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  • Jamie Shannon

A little of Copenhagen and onwards to Sweden. Two fat ladies in a Mercedes

Being such a bicycle friendly city, I didn’t have too much trouble getting into Copenhagen. I obviously took a little detour towards the airport but this just goes without saying. I mean I always get a little lost and this city was no different.

Once in the centre though, I was immediately struck by how modern, quirky and perhaps, if this is the right word, cute it was. It was all very easy on the eye and I liked it straight away. It seemed to enjoy a small town feel and I thought, “I could live here”. It reminded me a little of Amsterdam too.

I found my hostel with ease too which surprised me and I got the feeling that it was a good choice. A very good choice. When I arrived, they wanted me to pay right away, but having told them I had cycled there and was in desperate need of a shower and a lie down, they obliged and said I could find an ATM later. Thank god.

I wanted to get my chores done first however and so after a hot shower where several days’ worth of dirt dripped reassuringly down the drain, I washed my pots and clothes. They did want eight euros for the washing machine, but as that was kind of outrageous to me, I opted to use the shower instead. I just hoped that I would have some sun in Sweden so I could dry them.

With these things done, I had a lie down on a soft bed and power napped for an hour or so. With only one night here before I start cycling north, I had to at least get out into the city and have a walk around but to be honest, all I wanted to do was sleep and relax. This is always my predicament. Usually when I arrive in a city, I’ll spend at least two or three days there with the first day always leaning towards rest, rest and more rest. This time however, I only had eight days to get to Stockholm as my ferry was now booked and so after just an hours rest I went out and explored a little. I would have felt guilty if I hadn’t you see.

Copenhagen is a very pleasing place to spend your time but I don’t think it would be very nice in the winter. I just got the impression that it rained a lot. Sometimes you can just tell these things immediately even if you have just arrived in the city.

I met some nice people back at the hostel but not much else happened to be honest. There was one very odd girl whom walked around whilst constantly talking to herself but this is fairly common I reminded myself. There is something strange that draws these odd characters to certain places. Libraries and parks are two others if we’re making lists.

I awoke from my slumber the next morning at about six and couldn’t for the life of me get back to sleep. After sleeping outside for so many nights, falling asleep at 9 or 10, and then waking up at 6, this new sleeping pattern would be difficult to shake off.

I got going at about 2pm and wanted to make it to at least the countryside of Sweden where I could camp quite easily for free. Sweden is incidentally one of those few countries where they have a kind of ‘every man’s right law’ (sorry to be sexist). This means that every person (see I’m not) has the right to walk, fish, camp, or whatever on any land that isn’t protected nor cultivated which in Sweden, as I would find out, is quite a lot!

You are allowed to camp for a maximum of two consecutive nights before you must move on so long as you are something like 70 metre’s away from a house, don’t light any fires and are not on cultivated land. Well that’s bloody marvellous don’t you think? That’s how it should be. Although I do understand why it isn’t allowed in countries where the population density is more than 1.4 people per square kilometre, it’s just not practical.

Anyway, I was very happy about this. In fact I was positively giddy with excitement. At least for the next week I wouldn’t have to wait until late on to camp or leave so early in the morning as is my usual custom. I could camp quite happily out in the open and cook my food from the relative comfort of my tent without the need to worry about whom might come along.

I set off north from Copenhagen and followed the coast all the way to Helsingor about 50 km’s away. It was an overcast day but fairly warm with no rain which is the most important thing really.

I stopped off at a supermarket in order to spend my remaining Danish money. I had about 14 Kroner to spend which got me a courgette, a bag of onions and a bar of chocolate which turned out to be disgusting. This left me with exactly 40 Kroner for the boat across to Sweden. I wasn’t going to waste a penny if I could help it.

There was no cycle path along the highway and being along the coast, it wasn’t exactly wide either. There came a few times where bollards had been placed in the middle in order to slow the traffic down in the small villages and most people did slow down and wait for me to get through. At one point though, a car simply could not wait. It had to get through regardless of whether it hit me or not. I mean they had to save those 5 seconds and get that pregnant lady to the A & E right away. The car came within an inch of hitting my bags and I was left fuming. I just couldn’t figure out what in the world could be so important that you would risk causing an accident in order to shave five, FIVE seconds off your journey. It must be important I thought but I still swore to myself that I would say something, anything to them If I ever passed them again. Five minutes later, I did and you know what they were doing? Do you know what was so important? They had pulled up at the side of the road. Two fat ladies were stood there admiring the seagulls and the beach. Fuck me. Really? Seriously? I pulled over, (they were two fat ladies not two big guy’s), and told them I hoped that they really use those five seconds wisely, make sure you do something important with them yeah? I have no idea if they understood but I said my peace and that was that.

Time to catch my 3rd ferry of the trip thus far - Denmark to Sweden

When I arrived at the port, the lady informed me it was in fact 30 Kroner and not forty. I asked her if I could turn around and come back in twenty minutes as I needed to buy something important from the shop. She said it wasn’t strictly allowed as I had already bought my ticket but it would be okay. Go, go. I just wanted to spend the extra 10 Kroner I now had that’s all.

I cycled into the centre and what a beautiful little centre it was. The problem was that I couldn’t find any supermarkets and certainly nowhere I could buy something sumptuous for all of 10 Kroner which is about one euro. In the end I wandered into one of those seven elevens and gave him 10 Kroner for a 9 Kroner beer. The Egyptian man looked genuinely pleased with himself.

Ten minutes later, I was at the port and a half hour later I was disembarking in Sweden, in Helsingborg to be precise; the home of Abba, Ikea and Volvo. I couldn’t have been happier.

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