It is strange how ones body and mind can adapt to new routines in life, even though it’s vastly different from what you are used to. For us it’s now completely natural to wake up with the sun rising in the morning, and falling asleep at 10 in the evening. The sounds of birds singing and woodpeckers chopping away on trees is so much nicer than any alarm clock, or cars driving by your window.
After our last stop we rushed away from Denmark in hope of avoiding more headwinds. After one and a half day of cycling from our B&B in Kolding, we finally cycled over the rather non existent border into Flensburg, Germany – the third country on our journey! Seeing as the roads were completely flat here and the weather was nice, we cycled on to get out of the city and into the nearest forest out in the countryside, where we set up our tent rather late after having some trouble finding a decent camp spot.
The following day we were going to explore the supermarkets of Germany where food, and especially candy, is a great deal cheaper than what we’re used to back in Norway. We concluded that we’d both be fat if we lived here as we filled our shopping baskets with calorie filled snacks for the coming day or two.
Our next destination would be Moorege, right outside Hamburg. There we would visit and rest at Daniels fathers cousin, Werner, for two nights. However, the cycling roads in northern Germany are plagued with asphalt cracked by the roots of nearby trees, bulging the asphalt every meter or two – so it wasn’t the most pleasant cycling for our wheels, hands nor butts.
So far our surroundings where very similar to Denmark, endless amounts of brown acres smelling like fresh manure, and the fertiliser trucks passing us by every now and then. We’re glad we hopefully don’t have to smell them again, since they aren’t the most pleasant type of vehicles to be passed by!
On the way to Moorege we met our first other cycle tourer, Peter, who was cycling from Kiel to Gibraltar. We were a bit envious of his lightweight road bike and bikepacking setup, weighing in at some 24 kg in total, but it was fun meeting someone else with a similar interest as us.
When we arrived to Werner we were warmly welcomed into his home, even though we hadn’t showered for five days. As we unloaded our bikes, we noticed one of the yoghurt containers had broken inside the pannier, covering most of the remaining items with yoghurt. What a great way to end your day after cycling 83 km! At least we now know to always store all liquids inside a plastic bag inside the pannier.
The following day we took a trip into Hamburg without our bicycles, where we spent most of our time at a Globetrotter store eyeballing outdoor gadgets, and trying to find a service kit for the Primus stove which we have had some trouble with.
We put our spending pants on and bought a small solar panel to charge batteries, one additional powerbank and an Ortlieb rack pack for Thea to make life easier. When we got back we where treated by Werner to a nice dinner, and reorganised our panniers later in the night before falling asleep in cozy beds. We are grateful that we got to wash our clothes and rest in your home Werner, thanks!
The following morning we were able to cycle in t-shirts as it was almost summer warmth. We opted to skip trying to navigate through the gigantic city of Hamburg with our heavy bikes. So we chose to take a short ferry ride across the river Elbe, and cycled through the cozy village of Steinkirchen instead.
Here we were met by spring in its full bloom and there where flowers and greenery everywhere. Unfortunately this wouldn’t last more than a couple of days since winter decided to have a comeback.
From this point on, what time and day it was started to lose its meaning, and the days started blending together. You wake up at a new place every day, enjoy the little villages you cycle through just to come to entirely different scenery shortly thereafter.
You appreciate every small moment spent inside a warm supermarket, borrowing a gas station bathroom, having a hot meal after a long days cycling, and lastly hopping in your warm sleeping bag to avoid the cold outside. There is no need to think about much more else, which is quite relaxing for the mind.
Every time we stopped at a supermarket to buy groceries, one of us would wait outside with the bikes. And almost every time there would be someone curious approaching us, initiating a conversation in German – a language neither of us speak. We hoped it’d be obvious that we don’t speak German as we have gigantic flags of Norway and Sweden on the back of our bikes, but it doesn’t seem to work here.
– Ich spreche nicht Deutsch, do you speak English?
Then they resume the conversation in German and we usually stand there like question marks nodding and smiling along. We usually can understand some of it, but we can’t really give a reasonable reply in German.
So we bring out the long forgotten German from School along with making up words in hope that they understand us. And it usually works! And they are always as amazed when we tell them that we are going to Singapore “mit Fahrrad”. And when they leave they always smile cheerfully, wishing us good luck or giving us thumbs up.
By now we have spent 17 days in Germany and are resting in Nürnberg until Sunday, before heading to the next border crossing into Austria and plenty of really high mountains to conquer. We still have about one week before we get there and the route isn’t really planned yet.
We will write more about our times in the central part of Germany in a post coming soon.
Until next time!