My friends at home would laugh if they heard me say I biked 70 kilometers (around 44 miles) this weekend. Well believe it because it totally happened…and to everyone’s amazement I’m still alive.
It all started off with wanting to sign up for a nice weekend biking trip to beautiful Bornholm, the supposed “flat” island off the coast of Sweden. Bornholm has been known to be Denmark’s most prized possessions, featuring sea cliffs, adorable towns, castles, famous glass handcrafts, and beaches with some of the finest sand in the world (used for hourglasses)…which are all available for enjoyment on just the seat of your bicycle. These bike paths have been praised as Northern Europe’s best and most beautiful.
Albecpeta (refer to last post) was in for a big surprise. First problem: Bornholm is not flat. My idea of effortlessly pedaling around a beautiful European island with an ice cream in one hand and taking pictures in the other was quickly forgotten.
Second problem: Although very beautiful, the weather did not always cooperate. A few rainstorms got in the way of our biking adventure. Not to mention wind, which of course blew against us. With the help of Albecpeta’s positive attitude, and my handy-dandy clunky helmet, we didn’t let the random rainstorms get in the way.
On Saturday, after doing a little shopping at Baltic Sea Glass, we headed north to explore the island. Our first trip was to Helligdomsklipperne, “The Sacred Cliffs”. Beautiful scenery, and the perfect place for we lazy Americans to rest on the rocks from an already tiring bike ride.
Afterwards, since Albecpeta is always hungry, we decided to venture further north to a popular town for some lunch. Some of us wanted to try ‘finger eating’ a warm smoked herring, one of Bornholm’s delicacies. After the long trek (mostly uphill), we figured out Bornholm was very similar to a place like Cape Cod. Beautiful all year round, but dead during off-season. We finally found the only restaurant in town that was open. To our luck it was the perfect hyggely (cozy) environment for exhausted bikers wet from the rain. We shared hot chocolate in cute little teacups and had one of the most delicious warm meals I’ve had so far out in Denmark (big servings too for a change!).
To be honest, by this time Albecpeta was pretty fed up with biking. We even considered changing the trip from “biking in Bornholm” to “busing in Bornholm”. In the end we sucked it up and biked all the way back to our hostel. Never thought I would get to the point where I considered a downhill before an uphill as rewarding as something equivalent to winning a $100 gift certificate to J-Crew.
Once we arrived my body was in shock…and pretty confused from the athletic stunt I had pulled. Did Albecpeta join the rest of the group at bars around Bornholm? No…we actually feel asleep at 8:30. Crazy night right?
Lets just say I woke up in the morning with not so friendly feelings towards my bicycle. Once Albecpeta discovered the southern town Svaneke was known for it’s microbreweries and homemade ice cream…we just knew it was the right place for us to be. So…we headed south. After the biking trek there we figured we deserved a “beer brunch”, sampling all of the different flavors the brewery had to offer. Definitely a treat from the cheap beer we’ve grown accustomed to back at home. Homemade ice cream afterwards played the perfect role for some emotional eating after an exhausting weekend that wasn’t over quite yet.
After our trip to the city, I decided to depart from my Albecpeta comrades and go solo on a bike path along the coast for my way home. Before this trip, I would have never wanted to take a long bike ride in a foreign country (or anywhere for that matter) by myself. I can tell how independent I’ve already become from just one month of studying abroad. My hour and a half ride back to the hostel was the most enjoyable time I had on my bike during the weekend. I was able to take my time and stop to explore the coastline and take pictures (including many great solo shots of me, myself, and I). It was also nice not to have to compare myself to the more athletic members in Albecpeta….aka everyone but myself.
I encountered some major “shuffle shame” while listening to my iPod, and was revisited by some old friends including, but not limited to, the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Shaggy….the list goes on. Definitely played “Space Cowboy” about four times on repeat, and found it to be a real source of biking inspiration.
The countryside and coastline of Bornholm is absolutely beautiful, and my time biking alone was a great time for some self and life reflections. It turned out to be the perfect end to a weekend with a major case of ups and downs. And luckily, my bike and I ended the weekend with a respectful friendship.
Ya’ll, I think my un-athletic self deserves a round of applause.