If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Denmark Trip Day Six

Yamaha Club to D'n Toerstop, 515 miles

I was chatting with Poul about my plans for the return journey. I told him about the Belgian experience, and how I had originally planned to stay there on the way back, but now the hounds of Hell could not persuade me to go within ten miles of the place. He suggested a bikers-only campsite in Netherlands called D'n Toerstop - good welcome, good food, and so on. I found it in the satnav (brilliant!) and it looked a reasonable point to break the journey home. I was hoping for somewhere a little closer to Calais to make the last day a bit easier, but this seemed too good to pass up. That was one of my better decisions.

I was up good and early, and ready to go by 9 am. A final cup of coffee and hugs all round, and I left the camp and headed up the road. No matter how good the people, and how pleasant the situation, it is always a good feeling to be on the road again. The mind focuses forward, and the day seems full of possibilities. But Poul and Alice could not have been kinder or more hospitable, and I owe them some serious British hospitality when they come to visit us next year. I was sorry to leave them. If you read this, guys - many, many thanks for everything.

There is a saying (I think it might be from my native Yorkshire, but that may be me over-romanticising again) that says "A horse pulls better homeward." I have always found that the return journey is always easier, and seems quicker, than the outward. The bike fairly flew down the E45 towards Germany, and in no time at all I was pulling into the town of Jelling, where I hoped to find my stones (as it were). They were easy enough to find, and in the planning I had hoped to spend a couple of hours here, looking at the stones and reading up on the history. As it was, I had my head turned to home and after taking a few photographs (they are standing outside in a churchyard), I remounted and headed South again.

The Runestone of Gorm (left) and the stone of Harald Bluetooth (right). Both from the 10th Century, and marking the time when Denmark was leaving its pagan past and embracing Christianity. Harald Bluetooth is said to have united the Danish tribes as a nation for the first time, and the communications protocol is named after him, implying that Bluetooth unites communications into a universal standard. The symbol for Bluetooth is a bind-rune incorporating the runes for H and B.

Betcha didn't know that.

I got back on the road and quickly left Denmark and entered Germany. The autobahn through Northern Germany was as dull as it had been a few days before, and the constant roadworks were just as frustrating. However, there were no real delays, and I arrived at the Dutch campsite at around 6 pm. Poul had told me that there were cabins, similar to those on the MC Touring Club site, at D'n Toerstop, and I rather hoped I could grab one, as I had had to pack the tent away wet, and the thought of grappling with acres of damp nylon again was a bit dispiriting. I wandered into the bar (which doubles as a reception desk) and asked if there were places - a slightly redundant question in mid-September, but it was a starting-point. Of course there were places, and yes, a cabin was free. A place for a tent would be €10, and a cabin €19.50, so a deal was done, and I though it very reasonable.

The guy behind the bar was a bit of a joker. "You are English, yes? I have some company for you for tonight - two guys from Stoke-on-Trent!" Before I could back out of the agreement and head back for Belgium, two figures entered the bar with unmistakeable Potteries accents (like Brum, but easier to understand). I said hi, and within five minutes we were sitting round a table, on our second beers, and swapping stories as if we had known each other for years. Keith was about 40, shaved head and goatee, cheerful and friendly. Ken was a good bit older, with a Wild-West moustache and a dry cynicism to match Keith's bonhomie. We got on well, ploughed our way through a plate of excellent spare ribs, and went back to our cabins - it turned out that they were my next-door neighbours.

The bar at D'n Toerstop is remarkable. All done out in dark wood, with posters for bands and forthcoming events, it has bike memorabilia everywhere. There is a mini-moto on a shelf at the back, and a full-size bike (not sure what) on a beam overhead. The following day, I spent a good half hour just looking round the bar.

The cabins were little more than garden sheds with attitude - 10ft by 10ft, with two sets of bunks in each and a set of plastic garden furniture. Nothing else. However, after a week in a tent, it seemed like the Ritz, and I slept like a log on a comfortable foam mattress at least - oh - three inches thick. Bliss.


  1. Hello my good friend. Re; If you read this, guys - many, many thanks for everything. I am reading every word and i see that you had a super time here in Denmark. You are welcome back anytime. We miss you so please come back! There are still lots and lots of lovely places to see. Oh and try to be here mid summer cos at that time the girls are better looking than our cows. Biker-poul-dk

  2. Thanks, Poul. I had a great time, and your hospitality was excellent. I can't wait to get back sometime - if the girls are better looking than the cows, they must be pretty special!

    I'll have a Gajol tonight and raise a glass to you both.


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