Jul 02, 2012
Where I stayed
. A week of biking around Copenhagen (on rented bikes) spoiled us rotten in terms of bike ways and traffic. Denmark is really built for bike traffic. The lanes are clearly marked, bicycles definitely have the right of way, and everyone travels by bike. Old men, young kids, moms and dads with kids, everyone uses their bikes. And traffic revolves around the cyclists. When we arrived in here in Gothenberg, we took off down the main boulevard outside the train station and rode directly into an oncoming line of San Francisco style rail cars. Horns honking, bells ringing, flabbergasted conductors waving frantically and cursing in SwedishWe just assumed we were on the bike way and that we had the right of way. Wrong! We finally managed to find the bike path in the median, between the two opposing lanes of traffic. Clearly we were not in Denmark anymore. Normally, after arriving in a new city we go straig for the tourist office to ask for assistance. Now we got straight to the tourist office and ask for the nearest bike shop. The bike shops are uniquely equipped to answer all our questions. For instance, "where the hell is the bike path?"
To be continued...
We left Copenhagen in the pouring rain. It was a fitting departure for our time in Denmark, which was marked by stressful worry over the $5,200 USD that the Danish customs office wanted to charge us for shipping our bikes to Copenhagen. Long story short, they freed our bikes after 5 days of imprisonment and we caught the first train out of town. It was a mere matter of semantics. They thought we were importing brand new bikes worth $9,000. When they opened the boxes to inspect the brand new merchandise they found my wonderfully ripe bike shoes, my 10 year old panniers that last saw action in South America, and a soiled pair of bike shorts that I forgot to wash before I stuffed them into the box. Hardly new and hardly worth $5,200 of import taxes. So we bailed out, caught a train to Sweden and landed in the coastal city of Gothenberg. Our rough plan is to cycle along the Gota canal that links the east and west coasts of Sweden, from Gothenberg in the west to Stockholm in the east. But first we had to find the campground which was a struggle