The 30+ hour bus journey from Tuzla, Bosnia to Copenhagen, Denmark was an extended one, nevertheless it was an gratifying journey throughout six European nations (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Denmark).
I used to be dumped by the bus firm at a distant cease simply exterior the Copenhagen metropolis heart. From there, I cycled throughout city, by among the metropolis’s most well-known vacationer websites, to a big campground positioned on town’s western edge – Bellahoj Tenting.
After my first night time within the campground, I spent my first full day in Copenhagen exploring town by bike. I visited “The Marble Church” (often known as “Marmorkirken”) and the Amalienborg Palace.
I cycled previous Frederiksborg Palace and thru a number of massive parks crammed with comfortable, blonde-haired households and fair-skinned sunbathers. Copenhagen wasn’t almost as crowded as I believed it is likely to be. It was way more informal than I imagined, and I preferred it general.
After a whole day of biking across the Copenhagen metropolis heart, I returned to the Bellahoj Tenting floor on the western fringe of town, and was shortly thereafter joined by a younger couple from Spain who had been additionally touring round Europe on their bicycles.
Pablo and Ana (of www.bikecanine.com and www.aninaanyway.com) had spent the final a number of months biking throughout Europe with their canine Hippie… and we determined that since we had been headed in the identical route, we’d cycle collectively from Copenhagen, Denmark up the Swedish coast towards Oslo, Norway. (That is the approximate route I ended up touring on my Scandinavian Vacation.)
I had been feeling a bit down (unmotivated to cycle throughout Scandinavia, maybe?) after I first arrived in Copenhagen, so having Pablo, Ana and Hippie be a part of me on the bike journey north towards Oslo was precisely the lift-me-up I wanted.
Biking out of Copenhagen, Denmark was extremely straightforward, as there have been tons of separated cycle paths to observe. One such path took us by a small nature reserve the place faculty youngsters had been enjoying exterior within the rain, catching frogs in nets, and studying in regards to the native surroundings.
After solely an hour or two of biking, we met up with a Spanish reader of the Bike Canine web site who simply occurred to stay within the space north of Copenhagen. We stopped in a elaborate espresso store and chatted, whereas ready for the rain to cease, and consuming the costliest sizzling chocolate I’ve ever had in my life ($12 USD). Denmark will not be low-cost!
After the rain stopped, we jumped again on our bicycles and began pedaling north towards Helsingor, Denmark, the place we deliberate to leap on a ferry boat and journey to close by Sweden earlier than dusk.
Fortunately, getting round in Denmark is as straightforward and as gratifying as everybody says it’s. The nation is flat, with bike paths main in each route, alongside close by each single street.
Just a few kilometers earlier than taking the ferry boat over to Sweden, we stopped at a small, idyllic seaside and performed for a second within the water with Hippie, whereas snapping images of each her and ourselves on a small close by pier.
After efficiently crossing from Denmark to Sweden on the native ferryboat, we cycled out of Helsingborg, Sweden and right into a small forest north of town, the place we pitched out tents, made a campfire, and did our greatest to remain dry from the falling rain.
It rained all morning the next day, so we stayed inside out tents till almost midday, and as quickly because the rain stopped, we packed up our issues and started biking north.
The night time of our first full day in Sweden we spent camped out in a big forest close to town of Bastad, Sweden. This was in all probability our greatest campsite that we had throughout our time in Sweden collectively. Pablo and Ana cooked us all a scrumptious vegetarian meal, and we sat beside a big campfire because the solar set by the forest of bushes surrounding our campsite.
I used to be comfortable to be in Sweden (as I had been wanting ahead to seeing the nation for fairly someday), however I used to be much more comfortable to have such nice firm. Pablo and Ana had been a pleasure to be round… and touring with Hippie positive made our biking journey that rather more gratifying.
One of many issues I preferred most about touring with Pablo and Ana was that they moved slowly (and I imply that in the very best manner). They weren’t in an enormous rush to get anyplace… and it gave us all the power to really benefit from the locations we had been passing by.
My first impressions of Sweden: A number of retirees driving grey Volvo station wagons by flat, rolling, quiet farmland. It appeared as if there have been hardly any younger individuals in Sweden… and one out of each three vehicles on the street was a Volvo. One out of each two vehicles was a station wagon!
Bicycle touring with a canine in tow was a singular expertise. When Pablo and Ana and I might strategy individuals on our fully-loaded bicycles, we’d at first be greeted with suspicious appears to be like. However as quickly as individuals would see Hippie (the canine) driving within the basket on the again of Pablo’s bicycle, they’d smile huge smiles, snort and generally even cease to ask us about our travels.
