Blog 10 – We are not alone

Ending last blog at a low point, the days after were even worse. Writing the blogs make me focus on the bad things. So to improve my mindset, this will be a positive blog. A blog about us not being alone in this world, not being alone as a cyclist and not being alone in doing good.

Whitby Bay to De Panne

Day 65 – 52 km to Durham – After Lola’s accident, I left late this morning to wait for the check-up at the vet and to finish the last blog. The road took me along a very familiar place: the ferry to IJmuiden. But this time I crossed the Tyne river. I followed the sea and had lunch at a nice cliff. One of the only few non-built-up areas this day.

Tyne tunnel

Day 66 – 82 km to Lealholm – This day was probably the worst day on my entire journey, but it ended nice. After cycling on an old railway, I spent two hours cycling through terribly signposted cities. Cities are not my favourite thing. Misdirections are even worse. But above all, it is terrible when most of these two hours are cycling paths lined with piles of trash and covered in glass. It is a miracle my tires didn’t get punctured. This was the point where I made the decision that, if the landscape and litter did not improve in the next two days, I would take the ferry in Hull. But luckily the late afternoon gave me beautiful skies over the gorgeous landscape of the North York Moors. Unfortunately by the time it was dark enough for northern lights, clouds had covered the sky.

Day 67 – 80 km to Filey – The morning was spent cycling out of the North York Moors and heading to the sea once more. I followed an old railway track along the sea to Scarborough and had company of another cyclist for a little bit. Due to the headwind I didn’t get as far as I wished.

Day 68 – 75 km to Beverley – The landscape was very boring today. A little hilly, but mainly a lot of agriculture. After I left Filey, the route turned away from the sea. In the beautiful city centre of Beverley, I met some French cyclists. The first campsite was a no-go due to an absence of toilets (quite weird…). The second campsite was amazing! After cuddling some goats, we (me and the French cyclists) had dinner together.

Day 69 – 75 km to Market Rasen – Another day with head/cross wind. And again another day with boring agricultural landscapes. The surroundings turned more flat too. “Highlights” of today are crossing the river Humber and the hills of the Wolds.

River Humber

Day 70 – 80 km to Boston – Awesome! From Lincoln onwards I followed the Water Rail Way, with tailwind! The landscape becomes very similar to the Netherlands. A polder landscape. I even come through a place called Holland Fen. And some parts of this area are called South Holland

Day 71 – 108 km to Sandringham – More very boring landscapes today. Polders as if I were in the Netherlands. And the same amount of annoying crosswind. Only the last part from King’s Lynn to the campsite was somewhat exciting, going into the hills a little with forests.

As if I were in the Netherlands

Day 72 – 86 km to Reepham – Another day without much sea view. And although some hills and a ford, more boring agriculture. At the campsite there was a beautiful rainbow ad sunset.

Day 73 – 104 km to Bruisyard – Starting the day of with an old railway track to Norwich. And after Norwich more agriculture. But the streams make a nice change. I chose to cycle quite far to a campsite close to the route. Apparently it already closed that day, but I got to stay anyway. Perfect campsite for a biologist, with only a few pitches mown in a field with otherwise long grass, with a decomposition toilet and with birds all around. A pheasant decided to roost above my tent, and in the night I kept being woken up by owls. Love it!

More Railway tracks

Day 74 – 84 km to Cholchester – More of the same. With the exception of having lunch in a park in Ipswich and having a helicopter land behind me. This area is rather campsite poor, so I ended in a hotel. A hotel so old, that it’s amazing the floors didn’t creek. And it’s a miracle that the building didn’t fall apart, seeing the angles of the beams.

Day 75 – 101 km to Gravesend – An early start on a very peaceful morning. But basically more of the same. Officially the North Sea Cycle Route goes from Colchester to Harwich, but I’ll cycle to Dover, to cycle more of the route in France, Belgium an the Netherlands. The closer I get to London, the more the trash along the road seems to pile up. But as route number 1 goes to London from Chelmsford, I go south to Tilbury to take a ferry across the Thames to Gravesend.

Day 76 – 85 km to Canterbury – An even earlier start than yesterday, but I somehow managed to arrive quite late. Probably due to the many routes trough cities. That slows you down a lot. And today was maybe the worst trash-by-the-road-day. But the last hour to Canterbury was beautiful!

