Missed photos

Photos that missed going with their original blog posts:

Day 28: Zwollee to Meppen (25 June)

The barn had an interesting thatched pattern on the wall that I haven’t seen before.
IMG_5415.jpgWe saw the first Storks of the trip just after the border, and another few km further a baby birth announcement, with two storks and clothes on a line and the name Simon.IMG_5445.jpg

Just after this we came to a field with three horses, each with a foal. I was talking to Rhonda and the foals were much younger than I had thought, the one in the paddock closest to us was only 1-2 weeks. IMG_5436

Day 29: Meppen to Bremen

Once again mostly on bike paths and fields of corn, potatoes and barley with a back drop of windmills pretty much the view all day.IMG_5449

Matjes Herring, Fresh from the Barrel

Day 33: Sakskobing to Copenhagen

At breakfast I took a couple of photos of the riders in their 2018 Pub Ride riding top.

We are all wearing the 2018 Pub Ride shirt we got given last night, it is tradition to wear it on the last riding day of a trip.

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Left to Right: Rhonda, Judy, Tim, Blythe, Shirley and Dan

Breakfast on last ride day, Hanns Fellenz and Chris Selenz

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Denmark to NZ: 4-6 July 2018

We had breakfast with Michele and Tony then time to say goodbye. Have really enjoyed their company on this ride.

We had booked a taxi van the day before due to our bike boxes not fitting in normal sized taxis. After waiting for 15 minutes we asked at reception, they said not to worry it was busy but should be here soon. After another ten minutes we asked them to actually check with the taxi company.

Turns out for some reason the booking hadn’t gone through and it is a public holiday today and there are cruise boats in town and there are no taxi vans available!! Luckily we had allowed an extra hour above what we thought would be needed. We asked reception to ring for two taxi station wagons. One arrived pretty quickly and we decided that as I would get it as I had to get back as my grandson Jasper is having his second birthday party on Sunday, and my daughter Lizzy is due to have a baby.

The traffic was awful and I started to worry that I wouldn’t make it to the airport in time. It took 15 minutes to get through two streets, thankfully after this the traffic cleared. When I got to the airport I rang Brett and his taxi hadn’t even arrived.

I joined a very long queue and slowly made my way forward. Luckily another taxi station wagon from another company arrived at the hotel dropping someone off and Brett was able to grab that. Also lucky that the traffic jam had cleared and he also got to the airport on time. Also Brett has gold flyer status with Qantas (which applies to Emirates as well) so he was able to go pretty much straight up to the check in counter without having to queue.

The horror of long haul flying begins. The first leg was Copenhagen to Dubai.  As Brett and I had not checked in together we were not allocated seats together. I asked if we could be, but if I moved I would not have been able to have an aisle seat so I stayed with what I had been allocated. I get up and down at least once an hour, so for the sake of my fellow passengers I always request to be seated in the aisle.

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Made it to the flight on time, phew! 

There was an 8 hour stop over between flights so we had booked a room in the Dubai hotel. When we got there we were told we had been upgraded to a suite – very fancy – sadly no time to enjoy it. I went to sleep pretty much straight away but woke up at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I went out and sat in the massage chair for 15 minutes then managed to go back to sleep again.

With the time getting to the hotel and having to be at the starting gate 45 minutes before boarding we were only in the room for 6 hours but it was totally worth it. Also we were in the terminal the flight went from and it was only a matter of catching the lift down.

The second leg was 16 hours, Dubai to Sydney, via Bangkok with an hour at Bangkok airport. The leg from Dubai to Bangkok the plane was full. We had to get off the plane at Bangkok, but it was good to be able to walk around. The plane from Bangkok to Sydney was not full. I was in a row with two other people and a couple of rows up there were 4 seats with one passenger at the other end. As soon as the announcement for “cabin crews to close the door” I leapt out of my seat into the other end of the row. I would like to saying having two seats meant I slept, I didn’t, but certainly had a more comfortable flight.

At Sydney I had to say goodbye to Brett 😟 and go through yet another security check and yet another boarding gate. While waiting to board my daughter Lizzy text to say she was possibly in labour. The flight was delayed but we made good time and arrived in NZ only 10 minutes late.

Over the four for flights I watched a number of movies
1. Una (wouldn’t recommend)
2. The Commuter (pretty good)
3. The 15:17 to Paris – based on an true story about four men who thwarted a terrorist attack (reasonable )
4. The Music of Silence – based on the extraordinary true story of Andrea Bocelli (well worth watching)
5. Lady Bird – coming of age tale (ok)

I tried to watch two different movies on the flight to Wellington but both times 20 minutes into to them the sound went off. The first time I thought it must be the movie, the second time I decided it was a problem with the terminal so I gave up.

I got off the plane pretty quickly and got to the luggage carousel. My daughter Lizzy was heading to the hospital and I wanted to get there as quickly as possible. My bike box turned up at the oversize luggage, but it had been opened and I couldn’t lift it without the box falling apart. It’s unlikely to have been Customs as they leave a note to say they have opened it and they re-tape it. By the time I got it onto a trolley and realised my bag hadn’t arrived I was behind 3 other people at the counter wanting to report a missing bag.

