Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Our Scandinavian Tour - Day 127 - 130

Saturday 8th September - 🌧️🌧️⛅⛅⛅⛅⛅⛅ with strong winds.
Mileage 42 from Tonder in Denmark to Nordstrand which is one of the Frisian Islands in Germany
Parking Co-ordinates 54.51802, 8.93207

Today, after only a couple of miles travelling, we waved a sad farewell to Denmark because out of the 3 Scandinavian countries we've visited on this tour Denmark was our favourite - therefore I'm sure that sometime in the near future we will be revisiting.  Once over the German border our first task was shopping (at Lidl of course), and then we proceeded over a causeway that links the Frisian Island of Nordstand to the German mainland.  The island only has an area of 19 square miles and just about all of it lies at least a metre below sea level so it's all protected by a dyke which provides grazing land for this areas many hundreds of sheep.  And they themselves are both a gastronomic delicacy and a tourist attraction especially in spring when the lambs are born.

We're going to stay here for 3 days and we've settled in on a small Stellplatz which is cutely called WoMoland.  The island itself is very 'German' and unfortunately none of the info boards have any English translation, but the site owner is a goldmine of information and he's told us about all the things we should try and see while we're here, and apparently it's even possible to visit England so that's been added to either tomorrow itinerary!

Part of our scoop from Lidl and at only 59 cents a tin (about 50p) it went down a treat!

Sunday 9th September - 🌧️🌧️⛅⛅🌞🌞🌞⛅⛅
Mileage 0  + 27 🚴🚴 miles

'Suddenly' we found ourselves
in England πŸ˜‚
This morning we almost thought rain was going to stop play but although we got sprinkled to start with it turned out to be a beautiful day!  We set off on our bikes along deserted country roads with arable fields on either side of us where birds of prey circled and swooped and where smaller birds did all in their power to see them off!

Then we hadn't gone far when we saw the first sign for England - we certainly hadn't realised we were that near home soil - and we were even more startled when we realised we'd ridden all the way through within the space of about 5 mins!  However, during our traverse though the very pretty street we identified preparation for Christmas Dinner and also some very pretty thatched cottages with roses climbing up their walls.

πŸŽ…πŸ»Free Range TurkeyπŸŽ…πŸ»
One of the pretty cottages with a weeping sunflower instead of roses!

After England we rolled into the deserted village of Morsumkoog and paused to admire their churches of which there were 3.  Apparently 2 of them are Catholic but only one follows the rules to the letter.  The other one comes under the charge of a Married Priest, and for the congregation of that one, many of the Catholic rules are relaxed.

We thought with it being Sunday all the seats might be taken but still there wasn't a soul in sight.

Outside the church there was a lovely play area for the children and also a perfect resting place for us to partake of our morning coffee.

Then once that was supped we headed for the coast at the hamlet of Suderhafen and from there we peddled along paved track that was on the seaward side of the dyke and more or less circumnavigated the rest of the island passing through the tiny port of Sttucklahnungshorn and finally leaving the magnificent track at Norderhafen.

Along the way we paused for our picnic lunch at Fuhlehorn and it was here that the shallow waters of the Wadden Sea came alive with hundreds of gulls, oyster catches, dunlins

Today's dining room for both birds and us!
The Port at Sttucklahnungshorn 

Finally, from Norderhafen it was just a couple of short miles back along more quite narrow roads back to WoMoland where we were very naughty and indulged in another of Lidl's fine Craft Beers which has a quote on the side that says 'Let's oil the Gears of Life' - so who are we to argue - and after 27 miles I think we needed a bit of oiling πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Monday 10th September 2018  ⛅⛅⛅⛅⛅
Mileage 0 + 30 🚴🚴 miles

Today we finished off our exploration of Nordstrand, and in doing so we crossed over to the German mainland via a causeway that only carries a very minor road and a bike track.  On the way we passed by Nordstrandischmoor which is a tiny island that is only accessible by a narrow gauge railway, and we also rode out on the peninsula of Hamburger-Hallig.  Here there was evidence of lots of experiments that were being done by Hamburg University concerning the effects of Global Warming and it's influences on the diversity of the area's eco systems, but once again all the info was in German and even with the help of Google Translate it was hard to fathom out what was going on!  Therefore we just admired the views before backtracking to the mainland for lunch.

