Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Greetings from Jylland

The 973X bus takes the E45 from Aalborg to just outside Saeby. The E45 is a highway. From the window the rolling fields with grain and patches of forest spread out all around us. Huge windmills, probably made in Denmark, wave us on. The Waterford lies safely on its side below deck, in an otherwise empty luggage compartment.

The bus is new and luxurious. Where it drops off and takes on passengers in Saeby looks suspiciously like a former train station. A humble brick building with parking lot. I'm the only one getting off here. The hostel is about a mile away, which is a long way to ride with a 20-pound duffle on your back. The scenery along the way is unremarkable, in that plain utilitarian style that comes from towns yielding their surrounding land to car culture. Newer brick cottages, all right angles, chain markets like Aldi and Lidl, and finally a huge complex with signs pointing to Danhostel Saeby.

I might have made a disparaging remark or two about Saeby. Over the phone tonight with Danny I was not impressed. (Not phone at all but fiber plus phone software in Gmail Chat. One cent per minute; sell all your large telecom stock.) Anyway I might have called it something like 'a nothing town'.

Well, as I discovered on a little after-dinner ride I had not really seen the town. The old part of town looks like this:

The kind of place you'd be totally happy to spend one (or more) of the summer months. Reading, walking, eating fiskesuppe and not much else. The way to this picturesque street takes you through the town center or "Centrum". There was a nice bar, dark inside with the door open. I could hear enough voices to know this is where everyone gathers at the end of the day.

With some sniffing I found the harbor. Full of sailboats, not fishing boats. Ideal for an evening stroll along the water.

Moored safely facing this traditional scene was a yacht worthy of Tiger Woods. Well not really, but it was big and slick. Someone's making money in Denmark and apparently this is the place to be. Right next to Jensen's Fiskerestaurant at the edge of the pier. Which I understand is the place to get a nice seafood meal.

Maybe for lunch tomorrow?

The clock on the church says 9:30, as in PM, light fading fast. It's the end of August after all. There's a brisk cool wind and no time to stop for long. Just an outing to see what there is to see. Be outside after the long trek from Copenhagen.

Almost didn't make it to Saeby today. The bus from Copenhagen to Aalborg was a little further than it seemed, a little harder to find lodged between two sets of railroad tracks. In a suburb of Copenhagen.

Instructions were to arrive at the bus stop 20 minutes early. Instead I screeched into Valby Busterminal, hair wild, heart pounding at 12:09. Exactly the time the bus was supposed to pull away from the curb. By some miracle it was still there and I wasn't even the only laggart. Which is something you worry about in a culture that values things fitting together nicely and everything going smoothly. The driver gave me a patient smile.

So far things have gone better than they deserved to, way better. At the hostel the entire 4-bunk room is mine to spread out in and make a mess. My biking clothes for Day 1 of SBS are set out on the floor. They're ready for Friday morning. Now it's time for mental prep.

And the Waterford? It has its own shed with a combination lock and other bikes for company. Yes, I heart Denmark.

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