Day 1. Flensburg to Højer.
Distance 79.5km. Average 16.9km/h.
Damae woke up excitedly at five like a kid on Christmas day. The cabin lights had come on automatically so in theory the awakening would not be so rude. Her next act was to wake me up as it was just so exciting. Only then did she inform herself as to progress and delays and it turned out that we were running more than an hour late. I could have slept through another hour or two and still got out on time.
However now awake we took breakfast as planned before six and made use of the shower, which was pleasant although took more effort than normal due to the fact that the train was swaying.
After the experience of the previous evening we debated whether to have one of us throw the bike bags onto the platform from the sleeper carriage and the other to get the bikes out. In the end we took our bags to the bike compartment in two trips, leaving us plenty of time before the train arrived at Flensburg. We figured that standing for a half hour in the cycle compartment was a small price to pay for a timely and elegant exit.
We got out quickly and easily having freed the bikes from the holders well in advance. Once on the platform we put the bags on and then our raincoats to combat the light rain.
Flensburg reminded me of a wet green misty wild west town of the 19th century. The weeds grew between the tracks instead of tumbling round but the station buildings looked like they had seen better days. There were very few people in the station area perhaps because they knew that Klindt Ostwald was about to appear perched on top of a Birdy, and cause mayem (dressed of course in a waterproof Ortlieb poncho). We discovered as we left the train that we could have gone a little further to Padborg across the border and started there. Oh well.
We got just a little lost in Flensburg, which in contrast to the station area, seemed to be an attractive town with a centre full of prosperous looking shops. I think a longer visit might be worthwhile as we also passed a market and museum on the way though town. There were a surprising number of people for so early in the morning, and voices echoed round the streets with the cobbles glistening in the drizzle.
Damae changed down as we headed up a hill having found the right general direction and pulled her chain off the biggest cog into the wheel. She heard something but didn't realise that she had broken a spoke. I actually mentioned that this was a possibility in such a situation but did not investigate further. Had I known then we would have stopped in Flensburg and looked for a cycle shop.
The route out towards Padborg was actually rather pleasant. The rain soon stopped and we took off our cagoules. We went through woods and eventually popped out onto a main road which we then followed up to the town.