Just before Christmas, it was time to leave the family and start cycling again. Back to the camper, albeit with a big detour to Copenhagen. It had been quite comfortable there. Luckily it took only about 400 metres before adventure kicked in again. I found out my chain had cracks all over, and was about to break. Plus, it started snowing!
Instead of taking the proper cycling route, which would take us along the coast, we decided to drive straight, but slowly as to not strain the chain, to Rønda. There was supposed to be a bicycle repair shop, unless ... there wasn't. Fortunately, just as I finished taking out the worst link, someone in the street pointed us to a shop which wasn't on the map yet.
The chain got replaced with a stronger one and got some tea and cake as a bonus. Not a bad deal!
After that small bump, we were on our way again towards Aarhus, where we would take the ferry to Sjælland, Denmark's biggest island and home to Copenhagen. We took the ferry early and had a long day cycling the first part of the island, almost 60 km, which took us to another smaller ferry, from Røvig to Hundested, at the end of the day.
And then it really started snowing... We could just about keep cycling, even as the night fell. We drove through parks, and woods and along lakes. By the time we got to the next shelter, a combination of snow and mud had gathered under the mudgards and almost blocked our wheels.
The snow came down slowly but consistently and left a few centimeters of snow by the next morning. The surroundings were suddenly completely different and really beautiful and peaceful. We had to be more careful, of course. Slipping and falling were unavoidable, at least for one of us ;-).
By Christmas, we had arrived in Copenhagen. We tried to find a host for couch surfing, but that was, of course, a hopeless attempt and we ended up in a hostel with a room to ourselves. It was not the nicest setting, but we were glad to be able to spend the nights indoors during what were probably the coldest days of the trip.
For our Christmas dinner, we went to the Hard Rock café, one of the few places that were open that evening, and spent the night eating among the others without family closeby, listening to rock 'n roll Christmas songs.
It felt like most people had left the city at this time of year. And with covid, there were barely any visitors. Copenhagen was eerily quiet in some places. One of the advantages of travelling in winter.
We had our longest cycle day (yet) after leaving the capital, with around 75 kilometers to end up in Tølløse. It was a nice, "warm" sunny day and we did about 75 kilometers. This time around, we found a host, a small family with a 1-year-old and a dog, and we again spent the night indoors.
For New Year's Eve, we ended up on the island of Ærø by first taking a train to get to Fyn and then a ferry. We decided to be fancy and booked ourselves one of these modern shelters on the island of Ærø for a total sum of 10 DKK (or ~ € 1.4)! Just before we got there, we treated ourselves to a shower in the sports hall, only to be rained out an hour later.
We got to the shelter soaking wet, but it was still quite early in the afternoon. We had some snacks and something that resembled a three course meal. But then, we got cold and decided to tuck ourselves in, only to realise it was only 6 pm.
We eventually did manage to stay up until 00:00 and celebrate the start of the New Year. Together with all the Danes who were lighting all their fireworks in the distance. We figured out that they must love fireworks, as they had been lighting them from before Christmas until a couple of days after New Year.
Since the new year, the weather had turned a bit bad. It got windy and rained quite a lot. But we knew it was only a couple more days before we were back at the camper. We stayed our last night in a shelter in the woods near Kollund, just shy of the border, before saying goodbye to Denmark.
I have to admit that during the last stretch I got slightly more nervous with every passing kilometer. On the other hand, I realised I hadn't thought about something bad happening during most of the trip, and to our relief, Walter was still in the same place where we left him. Safe and sound.
Our experiment of cycling in a Nordic country during winter had proven successful. We cycled just over 1000 kilometers and managed to withstand the cold (mostly) and fix the mechanical problems we had on the road. We survived, the bikes survived, and we had our share of adventure.
And then it was time to discover more of Europe with the camper van...