Finally I could ride UK to Sweden *again*! Eurostar, Brompton & tent. Tons of mistakes! but happy!
Good morning! So it's a massive day today because I am setting off from London to Sweden I'd not taken my bike on Eurostar before. You have to cover it. So I'm going to fold the bike up and I'm going to cover it with a little cover. The reason I was super excited to do this trip is because I was supposed to do it the year I got ill with cancer again so the whole thing got delayed by a year. It was just brilliant to be setting off at last. My plan was to ride through the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to Sweden. I's about 1,000 km and I was going to do it in 12 days, so about 80 km a day. In the Netherlands I was going to use their so-called 'natural campsites'; in Germany there aren't enough campsites so I was going to do some naughty wild camping and in Denmark I was going to try the so-called primitive camp spots that they have there Right, so the thing is to work out how to get around. So, there are these bike signs
There's one over here. I remember before these were actually really good when you got into them. So, I'm going to go north I'm actually really hungry. I'm going to find somewhere nice to sit and have lunch So my plan was to head from Amsterdam north through the province called Noord Holland. I've got across this massive water somehow Oh we are going on a ferry! I had planned my route really carefully actually using apps mainly Bikemaps, but now I was on the ground I was also using local signs and it's quite hard to combine the two, especially when you're new to the whole thing. I'm not sure this is right at all It's quite tricky to follow the signs actually If they're like pointing slightly off you go off get quite far wrong Just got to get used to it I've gone completely wrong. The place I was aiming for, which was
along the water, was blocked, and there was a diversion and somehow I lost it and now I'm sort of on a footpath and it's all completely wrong. I've like lost the system Eventually I got out of Amsterdam and into the countryside. Oh it feels better suddenly to be out of the city, I was getting a bit het up in there. Well we'll see where we are now Normally the wind in the Netherlands blows from the west ,so normally I would had a tailwind all the way, but just now it was blowing from the east. It's really nice.
It is a headwind, so I'm just having to settle into that. It's kind of like swimming or something I don't know why I say that, but it's sort of wind I'm like instead of water there's wind. Anyway it's time for this, which I was given on the train, and coffee It is windy. Against me! So this was Noord Holland province. All this land that I was riding through now was previously a sea, and it was reclaimed from about 1600 and became agricultural land I was just so happy to be there after cancer treatment most last year. I just feel so free
Such a nice feeling So this was Hoorn. Now I was going to continue through Noord Holland and find the campsite where I was going to pitch for the first night Well I'm nearly there, I think, if I've got the spot on the map right It was still a massive headwind so I battled along through the evening sun Oh it is here! So it's going to here! It is really windy but I'm thinking to just pitch in that corner, take the edge off it So lovely Oh hello! What a lovely horse! So, day two and I was now riding along a dyke along the coast of Noord Holland. It's nice to be high up here on this dike cos you can see the sea. Right 15 so what that is is they've got this knooppunt system dots all over the map with different numbers on and then cycle paths that connect up all the dots so you can just sort of do you know cycling by numbers all the way around Holland really I hadn't quite got my eye in regarding the whole points signage system though I keep going wrong this isn't right oh no oh god oh maybe it's here, here. Oh no you can't get out
I'll check the map again! it's just a complete nest of bungalows I've got myself now I've been here twice already On no. Not sure this was where I was oh my god Right I think I'm out. The thing is it's fine, except that today I've got this ferry to catch, and there's only three ferries a day. So I was planning to
get a ferry across the IJsselmeer. I was aiming for a port called Enkhuizen Right. Should be OK now 15, 13, 14, fietspad...
Let's try this! I thought this was going to be an easy morning, and actually I'm really pegging it now Oh this this is so hard actually! I have gone round in circles all over again, cos I didnt read the map carefully enough. Okay I think I'm nearly there. I've got like 10 minutes to go Do you know where's the ferry for Stavoren? Right, this church... near there. OK. Thanks! I still haven't got there! oh god, oh maybe it's here... Hello! just one please, and I'm sorry I can't speak Dutch Oh you must buy a ticket, oh my god wait for me, wait for me! So now I was in the province of Friesland. This is nice. Oh god how lovely Isn't that strange.