After waiting 20 minutes in the queue for the three people in front of me to be served, I was irritated by the man in front of me who had had all his paper work completed but was telling the man behind the counter for the third time how inconvenient it was not to have his bag, and the man behind the counter saying again “yes it was, sorry, but there was nothing more he could at this time”. So when the passenger started complaining for the fourth time I interrupted him and said I was sorry about his bag but could he appreciate also how I inconvenienced I was by not having my bag and I would appreciate being able to fill in the paperwork, as am sure would the people in the queue behind me, at which point he finally left.

Finally the paper work was filled out, and I was free to go one – benefit at least was there was no queue getting through Customs so I was finally on my way.

My daughter Tracey had come to get me, so picked me up and dropped me off straight away at the hospital. I got there at 4:13 and at 5:31 my newest grandchild Poppy Kaye was born. Lizzy and Poppy were both well (and are still doing really well).

Thankfully my bag did arrive 2 days later, all safe and intact.

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Dry fields as we left Denmark.

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Day 35: Second rest day in Copenhagen

Slept better last night although I was woken by a delivery truck about 5am but managed to get back to sleep until about 7am.

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View from our room

Once again beautiful weather and a great breakfast. After breakfast we were off sight-seeing again.

First off we walked to the Church of our Saviour. We had been told it gets really busy so wanted to get there early. No matter where you are in Copenhagen you can see the spiral staircase up into the sky.

The Church of our Saviour appears in a chapter of the novel by Jules Verne’s “A journey to the centre of the earth”. The character Axel is made by his Uncle to spend 5 consecutive days climbing up and down the spiral to cure him of acrophobia before his descent into the volcano. I can understand as climbing up the stairs didn’t worry me at all, but I wasn’t too happy once we got to the spiral staircase out side, the steps are narrow and you only have a waist high narrow fence.

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Stair case on the way up

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Coming back down the spire stairway

Great views and interesting seeing the church bells from inside.

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View from Our Saviours Church spire looking towards Hotel Strand.

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One of the larger bells in the spire

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Smaller bells

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The spire dome

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Inside the spire

Just past the church is Freetown Christiania which has been under self government since 1971. Freetown Christiania is an international community and commune set over 84 acres (34 hectares) with 850 to 1000 residents.

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Christiana has been a source of controversy since it opened and was briefly closed by the government in 2004 but soon reopened. Squatters took over the former Amy military barracks after the military moved out. As the abandoned area was only watched by a couple of watchmen, homeless and squatters moved in. In addition people from the neighboring areas started taking the fences down so their children could play in the ground.

It was very interesting walking around, there were art and craft stalls, vegetarian café, and other coffee shops.

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There was a strong smell of marijuana. When we first walked through we didn’t see any, but after we had walked around a bit on our way out we went through Green Square. In my naivety I thought green square on the map would relate to recycling but actually it is where marijuana leaves, single packets, and hash powder is sold. Quite openly there were about 7 tables set up with a good flow of customers.

I had a photo taken of me at a mock table with a hoodie and mock supplies in front of me.

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The police are aware this happens but are turning a blind eye so long as it stays in Christiania. There is a big sign on the way out alerting you that you are now re entering the EU. Not surprising there are no photos allowed in green square apart from the mock table.

We left Christiana about 15 minutes before the church bells were going to ring so we stopped at an ice cream shop and had an ice cream each, sitting in the chairs out front. I had heard the liquorice ice cream was really good so I had a scoop of that and a scoop of blood orange. I enjoyed both but the blood orange was my favourite.

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Wire strung street lights in Copenhagen

We walked back to the hotel and then walked along the canal down to where the Little Mermaid is, so we could get a picture of the front as well as the photo from the back we took on the cruise yesterday. On the way there we went past a swan and five signets pruning themselves in the sun. As we got closer on the path the mother fanned out her wings and hissed at us to warn us not to come any closer.

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The Little Mermaid was surrounded by hordes of tourists all jostling to get a photo but after a few minutes we managed to get a clear shot of her without other tourists in it.

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While we were there, 3 hop on hop cruises arrived (which we should probably have got yesterday, ours was no stops) plus about 4 hop on hop off buses, all disgorging a steady stream of tourists heading towards the Little Mermaid. The Lonely Planet says a lot of tourists are disappointed as they are expecting a statue on the scale of the Statue of Liberty, not a statue smaller in size than the average person.

We walked back to the Cafe Toldpoden on the wharf, and had fish, chips and salad and a cold beer for lunch. We stopped and took a photo of a statue of a man made entirely of recycled parts.

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The sun was very hot today especially as there was no wind. I managed to get sunburnt as forgot to put any sunscreen on my neck, I look a bit like a turkey.

Once again there are numerous people out enjoying the sun, sunbathing and swimming all along the canals. Along the Nyhavn canal area there were a lot of very expensive looking boats and yachts lining the canal.

We walked back to the hotel and sorted out the bags for tomorrow, then it was time to meet Arnar for dinner. Arnar locumed in Wellington for 9 months last year and said to be sure to look him up when I was in Copenhagen. We went to the Restaurant Galionen, 5 minutes away from the hotel in the Nyhavn. It was a lovely restaurant. Arnar had booked so we had a great table inside, right by the window looking onto to the canal outside.

