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Thursday 23 August 2007

Day 22 - 23

August 22 & 23

Woke up yesterday in Odensee and then started biking east. Alas, we did almost no sightseeing there because we were trying to not end up bikong through christmas or something. Odensee has great bike routes, though. There is a great system of bike paths that form their own grid with underpasses to avoid trafficy roads. It is really a great place to bike.

The countryside east of there was mostly flat, although kind of dull and the weather was not so great. Tourist office books have described fyn as a paradise for bikers. I don't think that i can agree with that.

One really nice thing was an oak tree on a spiral mound. It looked like an ancient fairy tree, but a plaque dated it as much later. We went up and surveyed the view.

The last city on fyn befe the bridge east is nyborg. It's pretty and at the bottom of a fjord, so fun to coast in to. We got in around 15:30 and went directly to the tourist office to get the next map. They didn't have it, but told us to cross the bridge to go to the tourist office in the town on the other side.

The bridge is really long and you can drive across it or take a train, but not bike. Which is fine. Biking on long bridges or on long dijkes sucks anyway. So we went to the train station and dissassembled everything. Then ticket confusion. Then, unexpectedly long train ride. Then reassembly. Then SPRINT from the remote train station to the ceneter of town where at 17:05 the tourist office folks had locked the door, turned off the lights, and gone home 5 minutes earlier. Arg. No map means no housing or camping info.  Fortunately, i had a list of hotels on the eastern island. I asked nicole if she would be willing to go 20 more km to the next town without a map IF we had a hotel reservation.

I started calling hotels and finally found one that both had rooms and took dogs. Yay. 20 more k seemed reasonable, despite it being 18:00 because we'd only gone 30 k so far that day.

We started booking along the route, which was fantastic. It curved north and took us along the coast by some spectacular beaches. It was a mercifully flat coastline. The sky was kind of blue. The sun was setting behind the huge bridge towers. We were riding towards a rainbow, past a newly plowed wheat field.

The sun here has a lovely golden quality, if it manages to get through the clouds. The angle is sharp, i don't know if i'be ever seen my shadow be less than a meter long, even at noon. So the freshly plowed field was intensely golden on the remaining wheat stalks. And the dark, wet eart underneath was in shadow. With intense, moody clouds and a rainbow. Right by the beach. This more closely conforms to my idea of bikers' paradise.

Alas, though, the moody clouds and rainbow turned into rain. Which turned into a really heavy downpour, complete with thunder and lightening and sheets of rain of the sort described by bullwar-lyton. It was, indeed, a dark and stormy night.

In general, the signposts for national bike routes in denmark are excellent, but still, i can miss them or maybe it was absent, but a wrong turn was made. I was staring at a tiny non-detailed map as the rain slowly but steadily increased and the temperature dropped. Nicole started to cry.

I found a route to town and we rejoined the 6. Our booked hotel was far south of the city center. It turned out to be one of those highway hotel sort of things. We were staying at a truck stop.

Imagine an american truckstop with a clean, decent, cafeteria-style restaurant and an overpriced chain motel. Now imagine the neon signs are in danish. And the chairs are sort of scandinavian-modern looking in thier design. And the restaurant has a nice terrace with umbrellas. Add some slot machines. Now you're picturing it.

The rain was around it's peak when we arrived. I grazed at the salad bar. I felt odd for having biked to a truck stop motel to sleep. I kept having those weird, oh-that's-right,-i'm-in-europe flashes.

This morning, we biked to the tourist office in the town. But they were sold out of maps. And the sole book store only had maps for another specific route. Truthfully, the signs from last night had been much more spotty than usual. If the whole island was like that, we would spend a lot of time very lost. Even my gps didn't have adequately detailed maps.

Rather than bike the whole day to other tourist office of just taking regular roads when we lost our way or employing any other non-mechanized solution- we rode the train the last 100k to copenhagen.

So we got in two days earlier than otherwise.

Which actually sucks because there aren't many hotel rooms free over the weekend. The tourist office here said that the cheapest they could get me for one night was a 4 star. It's fancy.

The lobby has real paintings in it. Of danish scenery and the royal family. The rest of the hotel just has the same 3 prints over and over and over again. One is of some women singng around a piano. One is a girl combing her hair. One is a scene in copenhagen. They are in my room. They are in the hallway. They are in the stairwell. They are everywhere.

I think a star should be removed for crimes against art and decorating. Who do i contact?

We got dinner and then looked at an outdoor exhibition about design. Somebody in croatia has made the portable wind turbine that i was dreaming of. The way to charge my cell overnight while camping. Hopefully, i can contact the creators and get one.

Came back to the hotel and searched an official bed and breakfast website. Why no advanced search? My online booking for tommorrow night seems dubious at best. Maybe we'll have to camp again.

Ok, so i'm bummed that we didn't bike the whole way, but the last few days have been sub-optimal and i'm excited to be finally here. Nicole wants to get a viking tatoo. Maybe i will too. i need sleeves if i do more bass gigging in san francisco ever again.

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