denmark 2003 (Part 3)
Day three and I’m not exactly psyched about getting on the bike again. About a month earlier, I had severely sprained my foot while rowing, so I didn’t get as much bike time as I would have liked. I’m in pretty good shape cardio wise, but I haven’t had the opportunity to work on my saddle muscles (if you know what I mean). I mention this off hand to Barbie and, voila!, she produces this extra gel pad seat cover to help make me seat more comfortable. Love her! After the route rap and our ration of sugar pills, we’re off. Today’s destination: Munkebo (pronounced monkey bo!). So we leave the charming little village of Nyborg and work our way north through the countryside. The weather is again just perfect. Rolling hills, beautiful fields of grain, tree lined streets and cute little bike paths. Just amazing. Our stop this morning is at Ladbyskibet, Denmark’s only real fossil of a Viking ship burial. Some farmer was our trying to plow his field and hit something and then figured out that he was hitting the fossilized remains of the Viking ship. The little museum that housed the remains was pretty cool and the fossils were in pretty good shape. After we left the museum, we headed to the sea side town of Kerteminde for lunch. We pulled into town and had pizza and some really good ice cream for lunch. After lunch, we hopped back onto the bikes and headed north again toward Viby Molle. Viby Molle is a big, old style, windmill. There really aren’t a lot of them in Denmark and it was very impressive. It was sitting alone on a big hill with all sorts of wildflowers around it. It was pretty cool. Well one of the great things about how Backroads organizes the trips is that they offer different route lengths depending on how you feel. Todays we had three options: the Vilby Molle route was 32 miles, the Kerteminde route was 25 miles, and then there was the Tour de Fyn’s Head route at 55 miles. According to the map, the Tour de Fyn’s Head went north along this spit of land all the way to the top (head!) of the island. I just imagined this amazingly beautiful coastline and thought I would give it a shot. Dad, being a bit wiser, decided to skip this option. So I headed off alone (the rest of the bikers were a bit behind me) toward’s Fyn’s Head. Well the route did follow the coastline for a bit. But the beach and water were on the other side of these little summer cottages that lined the road, blocking my view. I did see quite a few Danes out enjoying the sun. They really are sun worshipers, but some of them really should have had more clothes on, you know what I mean? After my brief time along the water, I turned inland where the route would take me riding the spine of a ridge that goes all the way up to Fyn’s Head. The ridge was not flat and I was definitely glad that I had brought my MP3 player with me and was jamming to some tunes as I made my way up these hills. I finally made it to Fyn’s Head and took the opportunity to walk a bit. It was rather windy and there were several families that flying kites. It really was pretty, but not the dramatic coastline I had imagined. After doing the requisite photo op, I met up with the rest of the bikers at the café at the end of the road and rested some. Then it was time to go back and head toward Munkebo. The remainder of the ride was good, but I was definitely looking forwardto a beer when I arrived in Munkebo. The hotel in Munkebo, like all of the hotels we stayed at, was very nice and we had another great meal that night. This is the type of adventure I like. A little work, but at the end of the day, a warm shower, a soft bed, a cold glass of beer, and a nice meal. This is living!
Day four and we are heading to Odense, one of the largest cities on Funen, and the name of one of the local beers. Now I have enjoyed the riding, but I feel like something is missing. Namely shopping. We really haven’t had a chance to do any shopping (which Dad is fine with), but I generally like to do some gift shopping while I’m on a trip. So I decide to ride in the van with Barbie to Odense so I can get a head start on some shopping while Dad does the morning ride. Odense is a larger town, but still very cute, with a nice little shopping stroget which I plan to check out. The first thing I do in Odense is go to the Hans Christian Anderson museum. HC, as he is locally known, was born in Odense and is obviously one of the most famous Danes in the world. All of this fairy tales of love and loss are basically stories about him. He was a very tall, like freakishly tall, man with a huge nose. Basically, he was the ugly duckling. And he died alone. Kind of sad really. After that up lifting stop, I hit the stroget. And while I usually don’t have a hard time shopping, I’m hitting the wall. There are some cool Danish kitchenwares withtheir sleek designs that I like, but between the exchange rate and all of the taxes in Denmark, they are not cheap. I just can’t buy a cool looking cheese slicer for $50, even if it is from Denmark (and it wasn’t even the one I had fallen in love with at Nyborg!) I do manage to find the internet café (Boomtown!) to check email and then it’s time to meet up with Dad for the afternoon ride. Today’s ride started on the east coast of Funen and ends on the west coast. But to get to the west coast, we have to ride through “the Funen Alps.” Okay, you’re thinking: Alps . . . Denmark? Well, true we aren’t talking a huge amount of elevation, the highest peak (Trebjerg Peak) come in at 128 meters, but it is very hilly. And I’m really not into hills. At all. So the afternoon ride is not a lot of fun. And it seems like even when you get a good downhill, it’s not nearly enough to get you up the next hill. And after awhile, I got bored with all of this. So when the option came to ride up Trebjerg Peak, I said, thanks, but no thanks. I biked down the hill (yea!) to our amazing hotel, Falsled Kro. Our room, nay suite, was in a refurbished stable. Our suite included a very nice sized living room, a bedroom, a small dining area, and this really huge bathroom. Falsled Kro is part of the Small Luxurious Hotels of the World chain, and that’s definitelyfitting. So while Dad was climbing up Trebjerg Peak, I was kicking back in the suite, getting cleaned up, and then headed across the street to the manor house and it’s courtyard where I was reading my book and sampling the local beer when Dad came in. Hmm, hills and sweat, or beer and book? I think I made the right decision. Dad got cleaned up and then joined me for a beverage as we waited for dinner. The restaurant at Falsled Kro had just won some huge European dining award and there were people from Germany who had come to Denmark to just have dinner! And it’s not like it’s just across the border, it’s quite a trip. Barbie told me that if Backroads hadn’t made their reservations last year that they wouldn’t have been able to get in this year. Needless to say, the meal was exquisite. And the dining room is in this glass enclosed room so we had just an amazing view, 360 degrees. Just too cool.