Canterbury Cathedral

Day 77 – 31 + 41 km to De Panne – And yet another early start. This time to be able to catch the 12 o’clock ferry in Dover. In contrast to previous days, cycling to Dover is much nicer. Kent seems to have a little more diversity in the landscape. A little more forest and more hlls. Great for the view, not so great if you want to catch a ferry… But I managed it! I’m actally quite elated that I got to Dover. I really hadn’t expected to get this far. And now I’m in Belgium. A little bit home.

Almost full circle

So, overall I raced through a pretty boring landscape and am really happy to be back in Belgium. I’ll be “home” in about a week!

Leaving Dover

Cycling together

The longing for ‘home’ the last week has lessened somewhat. I figured that one of the reasons why it increased, is bbecause there are less people on the road to have contact with. The holidays are over. And this area of England is pretty boring and less cycled. But still, you are never the only cyclist. Most cyclists you meet on the road are commuters or “wielrenners” (cyclists going for speed). Almost everyone smiles, waves or says hi. And then there are a couple with whom you have a small chat.

North York Moors

There are only a few people you meet for a longer time. Some you share an hour or more cycling together. Most you meet on campsites and spend the evening together. And on rare occasions (which happened twice for me) you meet people multiple times and even (aim to) cycle together after camping. But what I really like and what makes you feel less alone, is that you can stay in touch with other cyclists. Sharing experiences eventhough you’re not together, and knowing that you’re not the only one whose day sucked because of rain and wind.

Sharing the world with nature

The doom and gloom scenario that might await us if we don’t manage to stp climate change brings some people into a state of not caring anymore. Some people believe that the human civilization is going to end and that the human population will go extinct. They then argue that it therefore doesn’t matter how they live. It’s doomed anyway. I strongly disagree with that. We are not the only ones on this earth. For me, even if this complete doom were true, the fact that we are not alone on this earth is the number one reason to never give up on making this world a better place and saving nature.

In some of my previous blogs I discussed or mentioned the cutting down of forests and addressed the benefits of planting more trees. But I do have to correct something after reding a bit more and talking to people on the road. The cutting down of forests in the north of Scotland is not a very bad thing. They actually try to restore the moors, with the acompanying biodiversity. In the meantime, millions of trees have been planted in the Caingorms, to restore the forests there.

Robin Hood’s Bay

It’s the small things

To keep more positive, there are so many small things on the road that make me happy. I have seen people – with children, great example! – pick up litter in their own community or on the beach. Also, most of the people I met on the road have a similar mindset when it comes to nature conservation or sustainability. Those conversations are a source of positive energy. Even smaller things making me happy are signs of Extinction Rebellion drawn on roads for instance. There are others out there actively fighting for a better world!

Blog 9 – World wide waste

Having waste as a topic for one of my blogs was basically fixed as an idea before I started cycling. However, in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway I had no reason to use this topic. But as soon as I set foot in mainland Scotland, it became clear that littering is a much more common practice here. Littering is not the only cause of environmental pollution. Besides the beautiful views, littering, fly-tipping and other forms of plastic pollution or waste in the landscape have been visible on my route through Scotland.

Bamburgh Castle

Portsoy to Whitley Bay

Day 57 – 74 km to Ythanbank – Short after Portsoy, I turned land inwards. One of the first days on which I got to cycle on old railways. Few campsite options, but the campsite I chose was amazing. Very small, on a farm with extremely friendly owners.

Day 58 – 81 km to Stonehaven – another day with old railway paths, leading to Aberdeen. Ended up having lunch there during a festival.

Dunnottar Castle

Day 59 – 84 km to Carnoustie – Apparently a bank holiday, with many festivities in the villages. But this route is clearly living up to its name: coasts and castles. Starting with the beautiful Dunnottar Castle. It is also the perfect day for harvesting. I literally saw the field turn from gold to brown and the sky from blue to brown because of all the dust. After lunch I hardly had a proper view of the landscape.

Day 60 – 60 km to Glenrothes – Cycling along the coast to Dundee was very depressing, due to all the industry. But also showed another castle. After that I cycled through a forest and back into agricultural landscape. Perthshire is very nice, but seeing it being harvested also shows that there is not much nature left.

Day 61 – 83 km to Musselburgh – Departed from the main route to Edinburgh, since I cycled that a couple of years ago. Instead followed the coastline a bit more. Edinburgh has nice cycling highways. Don’t know how I missed those when I was there before. This time I used these to get out of the city fast. Too many people for me at the moment.

