Once again we woke to a dew-covered tent and cool wet grass. We have a very good Macpac Mineret tent, but for some reason my sleeping bag had been getting wet. So once again a clothes-line was strung and my down-bag hung. We were quick to empty the tent and move it pitched into the sun. We sat watching the morning mist rise from farrowed fields and lazily enjoyed our porridge.
We started our ride waking up with cows alongside a sleepy Kubitzer Bodden. There were dog walkers out and as per usual I quietly tinkled my bell a few metres behind them as a warning that two idiot cyclists were about to pass. As per usal this kind gesture was greeted with condemnatory glares. The other option is that we silently ride past. Usually the result of this is a horrifically frightened pooch walker clearly not expecting random Kiwis on quiet bikes to be intruding on their territory. Passing isolated walkers and ringing or not ringing our bell is always a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. The danger is, when startled they tend to jump in front of us.
Heading towards Rambin, over our left shoulder was the E22 and main road to the island’s capital city of Bergen. There was clearly a traffic jam on the E22: this made us even happier to be quietly zooming our way along quiet back-roads in search of breakfast. With no warning we turned a corner into bumper to bumper traffic. It was horrible. Trucks and cars that couldn’t really fit on the road in their effort to avoid the traffic jam were all competing for space on a road barely wide enough for two cyclists.
Quite relieved we arrived in Drammendorf and turned out of the traffic. Here we stumbled across two elder men pottering over their car. I asked for directions on how to find a shop. In an effort to draw a map they promptly produced a piece of cardboard. With considerable pride one of the men said, ‘we are German, we do maps’. Then he started to leave looking for a pen. Reaching for the pen in my bar-bag I called him back and said, ‘we are Kiwis, we come prepared’. The gentleman smiled at me, my attempt at humour did not make it over the language or cultural barrier. We enjoyed the encounter and followed his scribbled German precision flawlessly to the shop.
The shop was pleasantly weird. Sharon went in and purchased our morning yoghurt and I stayed with the bikes and surveyed the craft that was on sale. They had a variety of glass frogs and tin birds, each supporting huge smiles. Scanning the small crowd of mulling people I could not see a smile anywhere; in fact I am unsure I saw a smile on the whole island, but yet all this craft was grinning ear to ear.
As only freedom campers can do, we frightened the locals and made good use of their well vented toilets, then endured their scorn filling our water bottles in their hand-basin.
Leaving, we cycled back into the village and found a table, dried our clothes and enjoyed our second breakfast. Two older woman walked past, gave us lovely smiles and seemed genuinely happy to see us sitting in front of their church using their table. I wonder if it was these people who made the glass frogs and tin birds.
Venturing out into the wind we followed the bodden along a collection of quiet roads, gravel track and bumping cycle paths. Once again on flat ground I was alarmed at how slow Sharon was cycling.
Stopping for morning tea in the bustling ferry port of Altefähr. We sat outside in the sun with a plate of fries and another bad coffee we reflected on our island adventure and mourned a little that our time in this cute wee village was so short.
The village’s exit was a steep cobble stone street, a ride through houses along a ridge before popping out beside the highway where this journey had started. Officially we had circumnavigated the island. It had been quite the adventure and a lot of fun. We had experimented with free-camping for the first time, survived to tell the story and really enjoyed it. But this wasn’t the end of the story: starting with a rather large bridge, we still had a day and a half to ride.
On our first night we had camped near the Rügendamm bridge and now it was time to cross it I was very excited. I passed my camera to Sharon and off I set into a quiet sea of ‘texting’ cyclists plus fishermen. At one stage I even stopped to help a man get his fishing gear across a fence. Unfortunately the end of the bridge symbolised for us the start of the largest city we have ever cycled through.
Fortunately it was a lazy early Saturday afternoon and my printed Google maps were quite detailed. Living in Lithuania we have learned to fear following cycle paths across roads. Sharon managed to seemingly upset the majority of the city’s motorists with giving way to cars when she had the right-of-way. As is our daily routine, we stopped at a supermarket, Sharon dashed in, I sat at a table in a bakery and guarded our stuff.
Our experience of Straslund was of good motorists, simple cycle-tracks, rude, rude people and an irritatingly noisy cannon. That’s really all I want to say about Straslund; a pretty city that will not get a return visit in a hurry. By the time we got to Kramerhof we were enjoying ourselves again. We gave directions to a lost couple somewhere near Grob Damitz. I love giving directions to people when neither of us speak the same language. Hand signals and smiles can go a long way towards world peace. Shortly after, we ourselves got lost at some kind of military base in Klein Damitz and then stumbled upon a picnic table beside Prohner Wiek. We were a little tired and took this opportunity overlooking the water to stop and cook our noodle and pesto lunch. Although it was an unlikely fusion of food, Malaysia meets Italy was perfect for this sunny day.
Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Training, part 1
Day 2 – Training, part 2
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 1
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 2
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 1
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 2
Day 5 – Each Other, part 1
Day 5 – Each Other, part 2
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 1
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 1
Day 7 – Bonking, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 3
Day 8 – Time Keeping
Day 9 – Homeward
Day 10 – I Love Germany