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There’s no wind like a tail wind! What a rare treat we had today with a wind that blew and blew hard from behind most of the time. It was a great ride! Most of today’s hills could be called rollers; from the momentum gained on the downhill you get a big boost up the next hill, hill after hill. And what a hilly place Norway is. It was all agricultural country today, field after field of grain with only a few other crops and only a handful of dairy cattle.
Joan and I rode into camp about 3:00, probably the earliest I’ve ever come in except for short mileage days. I found out that it is really nice to be here early. I usually can do only what is absolutely necessary, but today I had time to wash some clothes and hang them in this great wind to dry and to clean my bike. That’s a first on a cycling day for me.
This is our last night in Norway and I haven’t mentioned trolls. It is said that when people first settled in Norway they realized that there were creatures with supernatural powers hiding in the forests and mountains. These creatures were called trolls. Over the years the trolls have become legendary and a big deal is made about trolls these days by the tourism industry. Troll figurines, troll storybooks and troll t-shirts are for sale everywhere. I bought a troll pin for my Odyssey cap. Trolls are so ugly that they are cute. They have long, crooked noses, long bushy tails, and only 4 fingers and toes on each limb. They are usually very hairy. I think there are few tourists who go home without a troll souvenir.
The moose is another symbol of Norway that is also heavily promoted by the tourism industry. Since I already have a moose from Canada on my cap, I have resisted buying a Norwegian moose pin. Day after day I have seen moose warning signs on the highways but I haven’t seen a moose, darn it!
a beautiful sunny evening; I’ve had dinner and been to investigate the
Fredriksten Fort which is high on the cliff above Halden. We are also high on
the cliff above Halden, camping on the park-like grounds near the fort. The fort
was built to defend Halden against Sweden. The Swedes attacked Halden in 1658,
1659 and 1660. Enough was enough and construction of the fort was begun in 1661.
It is massive. The walls of some of the buildings are three meters thick! The
fort was never taken by the Swedish or any other force. Today it is a
Norway to Lysekil, Sweden
long, Norway! Hello, Sweden! I hated to leave beautiful Norway, I hadn’t seen
a moose or even a troll and then I almost missed the border. The little yellow
sign in Swedish must have been it, but there wasn’t a flag or any other
indication of a border. Most of us had Norwegian coins to spend and fortunately
the little shop just across the border was happy to take our money.
was just about the most exciting part of the day if you can believe it. Sweden
looked very much like Norway except that the road wasn’t as good and the
drivers not as gracious. When we reached Grebbestad at 68 km. out we were at the
seashore and so was everyone else in Sweden. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic all
through town. I needed Swedish money but since there were a couple of dozen
vacationers in line for the ATM machine I decided to wait and try further down
the road. When I found a bank machine in Brastad my card wouldn’t go into it.
The card seemed to be too thick.
seemed like a very long day to me although at 140 km. it was actually less than
the day before. It was one of those rainy on again off again days when time and
patience were wasted changing layers of clothes. When I finally reached camp I
had to trudge up a dirt road with all my stuff to a distant grassy field. The
campground was filled to overflowing because it is summer and because there was
a special restaurant festival in town. I was so tired I thought I’d never get
my tent up and ready. Some big pie cherry trees in the field distracted me for a
while and restored my good humor.
was catered and although there was no seating it was a wonderful meal. We had
been told that because of the festival it had been hard to find anyone to feed
us. We needn’t have worried. We had roast pork, spicy oven roasted new
potatoes, and peppercorn gravy. It was really delicious. Dinner was the end of
the evening for me. There was nothing to do at the campground, not even a
telephone, so I went straight to bed.
ride wasn’t in the itinerary. We were to cycle to Saeby, Denmark but the ferry
reservations weren’t made in time so the itinerary had to be changed. We would
be spending another day in Sweden. That’s when I looked on the world map to
see where in the world Lysekil is and it is nowhere! Isolated on a peninsula!
Why did we have to go there, I asked myself. Our day began with 4 km. ride in
the wrong direction to breakfast and then back the same 4 km. to get started out
of town on our way to the new destination, Goteborg. No one likes backtracking
but actually of course 8 km. is not that much, not until the end of the day at
least. And there’s one thing about kilometers that I really like. They are
shorter than miles!
only 12 km. of cycling we stopped to take a ‘frequent free’ ferry. Lysekil
is at the end of the peninsula so the ferry was a great shortcut to the
mainland. It was huge, steel, bright yellow flat thing, of one deck only, but
the sun was shining and it was a short ride across the channel.
countryside continued to look a lot like Norway and people complained that they
didn’t have a sense of being in another country but I thought I could see some
differences. I saw fields of grain but also far more animals than in Norway.
