June 25, 2012 (Day 13) Bike Day 7
Ferry from Rockstock to port, Bike from Gedser to Nykøbing
38km (23.6 miles)
Bike from 12:45pm to 5:45pm
weather: morning in Germany started out rainy, Denmark had brief scattered showers mixed with sun, chilly/cool day, incredibly windy
Today we move on to a new country via the ferry. It’s strange to leave Germany, but also exciting to visit Denmark. In Denmark we will have a new language and new currency, too. We stayed at the InterCity Hotel in Rostock right next to the central train station which was very convenient for leaving on the train this morning. We could have certainly biked to the ferry port, however with the rains, all the members in our group decided that it would be better to take the S-train the short distance to the port. I wouldn’t want to sit on the ferry for 2 hours soaking wet anyway.
The train ride was easy, though we did have to figure out where to go to pay for a ticket for our bikes. But once we got that all settled, it was easy to get on the train with our bikes and head out. Mecklenburger Radtour still came to our hotel at 9am as usual and picked up our luggage to transfer it via ferry to our next Denmark hotel. We don’t have to worry about a thing. There was a short bike ride from the train station to the actual ferry terminal, but I spent quite a bit of time last night figuring out where we were supposed to go, so we were prepared. It was unfortunate that all our trip documents did not tell us specifically how to get to the ferry. Once we arrived an hour early as requested the skies opened up and we went inside the terminal with our bikes and all to escape the rain and get our ferry tickets.
Our ferry departed Rostock at 11am and took almost 2 hours to get to Denmark. I couldn’t believe that I was so focused this morning on the bike ride that I completely forgot to take a Dramamine today! I admit to being so scared the entire ride that I was going to get sick with all the wind on the seas. Thankfully this was not the case. We found lunch on the ferry, though of course it was overpriced and poor quality…but we were expecting that. Oh, and it was really cool to load the bikes on the ferry. There were probably about 50 people on bikes and we all lined up in front of the cars. They had us go in and there was an area where we all stacked our bikes against the wall and used the provided straps to attach the bikes to the wall like you would in a moving truck. Coming off the ferry, we were all allowed to get off first with our bikes before the cars, too. Bike culture makes me happy. =)
We arrived in the port town of Gedser in Denmark and the first order of business was to find a place covered where we could wait out the rain that greeted us! There was a downpour going on and it was incredibly windy and chilly outside. Brrr. Mark and I piled on our real rain-jackets on top of our bike wind jackets and that helped a lot. I wanted to find an ATM to get some Denmark Kroners, but Geder had nothing like that. It was barely a town and merely a place for the boats to land.
We really didn’t have that far to cycle to Nykøbing. Our book listed it as just 19 miles from the ferry port. So, we decided to take a detour and go visit Marielyst, a beach town about 4km out of the way. I suppose I should also mention that we did have dedicated cycle paths today from the ferry all the way to Nykøbing. There was a nice cycle path lined up to go straight up into Denmark. Our signage did change now that we were in a new country as well. Instead of following our Berlin-Kopenhagen symbol we are now following cycle route 9. Our ride today also had a crazy, crazy crosswind blowing from west to east as we cycled north. Biking into that wind was like biking into a wall! Also, a hybrid doesn’t offer much help with biking into the wind, and very often I wanted to almost bend over and hold on to the stem of my handlebars since I didn’t have drops.
We found the turn off for Marielyst easily and for 4km we biked straight east with such a glorious tailwind!! There was no worked involved and we zoomed to the beach town. We haven’t had any rain since the port, and we were chasing the blue skies in the distance. We found an ATM in the town and lots of places where we could stop and eat or hang out, but first we went out to the beach, just to see it. There was even a lifeguard on the beach who must have been quite cold in his shorts and tshirt. I guess to keep warm, he was running up and down the beach, but I found it highly amusing and very stereotypical to see a lifeguard running on the sand. =) Cue the Baywatch theme.
Of course, just as we came out onto the sand and I took one photo, the clouds opened and it started raining. We quickly left the beach and ducked into a local arcade. We waited out the rain playing games, and when the sun was back out we went in search of some ice cream. One thing that we noticed was that everyone could speak to us in English, even in this tiny beach town. This is good, because we just only now learned about 3 words in Danish. =) The sun stayed out while we had ice cream, and we hid behind a wall to block the wind. We also visited a grocery store in the town to pick up some snacks and eventually we were off again back to our northerly route towards Nykøbing.
The Marielyst detour was an out and back ride, so we had to bike straight into the wall of wind for 4km to get back. We knew we had to do it, but that didn’t make it any more fun to actually start biking. Plus, to add insult to injury, it started raining again in needle-like, almost sleet-like drops that were painful to bike into! Thankfully we didn’t have to bike through the needles too long before our turn-off to go visit an automobile museum pulled us back out of the wind and rain. It’s amazing what a right turn will do for you when you are biking into a headwind.
Just as we had guessed, the automobile museum was basically on someone’s ranch who had converted a barn into a garage to hold a collection of old cars. Their house was next door. We were the only ones there, so the owner let us in the barn to browse on our own. This was quite a collection of old cars! Some were in various stages of repair and others were almost a pile of parts. It was really neat to browse through. They even had vintage auto signs up on the walls, and magazines from the 70s or even 60s on a table. I think the oldest car dated back to 1917 maybe. We saw one car that looked like it was made out of plastic and wood. There was another three-wheeled car that looked like a covered motorcycle in the corner. We saw this one again in a later museum! They let people rent some of the cars in better shape to drive around the country roads in the area.
Back on the road again, we just barely made it to an underpass before the rains started up again. We waited out the rains here and then had just several more kilometers to go before we hit our town. The sun even came out and we could see the winds rolling across all the tall grasses in the fields. We now biked along the west coast (versus the east coast where Marielyst was). We ran out of cycle paths, but the roads were fairly traffic free until we hit the town of Nykøbing. Unfortunately since it was after 5pm, we couldn’t hope to find any open stores in town, so we biked down the road to our hotel. Hotel Falster was a large hotel with hundreds of rooms. We, cyclists, were not the only ones here anymore. Dinner at the hotel was good, but pricey. We found out that we won’t be able to use our credit card in Denmark since none of the credit card machines seem to be able to issue signature receipts and instead require a pin. All European credit cards are chip cards with a pin number. We are just waiting for the US to catch up. =) In the meantime, we are glad we had cash.
Speaking of which, 1 USD is about 6 Danish kroners (DKK), so prices were all hugely inflated to our normal standards. A steak at the restaurant was about 200DKK for instance. It was pricey, but also, we never went through and tried to convert to USD so we really had no idea how much we were spending for things most of the time. Also, now that we are in Denmark it is much easier to order a glass of tap water, still with no minerals. I’d had such a problem getting regular still water in Germany that I had almost given up.