Right, so it's going to be all of these, with butter and cheese I'm doing okay I think. I'm following the knooppunt system at the moment. So I'm on number 30... oh god, what was it? 35 I think. Oh dear. Yes, 35, 34, 33, is what I've got to do next 34! This way. Oh, really tiny! oh gosh Thank you! yes it is, something quite different So that there, 15, is what I'm following. You've got to have really sharp eyes cos if you miss one and you're off your track, you don't know, and so it can take quite a long time until you realise you've gone wrong. I'm learning. I'm getting better, getting my eye in you know
Jirnsum. That's where I'm going. Hurray Oof. Quite tired now actually. It's been loads into the wind, again. Anyway it's been a really nice day I'll get it. Okay that's brilliant, thank you! This is a lovely campsite.
Mmh it smells good actually Day Three. Today my plan was to ride into Groningen province and camp But as you'll see, things didn't quite work out Beautiful I got this. I'm sure it's going to be amazing. Right I'm trying a new thing now. So this is the map, showing me the little points. I've written them down, the next ones that I need, so now I should just be able to go from point to point, watching out for these. So I'm at number 11, so what I want next is 54, and it's that way It's gone completely wrong. I'm in a housing estate on the edge of Drachten, I think it's called, on a really bumpy road I just didn't... I just must have missed one
Ah. Okay. Try and get back to it Right. Back on track. So this is Point 54, which was the first one I wanted Is it just me? Right next one, 72, so, it's that way. Let's go!
It's tiny! Gosh. It's taking ages. Super slow. I've slightly got a sore knee, which I think is my own fault from yesterday, I had the saddle a little bit too high I think, and that can easily end up with getting sore knee, so I'm going to cut the distance short today, actually. It's taking me so long to do this on this path, it's not really short anyway. It should work out, but it's eating up my contingency a little bit I'm so tired. I'm really tired. And hungry. Erm. Hmm. So the next thing is find the campsite. I think it's straight on, and then to the right Right. Phew. So I've made it. And, I'm tired. So, dinner straight away. And it's going to this
which is a mix of different grains. Takes 12 minutes, so I'm going to put that on first and then we've got this, a ragu, I've slightly forgotten how to do it actually but I'm sure it'll be fine Ahh. Good! I thought a pancake could be just the thing, so here it is already half eaten, really nice The thing is today, just to see how my knee feels. So far, it feels fine I don't normally go through cities actually, but I thought I'd go through Groningen and see what it's like Whilst I'm in Groningen, I thought I'd try and get some more fuel because I'm running quite low on fuel, and apparently you get it a shop called Gamma so I'm going to try and find Gamma. It's just down here God it's gigantic. I just hate going in shops
Got it! So, a litre. Massive! Oh poor bag. Anyway, it's still fine. That's going to go in there I'm taking it really easy. I can still feel my knee, which is really worrying. Problems can all be fixed but actually they can't, not all problems I want to stop. It's hurting
There's a headwind! Argh. I rode back a little bit just there, and it's so easy going the other way The campsite should be somewhere up here Oh it's an absolutely lovely little place. So now I was at Schildwolde, near the German border, which is where I'd hoped to be the day before. And it was time for dinner We're going to have two potatoes, which the guy just gave me, so nice, and an onion, and two eggs. That I brought with me, garlic
Tada! My god it looks brilliant, oh it's a bit runny Ah I am still just a little bit worried about this knee. More than a little bit worried actually Overnight I decided the best thing was to rest and stay another day. It does feel ironic it's like I wait a whole year to do the trip, and then start and just by a silly mistake, my knee is wrong I got some ice and packed it around my knee and and the campsite sold pancake mix, so I bought that Done! That's it. It looks good actually doesn't it
I was talking to the lady who runs this place and she said if I'm making pancakes I can use the flowers to flavour the pancake. So I thought I'd try it Isn't it beautiful. Oh it's just been lovely to have a rest day actually to stop still and be somewhere, for a little bit longer I wonder if I'm doing this right? I've got lot of stalk gone in there, oh dear Oh look, you can actually see the flowers. It's good actually Wow. You know what it tastes like is elderflower cordial. Mmh that is brilliant So it's time to go. This is the knee. And I've had ice on it and just taken it really easy. And I think it'll be fine. God I really hope
So far so good... I'm trying to keep it in really low gears, well I've only got three gears, so, first gear. I still had a headwind but I was just sooo pleased my knee felt okay Yesterday was lovely, but now I'm just so happy to be back on the bike. I just feel so free! I just love it! It's so dry I was at a bay called the Dollart, right close to the German border Coming on the right! Come on, a little bit of space please, that's it good girls I'm quite scared of animals actually I've done it! This is the border