Day 1: The Adventure Begins
As I set out from my dad's summer house with my three daughters, the weight of the trip and all the gear we had to carry left me feeling doubtful about our chances of making it to our first stop 28km ahead. I'd be riding our tandem along with F, towing N and W in the chariot. A test ride had given me some confidence, but as we hit the road, it was clear that it was going to be a tiring day. Just when I was getting into the rhythm, a clunking sound emanated from the back. I tried to peer back, but nothing seemed obviously wrong. Still, I knew I needed to pull over.
The culprit revealed itself: a flat tire on the chariot. Just as I was pondering my next move, a car pulled up behind me, and to my surprise, it was my dad, who had left shortly after me. He thankfully helped me change the tube since the necessary equipment was with Christian. After the repair, we said our goodbyes again, and I continued on to Stauning Enge, a beautiful area teeming with birdlife and mercifully flat terrain, which was a blessing as I doubted my ability to make it up any hills with the heavy load.
One of the highlights of the day was using the pull ferries, with the kids eagerly pulling us across themselves. We stopped for lunch by a lovely playground with covered picnic tables, and I couldn't help but notice how Denmark seemed to have playgrounds aplenty, making it easy to find a great lunch spot.
Further along our route, we crossed a stream exiting into the fjord, necessitating another stop. The kids got busy with daming and river diversions. The trail to Bork was beautiful, with its hard-packed surface following the fjord the whole way. In Bork, we met up with Lene and celebrated our first day's success with ice cream, all while spotting crabs and little fish in the harbour. We pedalled the final kilometres to the Viking harbour, where moster Lærke and Tante Kent were already preparing a sumptuous dinner of risotto with creamy mushrooms and bacon—a true luxury.
As the kids played with the other adults, I took a moment to relax and enjoy the sunset. It had been a long and eventful day, but as I put the girls to bed, I felt a sense of gratitude for a successful start to our adventure.
Day 2: Viking Adventures and Family Gatherings
The morning brought a visit from Mormor and Bedste Leif, and as the weather wasn't cooperating with its rain, we took our time, hoping for an improvement. Eventually, we made our way to the Viking city nearby, where the kids reveled in making their own tin jewelry, trying out archery, and navigating little boats through the streams.
Today, my sister and her partner followed us in their car, lightening our load. Tante Lene joined us for the bike ride, and N eagerly began biking herself. We started on a small gravel road that later turned into a bike path, with the distant sand dunes of Holmsland drawing nearer. Along the way, we paused to save a few frogs from becoming road casualties, though N's enthusiasm for amphibian rescue tested our patience.
Near Nymindegab, we turned north, cycling along the stunning west coast. The path, though fun with its small ups and downs, proved more challenging than before. By the time we reached Bjerregård, I felt physically spent. The tiny harbor greeted us, and we were fortunate to have the shelters all to ourselves. Moster Lærke and Tante Kent had already started a fire and were preparing flatbread. The kids engaged in a game of camouflage with Kent, though his grasp of their rules remained questionable.
At 3am in the morning Christian arrived by bike - I was already in Denmark visiting family with the girls, but his vacation was just starting. He'd landed in Copenhagen, taken the train to Esbjerg, unboxed/assembled his bike outside the station by headlamp, then biked the 60+ km to catch up to us at the shelter. We spent some time catching up before heading to bed, tired but content.
Day 3: Riding Through Unique Landscapes
Excitement filled the air as the kids greeted Christian in the morning. We had a full day of biking ahead, with a mix of hard-packed gravel paths and occasionally challenging loose gravel roads. The landscape featured rolling heather-covered hills, with sand dunes to the west. Our 3 year old, W, mistook the sand for snow, leading to an impromptu investigation that resulted in two soaked, cold kids and one major meltdown that caused us to split up the group for a little while for better kid-management.
