Distance: 124.4 km
Ride time: 7:09:53
Average: 17.4 km/h
Max speed: 35.3 km/h
Total: 57926 km
The temperature was 2°C as I packed my tent and started cycling into the steady head wind coming from the north – nature is still throwing challenges at me, but with the prospect of crossing the Danish border later in the afternoon it would take more than that to stop me.
After cycling through the tunnel under the Kiel Canal I was looking forward to have breakfast with Carsten and Conny in Rendsburg. Carsten is a radio guy who I have met several times over the years. These days both him and Conny work on yachts that need to moved around the world. The season for crossing the Atlantic is coming up, so they might be on a boat going to the Caribbean sooner rather than later.
Fueled by the nice talks and good coffee I continued north, passing the old fortification at Dannevirke, used to protect Denmark from threads further south. I found it fascinating that the oldest embankments were built around year 500.
The next two stops were the cities of Schleswig and Flensburg, beautifully located at the end of a long fjords. Apart from the big lakes in Switzerland, this is the first time I have seen a coast since leaving the Mediterranean in Southern France three weeks ago. I really love mountains, but being close to water is where I feel at home.
Signs of the Danish minority living in the area kept showing up with higher and higher frequency – it was now undeniable that I was getting close to the border…
Then the Danish border was right there and it was time to celebrate; back on home soil, back where I understand the language and the culture, where my friends and family live, and where I was born. This was indeed unlike any other border crossing in the rest of the world.
I remember standing on the ferry to Germany an October day in 2010, watching Denmark disappear in the clouds. If only I could have imagined it would be six years, two days, and 58.000 kilometers before I would be back again. Sometimes real life is bigger than dreams.
I had been so focused on reaching the border that I hadn’t really thought about what I would do once on the other side. My solution was to go and get a Danish hot dog and call my family to let them know I was home. It was already getting dark, and the next city where I knew people was too far away. Instead I cycled a few kilometer into the country and put up my tent in a field.
Tomorrow I will cycle to my home town of Horsens for a happy reunion with my family, some good food, and a real bed. Then from there towards Copenhagen and Central Square where it all started 6 years ago; more big moments to come…