Day 62 – 97 km to Berwick upon Tweed – Followed the coastline closely to Dunbar. The turned from the coast heading for the hills, but not after crossing a ford with a very steep climb afterwards. These hills are also the last hills I’ll cycle in Scotland, because England is where I spent the night.

Following the coast line

Day 63 – 60 km to Embleton – The route zigzagged from coastal tracks to a bit more inland “hills”. Northumberland comes across as a very friendly area to cycle. And the coast provides castles and birds. I enjoyed myself on this “take it easy” day.

Day 64 – 72 km to Whitley Bay – The day consisted of wind. A lot of crosswind. But the coastal tracks are beautiful and a lunch at a cafe felt well deserved. (Un)fortunately, the only campsite around did not allow tents. And without any other camping option in a 30 km radius I went to a hotel. This fitted perfectly with my desire to get out of the wind and the desire for a very good night sleep.

My route so far

I think I can now safely say I like the highlands of Scotland, not so much the urban and agricultural east coast. Yes, the landscape still looks amazing, but the lack of diversity and the endless continuation of the wheat field was somewhat depressing. The rides across old railway tracks or off-road coastal paths is much more exciting. Let’s hope it stays that way! If I wanted, I could be home in two days. Unfortunately this doesn’t help with my little bit of homesickness (wherever home is nowadays…). But I will stick to my new plan. Trying to finish the entire route!

Scottish coast


Litter along the road greatly reduces the beauty of a landscape. Even though it might not be very present, it feels untidy. And as if people are not proud of their landscape. Or maybe even worse, as of they don’t care. I don’t understand why people litter. All my rubbish I keep until I come across a bin, or a recycling area on a campsite. And that it with a bike. In a car you don’t even have to worry about the space or weight of your garbage. It seems even more of an effort to open your window to throw something out, than to keep it lying on the chair next to you until you’re home. But apparently not everyone thinks like that.

The kind of litter I absolutely don’t mind

Along my route, I came across most litter in the UK. It does seem that there is more litter around cities and among the major roads. On shared-use paths there was hardly ever any trash. This may also explain why I didn’t see much in Denmark and Germany. Almost all the roads I cycled on there were back roads or cycling paths. And especially in Denmark there were bins everywhere. Really everywhere. But no matter where, it seems like a considerable amount of roadside litter is from a certain fast food brand. It is really striking how often I come across bags or cups of Macdonald’s.


Another observation I made, was that it seemed at first there was less litter in Denmark and Germany because of the presence of so many public bins. Then again, they were less common in Sweden and Norway than here in the UK, and still there is more litter here.

Wasting a-way

Litter is not the only way to produce waste away along my route. A rather new kind of wayside waste can be found near suburbs and footpaths: the plastic bag with dog poo in it.

Bag of dog poo

But along my route I also so plastic waste as a result of planting new trees. While planting trees is a good thing, I was quite astounded to see the amount of plastic used. And as they were planted so close together, many went survive. Apart from that, it mainly raised the question in my mind: is anyone ever going to remove every single bit of this plastic? And is the plastic really necessary?

New trees somewhere in the plastic

On a larger scale waste is produced by agriculture. Every year, bales of hay are packed in plastic and within a year all that plastic is thrown away. And a small proportion ends up in fields or in fences. Again, it raised questions. Is there no other way to pack or store these bales? Is this plastic really necessary? How much less plastic would be used if we ate no meat and less dairy?

One last form of things wasting away I came across mainly in Norway and here in the UK. Unused buildings. It seems like people prefer to leave old buildings and let them degrade and build something new, rather than try to restore them or at least use the materials for new building.

And then there is the very deliberate dumping of trash. Fly-tipping. something I will never get.

Fly-tipping along the route

Seaward bound

So is all this waste really a problem? Yes. It all ends up in nature. Even though the sun may be able to make plastic crumble into bits and pieces, it never fully get decomposed. Animals can suffocate in plastic. And plastic may end up in fresh water and the sea, where other animals will think that the waste is food. Without being able to digest plastic, it heaps up in their stomach, slowly starving the animals.

From someone I met on the road, I heard it used to be common practice on ships to throw waste overboard. Even though you knew it was not a very good thing to do. You had to get rid of the waste somehow. I suppose they were or are not the only ships doing that. And then there are also the ships that loose containers, as we were all made aware of this winter, when MCS Zoe lost over 300 in the North Sea.

