Yesterday was an amazing day on the bicycle. We had stopped in at a caravan park 15k East of Glucksborg Germany (on the North East coast) the day before to wait out a rather nasty rain storm. I now know what they mean when folks say “the sky just opened up”. The rain came down in sheets complete with heart vibrating thunder and lightning. The caravan park owner offered the poor, drenched cyclists his sisters caravan for the night – which was a lovely reprieve from the rain. The evening was complete with a showing of the world cup semi-finals in a converted play room and makeshift bar. All in all it was a fun evening with Germany making football look easy.
Sleeping in a bit, we picked up our freshly baked rolls from the park store. A nice touch for most campsites in Europe is that they will provide you with a choice of yummy, fresh baked bread for your breakfast. We packed up slowly knowing that there was no rush for the day. The sun was shining, an onshore breeze kept the temperatures mild. A beautiful day to ride a bike.
Bicycle route signs in Germany.
Having made a Warm Showers reservation in Kappeln which was 60K down the road, we knew that we had nothing but time. So we headed out along the Ostseekosten Radweg- east sea coast cycle route. This cycle route hugs the coast line as closely as possible for most of the journey. Following the route is easy as it is very well sign posted. The track was an ever changing surface, sometimes road, sometimes dirt and always close to the sea. In, out and around the next hill, back out to the water and head south. Each turn brought new landscapes and beautiful beaches.
A sample of the route!
Not being in a hurry is one of our goals for our entire trip. We want to be as stress free as possible. And yesterday we reached that perfection. We would ride some, stop at a beach and watch the kite surfers. Ride some more and take a nap on the beach after eating fresh erdebeer (strawberry) ice cream. The best. Ever.
We arrived in Kappeln (pronounced Kappel – with a silent “n”) just in time for dinner and to met up with our host, Katherine and her roommates. Katherine lives in the heart of downtown Kappeln – a bustling center for a small coastal town. After settling in and meeting everyone, we were whisked away, by bicycle to the neighboring town of Arnis five kilometers to the south. Arnis is the smallest official town in Germany. Katherine, Laura, Johanna and Felix put together a feast, brought all the necessary accoutrements and took us to a very beautiful picnic spot on the south side of Arnis.
“No eating before swimming” was the rule. So, we all jumped into the Schlei Fjord, a mixed fresh and salt water inlet. The water was pleasant, mostly fresh water and warmer than the North Sea in Norway. After a short swim, we were treated to a fine meal of fresh salads, cheeses, breads, pasta and all kinds of fancy spreads. These four 20 somethings really know how to put on a picnic.
Arnis Picnic and swim
We stayed chatting until the sun went down. Me with my terrible German and Katherine doing most of the translating. Katherine, Felix and Laura are all completing a boat builder apprenticeship. Kappeln has four boat yards and offers a selection of apprenticeships. Laura and Katherine are the only two female boat builder apprentices (that they know of) – way to go girls. Johanna is finishing her pottery (ceramics) training and is about to set off to become a world famous potter! A few of the bowls they used for the picnic were made by Johanna – they are beautiful.
We cycled home with the last light of the day and were tucked into our bed for the night by midnight.
We cannot thank Katherine and her roommates, Laura and Lilli enough for hosting us and sharing the evening. A beautiful ending to a perfect day on the bicycle. :)