**UPDATE** We are now back home and heading westbound to Nelson BC in a couple of weeks. So this post is a flashback to simpler times when our only struggle was the rain and not things like jobs, rent and dealing with uhaul. On that note, does anyone want to hire us? We have all kinds of skills that include but are not limited to biking aimlessly across countries for weeks at a time, really!
ANYWAY. In our typical bike-trip fashion, we derped our way out of Copenhagen by around 3pm (following one final city tour and a newly downloaded Rick and Morty using our precious hotel internet). The bicycle route from Copenhagen to Berlin is well signed and popular with cycle tourists (however they were all heading north, likely to avoid the face burning headwinds).
All in, it took us three days of biking (one real full day and two lazy short days) to get to the southern tip of Gedser where we were to take a ferry (tabernac) to Germany.
Our last two nights were spent camping outside two quarries (one inactive, one more active), and we ran into our first ever shelter line-ups (“uhm, we booked this one in advance, actully”). Thankfully Denmark being Denmark, we were able to find alternate arrangements (pitch a tent in one case and find another shelter in the other).
We made it just in time to be ushered into a lineup for the ferry to Rostock by a panicked employee (“Do you have your ticket?! Nevermind there’s no time! Promise me you will buy one online!”) The ferry was cheap and short and we surprisingly didn’t leave with the impulse to gouge out our own eardrums (why, love boat, WHY).
When we arrived in Germany we found a Ukranian with a bike and a backpack so we were three cycle tourists with the setting sun and no idea where to go. We had met a few Germans on our trip and they had been very ardent in explaining that wild camping in Germany is “forbidden,” so we were feeling overly cautious about getting in trouble. Like, images of angry officials yelling at us in German in the middle of the night were what flashed through my mind. So we did the classy thing and hung outside of the grocery store harassing locals with bicycles until one of them adopted us and took us to their rad youth collective (“but we are having a techno party tonight yeah? I hope that’s okay?”)
From the JAZ youth collective (HUGE THANKS) the ride to Berlin was under 300km and we did it in about 4 days. We jumped on and off the official trail which, while more scenic, was less direct and did occasionally take us on cobblestone paths through the woods (I KNOW). We very quickly realized that “forbidden” camping in Germany is exactly the same as “forbidden” camping back home (aka just fine as long as you don’t get caught, which likely won’t happen because nobody’s looking for you). So when we didn’t have the wonderful hospitality of a warmshowers host, we just dragged our bikes into the forest by the side of the highway and pitched without issue.
Arriving in Berlin by bike brought on that familiar feeling of claustrophobia and dread that i’m sure all cycle tourers occasionally feel when entering a city after several days of roughing it in the woods. Our relatively quiet (paved) roads turned into cobble stoned bike paths (Again, I KNOW) and the city sprawl appeared to go on forever. As our hosts said when we (finally) arrived: “When you texted to say you were just outside the city, we knew it would be at least another hour. It’s Berlin.”
Berlin captured us for a whole week. Are you going? Skip out on the paid museums and check out the free ones (Topography of Terror, Wall Memorial and Holocaust Memorial). They are great and won’t leave you head-deep in wikipedia trying to understand what the DDR is and why they built their damn wall (looking at you DDR museum AND YOU poor highschool history education). Also, the microbreweries were delicious and once again affordable. If you’re biking (seriously) you should also check out the giant empty runway for cycle take-off lolz.
As it turns out, Germany is huge! We were there for another couple of weeks biking around. Stay tuned for our next installment in which Jon narrowly escapes with his life after some harmless bike tricks turn deadly. Til next time.