Plastic in the high tide line

When you walk along the shoreline, you can see the high tide line with a lit of debris. Some waste from the ocean washes up here as well. It gives an indication on how polluted the sea really is. And this are just the visible parts. The microplastics we can’t even see.

Pollution solution

So is there a solution to al this plastic pollution? Yes. There are two, I would say. Recycle and consume less.

Consuming less means we have less products that can (accidentally) end up in the environment. This is something we can ourselves consciously choose for. Don’t use straws, bring your own shopping bag, don’t use single use plastics, and buy vegetables and fruits without plastic. And although I was told about this early on in my trip, this last point is difficult in the UK. I was very shocked to see how almost everything is packed in plastic. Under the pretence that you can store it longer. While in reality it just means a store can have more stock, which probably makes you buy more.

But all these small reductions in plastic use will not save the world from the plastic soup or have a large impact on our garbage sites. We should recycle much more. Only a small part of our plastic is being recycled. The majority is still being newly produced from oil. And with that thought in mind, I came to the conclusion that even stuff you normally don’t recycle can at least be reduced. I bought an new tent this year, because my old one was hanging by threads. No. By ductape, and with a broken pole. I will try to make dry bags and other things from it, once I’m back. If you have any other ideas of what to make from the canvas, let me know!

And talking about when I’m back… I need to get on my bike again. After Lola giving me quite a scare last night by getting hit by a car (all is quite well, just bruised), I have delayed enough today. With all the hopes that I will not get hit by a car of course, I will ride south past Newcastle, into the region where the industrial revolution kicked off.

Blog 8 – Human adaptation

The theme of this topic is really inspired by a conversation on the ferry between the Shetlands and the Orkneys. Usually, I like to imagine what the landscape or a village would have been like some centuries ago. But, what would the landscape be like if humans left altogether?

Northern Highlands

Bergen to Portsoy

Day 46 – 0 km – Being tourist for a day. With some other girlsfrom the hostel I went on a boat tour through the fjord.

Day 47 – 11 km – Cycled and walked through the city to organize everything. Laundry, reparation stuff for my bike, box for my bike, postcards…

Fjord boat tour

Day 48 – 21 + 9 km to Sumburgh – Someone broke and stole my lock, broke my stand, but as if in a comic, left my bike. Probably they didn’t realize I have two locks on my bike. And had the experience of flying with my bike. Ended the day bird-watching on Sumburgh Head in the Shetlands and sleeping in a “böd”.

Day 49 – 50 km to Lerwick – The Shetlands are beautiful! But there is – no other word will do – a shitload of wind. Falling (again) doesn’t help either, nor does the rain. Decided to skip the northern part of the route and stay in a hostel for the night and take the ferry the next day. And funnily enough ran into a cyclist I met a couple of times before!

Day 50 – 5 km to Kirkwall – It was a good choice not to cycle. It was wet and very windy. Went to the Shetland museum, went birdwatching in the harbour and visited some shops. Ended the day with quite a rough ferry to the Orkneys. In order to avoid seasickness: go birdwatching!

Day 51 – 91 km to Stromness – Together with the other cyclist (Martin) rode around Orkney’s west mainland. Started rainy, mostly sunny, ended rainy. Also visited some historic sites.

Day 52 – 56 km to Bettyhill – A nice ferry ride to mainland Scotland. The landscape started agricultural and ended (after rain…) with more heathlands and higher mountains. The campsite facilities were… hmm… interesting.

Stromness – Leaving the Orkneys

Day 53 – 77 km to Lairg – Said goodbye to Martin, as he headed west and I south. Took a shortcut through the valley of River Naver and entered the vast landscape of the northern highlands. Rainy, but beautiful day.

Day 54 – 94 km to Rosemarkie – A lot of down hill. Landscape turned very agricultural, with no more mountains around.

Day 55 – 65 km to Nairn – Half this route I’d done two years ago. Did some shopping in Inverness. Literally ended the day on the other side of the water from Rosemarkie.

Day 56 – 94 km to Portsoy – Wind in the back and go! Reached 3500 km today. Some coasts, some castles, some clouds, some sun, some up, some down. Lovely wave sounds to fall asleep.