We stopped at a campground to let off some steam before continuing our journey. Though clouds threatened with precipitation, we remained dry as we pedaled into Hvide Sande, where we indulged in a generous serving of fish and chips for an early dinner. Our final destination, Nr. Lyngvig Havn, welcomed us with a light drizzle. We managed to set up our camp in the shelters just in time before the rain intensified, offering us a brief but beautiful double rainbow as compensation.
Day 4: A Change in Plans
The night brought heavy rain, but the morning was dry. We took the path next to the road for a faster trip to Søndervig, where we sent Christian, Moster Lærke, and the kids to check out the sand sculptures. While they explored, Lene and I went shopping. Afterward, we all reunited for lunch. F wasn't feeling her best and complaints filled the air, so we decided that a day in the support car might be beneficial for her. In her place, N became my new co-rider, proving to have a great power-to-pound ratio.
The rest of the ride featured smooth, empty farm roads and occasionally overgrown or loose gravel roads, which posed a bit of a challenge. We paused for ice cream before reaching our final destination, a glorious shelter at Husby Efterskole. Here, Mormor and Bedste Leif joined us, bringing with them pizza, snacks, hot chocolate, and more ice cream. They even brought wood for a fire, but the kids were so engrossed in playing with it that we decided not to use it as intended. The evening was filled with family warmth and hygge.
Day 5: Rainy Beginnings and Beachside Bliss
Rain greeted us in the morning, so we took a slow start in our spacious and dry shelter. We bid farewell to Lene as she headed home, and by noon, the weather had improved enough for us to set off. Our trail led us through Husby Plantage, where we passed through a research area inhabited by wild horses that chose to cross the road right as we entered.
The forested area was simply beautiful. Back on the road, a pleasant bike path took us to Thorsminde, where we stopped for lunch at a campsite. However, we had to pedal on the road for most of the way to the next town, battling a stiff headwind. It was the least enjoyable part of our journey so far.
Thankfully, our spirits lifted when we arrived at a shelter right by the beach. We spent the afternoon playing and swimming, with N particularly loving the small pools formed behind a row of rocks. The adults and F enjoyed playing in the waves. In the evening, Mormor and Leif arrived again, bearing ice cream and hot chocolate. We huddled together by the shelter entrance to escape the wind and relished each other's company.
Day 6: Saying Goodbye to Support
Moster Lærke and I woke up before everyone else and headed down for another round of playing in the waves. I also took turns playing in the water with Christian and F, so most of the morning I spent immersed in the sea. The kids stayed at the beach while I packed up and they reported having the best time.
We bid farewell to Moster Lærke and the support car, and though we would miss having them along, we were ready to continue on our own. It was well past noon when we finally set off. N took the lead on the quiet country road, and once we reached the coast again, we were treated to an incredible bike path along a big sand dune cliff leading to Boving Fyr.
We made a stop to savor the view and allowed the kids to climb the sandy cliff. The amazing bike path continued to Ferring, where we got back on the road before joining another beutiful path for the last 8 kilometers along Harboøer Tange. While the bike path was excellent, the headwind made it seem to stretch on endlessly, with no end in sight.
In Thyborøn, the kids were eager to explore the numerous bunkers dotting the landscape. Some were partially cleared of sand, allowing us to walk or crawl through them. The kids relished exploring with their headlamps, and one of the bunkers could even serve as a shelter, though we opted to set up our tent by the washroom instead for convenience.
That night Christian got to enjoy the day's route a second (and third!) time - I'd accidentally left our combination solar panel / lantern when packing up at the last shelter, which we didn't notice until it got dark; the kids were quite upset about it, so he biked back to retrieve it. The 60 bonus km trip in a heavy rain would make for the second time he rolled into camp near 3 am. For a portion he tried the alternate route on the sand spit between the Ferring Sø and the North Sea - it was apparently not recommended as sand dunes have enveloped the trail in many places. He reported seeing more frogs that night than the rest of his life combined.
To be continued...
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