After my rest day in Karlskrona, I was left with a bit more than 300 km to do in Sweden before finally taking the ferry to Germany. I thought that it would be an easy 300 km, and the first two days were ok but the last day into Trelleborg was hard work. I had a head or sidewind all day and I had left myself with 100 km to do in order to catch the ferry the next day.
It can be pretty demoralizing when you are cranking along, bent over the handlebars, barely pushing more than 5 km/h and meet another cyclist heading the other way that is sitting upright, barely pedaling and still doing close to 30 km/h!
Still, I made it and rewarded myself with a hotel room for the night. Next morning I was up bright and early to catch the 8:00 ferry to Sassnitz.
I had an easy first day in Germany, basically just finding my way north to the start of the Trans Germany bikepacking route and camped early at a campsite. Wild camping is not allowed in Germany and I decided to be legal at least one night!
It was a nice campsite, right next to the beach with very nice warm showers. It cost 9 Euro for the night and that is what I expect to have to pay for most official campsites on the continued journey through Germany.
Next morning I woke to the sound of rain on the tent and just relaxed and waited for it to stop. It did after about 1 hour and I was able to pack all my stuff before it started raining again. By that time I was sitting at the campsites’ cafe, enjoying my morning coffee. I ended up having 3 cups while I waited for the rain to stop and eventually had to set off in a slight drizzle. But it cleared up almost immediately, and I cycled up to Cape Arkona and the start of the bikepacking route.
And it was a very nice start. Riding along limestone cliffs, through forests along single-track paths. Navigation was not always easy, as there were plenty of different tracks and I had to check the phone often.
The route passed through forest, farmland and recreational areas as well as national parks and I found myself at a kitesurfing and windsurfing beach watching the beginners having a lot of difficulty with the high winds.
It was very varied terrain and the GPS led me into the forest along no visible track at all several times. I found myself lifting Mister over fallen logs and using it as a tank to clear the way through masses of stinging nettles. Didn’t help much though as I got stung by that many stinging nettles that I finally just stopped worrying about it…
I finally covered 104 km the first day on the track and camped by myself in the middle of a forest (don’t tell anyone).
Day 2 continued in the same way with a lot of varied terrain and now the track was starting to get a lot sandier as well.
You don’t have to go to Namibia to have to be forced to push your bike along unridable sand tracks. It surprising how remote some of the areas I cycled through felt. At times I could have been out-back in Australia if not for the different plants.
The day was a long 110 km and I finally made it to a campsite that I had thought I would have no way of reaching when I set out in the morning. My general fitness, although still very poor, has improved a lot and I think I have lost close to 10 kilos in weight during these first 2 months. Still much more to lose to reach my “fighting” weight, but a good start.
As I got closer to Berlin, there were more and more remnants from East Germany, and I found some old airplane hangers along with large concrete staging areas. I wasn’t sure if they were for airplanes or tanks to start with, but I found some that were still in use for private aircraft a bit later on and surmised that they were indeed for airplanes.
It was a hard 98 km day, with lots of pushing along sandy tracks. But interesting and fun, it’s great having a route to follow that picks out more remote areas that you wouldn’t normally see.
Next day I struck out away from the route in order to get to Berlin. It was only about 70 km and I thought it would be an easy day but the previous days had tired me out and it felt like a long way before I finally reached Berlin and my friends and colleagues at Kniv Retouching, who I would be staying with for a couple of rest days.
Berlin is great, as always, and I spent most of my first “rest day” walking almost 20 km through the city.
Today, I am going to do some washing, check Mister and write this post. I’ll make sure to have time to drink a beer and have a kebab as well though!
I hope to head out again tomorrow, Thursday, and pick up the bikepacking route just outside Berlin.
It is starting to get a bit cold and I am worried that my sleeping bags are not going to be warm enough. I thought that they would easily do me down to 0 degrees, but I have been a bit cold at night when it has been only 8 degrees…
I wonder how cold it is going to be when it comes time to cross some of the higher mountains.
I really need to get further south in a hurry!