Camping is so pleasant.
Although I’d been hauling my tent and sleeping bag around for this entire trek through Europe, today was the first time I’d used either…and despite the short night’s rest I just loved it. There’s something about sleeping in the outdoors – hearing the chirping birds, breathing the cool clean air, and waking up to the glisten of natural sunlight. It’s a feeling of freedom. All you need is to open your padlock and unzip your tent…and you’re home.
Although we only spent one short evening in Aalborg, I actually felt quite sad to be leaving. Something about it was just so charming, so welcoming. But with 3 days of riding still ahead, we had to press on.
A quick breakfast of muesli, a smear of sunscreen on our (ludicrously burnt) arms, a few minutes of topping off the phone and camera batteries, and we were off.
It was another perfect day, not too hot and not too cold – when unlike the previous, Denmark’s gale-force winds were replaced by barely a mild breeze.
The only challenge this time was that parts of the route were far hillier than yesterday’s; nothing remarkably steep, but with our heavy backpacks even a modest incline can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Not to mention of course the cumulative toll from the previous day’s ride – most notably, an extremely sore lower back from supporting all the weight of those packs.
Still, all in all I felt much better with my performance than the first day’s ride (even if Peder was still halving his pace to accommodate me :P). The fatigue didn’t truly set in until about 15km from Randers – and even that was nowhere near as intense as the previous day’s exhaustion.
Maybe that huge dinner really did help, as Peder promised it would.
…Or maybe part of it was that my backpack was now a bottle of vodka lighter thanks to the previous evening’s party 😉
Because we left Aalborg so late, we didn’t reach Randers until nearly 11pm. Unlike Aalborg, this town seemed completely abandoned – literally everything was closed, and without so much as a market or restaurant still working, we were seriously concerned about dinner.
Luckily we did (eventually) manage to find a place – the only one in town, according to the few locals we happened upon. It was a small Turkish pizza parlor nestled down a sidestreet off the main commercial promenade.
This little parlor provided a most unexpectedly memorable dinner.