This third segment is the one that goes from Germany to Denmark, requiring the use of the Puttgarden-Rødbyhavn ferry, not being equipped to bicycle on water. This segment therefore consists of two half-segments of roughly the same length: the first still in Germany from Gremersdorf to Puttgarden, and the second in Denmark from Rødbyhavn to Sakskøbing.
I start off from Gremersdorf therefore early in the morning at 8:00, biking through fields, hills and windmills, several km south of the sea, as far as the large lighthouse that dominates Heiligenhafen. From here one goes down to Grossenbrode and then one heads towards a long bridge that connects the mainland with the island of Fehmarn. The map indicates that the bridge has a makeshift bikelane (Behelfsradweg) only 1.55 m/5 feet wide and therefore one is required to walk the bike. When I get to the bridge to get onto this makeshift lane one must navigate a rickety gate in a location quite a distance from the bridge itself. Travel many kilometers on foot? With no cyclist or pedestrian in sight I get back on my bike and pedal across the bridge and beyond. After the bridge the bike lane leaves the road and descends to become a tree-lined country road which provides a great view back of the bridge.
Getting across the island of Fehmarn to get to Puttgarden initially created some problems for me; the Radweit map suggests a route to the west that is very meandering, and another that cuts through the town of Burg, the main village of the island, and I make the mistake of selecting this second route because it seems well-marked by locally-placed arrows; but by following this local signage I end up on an unpaved path that takes me to the outskirts of Burg, on the sea; from here I head back north on other roads ending up in the middle of Burg, clogged with holiday traffic. Eventually I find a bike lane on the road to Puttgarden where, in spite of everything, I still arrive a little earlier than the intended time (11 o’clock).
I head to the passenger ticket counter of Scandinavian Lines where I am told that as a cyclist I need to go back and go through the vehicle gate along with cars and motorcycles; a not so happy coexistence, and which condemns me to immerse myself in the columns of cars and motorcycles waiting to board. Waiting that lasts almost until noon when finally I am permitted to enter the ferry, which now is full, fastening my bike in a spot actually intended for motorcycles.
The boat leaves right away; when the access ramp is raised it encloses one as though in a peaceful little cave but full of cars and trucks; a stairway takes me to the upper decks where there is a kind of floating bazaar: little shops, restaurants, a cafeteria, and a minimart…
The crossing takes 40 minutes, and terminates at the port of Rødbyhavn. Disembarking as nearly the last person to get off the boat, I end up directly on a highway with my only guide being a map, but without bike routes, and the map on my GPS; I try to find a bikable route that will take me to the village of Sakskøbing where I have reserved my hotel. The enterprise is less difficult than I had feared: I manage immediately to find a peaceful local road with a two-way bike lane on the left and alternatively an unpaved bike path to Maribo. I choose the former, but which then doesn’t go all the way to Maribo, and requires me to get there by using local roads as well. Finally I arrive at Maribo where I take the opportunity to get a supply of Danish krones; Denmark although a part of the European Union, has not adopted the Euro and continues to use its previous currency. The Danish government is now considering switching to the Euro by holding a referendum in 2011, but in the meantime traveling in Denmark introduces this little annoyance of different currency.
From Maribo to Sakskøbing there doesn’t seem to be a real direct bike route, I have no option but to follow the regional highway that at least has narrow bike lanes along its sides.
When I arrive at Sakskøbing at around 3:00 pm, I immediately find my hotel and curiously, at exactly that moment, a local marching band appears with its trumpet blasts and drum rolls; obviously they are not there to greet me; the girl at the hotel explains that today is a local holiday. In fact, along the streets converging on the central square, there are long tables that in the evening fill up with people for a great feast and of course to drink beer. Danish beer is considered one of the best in the world.
Latest visit: 7 August 2009