Epilogue."Why have we come all this way to go cycling in Holland".
Last year we wondered if we should have done the NSCR in Norway last, after doing all the other sections, seeing the spectacular range of countryside and the beauty of it all. This year's trip has sort of confirmed that we might have been right. That is not to say that there is no beauty in the Danish landscape. There is, and in our opinion the loveliest sections of the Danish NSCR were in the Northern part of the Jutland. As for the rest of the route there were gems to be found every now and again, which made it worth doing.
What weighs against the Danish NSCR are the numerous off-road sections. Unfortunately many of them have mediocre to poor road surfaces, which make for much harder going than the relatively flat terrain would suggest. These roads are also very tough on bikes, the real killer is the variety of types of sand that stick to any oil-covered surface. Once stuck to your bike the sand then works its way through any chinks in your bike's anti-grit armour. However it is not, in my opinion, an option to choose to avoid these off-road sections. In doing so you would miss the very best of the rolling Danish countryside.
However annoying our bike problems were, they were not the main reason for our mild disappointment with Denmark and the Danish NSCR. An entry from Damae's diary dated the 14th of August, points to very different reasons;
"I much prefer Norway to Denmark. I like the barren ravaged look about it. At the beginning of the Numedalsruta there were a lot of 'storage huts' and mountain cabins, and I could imagine people (me) inside one curled up with a book and waiting for the rest to come home, or preparing to go skiing on the slopes or through the forest.
I find Norway enchanting and friendly............Denmark was rather like Holland really but a bit more undulating. I also find that I can write lots about what we see in Norway while I had little to say about Denmark. Tomorrow we are going to do the last bit of our route to Larvik and then take the boat back to Hirtshals. I will be sad to leave Norway......."
The problem for us was that Denmark, lovely as it is, is too like the Netherlands in places, and not different enough from Northern Britain in other places to really grab us. Whilst we were taken by some of the views we saw in Denmark, we were rarely surprised by the landscape.
That is not to say that Denmark is not a good place for cyclists, nor am I suggesting you don't do the Danish NSCR. It is a good route and quite well signposted. Beautiful villages and towns, museums and churches are scattered along the route. There is lots to see and enjoy and good infrastructure for cyclists. Also not forgetting the well appointed campsites with family facilities and easy cycling (ignoring the off-road sections assuming favourable winds). It is also interesting to see the cultural links with other North Sea communities. No doubt we will go back to Denmark one day.
However when you compare the Danish section of the NSCR to Norway, say the NSCR, Rallarvegen or Numedalsruta, the Danish NSCR falls short in sheer WOW! factor. The Rallarvegen in particular has fantastic scenery and it a great challenge. It is also amusing to be cycling at an altitude higher than the highest point in the UK. The Numedal, although it changes considerably from the higher reaches down to Larvik, is just gorgeous and treasures such as the stave churches complement the beautiful scenery.
As I write this travelogue, views of Norway flash through my mind most often. Although we want to do the Swedish section of the NSCR this coming summer, when we reach the Norwegian border we will be heading north again. The Jostdalsbreen is calling us already.