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Restaurant Galionen in the middle

I had fish soup and the Salmon which was lovely. We all had cheese to finish which was delicious, so lovely and soft. Was great to catch up with Arnar and ask him some questions about Denmark. Arnar was very interested in the miniature railway in Hamberg as it is only 3 hours drive away and he is going to take his two daughters there.IMG_5928

Lovely stroll back to the hotel, still daylight and warm at 11 pm at night. IMG_5929

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Day 34: First rest day in Copenhagen (2nd July)

With the opportunity to sleep in, of course I was wide awake at 530am! Lots of street sounds from below, as we have the windows open as no air conditioning. It’s another beautiful day, expected temperature to be about 28 degrees and very little wind.

I spent a bit of time catching up on emails and info for my blog, and a messenger call with my daughter Kelly.

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Our room at the Hotel Strand

Then downstairs for breakfast. I love the Danish food, once again delicious cheese and bread, plus a really nice ginger drink – and to make my breakfast complete lots of English breakfast tea, big tea cups, and milk.

After breakfast I did a bit on the blog, and sorted out what needed to be washed and what can wait until I get home.

We then went out to have a look around the town, we wanted to find a ATM and the LEGO shop.

The LEGO shop was much smaller than expected but was still pretty interesting, and I bought a couple of boxes. I also bought a painting which I liked off a street artist who was selling his wares in the square ($90 NZ).

We then went for a Canal cruise around the canals of the city. It was really interesting but I was struggling to stay awake.

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On board the Canal Tour

We went past the Amager Incinerator, an interesting shaped building which is part of Denmark’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2025. This plant burns household rubbish and turns it into heat for 160,000 houses and electricity for 62,500. Plus it has been built in such a way it has an all year ski slope and climbing wall down the sides that will be operational by the end of 2018. How cool is that.

The tour guide pointed out a bungy jump from a crane, and supposedly a free jump if you jump nude. I say supposedly as I couldn’t see anything about this on the website.

There were lots of people sunbathing on wharfs and along the canals, and slipping into the water when too hot, for a swim. Apparently this is unusually hot weather for Denmark, and last summer it rained all summer so the locals are making the most of it.IMG_5817We went past the navy area and then past the George Stage sailing ship with 3 masts. In Denmark children go to the same school from 6 to 16 years old and then go to Gymnasium from 16 to 19, which is like our secondary senior school. If Danish school leavers don’t want to go to University or into trade they can apply to go on this ship for 6 months, and provided all goes well they are then admitted into training in the navy.IMG_5822So the teenagers in the trucks yesterday – this is part of the graduation from Gymnasium celebrations. The student wear a peaked cap to show they have graduated. There is a lot of pride associated with this and they can be seen for a month or two afterwards still wearing them in public. The celebration in the truck can last for hours as they go to each classmates home for food supplied by the parents.

We also got to see the Copenhagen iconic Little Mermaid, but from the cruise ship it was her back only, will have to walk along the wharf to get the picture from the front.IMG_5825

We also got a great view of the Stock exchange building. Then back to the hotel time for a quick nap before going out for dinner.IMG_5812

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We met up with Tony and Michele at the hotel at 6pm and went along the wharf. We stopped at a bar on a boat called The Tipsy Mermaid and had a beer. We talked to two of the other people at the bar – one called Camille who was from Brazil and had lived in Denmark for 5 years, and Marc who was from France and has been there for two years. They were both very friendly and gave us a few tips on where to go.

Denmark is such a bike culture that Christina* had biked 6 km to meet Marc and he had biked the 800 metres from his place. It was really nice siting on the boat on a lovely summer evening, hard to believe that in 4 days I will be back in Wellington and it is winter.

We were going to go along the wharf for dinner but Camille and Mark* recommended a couple of places in the town so we decided to walk in. (*Editor’s note: I’m not sure if Christina is the same person as Camille, and if Mark is the same as Marc . . . )

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Camilla onboard the “Tipsy Mermaid”

We went past a statue of the World’s Tallest Man and I took a photo of Tony and Brett to compare. The World’s Tallest Man was Robert Wadlow, born 1918 and died in 1940 at just 22 years of age. Robert was 8 ft 11. inches tall or 2.72 metres and weighed 220 kg.IMG_5838

We also saw a street busker who had made two sand dogs, they were pretty impressive.IMG_5844We found when we arrived at the Mikkeller Pub, which was a Mike Coo recommended as well, that they didn’t serve food. They did have some some interesting brewed beer so we had a small glass each. There were two bar staff, an Irish girl who was quite friendly and a guy who was in the wrong job. We asked him where he would recommend for food and he was like “Well what do you want Asian?”

We ended up going to a place called Warpigs, that also brews its own beer and some of the beer for the Mikkeller bar as well, plus it was five minute walk away and we were getting quite hungry.

Interesting place – not fine dining but clearly very popular, everything apart from pork shoulder had sold out. We decided to stay there and eat. I wasn’t keen on eating the pork but they did have some really delicious bread called hush puppies, they were like deep fried corn bread with a yummy spicy paste which you spread on them once you had cut them open. They were great! However I had expected there would be one each but instead there was a box each with, about 5 of them. The servings were large and we decided to take the left over pork and hush puppies in case we saw a hungry dog.

