On the Road to Tonder

Glass on our KLM flight

Glass on our KLM flight….they must have known….

‘tun der’ or something close to that. We have asked several people how Tonder is pronounced and each person approaches it a little different. The one thing they all agree on is the ‘o’ is more or less a ‘u’ sound or in German an ‘o’ with an umlaut. Also I think they say the ‘d’ but it is very soft and quiet. Beyond that I have had everything from tuna to tuner. We’ll have to wait a few days to see how the locals say it.

Yesterday our plane was late. It left Edmonton two and a half hours late. We had a 2 hour and 20 minute connection to Copenhagen from Amsterdam which then turned into a 55 minute connection. Made it, and when we get off the plane in Copenhagen our bikes have made the connection as well.

One of the biggest sighs we got when we told people about our upcoming trip was when we mentioned we were going to take the train from the airport to downtown Copenhagen and then walk to the hotel with our luggage that included two bike boxes. The boxes are reasonably stable and have a good set of wheels so we didn’t see there was any problem. The luggage and bike boxes themselves are no problem but what we did not foresee was the number of people that are about. We made it and in fact easily but to maneuver the bikes in and around the crowds at the airport and the downtown train station in Copenhagen is quite a feat. Everyone is polite and everything but they have to give us a wide swath and room is usually at a premium.

Another minor problem, that comes about when walking with the luggage but it has nothing to do with the bikes at all. Instead it is the rolly suitcase that is the problem. It has small wheels and the sidewalks in Copenhagen are detailed with stripes of small cobbles. As long as those wheels are on the smooth concrete all is good, but as soon as I veer a little left or right and the tiny wheels do not roll over the cobbles and my forward progress would come to an instant halt with a heavy load trailing behind.

We read Denmark people embrace the bicycle but it is hard to believe the number of bikes that are in the racks at the central station and parked along the edge of the street. Anywhere where there is room enough to park a bike is taken. They are all locked, albeit with rather wimpy locks. Debbie and I were just discussing how many of those bikes have taken up permanent residence.

Copenhagen residents actually wait at stop lights. Not too much of a reach for us as in Edmonton people, also for the most part, do the same but most of the world ignores those little red motionless men and walk whenever the urge strikes. Last night I pull up to a corner and without thinking stop at a wait light. Two other folks joined me and did not move until the little green man appeared across the street.

Ready to ride!

Ready to ride!

We expected to put have our bikes together and ready to ride in about an hour and a half or two hours. As always the best laid plans go awry. First for some odd reason I had thought the tires I had just installed might be unidirectional. Which of course they are and not paying too close attention when I installed them just before we left the rear tires were not mounted correctly. So, we added two tire dismounts and remounts to the time. Then Debbie is pumping the front tire of one of the bikes and as she removes the pump the valve stem breaks and the tire will no longer hold air. One more tire change. One more change is required when we pinch a tube and put a hole in it. These take about and hour. In all it took close to 4 hours to assemble the bikes and we are dead by the end. We are now on the road with no spares. It is Saturday, the stores close at 1pm, do not open on Sunday so Monday will be our first chance to buy a spare.

Saturday is a lot slower than Friday was. There is little traffic downtown Copenhagen and the train station is only 1/2 full. After missing an earlier train we actully catch the one we originally thought we would and the first hour and a half of our journey is easy to Vordingborg.

Drawbridge opened to let two sail boats through

Drawbridge opens to let two sail boats through

The folks here are really friendly and jump right in to help when they see us with a dilemma. We arrive at our stop get out of the train and the platform is on story below street level. There is no elevator. Weird because the platform on the other side of the tracks has a lift. I now know why it is important to be for the ‘right side of the tracks’. A man behind Debbie sees she is in a bind and picks up the back of her bike and helps her up the entire flight of stairs, no questions asked.

Maribo, Denmark

Maribo, Denmark….our first stop.

Riding here so far is easy. We travel 30 plus km. along side a highway today and the entire time we are in an adjacent bike only roadway. It is not maintained to perfection but is most certainly ride-able and way better then dodging traffic. The thing that is a bit hard to take is the wind. It is relentless and when touring on a bike you don’t get 1/2 the ride against it and 1/2 with it. Today and for the next four days it is in our noses, gusty and strong. This makes for slow travel but today we get to where we intended and I am quite sure we can make the other destinations we have outlined as well.

We must be in Tonder by next Wednesday so the incentive is big. Then we will be able to learn how to pronounce ‘Tonder’ correctly.

Definitely not have carry on will travel

Definitely not have carry on will travel (Photo by BH)

 

 

 

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