In the past eight days I crossed the North Sea on a cargo ship, which was totally awesome, and cycled (almost) across England. That’s 1828 kilometres in total.
Day 72: North Sea – Thornton Curtis, UK
1316km by boat and 14.04km by bicycle.
20.23h. Wonderful day on the ship. There’s not that much to do, except read, write and watch. And eat. I ate so much today. As I said before, all food is included in the price. It’s kind of like an all-you-can-eat buffet all day long, plus three cooked meals per day. It’s surprisingly good food too.
I already booked some places to stay at in England. I’ve been looking at possible routes in England and interesting places I could go to. At first I wanted to visit some national parks, but that idea has been pushed back by a new and exciting one. (I’ve already said it on Facebook) I’m going to go to Stonehenge and celebrate the Summer Solstice! That’s going to be an amazing end to this journey, which has been truly incredible. After that it won’t be that long anymore until I’m back home…
I’ve got lots of time to get there and enjoy the English countryside.
23.42h. Really nice and warm evening made for pleasant cycling in the dark. Got the feeling I’m going to love England. I certainly did last time I was here. First place to eat that I saw after cycling out of the harbor was called ‘The Jolly Fryer’, another pub had a huge sign saying ‘Fine Ales!’. I love those names.
I forgot that they have different outlets here. I didn’t plan to come to the UK at all when I left home, so I didn’t pack my travel adapter. I’m going to have to find a store and buy one tomorrow.
Day 73: Thornton Curtis – Skegness, UK
19.05h. Not the best day at all. I had troubles finding the right roads and direction and had to backtrack a few times. Annoying. I did manage to find a travel adapter, but that required a detour as well. Really long day…
For some reason I felt very tired on the bike this morning. It’s weird, because the inn I stayed at last night was fantastic. It’s a pity I could only really spend a night there.
The roads here aren’t always the best. The bike paths aren’t either. As usual it takes a while to get used to a new country and its infrastructure and habits. I actually think that the UK is the most different country I’ve been in on this trip. Most different from home I mean. The distances are in miles, there’s a -1h time difference, instead of deducting when converting the currency I have to multiply now, their outlets are different and you have to drive on the left side of the road. All small things, almost details, but it doesn’t make it easier to adapt.
Two things were striking today. Firstly, an incredibly large number of houses are for sale. There are signs everywhere, from every tiny village to town to larger city. That ‘global’ crisis has really taken its toll here I guess. I put global between brackets, because I did not see anything like this in Scandinavia, at all. Secondly, teen pregnancies. I’ve seen quite a few really young girls pushing prams with a baby in it.
I’m not sketching a positive image of England here, I realize that, but this is what I’m seeing. It wasn’t the easiest day today though; that definitely affects my view on things. I’m sure that it will get better!
Another thing… I fell today. A woman walking on the roadside wanted to ask me something and, of course, I stopped. I was going pretty fast and I couldn’t unclip my feet in time. So before I knew it, there I was laying on the ground. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself (or the lady). Quite annoying thing to happen too, especially because my bike is making strange noises now. Kind of worried about that. Last time my bicycle fell I got into trouble…
Need to clean it anyway in the morning, so I will make sure to check everything.
Day 74: Skegness – Morcott, UK
21.38h. When checking my bike this morning I found that the chain was broken. It was a pretty easy fix though. Good thing I noticed that!
I’m eating a bunch of spaghetti now. It was a really long day again, brutal headwind all day long. Stonehenge is almost exactly southwest from where I arrived in England, and that’s the direction the wind is going from. So there will probably be several slow and windy days ahead of me. On the bright side, it’s a warm wind!
When I was cycling in the Arctic – it’s so cool that I can say things like that now! – there were days when there were really cold northerly winds.
I got very wet too at one point in the afternoon. Found some shelter under a big tree and waited until the clouds had passed. The rest of the evening was sunny and warm and I had nowhere to be tonight. So I just kept going. It got a lot hillier today and I love it. It’s really amazing cycling right now.
I pitched my tent next to a hedge on the side of a field. Early night and early morning…
Day 75: Morcott – Brinklow, UK
19.15h. Really short and bad night. Woke up many times during the night and I was up before six. The morning was chilly and morning-dew-wet.
I had booked a place here in Brinklow a few days ago and after the two previous longer day, today was quite short. I arrived at the inn shortly after noon. That’s the plus side of getting on the road early in the morning! After hanging up my tent in the shower to dry, I took a short but much-needed nap.
There’s a lot of roadkill on the sides of the road. Within the hour after starting to cycle this morning I saw a dead fox and badger, the two icons of English wildlife, as well as several birds, rabbits and even a snake! As bad as this is, it also means that there’s still a large number of wildlife around.
The living wildlife I saw today were birds. Worth mentioning are lots of pheasants, a hawk and a buzzard.
I still have to get used to all that traffic again. There’s a constant stream of passing cars and trucks. Every once in a while a car honks at me. I haven’t yet figured out whether that means ‘mate, you’re bloody awesome’ or ‘get the hell off the road, you idiot!’. I like to think the first is true.
Day 76: Brinklow, UK
21.53h. Didn’t do too much today. I slept in this morning. Watched TV, washed some clothes, got a pizza and coleslaw lunch, cooked spaghetti in my room.
I went for a walk around town this afternoon as well. Good thing I planned a day off today; it rained pretty much all day.
Day 77: Brinklow – Stow-on-the-Wold, UK
19.20h. I had great fun on the bike today. I’m in the heart of rural England and the roads are really good to cycle on. Much better than a few days ago. There’s still a lot of traffic though, so today I chose to cycle on the really small and narrow countryroads.
It’s quite hilly, which makes for fun cycling and beautiful views sometimes.
I’m staying in a hostel in a small and beautiful town. I just took a short walk around.
Day 78: Stow-on-the-Wold – Bath, UK
18.50h. A chilly and rainy morning turned into a quite warm afternoon. There was a tailwind today, which was extremely welcome.
I cycled on very busy main roads all day. I really wouldn’t recommend that; I had to stay alert and focused all the time. I didn’t even have the time to look around and enjoy the views. I stopped several times and waited in the verge until the cars and trucks had passed.
Some very steep climbs as well. The last hill to the camp ground I staying at tonight and tomorrow was 16%! Luckily they’re never too long. Looking back at it, it’s actually a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoy the climbing and descending. It’s never boring and it’s definitely an awesome work-out.
Day 79: Bath, UK
19.10h. Today I played tourist in Bath. I walked around for about five hours and visited Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, which were an absolute highlight on this trip. I’m really glad I came here.
I bought some groceries and cycled back to the camp ground. Tomorrow will be my last day of cycling in England. Time flies… I’m not sure which route I will take though, as there are so many sights to see on the way. I will make that decision over a few pints in the camping bar I guess!