dreaded side wind again 🙁
I made it to the DanHostel on the outskirts of Sæby just after 2pm after doing 36.5 miles from the bakery. The Strava is here
After my siesta I walked into town, which is very pleasant not as touristy as the west coast far more a real working place. I treated myself to a fish buffet at Franks cafe in the harbour, the fish choice was excellent but the bread was to die for real solid & heavy 🙂
Tomorrow Jens is recommending Hadsunds where there is a DanHostel. I love these hostels such a neat idea especially when they are tied to a sports complex (as Sally said visiting sports teams could use the hostel) so the staff can easily run both. An idea that the YHA could do in collaboration with local councils in the UK.
Everywhere in Denmark you see neat design ideas. Tonight the room key has the WiFi key written on it! Also the bunk beds easily convert to a single bed with a simple hinge system.
After an excellent nights sleep I awoke to a calm sunny day. I went to find the guy to pay – eventually I located him having a coffee in the enormous sports hall, swimming pool next door. They didn’t seem to do real breakfast so I went to hunt for a cafe in the out of season ghost town that is Lokken. No wonder I had the hostel to myself last night! Eventually I found the bakery was open with a breakfast option, so a coffee, orange juice a couple of bread rolls with cheese and a Danish pastry later I was on my way. First port of call was across the road to the huge SPAR and the usual days refreshments..
The route was a total mixture of surfaces from smooth pathways to sharp descent/ascent of a sandy path (not good at all). I even came across some other cyclists, the first for several days. Plus a whole school of desultory kids obviously out for some nature walks in another part of the forest a whole load of little kids were out on their mountain bikes. I particularly liked the cow with its zebra crossing markings.
At lunch time I found myself in the big ferry town of Hirtshals with open cafes! I went into Cafe2 to have a coffee and some apple pie – I came out reeling at the price £10.18p at the current exchange rate 🙁 I think they must cater for the Norwegians from the ferries. On I progressed through forest tracks, paved towards the end with racing cyclists bombing along on their evening workout.
In Skagen I went to the Ferie På Toppen Hotel which fully deserves it’s low rating on booking.com especially as the guy charges an additional 100 crowns for the linen & towels 🙁 I rang booking.com to complain but apparently it’s in the small print somewhere that they charge. But no mention of 100 crowns extra on a 350 crown room 🙁
It was such a lovely evening I decided to bike, leaving my saddlebag, to the end of Route 1 in Grenen and walk to the tip of the peninsular & celebrate my doing another little video.
Today I biked 67 miles, which means since leaving Cambridge 23 days ago I’ve biked 1,261miles (2016km) Now to bike part of the way down the East coast on Route 5 and then across to Esbjerg for the ferry home.
I woke up after a fitful night of dreaming centring on my old house 🙁 for a change it was a lovely sunny morning with the flags fluttering in the breeze!
I decided not to make the same mistake as yesterday morning so, after packing, I headed up the hill for a full on breakfast at The Montra Hotel for 90 crowns followed by crossing the road to Aldi Nord and buying 1.5litres of energy drink, two Ritter bars & the obligatory banana. Plus I put my Dextrose tablets in the bar bag, just in case.
Apparently all the ferries have been stopped at Hanstholm as they are busy carrying windmill parts so be warned if you wanted to get a ferry across to Sweden. The day was mainly along rough tracks, this route is obviously designed for mountain bikers or certainly bikes with wider tyres than my Dawes Galaxy. There were a couple of sections on quite busy main roads with, unusually, no dedicated bike lanes.
There were also some unexpectedly quite short steep hills which are really quite hard on gravelly/sandy surfaces us the minute you stand up you lose traction on the rear wheel 🙁 I was certainly grateful for the big breakfast as I didn’t even see any cafes! so when I reached the ancient windmill at Gronnestand I sat on the beach and munched my way through a Ritter bar. Later in the day at Slettestrand I found an open cafe, although the cake was a nouveau cuisine affair so not that good.
The biggest surprise of the day is at Blokhus where the route takes you on the beach! the sand is firm enough for cars etc to bomb up and down but my poor wheels struggled until I got near the waters edge. It started as great fun but after 5 miles my poor legs were complaining so I was happy to leave the beach and finish the day on a very rough unmade track into Lokken.
I overshot the Lokken hostel on the way in so at to an about turn and found it in the sports centre car park! A long, nearly 70 miles, but enjoyable sunny day with a manageable wind.
I found this day really hard with the relentless easterly wind slowing progress down and making the riding unpleasant.
Maybe it was the poor breakfast of 4 bread rolls and garlic cheese, I didn’t see the local shop until after I had started, plus there was a complete scarcity of open cafes until 35 miles into the day & then only a simple place in a craft museum.
The marked route had quite a few changes from the gpx trail downloaded onto the phone which at times was confusing as some of the changes involved huge loops 🙁 and also at one point me getting into soft sand 🙁
The worst part however are the long spits of land on either side of the ferry at Thyboran dead straight and flat with no protection from the gale blasting at me. It was amusing to see the smoke from the factory chimneys barely getting out before been blasted horizontal by the wind.
I then developed a poorly stomach leading to more wind problems, probably not helped by munching my way through a packet of Nellie Dellies salty liquorice (On the packet I now read, Enjoy in Moderation!!).
The end of the day was a struggle getting into Hanstholm, fortunately as the name implies the previously booked Harbour Inn was on the coast not up the hill in the village!
In the evening I managed to get a decent meal at the Montra hotel with some of the whitest and delicious fish I have ever seen the dish was called Kogt Vesterhavstorsk.
Lets hope today brings better weather as the route now goes due east!