By the time we were walking home it was nearly 11pm and still warm and light. We didn’t see any dogs on the way home, but we did bump into some TDA staff sitting outside by the canal who were happy to have the pork and hush puppies donated.

Making friends with a local: 

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Day 33: Sakskobing to Copenhagen – 1st of July

125.5 km today with some climbing and a headwind.

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Last day of riding today

Breakfast was amazing, lovely bread and really soft tasty cheese. There was also a porridge that was made from bread and beer, I tried it – it had the consistency of porridge but it was brown and quite strong tasting, I only ate a couple of mouthfuls. At breakfast I took a couple of photos of the riders in their 2018 Pub Ride riding top.

It is nice and warm but there is a bit of a head wind. All the riders who were calling into see Klaus and his wife Helle rode together to the point where we were meeting him, just past a big bridge a kilometre from his house. I forgot to charge my Garmin last night so have no idea how fast we are going or how many kms.

On the way we were passed by a team of men cyclists who had just set off from Copenhagen this morning to ride from Denmark to Paris, to raise funds for Child Cancer Foundations, this is an annual race. They ride an average of 200 km a day, for 6 days. They had a team car in front and back, and were all wearing sparking new yellow riding outfits. They waved and smiled as they went past. They are team Rynkeby, the largest charity cycling team in Europe. This year there will be 48 teams over 7 countries and 1,900 riders. The Ride finishes on the 7th of July in Paris. In 2016 this ride raised over €8,800,000. IMG_5939

Just before we met Klaus in Vordingborg we went over a bridge from one Island to the next this bridge was 4 km long and was built 1935 -37. It’s the longest bridge I have ever cycled over.

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Photo credit: Michele’s Facebook page

 
We had coffee and a Danish at Klaus and Helles place. The Danish was delicious, nothing like any Danish I have ever tasted back in NZ.

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From left to right – Gregg, Dan, Klaus and his wife Helli, Shirley, Tony, Michele

Greg did part of the South American ride,  Dan did most of it, Shirley is his wife. Klaus did all of the ride and was one of 7 who rode every single kilometer (EFI – every fucking inch)  – his wife Helli rides to and from work and the shops, but has no interest in riding long distance.

After the coffee and Danish we were riding as a group to lunch at 72 km. At least that was the plan. I had forgotten what a riding machine Klaus is, and after about 8 km going up a hill I was dropped, and never caught up again. Brett waited for me up the top of the hill, and by lunch only Michele had managed to stay with Klaus.

After lunch Klaus turned round to ride back home. It was great to see him and will certainly catch up with him if I am here again. There are 406 islands in Denmark and we are only seeing 3 islands.

There are still lots of thatched roofs here but they have wood along the top. Just before lunch we saw a big old house with a thatched roof with the wood up the top that was built in 1825. Things have changed a lot since it was built – it was probably farm area, now it is quite a built up area, complete with supermarket across the road.IMG_5773After lunch we still had the headwinds but only a couple of small hills, but it was getting very hot – up to 28 degrees. At 20 km before Copenhagen we stopped at a beach. Even with the wind a number of the locals were swimming and picnicking.IMG_5776From about 30 km from Copenhagen we had trucks playing loud music, filled with young people wearing white peaked hats and some wearing sailor type uniforms, coming past us tooting and waving to everyone. They were drinking and leaning out of the trucks but they seemed very friendly. We weren’t sure if it was a protest or possibly gay pride parade, will certainly be googling. IMG_5777IMG_5778Getting into Copenhagen was pretty straight forward as there were bike paths the whole way. The traffic light sequence was a bit annoying for a few km as you would stop at one and by the time you got to the next that would red. I was starting to think that this would be another long drawn out process but thankfully a couple of km later we were done with lights for awhile.

The only other problem getting to the hotel was watching out for train and tram tracks, plus not long before the hotel the notes said go left at the bronze horse statue, but there was another bronze horse statue 300 metres away – that was the correct one. Easily sorted and we arrived in front of the hotel, 2620 km later and 2018 Pub Ride is over.

Esther was over the road with bubbles, we went over and had a glass and spoke to a couple of the other riders. Miles from TDA head office was there as well. Was great to have a catch up with Miles, he was the chef on the 2012 Trans Europa ride – Russia to Portugal.

For those of you who have been reading my blogs for a long time you may recall Miles was badly bitten by a dog early on in the ride, at a camp that was then renamed Dog Bite Camp and had to leave us for a week till he could resume cooking. Miles has come from Turkey where his wife was born and his in-laws still live, and is going to drive one of the trucks back to Slovenia.

The Trans Europa has been changed this year from Helsinki because of the issues riders have getting a VISA to Russia. You can only apply 90 days before, and you have to list the name of every place you are staying and when. When I did it my application was declined initially and I was worried I would run out of time, and numerous other riders have had issues.

One of the riders Dean had a nasty fall hitting the kerb the wrong way 20 km before the end of the ride, and his face is all grazed and he needed a number of stitches. Luckily one of the other riders Gordon is an ED Doctor from Canada and had bought his first aid kit which included suture material. It looks pretty uncomfortable.

Michele also came off her bike hitting a kerb on the wrong angle yesterday about 300 metres from the hotel. Overall thankfully injuries have been limited this trip to grazes, bruises (tandem rider Greg) and cracked ribs (Bob who left in London).

