I have found an idyllic place to camp tonight on the eastern side of the island of Falster on the shore of the Baltic Sea. This is the beach, just metres from my tent:
How I managed to discover the campsite is a little more complicated…
Blue sky outside the tent this morning and it has stayed that way more or less throughout the day. That said (and I can’t really explain the meteorology here – no doubt one of you will enlighten me – Jim perhaps?) the tent was very wet. Yesterday I woke to grey skies and the tent was bone dry. How does that work? Probably to do with temperature rather than that cloud cover. The result was that I had to pack up the tent when it was still very damp indeed.
I caught the 9.15am ferry from Spodsbjerg (what a name!) after having bought a ticket from a very chatty man at the barrier. The Danes have all (apart from the miserable bastard who stood in the cycle lane yesterday) been a delight. It’s a northern thing, I’m sure. I think back to those women in the Orange mobile phone shop in Cádiz who made me feel like someone who had turned up to sweep the floor rather than a customer who wanted to buy a SIM card. They wouldn’t have survived for a minute up here!
Just like yesterday I used the 45 minute ferry crossing to plan my day. I decided that Nykøbing would be my destination and that I would stay at Falster City Camping. The website promised me a warm welcome from Claus and Britta. That did make me cringe a little but the photos looked OK.
I set off along route 8 again following the signs that, yes, again, were occasionally directionally challenged. See yesterday’s post… But the island of Lolland in those first few kilometres was beautiful; flat as a… (I used ‘crêpe’ when in France and ‘vena schnitzel’ in Germany, in Denmark, err… pause for thinking time) …rasher of Danish bacon? Moving on… The islands do seem to be becoming less and less hilly as I travel to the east. I suspect that will be the case until I reach Sweden.
Nice countryside, nice forests, nice photo opportunities. I was looking forward to the town of Maribo that had been bigged up by the Lonely Planet guide to Denmark. I was less enthusiastic about the place when I arrived. It was OK. The cathedral was much less spectacular than it had been portrayed in the guidebook. It being early afternoon, the local comprehensives had just released their inmates and I did spent a few interesting minutes eating my supermarket-bought lunch within earshot of a bunch of teenage boys who were sitting on trolleys nearby. I had no idea what they were chatting about but it struck me as to how similar they were to British teenagers; spitting, ignoring old people who dared to collect a trolley, drinking high energy drinks, burping loudly… It was all quite endearing and it was a joy to discover that they were no different to the kids back home.
I stuck to the main road for the remainder of my journey to the intended destination of Nykøbing (which sounds as though it should be in Japan rather than Denmark). A great hulk of a sugar factory was the first thing to greet me as I cycled over the bridge. I suspect the sugar industry in Denmark (I had seen another sugar refinery earlier in the day near Maribo) is a result of the former Danish colonies in the Caribbean. When I was in Flensburg in Germany, my WarmShowers’ host Franziska had talked about how the rum industry had its origins in the Danish connections with the ‘West Indies’ when Flensburg was part of Denmark. Here was more evidence of those links. The sugar factory was the highlight of Nykøbing; I seemed to have discovered the Slough of Denmark. Could the campsite really be any good?
No. I poked my head inside but decided it wasn’t for me so I decided to continue cycling to the east coast to Marielyst. Mmm… That wasn’t for me either. Bars, restaurants, children having fun… I prefer my kids to be hanging around trolleys in supermarkets spitting and snarling at old folk, not enjoying themselves in a holiday resort. I consulted the campsite map. There was a site further north; could that be for me?
Yes it could. What a corker. The delightful woman who served me was a little reminiscent of Joshua Fiddler (Peter Butterworth) in classic comedy caper Carry On Camping.
“110 DK for the pitch…”
“But also 35 DK for a Danish camping card – it’s compulsory…”
“Showers are 5 DK for 4 minutes…”
“Two beers? That’ll be 1 DK deposit for each bottle…”
“Washing machine 25 DK…”
“Dryer? 20 DK…”
Just like Mr Fiddler, she got her money because she smiled. There’s a lesson for those women who work in the Orange shop in Cádiz!