Day 8, Burg to Kiel: Copenhagen

Following the Kiel Canal for 50km or so meant A) it was flat B) there was plenty of time to admire the scale of this engineering feat. Built in 1894 and widened in 1900s then 1966. 11m deep. The cargo vessels are huge.

The other pondering was the question about Schleswig-Holstien. Even Wiki says this is a complicated question. Suffice to say it looks like it lingers on. The last time the canal was closed was some 10 years ago when locks failed due to a dispute between Schleswig-Holstien and the federal authorities over who pays the maintenance bill.

The little ferries continue to scuttle. Some fine bridges add to the scale. Kiel is vibrant with a tall ship festival and lots of stalls selling (un)healthy German snacks which smell great.

Here is our route

Day 7, Cruxhaven to Burg: Copehagen

Water on a massive scale. From the Elbe to the Kiel Canal, large ships ploughing the length and small ferries scuttling the width in between. Thatched roofs in an abundance and scale to boggle the imagination of a Reed cutter.

The day started off with a reminder at breakfast that the region has a proud tradition of tea as a speciality. No fried choices the breads were free to select whatever cheese they wanted.

You get the impression of places which manufactures things and is proud to do so. And then moves them by water and rail. The landscape is also full of far more wind turbines than was evident in Holland. Ditto solar panels.

It’s flat. This gives the marsh harriers plenty of room to hunt in. As dusk falls, the flight of swallows hoover up the flies, their deftness a strange contrast to the lumbering hulks of the cargo barges passing on the canal.

Here is our route

Day 5, Delfzijl to Wilhelmshaven: Copenhagen

Today we discovered the joys of a strong headwind and the difference a border makes. On the latter, the Dutch drivers are more respectful of cyclists than the Germans: this far. We even had to wait to cross a road.

A short ferry ride bridges the nations. Small differences appear. Rather than herringbone brick paths, horizontal patterns; more cattle than arable; more flags. Architecture broadly similar though no thatch. Cycle paths not as good, though still excellent.

Lots of great birds abound for those who know what to look for. They don’t recognise borders either.

Here is our route.

Day 4, Leeuwarden to Delfzijl: Copenhagen

As it gets more rural, with greater distances between places, the desire for coffee shops and ice-cream intensives, only to be sated in the main city, Gronigen. Never far from water, lush green fields abound.

Now if you’d asked me, I wouldn’t have thought of Holland and thatched roofs. Perhaps logical, given the relationship with the Fens and Broads. Here huge roofs sweep down and thatch covers tiles or corregated sheets. Often it only covers three quarters, presumably the bits that need insulated.

Bikes seem to assume right of way over everything, including each other. There must be a secret code or signal to agree who goes first.

Here is our route