We are staying at the hotel Strand by a canal. We have a lovely room because we upgraded tonight so we can stay in the room, we have booked for the next two nights. It’s very spacious and has two big windows looking out onto to the canal.IMG_5847Next step is getting the bikes packed up, Brett very kindly did his as well as mine 😀. We have a small entrance way area into the room which is perfect for two bike boxes.

Initially the plan was to meet in the hotel lobby at 7pm and walk together for the “End of tour dinner” to a restaurant in town. This was changed to 6:30pm to meet down stairs and have a group photo over the road. Michele and Tony weren’t there and we tried to get Gergo and Eszter to wait to take the photo. We had rung them and they had said they were on their way down. Unfortunately Esther and Gergo chose not to. Michele and Tony were understandably a bit upset, especially as the change in time hadn’t been communicated to them as they got to the hotel before the change was made on the whiteboard. Frustrating haven ridden 5 weeks not to get into the group finished photo.Image-3-768x581.jpgDinner was at Bar Jakobson at Illum rooftop. We were in an enclosed area, covered in glass which was initially a bit hot and the sun was in a few people’s eyes. A couple of riders quickly cottoned on to moving the big pot plants as required as the sun moved.

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Photo credit from the TDA Website

We sat with Rhonda, Miles, Shirley, Dan, Michele and Tony. We didn’t end up having any wine as two Jacobsen beers came with the meal. The starter was a range of platters with bread, cheese, gherkins, pate and cured meat. The vegans and vegetarians had their own platters full of delicious options, and the other platters were shared. There was plenty to go round.

The main was a cheese and parsley sauce, pork crackling, fried pork chops, all served on large platters. The pork was very hard and dry looking, and I was not keen. I was looking with food envy at  Rhonda’s salmon and vegetables (Rhonda doesn’t eat pork). Luckily there was an extra salmon that was being sent back to the kitchen, and I managed to get a Gergo’s attention and say I would have it. Dessert was coffee and chocolate buttons.

Some of the riders are heading off to other places now the ride is over. Rhonda is heading off in a couple of days to Iceland for a few days, Joe and Dean are going on a cruise, Judy and Tim are going a cruise that revisits a number of the places that we have been on this trip.

After dinner we spent a while saying goodbye to riders leaving the next morning, and then a group of us (Bruce, Becky, Tim, Judy, Miles, Catalin, and Brad and his girlfriend who had just flown in to join him today) headed off into the town centre. We came across a bar called The Dubliner, which we thought having a drink here would be a fitting end to the ride as we started this ride in Dublin.

There was a soccer game on – Denmark playing against Croatia. There was lots of cheering and shouting, and also groaning – a very subdued crowd when the game ended 1:1 and Denmark are now out of the competition.

We were pretty tired so after a drink we headed back to the hotel. Yay sleep in tomorrow.

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From left to right – Tony, Michele, Bruce (Becky’s partner), Brad (TDA), me, Becky (did South American ride in 2017), Catalin (also TDA on last year’s Odyssey ride), Miles (was TDA on Trans Europa in 2012), Tim and Judy from NZ (were on last years Odyssey ride), Brett

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Day 32: Lütjenburg to Sakskøbing

Today was a pretty short day only 89 k and mostly flat.

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Awaiting Rider’s Meeting and breakfast before our last day in Germany.

To start off was fields, crops, and windmills, and a slightly up gradient.

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Photo shoot at strawberry farm

We came to the top of a hill at about 40 km and had a great view of the Baltic Sea.

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Our first view of the Baltic Sea

At 62.3 km we had lunch, followed by a 45 min ferry ride on the Prins Richard to Denmark.

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Last day in Germany, on bike lane to the ferry at Puttgarden.

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Last bridge in Germany before the ferry to Denmark.

 

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In the queue for the ferry at Puttgarden, to leave Germany

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On the MF Prins Richard for the crossing to Denmark.

While I was on the ferry I was interested to see a big area of many wind turbines that are right on the water rather than on the land. They are embedded into the sea bed. It is understandably a no go zone for ships and other water craft.

It was a lovely smooth crossing and very warm so we mostly sat outside on the deck. Dogs are also allowed up on the ferry, much nicer than them having to stay locked in the cars below.

 

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Made it! 

 

Once we docked we only had 27 km to ride to Sakskøbing Hotel in Sakskøbing where we are staying. We were there before 2pm and the rooms were not ready until 3, so we sat outside in the sun having a cold Jacobsen beer. IMG_5733There was a woman’s 100 km road race about to start at 3 pm in the afternoon. This was part of the National Championship road race series in Denmark (it stays light until about 1030 pm) and various riders were warming up. One was on a bike with a frame so she could ride it in one place. We were told she was the Dutch champion, she certainly looked very fit.

While we were sitting there a rider turned up in the 2015 TDA South American riding shirt. It was Klaus who rode the whole ride with us, and was one of 7 riders who rode the entire ride. It was lovely to see him. We got all the 2015 riders together and took a photo
Dan, Tony, Shirley, me, Gregg, Brett and Klaus.

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Reunion photo of riders from SAE 2025, top to bottom, Dan, Anthony, me, Michelle, Klauss, Brett, Shirley.