Whereas the climate in Sweden was usually very chilly and windy, we did expertise one or two lovely days of summertime biking within the nation. Sweden appeared like an virtually totally completely different place (a significantly better place, in my view) when the solar was out and the sky was blue.
Ana was a robust traveler and I actually loved speaking to her about right here life – each earlier than and throughout the bike tour she was on. She and Pablo met in a bar the place she used to work, and he had in some way satisfied her that she ought to come on a bicycle journey with him. Whereas many ladies would contemplate doing such a factor to be out of the query, Ana appeared extremely proud of the choice she had made. She wasn’t wanting again. As a substitute, she seemed to be wanting ahead to regardless of the future would possibly maintain.
Pablo’s Surly Huge Dummy touring bicycle was so loaded down with gear than every time he his even a brief hill, he’d inform Hippie to leap out of her basket on the again of his bicycle and run alongside. Doing this in most cases was not an enormous deal, however in high-traffic areas I personally feared for the security of each Hippie and Pablo. I discovered it wonderful to suppose that Pablo and Hippie had traveled this was to Sweden all the way in which from Spain!
Our fourth night time collectively, Pablo and Ana and I cooked an enormous Mexican burrito impressed dinner over a campfire within the woods. I had been telling Pablo and Ana how a lot I used to be lacking the Mexican meals I had grown up with again in California, in order that they determined that we must always strive cooking some Mexican meals that night time. The burritos tasted actually good, and I used to be grateful as soon as once more to have such nice individuals in my firm!
The next night time, now only a few kilometers south of Gothenburg, Sweden, Pablo, and Hippie and I found a small picket shelter located on the sting of a lake in a hillside neighborhood nature park. I used to be hesitant to camp right here at first (due to all of the walkers and runners going previous), however finally settled in and was comfortable to have made this lovely place my house for the night. We made one other massive campfire that night and loved sitting on an precise picnic desk whereas we ate our dinner.
Each night time, I’d pull out my laptop computer and have a look at the images I had taken from the day. I’d make any vital edits, add the images to my smartphone, after which put up the images I had taken to Bicycle Touring Professional’s varied social media channels. Pablo and Ana had been additionally energetic on their smartphones and iPad throughout our travels collectively… and it was good to be touring with individuals who understood my want for a high-quality Web connection.
Solely July 13, 2015, Pablo and Ana and I cycled a brief 15 kilometers or so into town heart of Gothenburg, Sweden. As soon as there, we navigated our approach to a tall condominium constructing, within which lived a good friend of Ana’s from Spain. Marga, her husband Bruno, and their new child Blanca welcomed us into their house.
We arrange camp contained in the neighborhood visitor/get together room of our hosts’ condominium constructing. As soon as there, we dried out our moist belongings, charged up our varied batteries, took a lot wanted showers, and washed all of our soiled garments.
Whereas Pablo, Ana, and Hippie and I had initially deliberate to cycle all the way in which from Copenhagen, Denmark to Oslo, Norway collectively, Pablo and Ana determined that they had been doing to remain in Gothenburg for some time longer (perhaps every week?) and that they’d meet up with another pals of theirs in Oslo in about two week’s time. I, nevertheless, wanted to get to Oslo by July twentieth in an effort to meet my good friend Eric Kiraly, who could be becoming a member of me on the subsequent leg of my Scandinavian bicycle touring journey. So, on the morning of July 14th, I packed up my issues and stated goodbye to my Spanish journey companions.
It was form of bizarre to be biking by myself once more. I felt bare and timid biking out of town all by myself. Nevertheless it didn’t take lengthy for me to get again into the zone – touring by myself, at my very own tempo, and doing as I please. My first day of solo biking in Sweden was a very good as soon as, regardless of the robust winds. I crossed a collection of small islands (Kallon, Almon, Almosund, and so forth.) after which spent the night camped out in a forest on one of many bigger islands within the space.
I pitched my tent on the far facet of an outdated stone wall, constructed a small fireplace, and laid in my tent listening to podcasts on my smartphone because the solar set late within the night sky. At round 1 AM, I used to be awoken by the sound of a big animal operating by the forest, immediately towards my tent. I jumped out of my sleeping bag, caught my head exterior the tent, peered by darkness and noticed a big, crimson deer (extra the scale of a small elk, nevertheless) standing only a quick distance away, bouncing forwards and backwards in concern on the rocks close to my campsite. The animal grunted and snorted, making a sound just like what you would possibly anticipate to listen to from a bear, after which I heard related noises coming from the forest throughout me. I used to be surrounded by no less than three or extra of those massive animals! I attempted shooing them away with my noise, and when that didn’t work, I threw rocks into the darkness (hoping to scare them away). Practically fifteen minutes handed, and the animals remained, snorting and calling to at least one one other, however actually not retreating. Lastly, I grabbed the emergency whistle I carry with me on my backpack and provides the whistle 4 quick, however extraordinarily loud, blows. It was then, lastly, that the deer ran off, retreating into the wooden.
