Day 11

The day's route (35 miles actual cycling, 73 miles including train & ferry):

And the ride to date (529 miles):

Rather annoyingly, there is a gap in the track where I reset the trip counter (having forgotten to do this when we set off) thinking the tracks would still be saved, as you usually have to delete those separately. I shall attempt repair at some point, but not now.

Accuweather again said rain until 11am, then sunny/overcast until 5pm. By a happy coincidence, it took us until 11am to breakfast and pack.

The first part of the journey was around 17 miles to Nielbull, where we would find out whether we could take the bikes on the train to Sylt. If so, we should have around 45 mins in hand to find a wifi hotspot and attempt to find accommodation on Romø, and would then have about an hour to cycle from Westerland to List to catch the ferry over to Romø.

It was definitely dry when we set off.

Niebull was essentially straight down the main road our hotel was on, but we'd been impressed with the Bikeroutetoaster route yesterday, so gave it another go today.

It has to be said that it started off merely zig-zagging across the main road on back streets ...

But then settled down to a broadly parallel route on very lovely roads. The wind was reasonably cooperative too.

Things I need to stop photographing:

1. Wind turbines
2. Thatched cottages

We passed through a few small towns.

And had forgotten to check the 'Avoid cobbles and bricks' option. Rear wheel on the kerb, left wheel on the cobbled road and right wheel on the brick pavement gave the least painful option.

Then the usual mix of villages and open road.

With some bits of woodland thrown in for scenic variety.

But mostly very flat, very open.

We only got lost in the final mile to one of Niebull's three train stations. Accosting a local woman on her bicycle get a stream of German, of which I understood 'Go down there to the end and turn right, then you can't miss it'. We went down there to the end, turned right and indeed couldn't miss it.

I checked in the ticket office that we could take our bikes on, and indeed we could - even wide ones. We did, though, have to wait an hour for the express train. That made our plan train onto Sylt, and ferry onto Romø - the Blue Plan.

We used the time to look for accommodation on Romø. There was some, but it was ridiculously expensive, so we decided we would ride back onto the mainland and find somewhere to stay there.

Looking on gave us two options, one would give us about another 22 miles riding, taking us to 39 miles for the day, the other would give us another 35 miles, taking us to 52 miles. We opted for the latter since the journey would be broken up by train and ferry crossings, though we would be arriving quite late. But as we would be in Denmark, the cycle paths should be good.

The train station was helpfully equipped with lifts that were just big enough for my trike.

We did briefly glance across at the opposite platform.

But we had island-hopping to do.

We wondered if there was a particular place on the platform we should stand to be alongside the bicycle carriage. As Eric pointed out afterwards, this was Germany: we should have known that all we had to do was exit the lift and remain there as logically the bicycle carriage would stop right next to it, which it did.

We had initially hoped there would prove to be a cycle path across the causeway, so that we could ride onto Sylt rather than take the train, but this didn't look like much of a cycling surface.

Though Eric's GPS would probably have thought it ok.

Our tickets cost €7.30 each for us, and €3.70 each for our bicycles. Eric had to pay the same price for his, despite having fewer wheels.

A ticket inspector arrived, and inspected the map on my fairing as well as our tickets. He spoke about as much English as I do German, but managed to successfully convey the opinion that we were adding to our mileage unnecessarily by turning left in order to then turn right again.

The train should have arrived at 14:35, leaving us 50 minutes to cycle 10 miles to catch the 15:25 ferry. We thought we might manage it, but the train - a German train - was ten minutes late! Next time, I'm holding out for a Swiss one.

We'd thought navigating the island would be pretty straightforward: exit the train station, turn right, follow the only road to List. But this turned out not to be the case, and a combination of navigational incompetence, roadworks and horrendous surfaces on the cycle path meant this was not an option. We therefore took it easy as the next ferry wasn't until 18:25.

The cycle path surface aside, it was a reasonably scenic ride, and with flat terrain, good weather and a tailwind, we were perfectly content.

On our very wet and cold day, I'd said my next holiday would be a beach holiday. It turned out I didn't have long to wait.

And then we were in List.

We even saw another trike there.

Though the motor was a little more powerful than mine.