There were fields of puey pigs, herds of dairy cattle, and horses. In Norway I
had seen only one or two horses but here there were many, some looking like
horses everywhere, but there also seemed to be a special breed with heavy necks
and stocky bodies, chunky but handsome.
was just before the Tjornbron Bridge. Although it was only 10:30 by the time we
arrived I was already hungry. There was a snack place there, the Cafe Kiosk,
which was just right for us. We ordered coffee and used their table and chairs
for our picnic. Norway was so expensive and our rides so remote that many of us
have the habit now of saving something from breakfast. I eat my cereal at
breakfast and save my bread and cheese for later. It makes a good midmorning
snack and I feel better if I’m not so stuffed while pedaling. The Tjornbridge
was a major bridge, crossing the Askerofjorden, but it was bicycle friendly with
a smooth, wide bike lane separated from traffic by a fence.
through Goteburg was a treat. There were bicycle lanes most of the way making
the ride safer and less harrowing. There seemed to be more people cycling in
Sweden than in Norway. There were small groups of tourers with fully loaded
bikes, families out with all the kids, and serious cyclists on training rides.
The DRG proclaimed that “Delsjon Camping is excited about our visit and will do an excellent job for us” but I sure didn’t see any of that excitement or any of Delsjon Camping either for that matter. What I saw was just another parking lot and another green field where we were instructed to camp around the edges only. There was a row of port-a-potties and there was a metal trough with running water, cold only. That proved to be a convenient place to wash clothes which many of us did but unfortunately mine didn’t dry.
was an event. There were no facilities at the campground so a 100-passenger bus
had been hired to carry us in two lots to dinner. Luckily I had ridden in early
having had the good fortune to catch an earlier “frequent free” ferry in the
morning than many people, so I was ready in time for the first dinner shift. We
were told that the bus was too big to come where we were, so we had to walk
about a half a kilometer down the road to a big parking lot. I was very curious
to see a bus that could hold 100 people and before long it arrived. It was a
long city bus with an accordian-like joint in the middle where the bus had been
extended. The seats in that jointed area swivel in a circular path when the bus
goes around corners. It’s strange and people usually vacate those seats as
soon as possible. We all filed on and in a minute the bus was full, everyone
waiting in the parking lot had found a seat with only one person standing.
Amazing good luck I thought. No hungry folks left in the parking lot. 100 people
on a bus! But when Pat counted there were only 60 on the bus. That meant
the bus would be making several trips. (Of course. Whoever heard of a
100-passenger bus?) And what a trip! We began to think we were on the wrong bus!
But finally it stopped, at a warehouse in an industrial area. We thought, “Oh
dear! Now what?” But the warehouse had been converted to a restaurant, it was
a vast place with enough capacity for all 200 of us, our mere 60 couldn’t fill
even one of the eating areas. It was self-serve and it was awesome. There was
chicken of course, but forget that! There was also roast pork in good gravy and
a spicy delicious stewed fruit to accompany it, Swedish meatballs in a sauce,
pasta, rice, potatoes, rolls and salad. Everything was wonderful. The big hit of
the evening though was the self-serve all you can eat ice cream. People went
back refilling their bowls two or three times and after that many even made a
cone for the road. I tried four flavors: vanilla, melon, coffee, and raspberry.
There were too many flavors to try them all.
as we finished dinner the bus arrived with the second load of hungry cyclists
which was perfect timing for us. The driver took another route on the way back
to the campground passing right through the city, which was kind of him, and
provided me with my only glimpse of Gotenborg. We were back in camp by 7:30,
with an hour of evening left before bedtime. But there were far more people
standing in the parking lot waiting for our bus to empty than the capacity of
the bus. I felt sorry for the ones who would be left in the parking lot. It
would be hours before they had their dinner and returned to camp. The ride the
next day was 196 km. so everyone wanted a good night’s rest.
to Draby Strand (Ebeltoft), Denmark
We knew before we started that most of us wouldn’t finish the 196 km. ride, not just because it was a long ride but because of the ferry. We were booked for the 9:30 a.m. ferry which would dock in Denmark three and a half hours later. It would be 1:00 and we’d still have 190 km. to ride! Impossible for many of us. Then it was revealed that about 30 riders could go on a 7:30 a.m. ferry on a first come first served basis. A sign-up sheet was made available at the end of the day check-in, those that have ridden every mile were written at the top of the list, others could add their names to the list as they arrived that afternoon. The list became longer than 30 but in the end most people who were dying to ride the entire distance were able to do so because it was discovered that there was also a 4:15 a.m. ferry. Twelve really irrepressible riders took that ferry, leaving space for 12 more riders on the 7:30 ferry. Those early birds were Charlie Hilliard, Jim Higbee, Bill Garrett, Bobbi Fisher, Gary Minor, Jim Hickman, Sue Yanzik, Alfred Enns, Mark and Sandy Bovee, Margherita Kalmen, and Ruth Watson. Some of them have ridden every mile but other every-mile-people took the 7:30 ferry and still made it to camp easily. These people are awesome riders with great stamina and strength. When congratulated about their accomplishment they replied that it was easy. I think there were 36 riders who rode the 196 km. that day.
