Day 8 Tuesday 31st May 2016 – Helsingor to Ishøj 54 miles
May is a quiet but great time of year to go camping and travelling; the weather is normally just getting warmer but schools haven’t broken up so the season is only just getting going. Campsite’s are normally open but quiet and the same can be said about youth hostels. At all of the hostels I’ve stayed at so far, although I pay for a shared dorm, I always the only one in there.
Helsingor was a vibrant town, with lots of tourists and attractions. Maritime museums, children’s activities on the streets and Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the ‘Hamlet castle’ because this is where Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark childhood home was.
Although the language is different in all the Scandinavian countries, they all have the same tone and similar sounds. Yesterday in Sweden I had my last “hej hej” (pronounced as hey) and now receive a “hi, hi” in Denmark. When I first heard someone say “hey” to me, I mistook them as English!
I had put my route into the garmin (also known as Darling Jillly Garmin, or Jillly for short) and was following a large road in from the coast. This had a cycle path on but soon stopped, making me rethink my route to Copenhagen. A passing cyclist told me of a good path on the coastline, so I headed back east.
It was a cloudy day compared to yesterday but still a warm 24°C. As I hit the coast, school children were out doing their cycle safety test, all looking like they had been taught very well, triathletes were training on the flat coast road and tourists were happily buying ice creams form nearby kiosks.
All of a sudden the sun disappeared and a stom started. First light drizzle but quickly turned into a heavy downpour whithin minutes. Thunder overhead, what a contrast from yesterday’s heat!
Luckily I had found the cycle path and was sheltered under some trees along side the railway. Waiting there for the rain to stop kept me dry but after about 10 minutes I was keen to get going to reach Copenhagen. So I put on my rain jacket and my over trousers, their very first outing! The over trousers coped well but it was the kind of rain that everything gets wet, however hard you try to cover up.
A couple of miles out of Copenhagen and it slowly started to clear up, although the thick cloud contuined. Nearing the capital it started to get busy, everyone starting to reappear from shops, cafés and toilets where they had been hiding from the rain.
Copenhagen is the city of cyclists. Bikes could be seen everywhere, being ridden, in bike shops and being placed against most railings and shop windows. It is a fairly flat, compact city and many paths so it is an easy option to cycle to work or shops.
Finding a place to park my bike was actually harder than I imagined. Everybody has city bikes with clip in stands so can place it anywhere. They all seem to also have locks next to the brakes which prevents the back wheels from moving when locked.
Having found a tree to prop my bike against next to a large indoor market, I set about finding lunch. The sun was finally out and shining, so people were back at the ice creams. Not wanting to mise out, I chose a mint chocolate chip to cool down with. The weather seems to be more changeable than back in the UK, thunder in the morning then 25°c sun in the afternoon.
I left around the time when people were heading home from work. All of the cycle paths felt like a smooth pelaton in a race. Fast moving but everyone signaling, with a well practiced hand straight up in the air for stopping. I have never seen anything so well run. Cyclists and walkers were always given priority at the junctions. Cyclists are treated as royalty here!
About 15 miles out of Copenhagen, I stopped at a campsite in Ishøj. Finally giving in, I bought a camping card, as it seems most campsites require them and those that didn’t, you receive a discount.
The hostel in Helsingor didn’t have any sockets to charge up my electronic devices so they were almost all running out of juice. On seeing a point in the toilets, I plugged in my battery pack and Jillly (the Garmin)
I had just finished writing up a post for the blog, so attempeted to upload it with only 5% battery left. Seeing it would run out half way through I popped to the toilets to get my battery pack.
DISASTER! Both my battery pack and Jilly had disappeared! Although the battery pack was useful it wasn’t essential. However Jilly was. I had relied on her so much the past few days and dreaded to think how I would cope without her (I am so attached to her she eve has a name and gender!)
It was approaching 10pm so the reception was closed so couldn’t ask in there. The only other people that were around were a group of young cyclists from Berlin playing giant chess. Thinking they might have either seen my garmin or fancied it themselves, I went over to ask. Their English was limited but hadn’t seen it (I didn’t ask if they’d nicked it though, that was a step far!)
I went to sleep rather worried after reading my travel insurance through. I didn’t think there’d like “I left it unattended in the disabled toilets” very much. To make it worse the garmin isn’t actually mine, with it belonging to my parents. I had many dreams about getting lost in Europe and giant chess pieces steeling my garmin!
(Not wanting to leave you on a cliff hanger, especially my parents, it has been found! Hear the full explanation in tomorrow’s blog!