Hello to all from Copenhagen, Denmark.
We understand from a few e-mails we received that our last message got cut off so we resent the message before we started this new one. Sorry but we must ensure you get to read all of the boring messages whether you like it or not.
Since we last wrote we have had a whirlwind time of it traveling between, Norway, Sweden then Denmark. All very similar but each different. There is one thing they have in common, that being expensive!!
Our stay in Oslo, Norway was very nice and we got the chance to do a little sightseeing before we headed off. The Viking ship museum was particularly good and the ferry ride added to the day. While we were in Oslo we stayed with the group in a hotel and were lucky to get a room for 2 thus did not have to share our limited space with other members of the trip. The hotel was well situated and within walking distance to most things, laundry (ugh) and Internet services included. While on the subject of laundry, this is the only time in our lives where we determine if we will wear clothes another day based on the odour emanating from the article, a true sight to behold everyone smelling a shirt before choosing to wash it or wear it, gives a whole new meaning to 'wash and wear'.
One of the biggest problems we had in Oslo was the fact the gear trucks containing our life's belongings were not made available for our day off. Why we were denied access to our personal belongings on our layover day was never made clear but there was indication that it was done to teach those going off route a lesson. I guess the lesson is to toe the party line or be punished. Those who did not get access took it upon themselves to open the closed vehicles and liberate the things they needed. Regrettably they got caught and were subjected to a screaming tantrum from one of the senior staff members.
Oslo to Halden, 128km's
Following a nice breakfast at the hotel it was off for a lovely ride through the Norwegian countryside. The ride out of town was reasonably uneventful save for the road construction then a long climb. The terrain for most of the day was nice rolling the type tandem riders get to enjoy.
The campground was a busy one as we are in the middle of high season. This makes for interesting and somewhat cramped accommodations. As we have been doing since Swaziland we chose a local B&B, which afforded us, a warm bed, hot showers and a place to wash clothes and get them dried. We returned for dinner, which was that wonderful ethnic dish the Norwegians are noted for, boiled rice covered with a brown sauce. The best part of the meal was the ice cream bars.
During dinner we had one of our usual communications sessions consisting of one of the organizers speaking loudly to those within ear shout. This was to inform us that as a result of failure to book ferries in advance, something those driving their own vehicles had done some time ago, we would not be taking the ferry two days hence as planned but would camp in Sweden then take the morning ferry. This would put us in Denmark at about 1:00PM after which we would have to ride 195km's. They would put on a bus sometime during the day where and when to be determined.
After dinner we strolled around an old fort before returning to our B&B for a restful nights sleep.
Halden Norway to Lysekll, Sweden, 120km's
Following a somewhat Spartan breakfast and dodging the wild driving antics of a TK&A frustrated employee it was off again for a pleasant ride along coastal highways. While one would think coastal meant flat this proved not to be the case and we got an excellent workout. The weather could not make up its mind what to do and our ride was punctuated with regular stops to either don or doff our rain gear. The drivers are very considerate and even the trucks took the time to ensure we were not blown off the road.
Arrived in camp to find out the campgrounds were spread out in two locations one in an off camber little patch of muddy grass the other a fair walk from everything including the toilets. We cannot tell a lie, we did find alternate accommodations and our only task was how to get out gear and selves to our home for the night. Unless we tell you otherwise, you can assume Mary and I will be seeking alternate accommodations from camping. Should we choose to camp, rest assured we will let you know. Mary is anxious to try her hand at setting up the tent and picking her way through a field of tent guy wires in the dark, in search of a remote toilet.
We had been conditioned for the last 24 hours to expect the worst in this town and the message on the daily information white board advised us that "not to be upset with the vendors as we were lucky to be fed, as there was a festival in town and we were a small group". Could one not assume that our meals had been arranged well in advance and as such we would be more surprised if we did not get fed, not the other way around? With this warning in mind and considering our accommodations were some ways away we opted to eat out.
The following morning we, along with Stephanie and Al Tarkington, decided we would go off route and drive and ferry to AerÝ a small island off the coast of Denmark. This meant we would have to miss the next couple of days riding and 195km marathon ride but we all felt it would be a worthwhile side trip.
The drive to AerÝ was long albeit it very interesting as we got to cross over a magnificent bridge, and through a tunnel opened some 22 days ago connecting Sweden with Copenhagen. This bridge/tunnel combination replaced a ferry crossing and for those of you who complain about spending a couple of dollars on a small bridge, consider the fact the cost for this crossing was in excess of $30 US. We arrived at the ferry crossing early and were able to get on an earlier ferry than we had prebooked and arrived on AerÝ around 6:00PM.
The following two days in AerÝ were to say the least spectacular. The weather was super, the roads and cycle paths plentiful, quiet and in great condition, the food the best we have had in sometime, the people super and the inn we stayed at quaint and very nice. We visited many old Lutheran churches, ancient burial sites and many other historical sights including a bottle museum with hundreds of ships in a bottle on display, Mary was happy to find one in her favorite bottle that being a coke bottle.
AerÝ to Copenhagen,
Much as we would have loved to remain on the island it was time to head off to meet up with the group and avail ourselves of the accommodations and meals we had paid Tim Kneeland and Associates for. Enroute we took a side detour to visit a Viking museum in Roskilde. This was excellent as the display depicted the ruins uncovered and restored from the bottom of a fjord and a film explained the painstaking efforts to uncover this find dating to 800 to 1000 AD.
Our arrival in Copenhagen went well until we arrived at our TK&A accommodations for the next two nights. The hotel chosen is called Cabinns. We think they named it that since the rooms look like and are the same size as cabins found onboard a small ocean going vessel. Their log says luxury accommodations at affordable prices; the Dane who coined this logo has a very sick sense of humor. What makes it even more interesting is fitting three people in a room at best designed for two, the pull down bunk and a single bed that makes into a small double. The toilet, shower, sink combined facility made for and interesting time; we have take a few pictures for our archives. Things were rather tense at check in. Once again no gear trucks on our layover day in Copenhagen, they were supposed to be moved to a different location due to parking space but lo and behold they are locked up sitting outside the hotel this morning.
Dinner was a reasonably long bus ride away and the one bus made numerous trips to shuttle people back and forth. The meal was of reasonable quality and the quantity was more than reasonable for those into quantity over quality mode.
Today we are doing our sightseeing things and are off to Sweden tomorrow. These next few days will be long ones and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain god's hold off and we are blessed with good weather.
Stay tuned for our next update, which should be coming to you from Stockholm, Sweden.
Dave & Mary