I am gazing north right now, to the sea marking the end of Fehmarn, an island in the north of Germany. There is another land mass on the horizon : Denmark!
I was especially anxious this morning, as today was a long ride : a little more than a hundred kilometers, to reach Fehmarn. In the end I actually went a little further, to the very northern bit of the island, a few hundred meters from the ferry which will bring me to Denmark tomorrow.
It was going to be a long ride, six hours on the road, and I planned accordingly, with enough drink, snacks, and sandwiches scrounged from the breakfast buffet. I was all set and left at 9am, under a promising blue sky. I had tried yesterday evening all possible paths to the target, but the straightest line was still close to a hundred kilometers. What I followed though, was far from straight : east to the sea, then follow the shore, then back inland, up to the bridge connecting the island, then swiveling up to the main city, aptly named Burg.
Apart from a dispiriting low point early on, I carried on very well, with no physical issue. I always take great care to relax any muscle which shows warning signs. I also stopped and drank regularly, and made a real lunch stop at 1pm, when I had less than 30kms to go. So the distance went down very nicely. I encountered a record number of cyclists today, including long distance ones. There were a lot of people on the road along the coast, where many summer camps are located.
I had been looking for the Fehmarn bridge early on, and I reached it rapidly. Once again, it’s been an intense experience to cross such a bridge, high above the water, and with a very thin bike lane! I was extremely focused on going straight, not going over the small rail with the traffic, where each passing truck was sending waves in the structure, and especially not going over the handrail, always looking small when you are standing on a bike. The most intense moment is always when you have to start over, after stopping to let someone go the other way. A second of dangerous fumbling!
Once in the island, reaching the main city was very fast. A nice small town, obviously oriented for tourists, and with no vacancy for the night. So I took the direction of the north to Puttgarden (yes that’s the name). A very menacing cloud I had been checking up for a couple hours reached me, and I thought I would end soaked, right ten minutes before the end, but it lasted just a minute. Reaching the last homely hotel, I realized I had no cash left, and I had to pay for the ferry tomorrow. But they take the visa card, something absolutely never sure in Germany. So all in all, everything went smoothly.