This weekend was my “adventure trip” to Bornholm, an absolutely adorable little island southeast of Copenhagen. And what an adventure it was…
On Friday night after a wonderful dinner in Christiania with friends, my roommate Carrie and our housemate Jaime left on an overnight ferry with about 100 other DIS-ers bound for Bornholm. We arrived at around 6am and from there took a bus to the hostel in Gudjhem. After breakfast, Carrie and I picked up our bikes and were ready to hit the road with two of our new friends/roommates for the weekend. We planned out our route, choosing the “Cultural Tour,” which would take us to a Round Church, the biggest waterfall in Denmark, and ruins from the 1200s. This tour in particular was especially appealing to me because it was the shortest, only 42km total (eek!)
It started out perfectly normal; however, let me just say that it has been YEARS since I’ve ridden a bike. As the old adage goes, you never forget how to ride a bike; however, you can easily forget how much WORK it is to ride a bike. I soon realized that riding a bike clear across an island is one of those things that look easier than it actually is. On the first hill we hit, I already felt the burn- not to mention that I of course picked the bike with the worlds most uncomfortable bike seat.
At our first stop, we consulted our map and realized that we were heading south. The Cultural Tour was supposed to go north. Oops. We were then faced with a decision- turn around, or continue on the path labeled the “Killer Tour.” Since we were already halfway there, we decided to continue on the Killer, which would eventually take us to a beach where the world’s finest sand comes from. And we’d get to play in the water!
We finally make it to the beach, which was pretty cool! The sand really was so soft and felt so good on our tired feet from biking. Down at the beach, we grabbed some lunch (most importantly ice cream!!!) and got back on our bikes to head home.
OUCH. I was already ridiculously sore. I had contemplated just catching a bus from the beach back to the hostel, but for the sake of my dignity, I decided to suck it up and gear up for another 30+ km. I was assured that the way back was even shorter than the way to get there.
We got hopelessly lost.
As I sat on my bike peddling away in vain, quite a few thoughts went through my head:
1. With every bump, the seat gets more and more uncomfortable.
2. My legs are sore.
3. We’re lost.
4. We’re lost, and I’ve stopped sweating and am dehydrated and have no water.
5. I want to slash my tire and have the courtesy shuttle from the hostel come save me.
6. I wish I had caught a bus.
7. Gudhjem is perpetually 12km away, no matter how far we peddle.
8. I hate everything.
9. I want to drive into oncoming traffic.
10. This is pretty, I wish I was in a car.
11. I’m going to die out here.
Among other things.
Fortunately, we found other lost souls, and after backtracking and getting directions from a farmer, we found our way back. Back at the hostel, we commiserated with others who had been lost and were equally as delirious from exhaustion/dehydration.
On the bright side, the shower I took that night felt amazing, dinner was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted, and after delirious conversations with my roommates, I passed out cold at 9pm.
Day 2, I elected to explore the island sans bike (just the thought of sitting down anywhere was painful) so I took the bus to the ruins with Matt, while Carrie and Mike were brave and took their bikes. The trip was totally worth the few extra kroner- the ruins were awesome and it was such a beautiful day! Literally perfect weather. Once we got back to town, we got some ice cream, chocolate, and hung out until dinnertime. Then it was back to Copenhagen! (By the way, we took the coolest ferry ever.)
So, as I said, the trip was quite an adventure. Although I learned that I won’t be completing the Tour d’France anytime soon, I still can’t believe I biked over 65km!! Despite the pain, dehydration, and crankiness, it’s something I’m really proud to say that I accomplished, and something that surprised my parents after the Bar Harbor Bike Incident of ’99… Yes, getting out of bed afterward (not to mention sitting down.. anywhere) was quite a challenge, but it was worth it. Even though we all got back from that bike ride wanting to curl up and cry, by the end of the night we were hanging out, laughing, talking, and having a great time together. In fact, those in the group who didn’t get lost were even jealous of the bond all of us lost-souls had with each other afterward!