Daniel Salvagni — Yet another software engineer

The Journey from Berlin to Copenhagen by Bike

On Friday, April 19th, Luísa and I started our journey from Berlin to Copenhagen by bike, on our first bike tour. We took 8,5 days to get there, sound and safe, and we crossed some fantastic paths and landscapes. This is a well-known bike route and we discovered later that it’s part of a bigger EuroVelo, which starts in Malta and finishes in the North Cape – or the other way around, the EuroVelo 7.

97km cycled on the first day.

We left Berlin early in the morning last Friday and on our first-day cycling, we rode for 97km until Zehdenick. The original plan was to go even further to a campsite around 10km from where we stopped, however, there was a strong headwind starting and we were already tired so we decided to stay in a hotel in Zehdenick. In this route, we have the chance to ride by several lakes and across some huge forests. Seriously, huge forests that we took more than one hour to cross it. I believe we rode around 20km crossing forests on smoothly paved bike lanes most of the time. How incredible is to cycle on a calm paved path breathing the clean and fresh air from the woods? I don’t mean to sound poetic or an activist, but I can tell it’s way different than cycling in the city of Berlin – even though the city has great green spots to go. Anyway, at the end of the first day, we almost left the Brandenburg state as we did more than half of the way on Brandenburg’s route.

The region of Mecklenburgische Seenplatte is know also as “the land of a thousand lakes”

The following day we continued cycling throughout the Mecklenburg state as we left the Brandenburg state behind, towards to Neustrelitz. We never reached to Neustrelitz and we decided to set up our camp in Userin, a village close to our original destination. Neustrelitz probably worth the visit otherwise it would be in the route, however, we thought it would be ok to skip it. This is a region with tons of lakes. We saw lakes everywhere. We cycled by the uncountable amount of lakes.

On Easter Sunday we cycled from Userin to a village close to Waren, Jalbei, where we set up our camp for the night. This is also an incredible route as it crosses the Müritz National Park which is absolutely huge, endless, with some small but steep hills and, of course, more lakes. If we had more time for the journey, I’d had stopped at this park for one day to explore it all.

Now in Waren, almost in the evening, we took some time to enjoy the city as it seems to have a fantastic vibe. It looks like a beach-city, although it’s by a lake. There were so many people outside, enjoying the weather, having coffee & ice cream, walking by the marina while the sunset approaches. Awesome timing to get there. I don’t know when I’ll have another chance to visit Waren, but I’d take to go back there whenever it happens.

I believe this route from Userin to Waren/Jalbei was the last one I really enjoyed in Germany. The ones after that were way too hilly or windy and the landscapes weren’t that impressive as the previous one. I think I got spoiled way too early. So from Jalbei to Rostock, I haven’t much to add besides that it was exhaustive.

From Rostock, we got the Ferry to Gedser, Denmark. That was the luxurious two hours we got on the whole trip. We had almost two hours to rest our legs on a ferry with an all-you-can-eat restaurant while crossing the Baltic Sea. A comfortable chair, great view, and food – what else one would want more for the moment? That was exactly my thoughts.

These two hours on the ferry are the moments one need to prepare for the next route of cycling, now in Denmark.

As we get out from the ferry we noticed the welcoming headwind that seemed eager to show us how the following days would be: long and exhaustive. Seriously, I didn’t enjoy the first days cycling in Denmark due to the wind. We had such incredible weather most of the time in Germany that, as mentioned before, might have spoiled me. There were moments from Gedser to Nykøbing that it was impossible to move. No matter how strong we were peddling, it seemed a worthless effort. I was on my lightest gear and felt it heavy to peddle. We arrived in Nykøbing in about two and a half hours. It took that much for a 26km distance. The best part of this first stage in Denmark is that we spend the night in a comfy and warm B&B, with sympathetic hosts.

I’ve been working with software development for more than 10 years and Luísa had her share working as a planner in digital marketing, both of us shouldn’t be surprised with a change of plans in the middle of our journey, right? Yeah, right.

Our hosts for the night informed us in the following morning that it would be possible to take a ferry to get to Stege, as it only works from May 1st, and that should take a detour which would lead us to get an old bridge to cross to where we had planned to go by ferry. It was awful and I won’t get into the details. This was definitely the worst day of the whole journey. Should I mention the day started cloudy and windy?

Great things happen for those who work hard is the motto I was grabbing at this point.

We end up that day after 86km, almost seven hours cycling, on top of the Møns Klint where we would set up our camp later on an awesome campsite there. When we arrived in the camping there was no one in the reception but a sign hanging in the door for those who got that too late: find a place to camp and we communicate us in the morning.

It was almost 9 pm and Luísa and I started looking for a place where we would be protected from the wind that started to get stronger and the forecast was predicting a 48km/h wind for that night – it seemed a lot to me.

The camping has a huge structure with a kitchen and a common area with couches and a TV. The bathroom, showers, and laundry are also clean and well-equipped. This was the best camping I ever spend the night and I was so tired that even with the wind and rain, I slept like a rock. The next morning we decided to stay longer in the camping to wash clothes and to visit the cliffs and it totally worth the detour, the hills, and all the headwind. Such an incredible view. On one side, a wall of sand and in front of it, turquoise seawater. This was the first time I saw a white sandy cliff. Usually, they are made of huge rocks.

In the afternoon we left the camping and cycled towards Stubberup, near Faxe. It started windy and hilly but in the end, it was a good ride. There were moments where we were cycling close to the sea and the view and the smells of the beach increase your motivation and push you forward. I started enjoying cycling in Denmark this day.

At this point, we were really close to our destination which means that the adventure was about to end. Copenhagen is a great city and I sure there are plenty of things to do and see there, but when you are on a bike tour, the journey is the actual destination. I’ve got mixed feelings at this point. In one hand I was excited to reach such an achievement while on the other hand, it was a sign the journey had a few kilometers to end.

From Stubberup we continued cycling towards Copenhagen and we had our last stop in another B&B in Greve Strand, less than 30km from The final destination. Luisa said she would have enough gas to get to Copenhagen in that day. I couldn’t say the same as I was pretty tired.

By the way, this stage was also amazing with incredible views. There were so many black mustard fields on the way, with a blue sky upon us that made it easier to paddle 92km in less than six hours that day. We saw a lot of hare along the way as well.

702km cycled, around 41h cycling, 0 falls 1 flat tire.

Finally, on Saturday morning, we arrived in Copenhagen. It was a short trip, although windy and rainy. I think this was the way nature showed us that the adventure had ended and reality would soon knock on the door.

Now, where next?