Warm smoked herrings in a dill and butter sauce with pickled fennel and sour lingonberries. It was by sheer coincidence that my last meal in Sweden, at Malmös Limhamns Fiskrokeri, reflected our journey through the Swedish countryside.
Therese successfully navigated the auto ticket machine and without any identity checks or fanfare we squeezed onto the train that took us across the Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen Denmark, an epic international journey of 15 minutes!
Copenhagen, the spiritual home of the bicycle. I’ve come home!
It’s not rocket surgery, you don’t have to be a civil engineer or town planner to devise a transport system that moves pedestrians, cars and bicycles through an urban landscape effortlessly. Even in a crowded 850 year old city like Copenhagen.
We joined the weekend throng of tourists swarming through the city centres attractions. Looking for distraction and entertainment. My democratic sensibilities are easily offended, there’s only so many castles, palaces and churches I can take.
We left Copenhagen early morning to be hit by a fierce thunderstorm with hail, lightening and all the trimmings. Soaked, we consoled ourselves with stories of those times we cycled through worse conditions.
“Remember that time in Tasmania?” or “it was worse in Washington State!”
Cyclists are optimists; the weather is always clearing.
By the time we cycled into the medieval market town of Koge, the sun was shining. In the cobblestoned market square, where they once burned witches at the stake (1610-1632) the bric-a-brac stalls are doing a slow trade. Nobody seems to want Grandma’s tea set or collection of miniature porcelain horses.
The quaint village of Vemmtofte with its Danish thatched houses behind manicured gardens, sits comfortably on the warm waters of the Baltic Sea. We camped in the purpose built hiker and cyclist area in a classic Scandinavian shelter.
Cycling the well signposted back roads in Denmark is a hoot. Roller coaster hills across fields of wildflowers, through forests, then long flat stretches along the seashore. We ride past Lutheran churches built beside Viking burial grounds.
At Zealand, we take the narrow cycle path over the famous Dronning Alexandrines Bridge to the little island in the Baltic Sea known as Mons, where we embrace the darkness.
Mons is the home of Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park. Mons went black three years ago and is a certified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). A marvellous treat to see the splendour of the cosmos from the Northern hemisphere!
Bogo’s rickety old wooden ferry took us back to the mainland as we cycled to Gedser for a much larger ferry that will take us across the Baltic Sea one last time to Rostock in the former East Germany.
Reflecting on our cycle tour through Scandinavia, I think of Kim a Danish guy who ran a cyclists cafe in Copenhagen: “There is a pax Scandinavia. We know each other’s language and share a world view, as Scandinavians first, then as Europeans.”
Traditionally, Scandinavian countries rank highest on the world liveability and happiness scales, however, Kim believed the recent waves of immigration from the Middle East were creating tensions.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Cycling through the migrant areas of Copenhagen we passed the delightfully named Kebabistan, middle eastern takeaway, where blonde locals queued for Shawarmas and Falafel.
Food is often the entre migrant groups use as their first successful step to wider social intergration. Yum !