Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Tomorrow is the first day of May, which means the month in which I will be going home is arriving. I don't want to talk about that so I'll talk about my trip to the island of Bornholm this past weekend. I went with a trip organized by DIS. On Friday night, I got on an overnight ferry departing at midnight that would arrive in Bornholm by 6. Needless to say, I slept miserably on a half-reclining cabin chair. When we arrived to Bornholm, I pulled myself together and convinced myself that I wasn't tired despite barely getting any sleep the night before also because I insisted on staying up for the Eagles pick in the first round of the draft. The draft started at 2 in the morning and the Eagles picked at almost 3; totally worth it. 

Anyway, when we got to the island we checked into our hostel and ate breakfast before receiving bikes to ride for the weekend. I was hoping we would get our hands on some proper cycles but I my hopes were dashed with women's 7-speed cruisers. It would have to do. I signed up for the trip on my own so I didn't know too many people on it but I teamed up quickly with one of the guys who shared my interest in biking and seeing as much as possible in the two days we were there. 

At 8, running on about 4 hours of restless sleep, we embarked on the first leg of our journey. (This would be a good time to pull up a map of Bornholm in another tab so that you can follow along.) From our original location of Gudhjem, my biking comrade, Tim, and I headed south toward the town of Svaneke. It turns out we were a little ahead of ourselves, because all the hotspots we were supposed to check out in Svaneke were still closed so early in the morning. So we continued along the route to Nexø, which is the second largest town in Bornholm yet could be ridden through in its entirety on bicycle in about 30 seconds. When we had seen enough of Nexø, we headed back north towards Svaneke. There, we treated ourselves to the famous smoked herring of Bornholm, bones and all. Dessert was homemade ice cream from a local store. I tried to order my ice cream in Danish but it evolved into a hybrid sentence of Danish and English that confused the girl at the counter and was more trouble than it was worth. 

We then made our way back through Nexø and to Dueodde. Dueodde has some of the finest white sand in the world that is used for hourglasses. Personally, I didn't find it too much different from the sand in Avalon. The dunes were my favorite part. 

After Dueodde we headed towards the town of Aakirkeby, which has both the Danish words for town and church in it but it was a slight misnomer because there was no typical Bornholm round church in sight. From there we started riding back to home base in Gudhjem. By this point my legs and butt were beyond sore and my mind wasn't exactly sharp. We joined forces with another group headed back to the hostel and succeeded in taking the most indirect route back and taking much longer than we had hoped. On top of this, a steady mist had enveloped the island, diminishing our spirits. However, our spirits were lifted once again when we arrived back from a long day's ride and refueled with dinner. In all, Tim and I ended up riding between 90 and 95 kilometers, or roughly 60 miles. I had never ridden more than about 10 miles in one day before in my life. I promptly fell asleep by 9 o'clock. 

The next day I awoke refreshed yet still very sore. After breakfast I joined Tim again, along with a group of 4 others that had the same plan as us. We headed north this time and had more of a nature day. The weather was much nicer and the sun was shining all day. I even got some sunburn, or some combination of sunburn mixed with windburn. Our first stop was a set of cliffs along the eastern coast that was home to a really cool cave. We climbed down the cliffs and went as far as we could into the cave before it became too narrow and we hit a dead end. From the cliffs we went to Denmark's tallest waterfall. Denmark is a very flat country so I was not really surprised to see that the waterfall was barely pushing 30 feet tall. Regardless of its diminutive size, the woods surrounding the waterfall were covered with green undergrowth and was definitely a beautiful sight to see. 

After the waterfall we rode along the coast to the tip of Bornholm called Hammeren, or the Hammer. One of the things that amazed me most about the island was the diversity of the land. There were cliffs, farmland, woods, beaches and the Hammer was no exception. It was an extensive series of rocky hills that looked out into the Baltic Sea. Not far from the Hammer was Hammershus, the medieval ruins of a fortress resting on the top of a hill in north Bornholm. Hammershus was the last visit on my bike tour of Bornholm and it was worth the wait. We all agreed that the views from the ruins were reminiscent of what I've seen in pictures from the Scottish isles. The sun reflecting off the sea and no other land in sight was breathtaking. After we left  Hammershus we rode back to Gudhjem up and down the hills along the coast. There we boarded a bus and headed to the ferry that would take us back to Zealand. The two days I spent in Bornholm were short, yet jampacked with as much as my body could handle. In all I biked about 130 kilometers and reached the southern and northern most tips of the island. It left enough of an impression on me that I would love to return some day and take a breather by the sea. 

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