The following morning, the solar was out, however the wind was blowing. The climate wasn’t excellent, nevertheless it was a usually lovely day. I listened to music whereas I pedaled after which made camp early in an space simply off the street. I picked wild strawberries for dinner and was rocked to sleep by the sound of vehicles driving previous on the close by motorway.
The next day (July 16, 2015), I pedaled a substantial distance to town of Stromstad, Sweden. This seaside vacationer city is the final main metropolis I might come throughout earlier than crossing into Norway, so I wasn’t stunned to see that town was stuffed with vacationers. Sweden, I might quickly study, is much inexpensive than Norway. So many Norwegian households come to this cozy seaside neighborhood for an affordable summer time vacation. I spent two nights camped out in a rocky forest space simply exterior the Stromstad metropolis heart… and spent my first relaxation day since arriving in Scandinavia on the native library – catching up on emails and varied laptop work.
I’ve gone bicycle touring all all over the world, and it’s not that widespread to return throughout different long-distance bicycle vacationers. However in each Sweden and Norway, seeing different touring cyclists was an virtually on a regular basis incidence. Despite the fact that these two nations are among the costliest locations to go to on the planet, I think about individuals come right here due to the high-quality bicycle infrastrure, the flatness of the roads, the truth that so many individuals converse English, and the truth that it’s so extremely protected (even for solo feminine vacationers).
What does it seem like to cycle throughout the world north of Sweden and south of Oslo, Norway? Effectively, it seemed loads like this (see the images each above and under). The land is essentially flat, with plenty of small, rolling hills coated in forests and farms.
Small farmhouses dot the countryside and homes of all sizes and shapes could be seen as you cycle alongside well-kept roads and separated biking paths. I believed that biking in Norway could be way more distant than it really is. There are usually not big stretches of land with nothing in between. As a substitute, the individuals and communities are unfold out… and very similar to the remainder of Europe, there are individuals and assets in almost each route.
On the night of July nineteenth (simply someday earlier than I might meet my good friend Eric Kiraly on the practice station in Oslo, Norway), I cycled down an extended, steep mountain street, carried my bicycle by some deep brush, after which arrange my tent on a hillside overlooking a big lake. This is able to be my final night time of solo bike journey for the subsequent month or so, as I’d be within the firm of my pals Eric, Rob and Katelyn for the subsequent a number of weeks.
That night time, I spent a very good half-hour selecting wild blueberries within the forest, whereas gathering them up inside my sun shades case, and consuming all the bunch with my dinner that night time. Despite the fact that meals (and so many different issues) in Scandinavia are extraordinarily costly, there are specific issues (just like the free berries yow will discover within the forest) which can be free for the taking.
The next morning, I slept in late and the packed up my bicycle. The street into Oslo was flat and gratifying… and a complete lot simpler to navigate than I believed it is likely to be. Biking into massive cities is commonly an enormous problem, which includes navigating by site visitors and biking on harmful metropolis streets. However the street/path into Oslo was virtually totally on a signed and separated bicycle path that rang alongside the waterfront.
I reached town heart of Oslo, Norway someday round 1 PM. However my good friend Eric (who was flying in that day from Los Angeles, California, USA) wasn’t scheduled to reach on the Oslo airport till round 6 PM. So I wandered across the metropolis heart for a number of hours, taking within the many vacationer sights and doing a justifiable share of people-watching.
The person you see within the picture above (on the left), staring on the statue of the person with a bicycle (on the correct), informed me that the person with the bicycle is staring on the Nazi troopers strolling previous on the street in entrance of him, as they had been retreating from town throughout the Nazi occupation of Norway in 1944 (or 1945).
After a number of hours strolling round Oslo with my bicycle in tow, I discovered a small park on the north facet of town the place I used to be capable of simply sit down, learn a guide and pay attention to some of my favourite podcasts. Round 6 PM, I obtained a message on my telephone from Eric Kiraly, saying that his flight had landed and that he was on his was to the Oslo Central Practice Station. My bike tour from Copenhagen, Denmark to Oslo, Norway was now full. I had cycled throughout three Scandinavian nations (Denmark, Sweden and Norway)… and now the subsequent main leg of my travels was in regards to the start!
Keep tuned for the subsequent installment of my Scandinavian holidays – a ten day self-guided bicycle tour throughout Fjord Norway with my good friend Eric Kiraly and a Norwegian tour firm referred to as Energetic-Norway.com.