Day 1-1. Odense to Kristiansand. Bonus bike ride from Hjørring to Hirtshals.
Distance 30.6km. Average 15.9km/h Max. 37.5km/h Time 1:55.
Six o'clock, there was light outside. I was only just awake but Damae was already buzzing and talking about breakfast. The breakfast on a City Night Line consists of a croissant like bun and a bun like bun, accompanied by some cheese and jam, and a large cup of coffee or tea. Not really enough to call breakfast but it usually keeps us going until ten in the morning. Still today we didn't expect to go cycling; the day would consist of trains up to Hirtshals and then a boat to Kristiansand. Damae wandered off to test the shower leaving me with some more time to recover and I lay there wondering what the weather was going to be like today. It wasn't looking terribly promising but maybe it would be nicer further North.
Whilst waiting for breakfast we passed through Kolding station and in my excitement I managed to take one half decent picture. After breakfast had been wolfed down we confirmed our battle plan. At Odense I would get the bikes out and Damae the bags. The night trains we'd taken during previous trips had only stopped for three minutes. This meant that changing trains had been a rather hasty event in the past hence the planning. We had some time before we would get to Odense so we sat looking outside watching the Danish countryside whizz by.
As we approached Odense I walked to the bike compartment, keys in hand. I met the DGG again, and noticed that the compartment was not only full of bikes but also full of sleeping inter-railers. Well, they woke up pretty quick but their presence made getting the bikes out somewhat harder. In the end though there was no rush as the train waited for at least ten minutes before going further thus my grumpy morning grumblings were unwarrented. Perhaps I've just forgotten what it is like to be young and travelling round the world on a shoestring. The DGG got out in Odense too and I managed to get a few words out of him. Whilst we chatted briefly he discovered that his connection times were different to ours, even though we were all going to Kristiansand. This was a little surprising as we all booked our trips around the same time via the same travel agent.
Odense was a bit grey, the sun was somewhere else today. The station seemed rather bike unfriendly with stickers on the lifts (which were big enough to take two touring bikes with bags on) saying no bikes. Hmmmm. We chose to follow the rules and found the tunnel we were supposed to use. Next to the stairs there was a wide flat smooth ramp, with no groove to guide your wheels. I took the easy route and carried both bikes down. We struggled up to our next platform, having to keep the handlebars straight with one hand whilst the other grabbed the saddle.
Then it was a bit of boredom before our next train arrived. On the upside the slight drizzle had stopped and the sun seemed to be trying to come out. From Odense we would double back and head towards Jutland taking us to Alborg where we would change again. This train was one of those modern Danish DMUs which, although containing a roomy bike and pram compartment had two steps which you had to climb with your bike to get on board. Still there was plenty of room for the bikes and we could sit near to them on forward facing seats with a table. The only downside we discovered later was that we had reservations for the bikes but no reservations for our seats. Halfway through the journey we had to relinquish our seats (with the nice big table, sob!) to fellow passengers.
Luckily by that time I had finished marking out the route on all of the scanned maps I had printed a couple of days earlier so the table was no longer so important. Whilst I was marking out the route I discovered that I had not printed out the last section down past Halden to the Swedish border. I distinctly remember saying to Damae that we probably wouldn't need it as a) we wanted to go to the Lofotens and b) even if we did go back down via the route 9 we probably wouldn't make it as far as Halden anyway (forgetting of course that these were the sort of things you shouldn't say on cycling holidays).