When we pulled into Randers just before 11, we found a city virtually abandoned. Unlike the bustling Aalborg, not a single business seemed to be opened.
…Well, actually, not two. The only place in town still working was – oddly enough – a small pizza parlor operated by a friendly Turkish duo.
We walked through their doors starving, stinky, exhausted. We walked out with ear-to-ear smiles. Those guys were among some of the friendliest I’ve encountered.
Not only did they pour us two glasses of coke with our pizza just to be nice – and offer us the entire bottle after we chugged them in the blink of an eye – but they even offered an entire free pizza to take home when we left. They laughed and chatted with us throughout our entire meal, not like employees but like a couple of old friends. It’s a bit tough to convey such a vibe in words, as now that I’m writing it it does sound just like “a couple of nice guys.” But it really was quite a memorable meal.
I only wish I could’ve understood more of the conversation; although they did speak a small bit of English, most of the interaction was solely in Danish.
Our original plan for Randers was to post up in the nearest campground…but as we didn’t finish dinner until well after 12, the prospect of riding another 7km out of town was not all that appealing. Luckily our new friends had an idea.
A nearby hotel, perhaps? Not exactly. Everything around was either far overpriced or strangely abandoned – besides, this was supposed to be a camping trip anyway.
As luck would have it, there was a massive park just a few blocks away where our new friends were certain we could throw up our tent. So rather than a hot shower and homecooked meal like in Aalborg…we dragged our feet the last few blocks to a gas station. There, we rinsed off with the bathroom sink, plus brushed and got changed.
I’ve never claimed to be a first-class traveler.
I’m just thankful that the midnight attendant was cool with us spending nearly 20 minutes each in his bathroom, unpacking our bags all over the floor and even plugging our chargers into a nearby outlet while we worked. Looks like I’ll have enough power to take photos tomorrow after all 🙂
Then we headed to the park. It was nearly pitch black, so with our head torches glaring we roamed about in search of a place suitably isolated so as not to be bothered by the early-morning joggers; we couldn’t very well pitch our tents right in the middle of the walking path.
We ended up finding a small grove of trees that perfectly shielded us from the fields and playgrounds around…and after giving the mosquitoes the quick feast of their lives, were finally recharging our depleted batteries.
We slept until 10:30am without the slightest hint of disturbance.