The seaward side of the Causeway
And the other side!

Now have I mentioned the sheep?  There were huge numbers of them in this area, and they were roaming all over the dykes and also the track on which we were riding!  Often they didn't want to move out of our way (even when we shouted 'mint sauce' at them), and as you might imagine, where there's a lot of sheep there's also a lot of πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’© - and dodging it (in order to keep our bikes reasonably clean) became a bit of an art form that we'd rather not have participated in!

Therefore, rather than venturing into this 'land mined' area again we continued our ride on tracks beside quite roads and this eventually allowed us to cross back over the main causeway to Nordstand, and once there we nipped into a lovely farm shop and purchased 4 succulent 'Barnsley' chops which we will consume with said mint sauce (or maybe even rosemary and garlic)  sometime in the very near future!

Unfortunately today's ride didn't really compete with the loveliness of yesterday's 'but hey ho there you go' - and although it wasn't spectacular it got us out in the fresh air and ensured we'd earned our coffee and cake which we consumed on the way!

Tuesday 11th September 2018  🌧️🌧️☁☁☁🌧️🌧️⛆⛆
Mileage  127 (+ a short ferry ride) from Nordstand to Cuxhaven.
Parking Co-ordinates 53.87599, 8.70356

Today should have been a simple run, mostly down one of Germany's main arterial routes, from soon after we left Nordstrand to the coastal port of Cuxhaven (B5 then the A23) !  But that little plan didn't come to fruition!!  While we were in Denmark someone had mentioned to me that the motorway towards Hamburg (the B5) was closed -  but that little fact slipped my mind - that is until our nose was pressed up against a barrier that barred our way! 

Therefore, we had no other choice than to follow the Umleitung signs (diversion) which resulted in our journey being further and on much more minor roads - some of which were narrow and congested with all the heavy traffic that should have been on the motorway!  And all of this seriously upset Mrs Snoopy and resulted in a great deal of binging and bonging! On numerous occasions she tried to turn us around - and when John wouldn't comply with her instructions she spat her dummy out and just bonged some more!  But that all left us with a bit of a dilemma because if my dear husband wasn't going to follow her instructions he needed someone else to help him - and that only left me and Google!!  Now, for those of you who know me you probably understand about my non existent sense of direction - I've been known to get lost in a car park and if you turn me around 3 times I've got no idea as to which direction I'm facing 😧!  Therefore the responsibility of maintaining us on the right track weighed heavily on my shoulders, but I'm happy to say I made a reasonably good job of it - but it was a huge relief when Mrs Snoopy finished her sulk and resumed the role of chief navigator.

The very long queue for the ferry
But that wasn't the end of today's 'trials'.  Once back on the right track our goal was the tiny town of Gluckstadt from where we needed to take a ferry over the river Elbe to Wischhafen - but we knew we were in for a long wait when we tagged onto the end of the queue 1.2 miles from the port!  In all, this part of our journey took nearly 2 hours (only 20 mins on the ferry) - but I put the time to good use by cooking our dinner as we slowly chugged along 🌭🌭!

After that it seemed to be plain sailing for a while, but would you know it, as we neared our destination we got snarled up in another diversion in the town of Neuhaus, and here Mrs Snoopy must have wanted a second look at the town because she sent us on a circular route that passed along the same streets twice - and she would have gone for a 3rd circuit if John hadn't taken charge!

We eventually landed at Cuxhaven (where we've stayed on 2 previous occasions) at about 4.30 and by then the rain was coming down with a vengeance but we still had to venture out on foot because we needed cash to pay for our stay!  So all in all, today probably hasn't been one of our best but maybe you've got to occasionally have a bad one so that you appreciate the good ones more!

I think tomorrow we'll be off to Holland, but for now it's bye from us πŸ˜—