bornholm by bike

May 6, 2008

the gorgeous bornholm landscape (stay…posted…for a post with more landscape photos!)

over the may 1st holiday weekend, my friend cat and i took what ended up being one of my very favorite (if not THE favorite – maybe this one and ‘hakka roundhouse trip #1’) trips ever – to bornholm, a danish island in the baltic sea (waaay far east of the rest of denmark…it’s on the other side of the southernmost point of sweden, and has actually been part of sweden at a few different points in history). we brought our bikes with for transportation and spent three days exploring the island. i was thinking that it would be a nice place, since many danes vacation there, but it far exceeded my expectations – it was SO beautiful and we had absolutely perfect weather. cat was also an excellent travel companion, and very patient with my amateur biking status (she’s what i would call a ‘serious’ seattle biker…needless to say, i’m learning lots of new bike vocab). : ) it was very fun, and bicycle was the perfect way to get around the island – to me, it’s a very danish mode of transportation, and it allowed us to travel at our own pace and really take in all of the scenery (while stopping often to photograph it, of course). one of my danish friends told me that if i were to visit one place in denmark outside of copenhagen, it should be bornholm…and so we went. we covered 115km(!) in three days and were exhausted at the end of the trip, but very happy that we’d gone!

here’s the ferry that we took from ystad in sweden to bornholm (we took the train from copenhagen to ystad…and were able to bring our bikes on both the train and the ferry with special tickets)

cat and her lovely golden bike at the beginning of our trip

some photos that cat took of me doing ‘bike things’ and hauling the backpack…i was so impressed that my trusty second-hand city bike did such a good job!

some adjustments were made…

cat was a very good sport and visited all four of the island’s round churches with me (i’ll also post more specifically about these in the near future)

cat’s documentation of me documenting one of the round churches

although i was not the only one taking photos…

view of sandvig, the town outside of which our hostel was located

a very yummy second saturday breakfast of black coffee and fiskefrikadeller (fried danish fish meatball) – gotta keep up that energy level! this was enjoyed on a picnic table at a lovely seaside cafe : )

unlike the rest of denmark, bornholm is NOT flat…i was very, very happy to make it to the top of this hill…and many others…

we had a picnic lunch one day at the harbour in gudhjem (a town on the east coast of the island)

windmill in gudhjem/lighthouse at bornholm’s northern tip

a rogeri, or smokehouse, in gudhjem…smoked fishes and other seafood are one of the island’s specialties

on sunday, we visited the ruins of the fort at hammershus, northern europe’s largest medieval fortification. hammershus was built in the 1200’s on the island’s granite cliffs to the north (it was a really big deal to see cliffs in denmark…cat, who has seen a lot more of the country than me, couldn’t believe we were still in danish territory).

the fort was used as a base for the danish crusades and was conquered at various times by both sweden and lübeck. i liked all of the different window openings…perhaps strategically placed for defensive purposes?

stone and brick construction of the tower/remains of the fortress chapel

cat takes a break among the ruins

on our way from hammershus back to rønne to catch the ferry home, we rode along what is definitely the loveliest bicycle path i’ve ever been on…

…parts of which skirted the coast/me celebrating the successful completion of our trip with a triumphant (and delicious) ice cream cone in rønne : )

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i love this ad. even in the winter, copenhagen bikes!

here’s a link to the ‘official’ cph bike culture blog: http://cycleliciousness.blogspot.com/

cph, the cyclists’ city

November 9, 2007

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i’ve been meaning to write a post on bicycles in copenhagen, so when my friend alyse nelson’s valle research of last year was featured in the seattle p-i yesterday, i thought it would be fun to share. alyse put together a great report that basically describes how copenhagen works so well as a cycling city: cycle-friendly policies, strategic street and bicycle lane layout, and the city’s underlying infrastructural design principles. she also includes lots of personal observations in the form of photos and case studies. it’s definitely worth checking out. alyse also observes something that i’ve noticed (both here and in the netherlands): everyone cycles, regardless of age or social status. you don’t need to have special biking clothes or gear to fit in (ahem, seattle…). most danes have two bicycles, a “good” one for serious cycling and a beater for riding around the city. it’s a healthy lifestyle, and it greatly reduces the need for personal vehicles. (i have a theory that these northern europeans are able to stay so trim even in lands of wonderful dairy products and pastries because they’re biking every day…) and because the bicycle infrastructure is so integrated with other transportation networks, especially those of automobiles, it’s much safer to ride a bicycle here. motorists expect the bicycles to be on the road (though in their respective lanes, of course), and they are constantly on the lookout for them. i wish i felt as comfortable biking in seattle as i do here – relative to other u.s. cities, it’s a great place for cycling, but it could be much better. glad to see that alyse’s research is being circulated so widely. if you’re interested, pass it on! : )

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bicycle lane and parking in højbro plads, a favorite copenhagen plads.