Spey river viaduct
Cycled so far

Staying in hostels has made me somewhat lazy. It is so much more comfortable sitting inside, especially if it is raining and windy outside. Then again, stepping onto your bike is just very rewarding. A bit addictive. Staying inside also makes me long for home. Wherever that may be. It was quite tempting to take a ferry to Aberdeen, take a train and take the ferry to IJmuiden from Newcastle. My main goal had been reached anyway. I made it to the Shetlands. So I supposed it would be a lot harder to keep going in the UK. But the idea of actually reaching the Netherlands on my bike has now settled in my mind as the new goal. Since the rain has ceased, my mood has also improved. And in case of mental emergency, it is always good to know you’re not the only cyclist on the road going through similar struggles. My rhythm is also slowly coming back again, and with that also my motivation to write.

Orkneys in the rain

Before men arrived

Historic sites, old villages, landscapes that feel old or even very big trees always make me wonder what it must have been like many years ago. How was life in Pictish times? What would it be like to live in the time where castle owners were basically the head of the town? What would the landscape have looked like before human settlement? Luckily, many musea and history lessons can give a rough idea. Sometimes even signs along the road may give some more background information.

Ring of Brodgar – what would life have been like?

It is almost unimaginable. But 6000 years ago, whem men first arrived on the Shetlands, the Shetlands (and I suppose the Orkneys too) were a mixture of grassland, marsh, heath and stunted woodland. Peat started forming due to a changing climate, but the vegetation changed more through human activity. Nowadays, you find mainly grasslands, heath and peat. There is not a single tree in sight. But mankind can easily adapt. Instead of burning wood for fire, people on the Shetlands use peat. This whole change in landscape and switching to another energy source shows the impact mankind has on the environment, but it also reminded me if Easter Island, and in extend, the world as an island. Let me explain…

Marks of peat harvesting

A while ago, I read this interesting article about Easter Island. Like the Shetlands, Easter island was once forested. Most likely, rats introduced by the arrival of the first inhabitants stopped the regeneration of trees. Unlike the myth surrounding the island, agriculture was thriving when Europeans first visited. It was even more productive than when the island was forested, because the inhabitants were so innovative. It seems like this is found in mankind in general. We keep innovating. We keep finding ways to innovate our way of producing energy or executing agriculture. However, I do wonder if their is a limit to innovation, since wo do only have one earth with limited natural resources. Skipping over a long part of the story, eventually the inhabitants of Easter Island were mostly killed by an epidemic of some pox. It is not unthinkable that with the ongoing global biodiversity crisis, epidemics or pests might cause some serious problems too.

Shetlands – no trees

After men leave

Unlike my usual thoughts, a conversation on the boat to the Orkneys brought up the question: what would happen if we would not be here anymore. Imagine a disease would kill all mankind. Or in the case of the Sheltands an Orkneys, if one day men chose just to leave the island. Would the vegetation become more forested again? Would now locally extinct species return to those habitats? It is of course difficult to predict. Restoration projects on a small scale often take a lot of time to somehow remove the impact men had on a piece of land. An agricultural field is for instance much too nutrient rich to turn back into heathland. Soil compaction by grazers also changes the vegetation, and has a long-lasting effect. And then there are our buildings, products and rubbish. How long will that take to reduce… It is quite a nice mind game to imagine what a place would be like in the future if we would leave it alone now. Although on a side note, some buildings here have been abandoned for some time, so you get an idea what the future of other buildings would be.

Grasslands on the Shetlands

Adapted to human life

Although in time many species would benefit from the absence of humans, there are also species that have completely (been) adapted to our way of living. The “been” is for livestock. We have actively changed them to suit our benefits, but I will not focus on that here.

House sparrows (Passer domesticus, huismus) already show it in their name. They are so connected to our way of living. Every farm I pass, there is a new swarm of sparrows. They adapted to our houses for breeding opportunities. If we were not there any more, or if we drastically change our houses (which has been the cause for the decline in the Netherlands various years ago), their populations would reduce due to a lack of breeding sites.

House sparrow sandbathing

But did you know gulls would do terrible without us too? Some gulls nicely displayed why. Gulls use our way of living as their food provision. Eating scraps or stealing your chips (apparently staring them down helps in avoiding this), but also eating from our waste sites and eating fish waste from vessels at sea.

Another example of how species can change due to our behaviour also comes from the UK. People feel they should help birds by supplying bird food. They do this so much that the beaks of great tits (Parus major, koolmees) have become longer. And this has been changed at DNA level, not just as a phenotypic or plastic response.

Gulls aiming to steal my lunch

While I have won my battle with the gulls over my lunch, I still need to battle the rest of UK’s North Sea coast. I have adapted well to life on the road, but it is very easy to slack off. Next blog hopefully up within a week!

