Day 49: June 6th, Gothenburg, Sweden to Brønden, Denmark
We got up very early, giving ourselves plenty of time to ride to the ferry dock. That didn’t stop me from freaking out when we hit construction and got turned around. We made it with 17 minutes to spare, and boarded with about eight other cycle tourers. The ferry between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn is pretty big, and sometimes the crossing can be a little rough. For us, it was sunny and smooth. I was stunned by the number of people I saw buying draft beer and drinking in the sun before the ship left port: it wasn’t even 10 a.m. Impressive.
We’d planned a short ride south along the coast to a campground, but with the free WiFi on the ferry, we looked at other options and decided to take a more direct route towards Aalborg (our planned 2nd night) taking Denmark’s National Cycle Route 3: The Ancient Road.
The docks in Frederikshavn were right by the Tourist Info building, so Deb ran in and got us a good map of the cycle route.
A word about National Cycle Routes. We’ve learned that a National Route does not mean that it is direct, or that the terrain will be suitable for loaded touring bicycles. In fact, whoever lays out these routes seems determined to get bikes off of roads with any cars at all. You’ll be happily rolling along a quiet highway with an excellent surface and a good, wide shoulder, and the route will suddenly turn you onto a muddy logging road with steep hills and loose gravel. It’s always a gamble, because the route often takes these annoying turns to get you to something fabulous: like an incredible view, or a cycle path next to a lake. Other times, it winds through the muck for 8 km and then you meet up with that nice road again, which has gone in a nice straight line for 3 km.
The Ancient Road Hærvejen basically follows the track used by medieval ox traders. I thought that meant it would wander around a lot to avoid hills. Nope.
It’s not that bad though, Denmark isn’t exactly mountainous. Denmark is windy though, and we got some of that on our first day back.
We stopped in Brønden, at something the locals call a “Nature Camp”. There are simple shelters and a covered place to eat. Also firepits and wood. There’s an outhouse, and there’s supposed to be a water tap. This place had a busted top, and a sign that read Vand (water) with a vague arrow, pointing at nothing in particular. We went on a water hunt through the nothing town, and found a tap at the soccer field.
We ate and got into our hobbity shelter just before the rain hit. We were very glad we weren’t in a tent like we’d planned, for we woke in the middle of the night to a serious downpour. The structure was small and simple, but it was water-tight. We really enjoyed our little taste of wild camping, and the fact that it was free was nice after the extravagance of Oslo.
Distance: 50 km (plus ferry between Sweden and Denmark)