Destination Exploration: Denmark
First cycling trip to Europe? Book tickets to Denmark. Now.
I am leaving for Corsica and Sardinia in a few days and I will face my normal stun getting off the plane. Wait . . . “What time is is? What meal should I be hungry for? And where am I?” . . . all normal and predictable patterns of travel. The beauty of place begins to show itself to me in the coming days, building into a trip full of snapshots of memorable meals, treasure houses of historic events and people famous and infamous. But when I turn my back on Corsica and Sardinia, I’m confident I’ll be ready to come home and settle back to the beauty of my life. This has been my predictable pattern of travel. And then I went to Denmark . . .
Denmark has been on my radar for years with arguably the world’s best reputation for bicycling. And flights were so wonderfully inexpensive, and I thought . . . “why not,” leaving me with “when next?”
If you are new to riding in Europe. Land here. Copenhagen is a short 20 minute train ride from the airport. Get into the city. Wander about your neighborhood. Get some dinner and settle down for a long luscious sleep. Wake up to a new day and wander over to Wecycle in the heart of Copenhagen. They open early and serve up four things beautifully: coffee, bikes, conversation and hygge. Get a great dose of all four. My husband and I rented a bike and bought a bike and drank rivers of espresso moving from cozy alcove to cozy sidewalk table to cozy bar stool perch.
Why Wecycle? Because of their bikes. Because they believe in the beauty of the ride. Not your typical rental, they rent stunning and sturdy achielle bikes with racks for traveling. The bikes are meticulously maintained, and ready for the open beauty of Denmark. We rode from Copenhagen to the top of Denmark, stretched our ride over into Sweden with a life-changing visit to Ystad Saltsjöbad, and back down to the Danish island of Bornholm for a grand tour before ending where we started at Wecycle, giving back our sweet rental and picking up our bikes, boxed and ready for the easy train ride to the airport for the hard flight home.
And in between Wecycle, we filled our time with long slow rides through literally endless bike paths exploring Denmark and spots in southern Sweden. We basked in the warm beauty of people, ate a variety of fresh and local, sweet and savory, often from open fire make-shift kitchens, set up on under the clear skies of Denmark. We drank gallons of espresso from a cup culture really serious about their beans and drank rivers of beer, locally brewed from local grains. We were surrounded by the Danish passion for “hygge” with candles literally everywhere, and throw blankets and sheepskin pelts and a general feeling of hunkering down into the soft warmth of a culture that runs on something happier, and slower, and more mindful.
We explored cultural icons through the ages, from Hamlet’s Castle to the Danish Museum of Art and Design. We filled our hearts with the beauty of Danish mid-20th century design. We wandered in the damp dark through an art exhibit set up underneath the city in the cisterns and were alone with a baby elephant and his parents before the wave of young visitors caught up with us at the Copenhagen Zoo. We took a brief stroll through Tivoli Gardens before settling on life outside the walls and into the heart of a stunning capital culture. We rode through the Royal Hunting Grounds of Jægersborg Dyrehave and along the ocean paths that connected the small villages of Bornholm.
And before and after the great meals and cultural legacy, we were hopping on and off our bikes, filling our days with miles and miles of exploration and adventure. With completely supported infrastructure, we easily rode our bikes over 300 miles, onto trains and ferries. We rode with confidence through busy thoroughfares and narrow dirt paths. If you are new to bicycling in Europe, put a pin in Copenhagen. Get a bike and get going into the vast world.
I look forward to offering a detailed overview of the trip in the coming weeks. But first, I’ve got to wrap up my next adventure on two wheels. I can’t wait to share!