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Criss crossing Jutland

Cycling in Mexico
August 15, 2020
making mudguards for roller skis
Wet feet
September 4, 2020
 

Sunday July 12th - Ravning station


Our route planning has never been so open. Compared to South America, cycling or skating in Europe is a walk in the park. There are hundreds of routes to choose from and almost every day we can pass several villages with a grocery store. Our idea was to follow the Jutland cycle route. Jutland is the part of Denmark that is tied to Germany. It is by far the largest part of Denmark with Aalborg and Aarhus as major cities. Copenhagen is located in the very east on the island of Sæland, which is very densely populated. Jutland consists mainly of small villages with a lot of agriculture and an undulating landscape. The first day we leave the Jutland route when it turns out that the next ten kilometers is a sandy path. This is particularly difficult with skates, especially when the sand is loose. In addition, there are other factors that steer our route in the other direction.

We camp overnight at one of the thousand free camping sites. It is located next to an old train station that now serves as a museum. The train track is a cycle path and a popular walking route from west to east. A Danish couple arrives in a small white van in the evening. The next morning we see that the van is still in the parking lot and the two women are sitting at a small table in front of the car. The little dog has already seen us and warns us from fifty meters. One of the women sees us on roller skis and approaches us. They themselves live in the northwest of Jutland, on the small island of Mors. "Are you going to Mors?" she asks. We have no idea where that is and she shows us the island on her phone. “It is impossible for you to leave Denmark without a visit to Mors. It is the most beautiful place in Denmark, ”she says confidently. "You are welcome in our house," she quickly adds. We quickly look at each other and know that we are thinking the same. “Then you have just made our route planning, we are going to Mors”, Zoë laughs. Zoë hands her a business card with our phone number and says they can send a message with the address. "It will take a week before we get there," adds Olivier quickly. We first have another appointment on the east coast of Jutland.

Three years ago we sailed from Spain to Brazil on a sailboat. The first leg was from Gran Canaria to Cape Verde, a trip that Olivier will never forget. After seven days we arrived in Mindelo, capital of the island of Sao Vicente.

We anchored for almost a week and went to land every day to buy food, go for a walk or search internet in one of the cafes. Several other sailboats were anchored, but a number of sailboats chose to moor at the dock. Much more expensive, but also more luxurious. Sometimes we looked enviously at these boats because they could go ashore so easily. On one of the sailboats were three young people, even younger than us. We did not speak to the young people because the dock was only accessible with a pass. The sailboat was called Daphne and she sailed under the Danish flag. A week later we anchored in Praia, the capital of the island of Santiago. Suddenly we hear on the port radio “Daphne for port authority, Daphne for port authority”. Moments later, the white sailboat with the Danish flag sailed into the harbor. There are no other sailing boats and no dock with luxury so they anchor next to our boat. In the evening we take the small dinghy to their boat and knock on the boat of the young people. The captain is 24-year-old Laerke who sailed here from Denmark. Several friends and family sail along the way, always for a period of a few weeks. Laerke is a professional windsurfer and participated in the Olympic Games in Rio. After a few weeks with Dieter and Margriet, we are relieved to talk to Laerke and her friends. In the years that followed, we had occasional contact with Laerke and in one of her messages she invited us to Denmark and finally we are there. There is only one problem, Laerke is at a training camp in Spain.

A few days later we bump the last few meters of unpaved road to the very last house at the tip of the map. "If this is the house, they really live beautifully," says Olivier. In front of us is a beautiful white farmhouse surrounded by trees and perfectly cut grass. The automatic lawn mower, which almost every Dane has, rolls slowly criss-cross through the garden. To the left of the house we see a woman in the vegetable garden. For a moment we think it is Laerke, but it's her mom. Although Laerke is at a training camp in Spain, we are welcome at her parents' house. The beautiful farm is their summer home where they spend almost the entire summer. Their vacation has just started and we are just in time for tea. Per, Laerkes father, asks where we want to sleep.

“There are several options. In the house, but tonight a crying baby will also sleep there, in the shed or in the yard. We ourselves sleep outside ”, he adds nonchalantly. "Outside?" we ask in unison. "Yes! Do you see that little shelter over there by the water? ” and he points to a tiny roof that almost disappears in the grass. "Do you sleep there?" Zoë enthusiast asks. “In the summer we sleep there every night”. The cabin is no more than a simple shelter that we already saw on a few of the free tenting places in Denmark. There is a thick mattress and some blankets. They have a five-star view on the ocean with a campfire in front. In the evening we eat pancakes by the campfire and sleep in the bed in the shed ourselves.

From southeast we cross all the way to northwest. Every now and then we follow a short part of the Jutland route, but the majority is on one of the many small roads on the map. Denmark is a perfect country to travel slow and on human power. It's anything but flat, as the Norwegians and Swedes say, and the free camping pitches are fantastic. Unfortunately we can no longer ask for a place in the yard as an excuse to meet people, so we do not speak to a lot of Danes on our way. Four days later we knock on the door of Charlotte and Anne, who invited us to Mors. They live in an old farmhouse with a gigantic green house made of old windows that they received as a wedding present.

Inside, more than thirty different types of tomatoes grow, there are apricot trees, a dining table, a sofa and a wood stove. They have built the green house themselves and it is almost the size of the house. "You can sleep in here if you want." They don't have to say that twice! They have thirty chickens and lease their pasture in exchange for half a cow and the use of a few machines. Again, we add a number of features to our wish list for our ideal home. We have gained so much inspiration over the past four years that will transform our future home into a mix of cultures and customs learned along the way and brought back home.

 

The next stop on our route sends us back inland. We stop in Aalborg where Lynn, a rugby colleague of Zoë has invited us. We postpone our departure day by day and stay for three days because it is so cozy once, and it is raining again. It is seldom that we sit at the table among peers and we chatter continuously. Since we crossed the German border, the summer has been ailing with daily low temperatures, lots of wind and rain. The low temperatures are perfect for skating, we can usually just avoid the rain and the wind often blows in the right direction. Still, Denmark is a bit too windy for us, but otherwise a beautiful country which gives us the Scandinavian feeling that we are looking for in Norway or Sweden. On a rainy Sunday evening we arrive in a desolate Hirtshals. It may not always be so deserted, but now it feels like a sad city that is almost Eastern European. Our ferry leaves at 11:30 pm and two hours later we dock in Norway, the promised land?

5 Comments

  1. Gail and Bill Bradley says:

    You two are amazing. Most people, when looking for a place to settle, drive around, look at several possibilities and then make their move. I must believe that you are the first to circumnavigate the entire Atlantic Ocean before making the decision. Thanks for keeping us posted. We live vicariously with you on your trek and, as always, wish you both the best.
    Bill and Erich from Plattsburgh

    • WeLeaf says:

      He Bill and Erich!
      It makes us so happy that you are still following our adventure. It’s already more than a year ago that we arrived in front of your house on Lake Champlain. We will never forget this beautiful place, your hospitality and the evening. The canoeing also was a wild idea and we started without any experience. So far, this worked out very well :). We have seen some very beautiful places in Norway and Sweden, but something we push in the right direction. We will see where we end :). The next plan is writing our book!
      A very big hug from us,
      Zoë and Olivier

  2. it’s really how I can join you, please

  3. how i can join you you are amazing

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