Blog intermezzo – A day on the road

I’ve been on the road for a while now (50 days exactly). So, maybe it’s time to give you an idea what my day looks like. A blog without daily updates, a blog without an environmental topic. Just a random day.

Getting ready

Waking up – Of course the day starts with waking up. I don’t set an alarm. Sometimes I wake up because the sun is turning my tent into an oven. Since the sun rises at 5, this can be as early as seven. Lucky for me, it usually doesn’t happen. If I wake up from the light, it depends on the time and how sleepy I am whether I turn around again. I can get up anywhere between seven and nine.

Inside packing – The first thing I do is get dressed and remove the plug from my mattress. Once that’s done, I’ll pack up everything inside my inner tent. This saves me from crawling in and out of my tent a couple of times. Packing has quite a structure to it. I pack my clothes pannier (right front). Next I pack my handlebar bag. If I did my preparation, this usually means putting my phone in there and placing my battery and speedometer on too. By then my mattress is empty and I pack my other front pannier: mattress with pillow, bag with cables, bag with toiletries, sleeping bag and a few single things. When this is all done, I place (more like throw) my bags out of the tent, to give myself space to get up out of the tent properly too. And then I attached the bags to my bike.

Opening my tent

Outside packing – By this time I’m about 20 minutes into my routine. How long this next part takes depends on whether my tent is dry or wet (unless it is raining – there is a different routine for that). If my tent is dry, it’s easy. I attach my back panniers to my bike (if they weren’t already) and start filling them up, after checking if the footprint is also dry. Usually first to pack is the food and camera pannier. Most of it is packed since the night before, but I need to add my tablet and maybe some loose items. There is not much order in this bag.

If my tent or footprint is wet, I do not start packing the last pannier, because my tent and footprint go in somewhere in the bottom. If my footprint is wet, I hang it over my bike. If my tent is wet, but my footprint isn’t, I hang the tent over my bike. (I always remove the innertent first if the outer us wet from the inside) If both are wet, the footprint goes over my bike anyway. My tent then dries standing as it is, or if the inside is wet, I erect it inside out.

Drying my footprint

By this time it is a waiting game and I have breakfast, followed by doing the dishes (which I often can’t be bothered to do in the evening), filling up water bottles and going to the toilet. By the time I’ve had breakfast everything is dry and I pack the last pannier. This overall took an hour at least from waking up.

Breakfast time

When it rains – There is a slight alternative when it rains. I eat breakfast first. Nice comfy and warm inside my tent, gathering some motivation. If it rains I’m in no hurry to go outside. After packing inside, I remove my innertent, so I have more space inside and keep everything dry. I’ll pack the panniers inside too, in a way I only have to add the tent and footprint on top. Lucky for me, this has hardly happened during my trip, so let’s hope it stays this way! (And after I wrote this, it of course started raining for multiple days in a row)

On the road

Getting going – Once I start cycling I stop very often. To take pictures, to take some water, to check the route, to just enjoy the view, or to hurriedly search for my binoculars because I might’ve spotted a nice bird. After roughly an hour of cycling (not including any stops) I take a longer break to eat some thing. After that I just keep cycling and stopping whenever I feel like eat. Eat whenever I want. Maybe just sit on a bench for a while if I come across one with a nice view, or just stop to get another ice cream. Ocassionally I also go to a heritage site, but I’ll let that all depend on how inviting it looks. And how much I need to get out of the sun or rain.

On the road
Taking a break on an improvised bench
Taking pictures

When I’m on the road there is also the need to do my groceries. I know some people do their groceries right before or after they found a camping spot, but I’d rather stay close to all my stuff and do groceries when I have a supermarket along the route. I also use it as a break and most likely buy a tasty bun for lunch.

Updating destination – Somewhere later in the afternoon, between 3 and 5 I stop to take a good look at my map. Will I be able to make it to the destination I was aiming for that day? Yes? Fine. I’ll go to the camping location (either campsite or free camping) and prepare for the night. If it seems like I can go much further or am nowhere close, I will use my map and Google to check if there are any better options. Both have happened. Sometimes aiming for 65 km is just to much, when I had to climb a lot, but sometimes everything is going so well that I end up cycling over 100 km. Whether I continue cycling or find a closer campsite really depends on how my legs feel, but also on how the weather is. I have had times I simply wanted to put up my tent to get dry, but I’ve also continued cycling in the rain to just not have to cycle as much in the rain the day after. And yes. If I’m hungry, I’ll definitely choose to get my tent pitched quickly.

