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1 Thursday 18.7. HH Altona - Brunsbüttel. 113 km

The challenge is sometimes not far from your front door. In this case this is not quite true because we don't live behind the dike. But it is only just two hours by train and we can enter the longest  (until now) signed cycle tour of the world. It is the 6000 km long North Sea Cycle Route (NSCR), the first of 12 planned European long distance paths  (EuroVelo) . The path was introduced just a year ago, so we will be one of the first before the waiting queues will come.

As I start there is no queue for we have a steady rain all over the night. Later they write that this was the highest rainfall since 1881. And I miss to throw a glance down into our cellar, early in the morning at about 4 am. If I go to the railway station by bike I would be soaked wet at the very beginning already. So I take the car, they can get it back later. The park area at the railway is closed caused by flooding. But I can avoid the barrier and find a dry island somewhere.

As I sit in the train I don't believe, that I'm quite awake. At Hannover change to the train for Hamburg.
(Later I am told, that one train later they had to close the route because a tree has broken down the overhead line. They had to wait for hours. So I am in luck already and don't be aware of it...).

At Hamburg Altona I get out and cycle along the longish platform. This is the first fault, for there just comes a regiment of the rail police. OK, I am on the way to Scandinavia, the land of the blond and light skinned folks. And now a collegue from Africa tells me not to cycle at the platform. I am very insightful to come out of this situation.

At the place outside of the station it is gruesome: it is raining cats and dogs. I slip under my rain coat and start into the dull morning. Today nothing is to be seen of the charm of the harbour of Hamburg. Some hardcore joggers don't bother about the rain. I curve around and after some time in a small lane I stand vis a vis of a garbage truck. I have to climb into an elegant front garden, that the truck can pass by. This was in the region of Teufelsbrück.

Other Aimals in the Rain

We come to the famous ferry station Schulau, which is named Willkommhöft. Here they use to welcome every ship coming in by it's national anthem and ensign. But today there is tristesse only. Then I head into the sheep, the wind and the grey. There is one gate after the other to keep the sheep inside their pasture land. The gates shut automatically, but one has to stop all the times, ballance the panniers between the frames and the waters run from the raincoat into the shoes. On the ground there are lots of sheep dung, very soft today. Moreover there are snails and earthworms flying among the spokes if you hit one.

At the village Eckhorst Hetlingen - or was it Haseldorf Rossteert - there are fire guard, Malteser and Technisches Hilfswerk very active to pump waters from here to there and from there to here. "The canalisation is flooded" they say. But now the rain stops and I can get my soaked trousers dry by the wind. I ride to Elmshorn on the road. Later I realize, that there would have been a shortcut along the Sperrwerk Krückau. In addition there is a ferry, but this is active only at weekends.

I stroll along the pedestrian area at Elmshorn. Later I pass a village named Kuhle. Everywhere there are lakes and ponds in the gardens. At one lake there is a gate and the sign: Keep entrance free. I watch a woman who tries to dry her entrance by a bucket, but she does not realize that the lake in front of her house reaches until the next neighbour estates. May be she was busy some time with her bucket.

Market at Glückstadt

Houses at the Harbour

Finally we reach Glückstadt. At the market place I pull the camera out of my panniers and produce the first panorama shot. I have a digital camera with me, from now on this is put into the bag of the handlebar. I have bought a 128 Mbyte chip and can save about 600 images. And this is cost free for we need no film. And you can look at the completed images at a monitor at once or in the evening at the chimney. But watch the accus. My old heavy mirror flex camera is more and more ballast.

We are still at Glückstadt. At the harbour: a flock of older ladies, they are instructed by a guide that the houses of the harbour lane are cultural heritage. While I am listening the wheels of my bike are stuck in the rails of the harbour train. But fortunately I get aware of it. We continue along the dike. May be you will hear this more often from now on. Fences for the sheep again, gates and dung. We pass the bridge across the river Stör. A windy place, water at the right and water at the left. Then there is the nuclear power station at Brokdorf, surrounded by barbed wire. But at Brokdorf they have a fine bath with a huge adventure slide. May be there was a certain sponsor. I have a rest under a roof because it starts to rain again.

Clothes to Dry
I now commute from one bus cabin to the next and listen to the pouring rain and the day ends as it began. At last I reach Brunsbüttel and we use the ferry boat over the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal. At the very first hotel I stop: "Is there any room free?" "Sure there will be one" and I am rescued. Moreover there is a working heating and I can dry my things especially the shoes.

I can eat at the hotel and it is not necessary to leave the house once again, this would have been too gruesome. I have a call at home - and my jokes about the waters have been out of place: we have the waters in our own cellar as well. And I am far away. But some neighbours have given help and a pump is in action.