TK&A recognized that many of us wouldn’t be able to finish the ride because of the late start so they did a brilliant thing. At about 80 km. they had a bus waiting for the riders and a truck for the bikes. By the time I arrived the alternative transportation was no longer a choice. I was told to get on the bus which I was very willing to do. The bus filled as more riders arrived and soon we were on our way to camp. Riding a bus is so much easier than riding a bike!
We were welcomed to Draby Strand with an Old Danish tradition. Two young men dressed in the old-fashioned blue uniforms of the town crier and carrying lanterns and staffs, walked through camp singing something in Danish. We had a wonderful dinner that first night in Denmark, perhaps the most memorable part was a delicious cold raspberry soup that was served with cream for dessert.
Strand to Copenhagen
This was a shorter ride, a do-able day, and made even more so by the wonderful bike lanes most all the way. But first we had to cycle 11 km. to take a ferry from Ebeltoft to Odden Faergehavn. We didn’t know the sailing times but had the great good luck to arrive about 5 minutes before it sailed. It was only a 45 minute crossing and then we were on our way. Denmark has better bike lanes than some countries have roads and we rode on them whenever we could. The pike paths continued right into the city of Copenhagen making our ride safer and less stressful. We were all excited to be going there and looking forward to a layover day.
Our first impression of our hotel dampened our spirits however. We were staying at the Cab Inn, so named because the rooms are modeled after the cabins on ships, or so we were told. I’ve never been in a cabin on a ship. At first most of us were shocked, then dismayed with our rooms as the reality of spending two nights there, three to a room took hold. Luckily I had two super roommates, Joan and Gudrun, and together we made it work. Before we knew it we had to admit to admiring the efficiency of the room, no space was wasted and every fixture was specially designed to conserve space. The tiny table was on hinges and could be fastened flush with the wall. The only chair could be collapsed and hung from its rack on the wall. There were actually beds for four counting the trundle bed so we were fortunate that TK&A didn’t assign four to a room. One bed was also the ‘sofa’ and the trundle bed was under it. Above it was a bunk bed the foot end of which was under a slanted ceiling so that the occupant had better not have big feet! The fourth bed was way high, at right angles to the other beds, a good eight feet high at least. To get there one had to climb the ladder for the bunk bed, step on the head end of the bunk bed, step up to the top of the closet, then climb from there to the bed. It was the highest bed I’ve ever seen, it had no rails and if anyone fell out they would surely break. Since there wasn’t room on the floor to pull out the trundle, we used the other three beds. Gudrun volunteered for the highest bunk as she was the only one of us who doesn’t get up in the night. She is such a good sport. It was Joan’s turn for the top bunk as I had had it the last time but it sure wasn’t easy for her to get down. Maybe I will always claim the top bunk in the future. It’s kind of fun to be up there. The bathroom was one of those plastic shells where everything happens in the same 3 square feet. The shower curtain was on a circular rod so that it could be pulled around to help contain the shower water, but the entire floor of the tiny room got wet anyway. But there was a good fan system so the floor dried amazingly fast. All in all the room was an engineering miracle. There was a big poster on the wall showing step-by-step how to operate everything. The motto of the hotel is ‘sleep cheap in luxury’. There wasn’t anything luxurious about the place but it was reasonably clean and the location was good, within easy walking distance of Tivoli and Stroget, the ‘walking street’.
We were bussed to dinner, some people had heard it was going to be on a ship and thought we must be going on a dinner cruise. Instead we were taken to a warehouse with the words ‘Base Camp’ over the entrance. On the way, the bus driver explained that the area had been occupied by the Navy until just the past few years and now all the empty buildings were being turned into art schools and office buildings. That might explain the choice of the name Base Camp for this facility. It was more than a restaurant, but what a restaurant! We had a feast. There was grilled trout, each on a bamboo skewer, small new potatoes made delicious with a sauce of pesto and garlic, a fantastic bean salad of assorted beans, red pepper, onions and an awesome dressing, and much much more. Dessert was fresh fruit salad and cream. It was a feast! The Base Camp was huge with space for a bar, a disco dance floor complete with a sparkling spinning ball overhead, and a lounge area of sofas.
having a great time!
Photo's from Ireland, Page 53
Odyssey Riders and Staff
Trollens Brudm. -(Swedish Folk Music)
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