Aug 172012

July 5th, 2012 (Day 23)

It is strange now that the sun isn’t shining through the windows to help wake me up at 4:30am so I can go to the airport for my flight.  It is certainly a lot harder to wake up without that friendly sunshine.  I said goodbye to Mark this morning and headed to the airport to catch my flights home.  Mark’s flight isn’t until after noon, so he will have some time to sleep and eat a real breakfast. 

This has been a wonderful trip.  We added two new countries to our list of countries-visited since we’ve never been to Germany or Denmark before.  I would love to come back.  We would definitely like to do more cycling in Germany.  I actually thought I’d prefer cycling in Denmark over Germany, but it turned out to be the other way around.  We didn’t really hit that much of both countries, though, so it was just a sample.  We got some reviews from our cycling friends of other places to go and other companies to try out.  This is always valuable information.  One day we will even attempt to cycle without a tour operator, but for now that’s the easiest way for us to go. 

I think I finally got used to the long days of sunlight by the time we left and it’ll be interesting to go home where the sun sets before 10pm.  I do enjoy long days.  I’m also not looking forward to returning to the Texas heat after I’ve lost all my heat acclimatization.  I need to acquire it back soon, though, because I plan on cycling another century (100 miles) at the end of July.  The weather in northern Europe can be chilly at times….very different than Texas.

I still don’t quite know how to best order regular water in Germany.  I tried ordering water, no gas of course, but the bottles that came were always too mineralized so they tasted funny or they had seltzer or they still had some bubbles even though it was supposed to be still water.  The solution I finally came up with was bringing my own bottle filled with tap water from my hotel room to dinner with me.  Oh well.  It was even hard to find regular still water in the grocery stores and without knowing the language, I bought some bottles with bubbles by accident.

We enjoyed the longer cycling trip than normal.  This was the longest for us (10 days of cycling versus only 6 days).  We enjoyed it.  I did get tired of moving from hotel to hotel every night during the cycle trip, though.  It can’t really be avoided, but it’s such a time-waster to unpack and pack up every day.  I wouldn’t give Mecklenburger Radtour rave reviews, but they did fine overall.  We got to our destinations just fine.

I certainly attempted to keep up with daily blog entries, but with the cycling, long days of activities, and lack of wifi every night put me so incredibly backed up that now, at the end of vacation, I’m feeling the strain of the backlog.  =)  I have to keep up, though, because otherwise I’d never remember everything we did over the past couple years.  Mark reached his 2 year anniversary in Algeria already and to answer everyone’s question, no we have no idea how long this will go on for.  We are hoping that this next rotation is only 8 weeks and we are tentatively planning a trip to Switzerland for September.

I had also hoped to review all the hotels we stayed at in the blog, but now I can hardly keep them all straight.  Good intentions, and all that.  Oh well.  The important thing is that we had fun as well as good quality time together. 

Denmark had many exhibits that gave us an insight into the rest of Scandinavia and we’d really like to visit one day when we can get away in the summer again.  I think it will be just too cold in the winter.  The more we travel, the more places we want to go see. 

We were able to get by okay with our language barriers, though small-town Germany was a challenge.  Neither one of us knows many German words and we certainly knew zero Dannish.  Once we hit Denmark, it really seemed like most people spoke English.  This was very helpful, thought I do feel too much like an American when I can’t even bother to learn some of the native language.  At least we learned a bit while we visited, though I’m sure I’ll forget it very soon.  =)  We were also very surprised that the mealtimes in north Germany and Denmark didn’t run on a Mediterranean schedule.  Dinner places were almost all closed up tight by 9pm, so we if waited too long, we had to really search for food.  Shops seemed to be closed on weekends, as well, and they all close up by 5pm, so I can’t figure out when anyone goes shopping. 

We had a lot of funny stories from our trip and I hope to remember them all as I type up all the days.  It is challenging to go back 10 days and try to remember what happened.  Thankfully I take lots of photos.  Speaking of which, this is my first vacation without my DSLR camera!  I’m shocked that I even attempted to travel without it, but with the trip mostly being cycling, I didn’t think it would get much use.  I was right, too.  I only missed my DSLR a few times and really, in the end, I was still able to get all the photos I wanted with my rented Canon G12 or my Panasonic waterproof camera I take with me biking.  I don’t regret leaving my main camera at home for this trip.  It sure was nice not to be saddled with the extra weight.  =)

I made it home just fine and Mark is back at work in Algeria.  Until the next time….

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