It was lovely to see him, we reminisced about the ride and caught up with news of the other riders etc. Klaus is going to ride from his home town 30 km up the road to the lunch stop with us tomorrow, and the 2015 South American rides are going to call in at his house for coffee and a Danish.

We didn’t notice the time and suddenly realised it was 5:40pm and dinner was at 6pm, so we raced off into the hotel to get checked in and showered.

We had dinner at the Sakskøbing Hotel which has a pretty good reputation.

There were some amazing salads, bread, cheeses and pork belly and pork cheek. The majority of riders were pretty happy, but the non pork eaters, vegetarians and vegans were not that well catered for as there were no vegetarian or vegan replacements offered. Chicken platters did arrive well into the meal but most people were full by this time. Overall though I thought the food was pretty good.

We all got given our Pub Ride 2018 riding top. I have not been very happy with my last three tops as they are very short in the torso which I don’t like. However this time I requested a mans top and it’s great. I was hoping that the person providing the tops wouldn’t think I had done this by accident and change it to a woman’s.

After dinner we went up the road to the Mike Coo pub of the day The Goose Bar but were quite tired so left after a red wine. However when we got back to hotel the TDA staff were playing the guitars on the roof top and we went up and joined them.

 

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From left to right – Gergo, Balazs with guitar, Catalin, Brad 

 

Gergo has a range of percussion instruments and he gave me one shaped like an egg and Brett a wooden serrated instrument that you run a stick over, and we were part of the band. I shook the egg enthusiastically but I am not sure how much in time with the beat I was, but was good fun.

 

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Day 32: Hamburg to Lütjenburg

110 k to Lütjenburg.

The first 10 km was a convoy, then 99km after that. Tim was still feeling very unwell and was riding in the truck today so Judy decided to ride with us.

It was quite hot and we had some hills today, but nothing really steep or long.

It was still very hot, looks like summer has finally arrived. The convoy ended being longer than 10km, as we ended up making a turn and riding off in the wrong direction. I was pretty sure we were going the wrong way, but as those who know me are aware I have an appalling sense of direction so I didn’t say anything. Thankfully this is the last convoy for the trip.

We went through fields of crops with windmills and rode through some nice woods. The bike path changed frequently from one side of the road to another. There is a trap with lights where you have two green lights for cyclists but the turn in lane is not on the green sequence it is actually red, but you don’t see this until you are right up to it and then the drivers don’t have to give way. Michele was nearly taken out by a truck. This has resulted in increased caution coming up to an intersection, despite the fact that the majority of the time the traffic gives way to bikes.

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During the afternoon passed alongside a popular lake area.

We stopped for a cup of tea at about 40 km, and I saw an interesting flower arrangement – two pairs of jeans with flowers in them. There were pots for the flowers to sit in inside. Good use of old jeans. (Editor’s note: is it though? really?)IMG_5685

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Lunch spot under the trees.

Just after lunch we saw some cows and calves, very cute twins with their big white stripe down the middle. We thought they were belted Galloway’s but possibly were Dutch lakenvelder (laken translates to sheet or drapery). I also saw the largest thatched house so far this trip. IMG_5688We went through a pretty town and also along some pretty lakes for a couple of km, then back to the bike paths and through crops fields and forests. The last 10 km was a bit of a shock – no bike path and along a very busy road with no shoulder. I was very relieved to get to Lütjenburg in one piece. Because this is quite a small place, half of the group was in one hotel and half were in another 500 metres away. We are having dinner at the same hotel though.

My Garmin seems to have fully recovered from whatever was the problem earlier in trip, and has gone all day again, maybe I won’t need to replace it after all.

The rooms are quite nice, bigger and cooler than Hamburg but still it’s a tiny shower. This is the only hotel that didn’t have a hairdryer. View from the window today was buildings.

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Square outside hotel in Lutjenburg

The dinner in the hotel restaurant was very nice. A bit of a slow start while they took drink orders, one person taking the whole groups orders took awhile, and we were thinking “oh no not another night like the smokehouse restaurant in Grimsby”. However once the drinks were sorted the salad came out quickly, followed by a nice white fish with potato and cheese sauce, and sorbet ice cream with kiwi fruit.

We hadn’t had a look around the town so went for a walk after dinner, not much to see. We ended up calling into the bar called Hummelklause (the only one) and talking to Gregg, a fellow TDA rider. IMG_5698Gregg is from the USA, this is his first TDA trip. I always come up with different names for various riders, sometimes adopted by the wider group. This Gregg is Gregg the 4th, as there are 4 Greggs on this trip. There are Tandem Gregg and Meerkat Gregg, he is called this because of the way he bobs up and down on his seat, frequently looking around. There is also Gergo (Gregg in Hungarian).

Gregg the 4th is retired, he had something to do with grain but sold out to the Chinese a couple of years ago. Gregg has a property he is doing up, surrounded by 40 acres where artists will be able to live up to 3 months rent free and concentrate on their art. Plus Gregg is planning a café/art selling place where people can come and have art lessons, buy art, or just buy coffee and food as they are passing through. IMG_5753I was interested to see that when you order a drink the bartender totals it up on the back of the drink coaster, and then when you pay he checks the back and totals it up. IMG_0070

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Day 31: Rest Day in Hamburg

I did not sleep very well last night it was very hot, plus as is common in Europe we have a big square pillow and a duvet with no sheets. This was worse than normal as the pillow and duvet were nylon and had a serrated pattern on them. Hot and sticky.

