Second day on the road…

  • first of July
  • first time I traveled alone by bike more than a day;
  • first time in Germany;
  • first time crossing a border by bike;
  • first time geocaching in Germany;
  • first time spending my birthday in another country surrounded by people I just met;
  • first time making barbecue by myself (and it turned out really nice… at least the chicken which I prepared, because the sausages I bought locally were not that good;
  • first time couchsurfing;
  • first couchsurfer to sleep in the new couchsurfing room at Maddo´s place;
  • first time sleeping in a room with such a great view (5 m from the water)

But let’s go back to the morning….

at about 4:00 I woke up and saw light outside through my tent and I thought I overslept. Took a look at my watch and went back to sleep happy that I still have some hours before the alarm clock rings!

5:50 the rain wakes me up… I looked at the time, took a picture of me since I didn’t had the guts to take one outside (“because rain”), checked for leakage in the tent and then went back to sleep praying that it would stop by the time I have to wake up.

7:00 the alarm wakes me up and it seems that somebody up there loves me since the rain had stopped. Everything is wet outside and the tent (outer shell) had water drops on it but that was about it. Just when I start packing the sleeping bag I notice that it was also wet at the feet (apparently I touched the outer shell of the tent with my legs and that is why water went in. I did not feel a thing until I packed it. I packed everything except for the wet outer shell of the tent which I just strapped on top of the trailer.

 

08:00 – Start pedaling!

08:51 – rain caught me right when I was leaving GZ of a cache in Aabenraa (nice one, BTW)

09:42 – finding GC52JTZ.  This was my last cache before leaving the country. There was a nice parking there and I was hoping to use the toilet (really nice that in Denmark you can find toilets in the parking)… but it was unusable because… no need for details, trust me!

10:31 – starting again after a small food break.. mostly snacks and stuff…

11:05 – entering Kruså, the last city of Denmark before the border:

 

I got passed Kruså and was waiting for a border crossing…

I was really surprised to find a conglomeration of sex shops right before the border… What’s the connection? And … seriously? Sex DISCOUNT shop?? Ok! It’s a bit weird for me… but maybe I’m old fashioned 🙂

I was heading for the border, but apparently the bikes go on a different way than the cars (although so far we went parallel). And so I found myself in a forest, following the signs for bike paths quite far from the route marked on my map. Following the path, a thought came to my mind: this is a nice place for a cache. I turned on mobile data on the phone and found that there actually was one and only at 20 m away…  What were the chances of that happening??

It was this way that I found out that I was already in Germany, that I had crossed the border without even feeling it, without knowing it. Thus:

11:34 – first find in Germany: GC313ZH
All the way I was lucky enough to avoid the rain. I mean, I did get a few drops here and there… but nothing too serious. But when I got to Flensburg, while searching for GC4ZTJY a masive rain dropped over the city and made me seek shelter under a small tree… not exactly best umbrella ever, but it was the only one around….  and I had to find that cache so I couldn’t leave in the search for a better place. And in the rain I managed to find the cache… since coincidentally I had parked right next to it 🙂
When the rain stopped a bit, after logging the cache, I went for the next one on my list. Unfortunately I did not get that far until the rain started again and I had no choice but to abandon the search (photo to the right) and go to my couchsurfing host, Maddo. It was about 14:00 hours and the rain had stopped when I got to his place. He was very surprised to see me so early, and indeed I was about 4 hours earlier than planned, but it was a good thing because I arrived before he went to work.
I was now at 174 km since leaving Odense. Maddo took me on a short tour around the place showed me my room and helped me hang everything out to dry. I love the place they have there. It was perfect for me. I had a place to hang even the big tarpaulin (presenning) I use to cover the bike and trailer during the night, a place to keep the bike and trailer out of rain and also a huge room just for me! That really was incredible and unexpected.
I would have been just fine with a dry floor and a roof over me but Maddo had waiting for me a wonderful room! I mean… it looked better than a hotel and the view from the window… man!!

 

This room was a lovely surprise after that bad rain that caught me earlier. Too bad I am only spending one night here 🙁

Short after this, Maddo left for work and I left for the city center to find WiFi (because at the moment there is none at his place) and of course, find some more caches. Going out was the perfect opportunity to try my new sandals 🙂 that I just bought before leaving Odense.

I left to the city center by bike, but there is a pedestrian area (like everywhere else) with shops and restaurants and so on, so I had to park it and go by foot.