It has to be said that List itself is much like Lands End.

Only with better food.

The trip odometer is wrong, by the way: I forgot to reset it at the start of the day (it's a separate setting from the tracklog), so reset it at the station and then-- no, you're right, you don't care. Anyway, we'd really done 31 miles by then.

We timed our arrival well. Within a short time ...

Though I need to have words with Accuweather: the rain was 22 minutes early.

We had 2.5 hours to wait here for our ferry, so I used the time to write this.

Bicycles of courses boarded first.

Eric hooked his handlebars over a thingy (technical nautical term) while I found some chocks.

Ixies: making ferries look untidy since 1998.

If we'd been more on the ball, we'd have taken a photo as the ferry crossed the border between Germany and Denmark, but we weren't and didn't.

The ferry arrived in Havneby, the port on Romø, and it was bucketing it down. Danish weather appeared to come from a different supplier, as only a short distance away back in Germany it was 'occasional light showers' by now.

There was no Welcome to Denmark sign, but we had now ticked-off Germany and were in sunny Denmark. A quick stop to put on waterproofs and gloves.

It was time to check the local forecast to find out how long this was going to last. We ducked into the first cafe in Havneby.

There was no wifi, so I used the 3G connection on my iPhone (I have Vodafone Euro Traveller, which gives me UK rates on all usage for a flat supplement of £3 per day) to check the weather for Romø.

Rain. Bucketing rain for several hours.

We had around 25 miles of cycling ahead, including a causeway of 8-10 miles. We didn't much fancy this. I logged on to to look again at those hotels we'd earlier dismissed as too expensive ...

I think because it was now after 7pm, and they figured they were unlikely to see the rooms this late, they'd come down from around £150 each to £80 each. I checked the cancellation policy on the original hotel, and we got a bit of it back, so that would cost us around £40 each. Looking at the pouring rain, we decided this was a wise investment. And in fact, we were now paying less in total than if we'd booked here earlier in the day.

I booked the new hotel and cancelled the old one. Our remaining cycling distance was a little over three miles.

Now, this was done quite quickly, on a phone, using the mobile version of the site which doesn't show photos unless you specifically click on them, and I must confess I didn't. But what do you picture when you read the description?

I'm betting it's not this:

I'm also betting that you're not imagining that having cycled the three miles to your hotel, you find it locked and empty.

I downloaded email to get the booking confirmation in the hope that it gave a phone number. It did, which went to voicemail. Down in the small-print was a note that the hotel was unattended and you had to check-in at a different hotel, 5km away. Oooo-kaaaay. So off we cycled. On the plus side, there was an excellent cycle path alongside the main road (albeit a somewhat damp one just at the moment).

And a lovely sky en-route to the second hotel.

We got there to meet a very surprised caretaker in another empty hotel. He did, though, speak English, did acknowledge that we had a booking when I showed him the confirmation on my phone and said we could stay there.

He was a very friendly chap, and first we sorted parking for the bikes.

That done, he showed us to our rooms.

I'm not seeing the sea-view here.

The rooms looked like student accommodation from the 1980s. The days before you needed a power point for your 'desk'.

I guess this is a 'private bathroom'.

The funky lighting was the only modern touch.

We tried to work out whether we were in student accommodation, an Outward Bound centre or an open prison.

On the plus side, we had the place to ourselves.

On the downside, there was no restaurant there or, indeed, anywhere else nearer than the ferry port we'd cycled from.

But the caretaker was a nice chap, and kindly offered to make us sandwiches and coffee. Which was basically serving us breakfast in the breakfast room.

The wifi in my cell^T room was weak, so I had to wander up the corridor to find a strong enough signal to upload the trip report. I then had to do the same to have a skype chat with a friend. I took a chair from my room and sat in the corridoor. For some reason, Eric found this amusing ...

I think it's the most surreal hotel stay I've yet experienced.

And that was our day. A modest 35 miles of cycling, rather longer total distance, and an overnight stay to write home about. Which I guess I just did.

Tomorrow, we could either cycle directly to Esbjerg, for a ride of around 50 miles, or we could break the journey somewhere. We decided to consult the weather forecast in the morning.

On to day 12