2 Friday, 19.7. Brunsbüttel - Husum, 107 km

We start with a drizzle. The chain must be lubricated - of course after yesterday. I then resign to go to the Friedrichskoog and prefer a shortcut to Meldorf. Once I enter a bus cabin again, but then the rain stops.

Windmill and

Market in Meldorf
At Meldorf there is a nice windmill and they have their market day. Behind the Meldorfer Hafen there is a dead straight road, 8 km long and into the wind. At the right side there is a lake from the river Miele. Some sail boarders fly along and are much faster than I.

At last I reach the Sperrwerk Meldorfer Bucht. After all there are some cutters. We have an info station of the Nationalpark Wattenmeer nearby. I go in for a moment and they wonder that there is any visitor today. I have a rest at the nature reservation and watch the loons (Haubentaucher). At the dike there are some stairs and then up there we have the first glanc at the North Sea and the Watt lands. As well there is a monument: two men stem against some blocks. May be it's a symbol of the struggle against the forces of nature.

Sperrwerk Meldorfer Bucht


We continue along the dike (sic!), just into the wind, the next 8 km to Büsum. This is a touristic place. I wipe for a dry bench at the church and watch the crowds as they enter the souvernir shops. But what else should they do today. We continue (along the dike of course) for the 18 km to the next attraction: the Eider Sperrwerk. Meanwhile I study a family on their cycle trip into the wind. The father rides in front, the daughter 100 m after him and the red faced mother staggers far behind. They seem to have never heard of the "Wallonian Arrow" or something like that.

At the Eider Sperrwerk I try to ride up upon the dam. But a sharp wind mixed with drizzle and spume makes me blind. I better climb down the slope and use the crowded road in the shelter of the dam. The usual NSCR now leads to one of the most beautiful lighthouses of Germany at Westhever. This lighthouse is very famous by various advertising posters etc. I prefer a shortcut towards Tönning with the wind. I argue, that later on the landscape may be more interesting - sorry to Nordfriesland, but it is really very flat here. Tönning is a nice town, church, harbour and bridge - all checked off.



We continue to Husum. Once I find myself in front of a baker's shop and cannot resign to bear down my appetite for some cake. This is consumed on a bench by a tea spoon. May be this spoon fell into my bag this morning... Aside the route now there are some special buildings named Haubarg. These are old agricultural estates with a big barn. We come not near enough to have a photo. Near Husum there is a Windpark and Infostation. They have various variants of windwheels to produce electricity.

At Husum I enter the Thomas Hotel and this is very comfortable. Today I choose a Chinese Restaurant for dinner and think to get enough to eat. A final walk around to the market place and the castle Schloss vor Husum. In spring time the park of the castle is famous for it's lots of crocusses.

Husum: Harbour

3 Saturday, 20.7. Husum - Brøns, 120 km

I said already that the Thomas Hotel at Husum is very comfortable and I can repeat this because I find salmon, trout and matjes at the breakfast buffet. The start today is fine, no wind, no rain. We have to choose again between a loop to the island Nordstrand or the shorter route towards Wobbenbüll and Arlauschleuse. You have heard about my arguments already so let's go along the beautiful and faster route to Arlauschleuse. This is a hotel offering lots of activities as it is to be read on a sign.


Lots of Activities
I pass along many wind wheels which slowly rotate due to the slight wind. After some time we hit on the North Sea route again and have spared about some 20 km.

Now one can ride on the seaside or the landside of the dike. On the seaside there is more wind and it looks as if the metabolism (Stoffwechsel) of the sheep is more active. On the landside there are many gates as well. We pass the Hamburger Hallig, a low peninsula. Someone has established a hut to hire bicycles for a trip to the Hamburger Hallig. The other Halligen are to be seen like small heaps at the horizon.

At the Seaside of the Dike
The last section to Dagebüll we choose the seaside and there are nice views. Then there is a rail track leading to the island or peninsula or hallig named Oland. There is a warning to walk to this place, this may be dangerous. At the railway and ferry station of Dagebüll we return to the busy world. There are crowds of cars waiting for the ferry with bikes on the roof, this looks like a wood. They all want to go to the islands Föhr and Amrum.

Railway- and Ferrystation Dagebüll

We turn inland again and find some shortcuts to avoid the town Niebüll. We come to Neukirchen, the last village before the Dansk border. The shops are closed already and I ask some children for an open shop. But they only grin and look stupid. Then I meet two guys from Norway who want to go to Holland. I ask for any accommodation in Denmark. They give a hint to the hotel where they have spent the night and this is at Brøns 40 km from here. May be this can be managed today.

For someone who likes to see this and that I say, that he should visit the nearby Nolde Museum.


Chapter 2 Dansk Border - Skagen
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