The hotel has two breakfast restaurants, of course with no directions we first of all went to the wrong one. Somehow we were meant to know. The restaurants were both done up like a wedding venue with white table clothes and covers over the chairs. I thought maybe the chairs were a bit old and worn, but they were actually pretty nice.

The lift is a bit weird, it has mirrors that multiply you in all directions, it made me feel a bit dizzy. Nothing of course to do with the birthday celebrations last night.IMG_5537After breakfast as always the washing. We found a laundry about a 5 minute walk from the hotel but we didn’t have any change so we went to an ATM and then to the bank to get change. Just along the road were 3 homeless guys sleeping and their dog keeping watch. I forgot to mention we did find a homeless couple and dog not far from the restaurant last night and they were happy to take the food.

Back to the laundry, all instructions in German, but we managed to get the washing machines going. There were photos of Jimmy Hendrix there. img_0066.jpgGordon and Karen turned up and they can both speak German, it turns out the laundry’s claim to fame is that in 1966 Jimmy Hendrix washed his jacket there.

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Gordon and Karen – Dr’s from Canada. This is their first TDA tour. Karen has signed up for the African tour next year

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Gregg and Sue at the laundry. They are tandem riders from USA, this is their first TDA tour

Also an interesting sign advising us to pickle our laundry. I spent the time at the laundry chatting plus a small amount on the blog. The dryer we put our clothes in wasn’t working so we wasted about 30 minutes and it was late morning by the time we got back to our hotel.img_0065.jpgAfter putting the clothes away we went round the corner to lunch at the Maredo restaurant. It was quite warm so we sat outside. I had a burger which was quite nice and a Brett had a chicken salad in a delicious looking bread roll. I had food envy until he told me it was dry.

Then a couple of hours catching up on emails and the blog until it was time to meet Michele and Tony to go to the Miniature Wonderland railway. IMG_5677It was fantastic, there are 930 trains; 21,500 figures; 8,850 cars and trucks; 13,000 meters of track; 3,660 buildings. The whole display over two floors is computer generated. All the cars and trucks and trains have brake lights and tail and head lights at night. There were mock ups of Venice, Las Vegas and numerous other places.IMG_5543The level of detail was truly amazing. In the houses would be people cooking, eating, watching TV. 36357104_10155329400045780_6384763911102529536_nEvery 30 minutes it would go dark for 5 minutes and the car, train, house lights etc would all come on.IMG_5542There was an airport with planes landing and taking off, taxiing to and from the hangers, getting fueled etc. There were fire engines going to fires and flames coming out of windows, and bike crashes with ambulances, but the best bit that I thought was really fantastic was the bikes would crash and then the ambulance would come and move them away. Same with the fire, it would be put out.

You truly did not know where to look, there were cruise ships, ski lifts, mountains etc. The trains pass each other and give way etc plus there are movie theatres with an up to date movie and theatre, and a concert. It was great, I would like to take my grandchildren there.36327420_10155329400060780_3732311165586374656_n

In town we saw an amazing church and glass building. The church was St Nicholas which is the 9th tallest church in the world.

The glass building is the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. This is one of the largest in the world and the most acoustically advanced. It’s popular nickname is The Elphi. Construction was due to be finished by 2010 at a cost of €241 million. It was finally finished October 2016! At a cost of €749 million. Just a bit of an over run.

Tony has not been to a beer hall in Germany, so we went to one called Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht and had a beer and dinner there. I didn’t enjoy it that much. I don’t really like German food, not keen on schnitzel or pork – I like the big bratwurst sausages but they weren’t on the menu. I ended up with sauerkraut, mashed potato, ham steak and a white sausage – not keen. I ate a bit of the potato and sauerkraut. Brett ate the ham steak and white sausage.

Then it was back to the hotel, another day riding tomorrow.

More pictures of the Miniature Wonderland:

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The control room

https://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/exchange/about/image-film-wonderland/

 

 

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Day 30: Bremen to Hamburg

122 k mostly flat with a few long 3 -4% gradient hills.

The day started with the usual crops and fields and windmills. We went past some really old houses, plus through a town with group statue of people.IMG_5486We stopped at a bakery and had a really nice custard and strawberry tart. Today it is really warm, summer at last!

We have had an on-going illnesses in our group for the whole trip. First it was a nasty cold making its way through the riders, about 15 out of 30 have caught it, including Michele, Tony and Brett. I have been taking zinc and vitamin C tablets the whole trip and so far have managed to avoid catching it. Now we have either a gastro or food poisoning bug making the rounds. I am feeling a bit clammy and nauseous which I was blaming on last nights herring, but then I discovered Blythe and Tim were also feeling unwell. It can’t be the meat at dinner last night either as Blythe is a vegetarian. Blythe is really unwell, feeling hot and cold and stopped at lunch and catches the truck in. I am not feeling that bad so continue. Tim also continued and with the long hot afternoon, he later wished he hadn’t.

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Some wildlife rescued off the bike path

The last 25 km into the city were difficult and the last 5 were a nightmare. The person flagging was clearly having a bad day as on the notes it would say turn left and the flagging would be the other way. Then there was flagging that didn’t match the notes at all. Luckily we had the GPS track of the ride to check we were going in the right direction. There was lots of traffic and lots of lights, so lots of starting and stopping. The last 25 km took over 2 hours.

