Denmark 2003 (Part 2)
The next morning we got up, and headed over the SAS Radisson where we were going to meet our group. There were 24 of us total, mostly couples, a few families. Around 11AM, our guides showed up, Monica and Barbie. Monica was a petit blond young lady who lives in France and seemed like the kind of girl who would run marathons for fun. Nice, but not quite right, you know what I mean? Barbie had short spikey blond hair and had that whole riot grrrl thing going. But they were both awesome. They got the group on the bus and got us out of Copenhagen in very short order. I did manage to make it through their welcoming speech, but then I fell victim to my Tour Bus Narcolepsy. I did wake up when we crossed this HUGE bridge between Zealand (the island that Copenhagen’s on) and Funen. Just across the bridge on Funen is the townof Nyborg which was our first destination. After lunch (which involved a really cool cheese slicer!), we changed into our riding gear, had our safety lesson, and headed out on our first ride. Now before they let us go, they make sure that we have our maps, our water, and lots of little high calorie snacks (for energy!). The ride this afternoon was out to the Teacher’s Tree. We rode mainly on side roads or paved bike paths. There were a couple of times that we were on a main road, but never for very long. The countryside was very picturesque and we passed field after field of golden barley and wheat. How can you tell the difference? Well it was almost harvest time and you can tell the barley because their grains are so big and heavy that they are hung over next to the stalk. Get it. Hung over . . . barley? Yeah, I know. And we saw lots of barley. The trip to Teacher’s Tree was just over 10 miles. The tree is built on a hill and has a circular path that winds its way up the hill till you get to the tree. Sort of like a miniature towel of Babel. The biking was nice, not too difficult, and lots of fun. And 20 miles wasn’t bad for the first day. We made it back to the hotel earlier enough to shower and relax a bit before our first big group dinner. The hotel put out quite a spread and it was definitely nice to relax after a nice ride with some good food and some good beer. Oh, and you’ll notice a beer trend here soon.
The next day we got up, did the breakfast thing, and then got together at 9AM for our “route rap” which is when Monica and Barbie would go over the route and point out any hard to miss turns, points of interests, locations of decent toilets. All very important things. After loading up on snicky snacks, we headed out. Again the weather was gorgeous and the riding wasfantastic. We passed through various small little villages, many with amazing thatched roofs, and very well tended flower gardens. I guess the Danes don’t have that long of a growing season, so they really work their gardens, and it shows! We biked along golden fields of grain, through avenues of ancient trees, and past little ponds and streams along the country side. Most days there would be a mid morning stop, usually at a church where the sag van would be waiting with more water, snacks, etc. All of the churches have these very well groomed cemeteries and since the Danes spend so much time taking such good care of their family plots, all of the churches have really nice bathrooms! After a quick stop, it was back in the saddle enroute to Egeshov Slot (Egeshov Castle). The castle was very impressive and in very good condition. I wandered around it and it’s gardens for awhile. They also had two mazes, as well as a tree top canopy walk. I decided to do the tree top canopy walk and got behind some moron who was trying to get his dog to walk onthese metal swinging bridges between the trees. Afterwards, Monica and Barbie had set up an awesome picnic lunch and we chowed down. Biking can definitely get you hungry. The ride back to the hotel in Nyborg was great. The scenery continued to amaze me, so clean, so colorful. We also saw lots of windmills dotted around the countryside. And not the cute little dutch ones, but big mambo metals ones. Apparently wind power accounts for over 1/3 of their power needs. On the road approaching Nyborg, there were these two little blond girls who had a little juice stand. It was just too cute. So I stopped and bought a glass of grape juice for 2 kronen. It just seemed like the right thing to do. As we made our way through the town, Dad and I stopped so we could walk about Nyborg. Dad and I had a beer and then I did some shopping. I had brought all of these long sleeve shirts, sweaters, etc, and it was just hotter than the blazes. So I just had to pick up some summer clothes! We made it back to the hotel before most of the group, and then killed time in the bar before dinner. We had dinner at a small restaurant in town, but it was a long night and both Dad and I were ready for bed by the time we finally got back to the hotel around 11PM.