Cooling down

Pitching the tent – My evening routine has almost as much structure to it as my morning routine. I arrive at the campsite, check in, find a spot and set up my tent. I put my front panniers, helmet and handlebar bag in the tent. I then make my bed. Get out my sleeping bag, blow up my mattress and pillow and get my clothes out for the night and for the evening. By this time I’ve cooled down from cycling and will go for a nice shower or swim.

First things first: putting up my tent

Dinnertime – And then I can settle down for dinner. This is almost the same every night. I’ll boil some water, and use some if it to make tea. Then I’ll add pasta and once that’s done use part of the water for my overnight oats breakfast. In the meantime I’ve cut my veggies which I will add to the pasta together with a package of sauce powder. This allows me to use all the water, not throw away any of it and therefore also not carry water I’m not really using. And with the sauce, my dinner tastes a little nicer. During dinner I plan my route for the next day. Where would 65 km roughly take me, should I go a little further or stay closer. Or will I take a rest day all together. But that last one has hardly ever happened. I also update my numbers. How much have I cycled that day and how much money did I spend on what.

Preparing tea, dinner and breakfast
Writing in the evening

That is basically the end of the routine. After dinner I tend to pack most things for the next morning and then write, make sudokus, chat with other people on the campsite or more often chat online with people back home or choose to go to sleep directly.


I have quite a structure routine, but it comes naturally and doesn’t feel forced at all. Maybe having such a clear structure is also why I love being on the road. Somehow I don’t seem to manage a proper morning or evening routine back home. Also the last nights in hostels, it has been more difficult to keep a routine. Who knows what the rest of Scotland might bring.

Blog 7 – Flight connection

This week started at the closest point of Norway to the Netherlands (with Denmark being even closer). A point where birds will most likely take the leap of migrating across the North Sea. And as I am also about to take flight to connect my route on one side of the North Sea to the other, flying in a rather broad sense seemed a good theme. So here goes…

Norwegian coastline after 2500 km of cycling. Many birds in this area!

Stave to Bergen

Finished the east part of the route

Day 39 – 69 km to Flekkefjord – Wonderful ride. Starting with my 2500 km milestone with a view of the Norwegian coastline and climbing twice to > 200 m along the Kvinesdal fjord. After crossing the fjord, climbed to 235 m once more, with clouds slowly appearing and then descending, making the world very silent. Had a very good evening at the campsite with a Dutch couple, providing me a chair, shelter against the rain, a good conversation, a stroopwafel and wine.

Day 40 – 56 km to Nesvåg – Starting with some rain, this day constained mainly the of covering 3 climbs. One of which would be the highest on route in Norway. This climb in particular ended in an amazing landscape with a lot of bare smooth rock and lakes. The last climb was also featured in “Rond de Noordzee”, where the makers slept in hammocks in a tunnel. After that my legs didn’t feel like cycling on to Eggersund. After putting up my tent I had to make a dive for my tent avoiding a sudden and very heavy downpour.

Highest climb on the Norwegian part of the route

Day 41 – 107 km to Sola – After the early stop the day before I had to make a choice. Have a very short day (~40 km) or cycle further than I have done in the past two to three weeks. It was the latter. The landscape turned very flat. The rain didn’t encourage me to stop for photos. Add to that a strong tailwind and a large main road, I even cycled further than I intended. Ending at a very small dune area. The route did have some cool features, such as a path leading through meadows and across a wonky suspension bridge.

Day 42 – 54 km to Skjoldastraumen – I thought I’d be having a short day by cycling 15 km to Stavanger and take the bus to Haugesund. That was on a website as the best alternative for the shutdown of a ferry. I was wrong. Instead, I had to take a ferry (very nice scenery of the fjord and a nice chat) and cycle another 55 km from Nedstrand to Haugesund. I ended up somewhere in between the two places.

Day 43 – 106 km to Leirvik – Again, somehow managed to aim for a campsite that no longer existed. But my legs felt strong, the scenery was beautiful with heather, juniper and some birch and pine forests. So, continued across an island and along the fjord.

Day 44 – 84 km to Bergen – After moving my tent in the middle of the night to a sheltered spot, due to the sudden change in direction and force of the wind, I left very late to avoid the rain. It took 50 minutes to get out of Leirvik due to misdirections. What should have been a 50 km ride to the ferry and a campsite turned in to the last leg to Bergen. I had to continue cycling in the rain this day with the prospect of a dry and warm bed, or have everything drenched once more and cycle in the rain the next day. Bergen it was. Soaking wet, but still wonderful!

