Hot in the City

Though of course it was great to be in an immense and comfortable bed, ours was not the blissful sleep anticipated. The heat remained into the night and though the windows opened wide and there was a fan in the apartment, we were at the front of the property, which overlooked a busy intersection, and the fan had a timer that could not be overridden. Sleep we did though, even though it was fitful. We were awake around 06.00, as our body clocks have become synchronised to this rhythm, and as we knew that the laundromat opened at this time, decided to get up and perform this task so that the rest of the day would be free for exploring.

We walked the 20 minutes to the laundromat, glad of the time out of the saddle, and were extremely impressed by the set up, as I had been concerned that we did not have many coins and it was too early to get change from any shops. However, the whole place was controlled from a central panel, where notes were accepted, detergent was dispensed and machine selected. It was so good, I took the time to leave a google review. We wondered around the immediate vicinity for the 45 minutes that it took for the wash cycle, making our way around the nearby dock area of the city. Laundry washed and dried, we returned to the apartment and had some breakfast, before once more setting out to see the sights of Lubeck.

On our initial foray whilst waiting for our washing, we had stumbled upon St Marien-Kirche, and had wondered at the construction of such a large building out of brick, which is not the best load bearing material. When we visited Lubeck Cathedral, we were able to learn about the history of why brick was used so widely here and indeed the considerable issues that such a building material presents, and the ongoing work to preserve these buildings.

Lubeck old town is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it is clear to see why, literally around every cobbled corner is yet another lovely historic building. Lubeck is also famous for marzipan, and the place to go for this and other sweet delights is Niederegger. Given it’s fame, this was busy, but we couldn’t resist purchasing a little treat to have later. We spent some time taking in Lubeck’s landmarks, but as the morning wore on the town became increasingly busy, so we sought out the quieter streets and meandered around the charming areas that are a little more off the beaten track. We found a little cafe, that was clearly one used by locals rather than tourists, and relaxed and watched the world go by for a little while.

By this time the afternoon had worn on, it was getting hot and sticky and we really just wanted to get back to our room and relax a while as we had another early start the next day, so needed to get our stuff sorted out first. Lunch and supper provisions bought, we left the bustle behind and had a lovely afternoon/evening.

After another hot night, the morning dawned and outside it was lovely and fresh. At 0600 we made our way out of Lubeck, travelling north along the coast, where though it was hot, the sea breezes kept us from overheating. We were making good time so stopped a while at the smart seaside town of Gromitz, before moving on to find our campsite at Dahme. The area set aside for tents, was lovely and secluded, with surrounding hedges, however it was a full 5 minutes walk to the ablution block, which at 03.00 in the morning I decided was just too far …

Usually, we have found that we have the tent area virtually to ourselves, however it was not long before first one, then another touring motorbike turned up and pitched their tents. On exchanging travel plans, they were obviously heading further afield than us, venturing well into Norway.

The campsite had its own private stretch of beach, and we took a wonder along it in the evening, commenting on the narrow tidal difference the Baltic has. It was only when consulting google maps for reference, that we realised that the neighbouring campsite was actually a nudist site, with their own beach, and when cycling past the next morning, we were very aware of the nature of the site, by a sight or two!

From Dahme we headed on toward Puttgarden to catch the ferry for Denmark. Before that though we had to cross the Fehmarn Sound Bridge, which would not normally be too much of an issue, but they are currently carrying out repair works to the bridge, meaning that the cycleway is not accessible, and a temporary lane has been demarked with low concrete blocks, which alarmingly was not continuous. This meant that we were in very close proximity to the traffic, including large lorries, coming the other way. Needless to say, we were very pleased to reach the end of that bridge and get on to quieter roads.

After stopping for coffee by a pond in a quaint village, we pushed on to Puttengarden, and found our way to the ticket office and then on to wait to board the next ferry. These Scandilines ferries run every half an hour so we did not have to wait long, though being cycles, we and the other few were the last on. It transpires that one of our fellow cycle passengers was heading from Lubeck to Copenhagen for the start of the Tour de France, which was due to start from the city this weekend. This threw us a little, as we had been vaguely aware that the Tour de France was commencing soon, but had not realised that we had timed it quite so badly. We decided therefore, that as we wanted to avoid the inevitable crowds that would accompany the event, we would just meander our way there and aim to arrive on the Monday.

Once we had disembarked following the 45 minute crossing, we found our way to the cycleway, which followed an old railway line practically from the port to our destination in Maribo. It was a lovely ride, punctuated by having to navigate the numerous gates, but we delighted in the fact that the signs for cycleways in Denmark are similar in design as the ones we have come to call ‘our little blue friends’ in the UK. We found our campsite in Maribo, which is clearly a popular destination as it abuts a lake where swimming and other water sports are allowed. Needless to say, the areas around the beach and jetty were busy, and we found ourselves one of areas set aside for tents which was very quiet, shifting the one picnic table close to us so that we could rest Talula on it. It was not long however before a family turned up and pitched their tent, the mother came over to chat, saying that she had come with her children last year and pitched in the spot that we were on. Before long, there arrived one after the other three more couples who were cycle touring. This was a first for us, as we were starting to think that cycle touring was a dying activity, as we had seen so few on this trip.

Giving some thought to the next few days, we decided that it would be prudent to remain in this campsite for the next couple of days. This would afford us a bit of respite from the travelling and daily making and breaking camp, and also as rain was forecast for the day after, we did not want to be pitching our tent in the rain as this would just be miserable. So the next day we explored what there was of Maribo (not a huge amount) on foot and then had a relaxing afternoon. The next day, the rain was forecast at around 13.00, so we thought we could manage an excursion in the morning, and our chatty neighbour had been enthusiastic in her recommendation of a place called Doddekalitten. We set off before 07.00, and made very quick progress of the 18 miles, reaching speeds of 22mph on the flat smooth roads, and unburdened by more than just our coffee and jackets.

I have to say, if you are in Denmark, then Doddekalitten is well worth a visit. It is an art installation that is still a work in progress, comprising of a circle of monoliths, most of which have carved heads by the artist Thomas Kadziola, and accompanying music which plays during daylight hours, by Wayne Siegel. The music though is digitally generated and not recorded in advance, but created continuously by a computer program which uses data for sunrise and sunset and tide etc to control and vary the music. It is quite an ethereal experience, standing on the central stone and feeling the music vibrate through you whilst surrounded by the huge faces. We were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves so could really enjoy and spend time experiencing it.

However, the sky was growing heavy so we headed back for Maribo to try and beat the rain. Best laid plans, alas were thwarted by the early arrival of initially light intermittent rain, but just as we got to the outskirts of Maribo it became torrential and by the time we reached the campsite, we were soaked through. We grabbed some dry clothes and bathroom accoutrements, made our way to the showers and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening ensconced in the site’s TV lounge. Very pleased that the site actually had this facility!

We retired to bed at around 2200 when the rain had abated but only temporarily, but looking forward to the forecast sun and blue sky in the morning. Tomorrow, we shall be on route once again, headed for Vordingborg and a exceptionally long bridge crossing along the way.

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