We did go over one very pretty bike bridge (that would have originally been the road bridge), lots of people were fishing from the bridge and they had caught some pretty big fish.IMG_5496.jpgStaying at Hotel Commodore. The view today is an improvement – trees and sky, the hotel room however is not. It is very small and hot and stuffy, not great for a rest day but is centrally located. When the windows are open you can hear the traffic which is really loud, but when they are shut it is hot and stuffy and there is no aircon. We arrived hot and frazzled and the room did nothing to improve our moods. The shower was so small you could barely turn around in it.

Right across the road from the hotel is the Football stadium Millerntor with capacity of 30,000. When we rode in to the city, the Germany versus South Korea football game was on and was being displayed on the stadium screens to a capacity audience, with hundreds more milling around listening to the game outside the Stadium. There was lots of loud cheering.

When we had showered we went across the road to the St Pauli Football club rooms and pub to join Michele and Tony. The St Pauli Club is one of two in Hamburg. The atmosphere was subdued as Germany lost 0:2 to Korea in the final 10 minutes of the game. There was a barbecue selling German bratwurst sausages for 2 each, yum! We had two each washed down with a nice cold beer.36333950_10155327669570780_8383572799385501696_nBy this time having showered and eaten, our mood had improved considerably. Michele and Tony were talking to a local who turned out to be the Millerntor stadium manager Markus and after about 30 mins of chatting Markus asked if we would like to see the stadium. He gave us a tour of the stadium, including the changing rooms, the race (bit from changing room to stadium) and the grounds.

 

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St. Pauli Football Club. Players race coming out onto the stadium. 

36307354_10155327669610780_4735551530919264256_nUnder the stands is all work by local artists which is painted over every year and then the local artists are invited to come and repaint.

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Beneath the St. Pauli FC stadium, the annual renewal of artwork was underway

Markus also gave us a recommendation for a Portuguese restaurant called Churrascaria O Franco. After another beer we walked about 30 minutes to it. Luckily we managed to get a table as the place was pretty full. We had a fantastic mixed shared fish starter with sardines and salmon and prawns and some other nice white fish. We all ordered a main but I was pretty full following the starter and the bratwursts. We got our leftover food put into a takeout bag rather than let it go to waste as there are a few homeless here with dogs. While we were eating a busker with a guitar came around and played a few songs including happy birthday for Tony.

After dinner we went for a walk along the river Elbe and then stopped at a bar for a beer, it was a lovely warm evening and was fun sitting watching people going past. Then we walked back to the hotel.

Yay rest day tomorrow.

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On the Hamburg waterfront, along the River Elbe, catching the evening breeze.

 

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Day 29: Meppen to Bremen

129 km, pretty flat again and again not very warm. However no wind.

I was amused at breakfast once again we had candles, white table clothes and linen serviettes. How will I go back to bush camping and plastic plates/utensils (and no bush).

Once again mostly on bike paths and fields of corn, potatoes and barley with a back drop of windmills pretty much the view all day.

Saw an interesting sign on street to “beware of children”.  Children in German is kinder interestingly garten is German for garden, so kindergarten actually translates to “children garden”.IMG_5446We are staying in Bremen, which is where Becks Beer is brewed. The hotel room view today is another building. IMG_5479.jpg

We ate at a restaurant right by the hotel called the Sudtiroler Hiittee. The acoustics in the restaurant were shocking: low ceilings, all wood, and to make matters worse right by each table along one wall was a hole in the wall the size of a cupboard, that let all the noise in from the other side of the restaurant.

However the food was nice, to start was tomato soup, then a really nice steak with cheese potatoes and onion flakes on top, onions and potatoes. We wanted tap water but the waiter (owner?) said the water was no good to drink here. We found later the only issue with the water is it has a high PH. Of course he wanted us to drink bottled water so he could charge £4  for each bottle of water.IMG_5477After dinner we went to have a look around the town. Bremen has a very pretty town square.

There were a lot of beggars. I stopped to pat a wee dog who was sitting on what looked a homeless mans patch. I put some money in the tin for when he returned. He must have seen us going to the tin because he quickly appeared back.IMG_5454We had a look around the outside of Bremen Cathedral (St. Petri Dom zu Bremen), one of the biggest brick churches in Europe.IMG_5464We decided to stop at John Benton’s restaurant in the square, to listen to the busker playing the saxophone and have a cold beer.

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Busker and John Benton restaurant on the square

While I went to the toilet Brett spied a man sitting near him drinking what looked a nice beer, and when the waitperson came to take our order Brett said we would have two of what the man was having. Well, we didn’t get the beer but we did get two plates of cold marinated raw herring, covered in cheese sauce with a mound of fried potato and onion! (Which was of course what the man was eating).

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Brett and our plates of herring

We ordered a beer but by this stage the other man had gone, and we never found out what he was drinking. Germans in general love herrings, me not so keen, although to be fair it was not helped by the fact I was already full. The herring was cold, and although marinated it tasted raw and was covered by copious cheese sauce. IMG_5465

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Heading back to the hotel past the railway station around 10pm.
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