Unfortunately while I was out there, without umbrella or rain coat, another rain hit the city and kept me a long time under some scaffolding, a bit out of the rain. I was searching for a supermarket and for WiFi and maybe something to eat. But the priority was to find WiFi. Once I got that, at the library in the Flensburg Gallery, I started sending updates and pictures, struggling to write down the events that occurred.

I was on a rush because I wanted to do some shopping for the barbecue. Yes, I had planned to make a barbecue at Maddo’s place and I brought with me the meat already marinated (special recipe…). But still, I needed to buy some other stuff besides the chicken meat 🙂

It was crazy… running up and down the city, trying to do everything in time, before the shops close. And there I was, walking around Flensburg with the pants wet on my ass. Why? Because I had to sit on a bench in order to log a cache in stealth mode (there was a lot of pedestrian activity there)… and since it had rained earlier the wood slats of the bench were soaked.

All in all, I managed to buy the stuff, take them home and go back to the city to use some more internet. In my rush from Maddo’s place back to the city I managed to lose the keys… or so I thought because I could not find them anymore. I returned back exactly the way I came, searching for them.  As it turned out, I had forgotten them in the room. I knew I simply couldn’t have lost them… but this whole thing made waste some time…

I got back to the library to continue my work online. Unfortunately the phone was not helping me at all and made everything harder. On top of the phone being a pain in the ass at 19:00 the library closed and a guy from security came to lock the entire floor so he told me to get down. That meant no more internet… but I still needed it. I found the solution at McDonald’s. Since I was also hungry from not eating a thing all day, I could solve two things at once.

To get online at McD you have to give them your phone number, receive a text message and sign in using the phone number and the code received. Apparently it is like that for every McD in Germany. I did just that and I had one hour of free WiFi… it was very very slow, but at least I could read and write e-mails… or so I thought.
The truth was that many of the emails I wrote and sent to Andrei did not go through…. so my work and my struggle had been in vain. At least I managed to write drafts to be sent later and managed to store some new caches in the city.

When I got out of the Flensburg Galerie the city center was almost deserted so it was “good time for geocaching” 🙂 I had to make up for the ones that I skipped because of the rain.

After finishing the caches I returned to Maddo’s place to get starting on the barbecue…. a bit late, I admit, but it was ok in the end.

As I told you, I really love the area they have there and the fire place. Good for socializing. And you know me: I love campfires 🙂

Maddo took care of the fire and afterwards I took care of the cooking. I am really glad that everybody enjoyed the meat I had prepared and I was a bit sorry for not bringing more. I couldn’t help but throw a “I told you so” to Maddo because he was the one who talked me into not bringing too much meat… Oh well, it was ok like this also.

After the grill, the fire was still going and everybody was enjoying the nice evening. I was tired and since the next day I had to start cycling again, I decided to go to bed.

I wanted to prepare the grill and bought a bottle of champagne for the barbecue because it was my birthday. That was the reason I left Odense the day before. That is the reason I planed the trip like this. I wanted to cross a border by bike on my birthday. I wanted to be somewhere different on this day, to be somewhere far… into the unknown… to have something to tell about this day 🙂 And I did 😀 .

I cannot say it was the best birthday ever, not since I had such a hard time with the rain, with the WiFi and with the phone and stuff, not since I had to run up and down the city of Flensburg, but if we cut those parts out, it was a really nice day!

I spent the night in a tent, I woke up happy on a nice camping place, I cycled through nice weather (almost the entire day), I met new people, I visited a new city, I did some nice caches, I made and ate a delicious barbecue, I even had a few fireworks…. Life is good!

On the other hand I must admit that my dear friends did throw me a small surprise party before leaving… I had cakes … yes, more that one :D, I had gifts, I had fun…. I was maybe a bit to busy with getting everything ready for the road and did not enjoy the party as I should have, but I appreciate the fact that they went all over their heads to do it. And my gifts were awesome.. maybe I’ll tell you about it after I finish this story… 😀

That being said, while it is still today, and before I go to sleep in this big king-size bed here at Maddo’s place, I want to thank everybody for their help, their support and their wishes.  Thank you Andrei, Iulia, Peter, Pawel, Silviu, Adi, Maddo, Nina, Vlad.
I want to thank you all  who have sent me happy birthday wishes today, thank you for thinking of me. Thank you for remembering me even if I failed to keep in touch during the passing years, thank you for being my friends!

Thank You!!

It is late and I am closing this with a picture from my window. Unfortunately the camera on my phone is not that good and it cannot capture the beautiful scenery my eyes get to enjoy:

… I can’t remember the last time I slept in a king-sized bed… maybe at the hotel last winter, when my plane got canceled? Good night!

Why stay at home when the road is so beautiful?