Around the Pond: 5000 km on the North Sea Cycle Route

I got up earlier today than yesterday. The t-shirts I had put out for drying during the night are nearly dry.

At the reception of the campsite I ask for directions to a camping store. I am told there was one in the harbour area of Büsum. I leave at half past nine, and have no problems finding the shop. However, they are specialized on caravans, and have no sleeping pad in stock. They advise me to try the department store in the city. In the pedestrian area of the city I get some breakfast from a baker, but I skip the department store.

The weather is cloudy this morning, which I appreciate, since I got a slight sunburn yesterday. The route leads over several kilometers on paved tracks just behind the dike. The sun is coming out eventually, and I take a first break for breakfast.

Near a flood barrier at the estuary of the Elder sea birds are nesting between the rocks of the dike, watched from a distance by the tourists.

A few kilometers before St.-Peter-Ording I meet some guys from Braunschweig, near my home. The tell my about a dutch cyclist couple they met on the ferry in Glückstadt, who also were following the north sea cycle route.

In St.-Peter-Ording I tried in vain to find a supermarket. Here everything is targeted on tourists - lots of restaurants, souvenir shops etc. No idea where the natives are shopping. Maybe I should have asked one.

I continue on my way in the glowing sun. After a while I find a bank under a shady tree. I get out my solar panel, something to eat and a book, and take a break for an hour and a half. Then on my way again, following the cycle route signs - sometimes with the NSCR logo, sometimes without. Then only without. I check my map and realize that I must have missed a turn a few kilometers back. I turn around, and after a seven kilometers detour I am back on the NSCR. Half an hour later the same problem, this time just a 3 or 4 kilometer detour.

I see no supermarket in any of the villages I am passing. It is Saturday afternoon, even if there was a shop it is unlikely it would be open. My best bet it to try and reach Husum, which is big enough to have shops that are open late on a Saturday.

I continue over open pasture land, nowhere a bit of shade. I'm getting hungry, but at least I have plenty of water. Over last the last days I collected empty water bottles which I fill with tap water every morning. When I started this morning I had about 5 liters of water. During the day I drink nearly 4 liters of that.

A bigger problem is my sunburn on my knees. I am riding in shorts and sandals. My feet also have a nice red pattern due to the sandal straps. I don't want to dig through my bags for long trousers. Deciding the worst damage is already done, I continue as I am for the last 20 km.

Just after seven I arrive in Husum. On my way to the harbour I see no shop. Thinking it more important to find a place to sleep I drive out the three kilometers to the harbour where the campsite is. The reception is locked and deserted, but after a few minutes somebody comes out to help me. The reception includes a kiosk, but they don' have anything edible. I only buy something to drink.

I ask about supermarkets in the city. They are not sure whether there are still some open, but show me a few places on the map that might be open till eight. However, it being already half past seven, I opt to stay here and take a shower. In my bags I find a piece of Salami. That, and a bottle of apple juice are my dinner.

A few meters from my tent I find the dutch couple I was told about earlier that day. They are already past their 1000 km mark on their tour on the NSCR. They are sitting in front of their tent on some clever construction: a folded sleeping pad (similar to the one I destroyed a few days ago) and some short poles and some straps make a nice seat with backrest. That's something I'd like to have!

In the tent directly next to mine is a father with three boys on a weekend trip. They are interested in my bike, and the trip I am making.

I think I take a rest day tomorrow, to tend my sunburn, recharge the batteries and update the blog.

Later that evening I have a long talk with an old woman in her 80s. She tells about the journeys she and her husband have made over the years. Like that one time they spent a few weeks in Norway: "Everything was so expensive. We couldn't afford the food! Not even during the war we have been eating so badly as in Norway!" However, a lot of the times she confused the details of their journeys to Norway and Island. After an hour or two her husband joins us, and I hear that she was recovering from a stroke she had earlier that year.


Day 5 - June 7th: Büsum to Husum

Route

Büsum - St. Peter Ording - Garding - Husum

Statistics

Distance: 113.68 km
Cycle time: 6:38 h
Average speed: 17.10 kmh
Total distance: 499 km
© Thomas Stets ts.semper.d@googlemail.com
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