Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wednesday 14 June - Hejlsminde, Odense and Roskilde Fjord

Where’s Bertie? He’s in a free 'rustic campsite' on the east shore of Roskilde Fjord (at 55.72137, 12.11257), about 10km north of the town of Roskilde.

I saw five hares during my 5km trot around the streets and walkways of the village outside of which we stayed last night. Or perhaps I saw one who was thinking 'No matter where I go, this mad running woman keeps happening along'. Apparently hares are common here in Denmark.

With my energetic start over, we slowly pulled ourselves together to make tracks towards Odense. Stopping en route at a motorway service station to use their free motorhome service point, at first we thought our information as to its existence was duff. It was indeed there, and Mick was quite taken aback that such a facility is provided for free at the roadside.

Knowing that the car park for which we were aiming, just outside Odense (right by the zoo), was a large one, it hadn't occurred to me that it might be full. Alas, as we made the turn into it, a sign told us it was. Of course, we had a thorough drive around anyway and struck lucky, in the shape of a gap on a large verge. The fact that many others were so parked and in the absence of any signs saying we couldn't, we took it and after a quick sandwich, off in the direction of the town we strode.

Only a few paces outside of the car park, a 'City Bike Scheme' stand of bikes was found and, on reading the information board we learnt that we could borrow two of them against one mobile phone number for 24 hours for free. I was all for it. Mick was being a slave to his Fitbit and was more interested in walking, so we walked.

The cathedral and, ummm, some sort of civic building? The day was nicer than this cloudy snap makes it look.

Our Lonely Planet guidebook to Scandinavia was printed in 2015 (so presumably researched in 2014 at the latest) and referred to Odense being in the process of undergoing a revamp. It still is, and having walked along the main shopping street and nipped into the cathedral, we then came across that construction site. It was one of the most interesting bits of the city, thanks to viewing holes in the hoardings and a raised viewing platform constructed at one end of the huge area, allowing us to watch, amongst other activities, huge drilling machines at work.

Just down the road from HC Andersen's house.

After visiting the old town, which is home to Hans Christian Andersen's house (a museum and the town's main tourist attraction), a stroll down the other side of the building site, towards an interesting looking church (only interesting on the outside, as it turned out), took us past an information display giving a brief history of the town. It turns out that in 1971 a motorway was built right through the middle of the town, effectively causing a barrier between the east and west sides. With industry having died in the town within the next two decades, the road, although not directly blamed, was generally considered to have been a mistake. The purpose of the current works is therefore to remove the motorway and make the town nice and inviting (and whole) again. No wonder the works have been going on a while - that's quite an undertaking.

A brief history of the town in cartoon form for Danish speakers, but with English explanations below.

It was around 3.30 by the time we got back to Bertie, thus despite being under-teaed* today, we didn't pause to refresh ourselves but set the SatNav for the Roskilde kipping spot, which turned out to be further away than I'd thought.

1227 bikes had passed this sign so far today. We paused a few seconds and established that it was counting properly.

Battles were had with the SatNav again. The first problem was that the slip road back onto the motorway was closed, a problem that confounded the SatNav, even having told it to avoid and obstrucion. Then there was the standard SatNav ridiculousness, where it decides it wants to go a really long way around, so as to stay on motorway. I could understand that if a) we had set it to prefer motorways; or b) it the longer route yielded a significant time saving (I don't consider 30 extra miles to save 2 minutes to be worthwhile; the SatNav generally does), but this was one of those occasions when the route it had chosen was much longer and also slower. Telling it to try again, rather than listen to ten minutes or more of instructions to 'turn around when possible', it then decided that a long way round on a tiny road was the best alternative. We stuck to the obvious, shortest, main road route and the damned device finally came around to our way of thinking. And that is why Mick (who doesn't like navigating) usually drives, so I can perform the role of manual navigator, to check that the SatNav is being sensible.

The toll bridges, with a little island in the middle. It would have saved something like 120km of driving to catch the ferry from Germany and to omit the Danish mainland of Jutland and the island of Funen completely, but that option would have cost around £80 more.

Anyways, back to the subject: after spending £28.50 (at the last exchange rate I saw) on the 18km toll bridge that joins the island of Funen to the island of Zealand, late afternoon was morphing into evening as we pulled into this parking/camping area. It's not as quiet as the last couple of nights, in that we can hear the nearby road (although we have got windows open at the moment - it has been warm and sunny today) and we have got company tonight (in the shape of two other motorhomes and a couple of cycle tourists; we've been alone the last two nights), but the spot is another good one, being a very pleasant green area with a view of the fjord.

(* Under-teaed = the state of not having consumed enough drinks, usually 'tea' (I use the term 'tea' very loosely, as my drink of choice is cup of hot water with a slice of lemon, for Mick it's peppermint tea))

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