Final destination in Norway

Day 45 – 0 km – During drought spells I went out for a walk about the city centre. The rest of the day was all about getting my flight organized, getting my mind organized to see what I still need to arrange, and just putting my legs up on the very comfy couch.

Cycling highway in Bergen

It was rather difficult to find an overarching theme for the last leg in Norway. I was about to start a rant on the confusing, wrong, redundant or even absence of signs for cyclists, including when you should cycle on the road or not. But Bergen saved Norway’s face as a cycling country. For the last couple of days I was completely fed up with cycling in Norway. The grumpiness might also have been due to the fact that it was raining and I had no complete reassurance that I would get my bike on the plane. Also with the realization while writing last blog that Norway is not such an ecologically good country, I saw the evidence everywhere. Entering Bergen as the lights turned on, the sun set and the eternal rain had me drenched did come with the lovely gift of amazing cycling highways and perfect signalling. That, and the fact that I actually managed go reach Bergen without any serious physical, mental or material break downs, was kind of amazing. Now all I can do is wait until my plane takes off, connecting the route in Norway to the route in Scotland.

Sometimes the signs were useful

Airplane mode off

I will start by stating that I am quite reluctant to fly. With that statement, I assume a couple of questions arise. Why are you reluctant and why are you flying anyway? Let’s start with the first question.

In my entire life I have flown an incredible amount. Living abroad as a child contributes greatly to that. On my own accord I have additionally travelled by airplane for some more holidays and for work. I believe that my ecological footprint (see previous blog) should be a whole lot lower to compensate for all the previous flying. Flying is one of the most polluting modes of transport in terms of carbon emission. And a single flight may already take up a huge proportion of you yearly ecological footprint. The environmental impact is larger than just the carbon emission. Among others, some emitted polluting gasses and particles are water vapour, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and lead. Two years ago I had therefore decided to take one last flying holiday, and after that find any alternative transport mode if I really have to travel. This is basically also what Zomer Zonder Vliegen tries to achieve: get people out of planes, and leave flying up to the birds.

One of the many airports I came across

And that brings me to the second question. Why am I flying now? Basically, there is no alternative option that has a less negative effect on the environment. Up to 2014 there was still a ferry between Bergen and the Shetlands. I have searched for many alternatives. Alternative starting points for my journey. Taking the train to Bergen. Taking the ferry and train to the Shetlands. Taking a train from Bergen south, take a ferry across to the UK and then take the train back up again. I looked it all up. Well, I had a year to plan this journey anyway, so I had plenty of time to do so. Since the North Sea Cycle Route is a circle, flying the 520 km directly from Bergen to the Shetlands pollutes the least. My carbon offset according to My Climate is 0.126t with this single flight. It is comparable to driving from Ghent to my new home town as a return trip plus a single drive. Or taking the train for that distance 5 single ways. (Calculated based on the values given by Co2nnect) It’s a good thing I hardly went back to the Netherlands last year… If I had way more time, I would have looked for some other, non-conventional alternatives. Sailing ships, or maybe a fishing boat crossing over (which is what Rond de Noordzee did. I do know of one ship crossing over next week. But I will never board a cruise ship…

On a ferry – no option for going to the Shetlands
During the planning of this trip this did bring me into a very philosophical mindset. If I would cycle a different EuroVelo route, this would mean I could take the train back. But this route if about 6000 km long. That would mean that I would have emissions worth of 6000 km by alternative transport. Maybe not so much better then. Then again, my route also has a lot of ferries which also pollute. That is also why I am happy that I am ahead of my planning. It means I can take a ferry further south, with a shorter crossing and thus less pollution. I actually decided that once I am back home, I will calculate how much carbon I have emitted by taking ferries and a plane and by cooking with gas. Once that is done I will compensate my carbon emission by donating to organizations. Organization which, for instance, planting more trees.

Some trees along the route


In line with the slogan of Zomer Zonder Vliegen, the birds are also making themselves ready to depart. Some have even taken off. This is a topic which makes me a lot happier than thinking about my own flight. But did you know that butterflies can also migrate? I have seen large numbers of Painted Ladies (Distelvlinder, Vanessa cardui) here in Norway. They migrate in spring from Southern Europe and Africa northward. During their migration they already breed, creating local adult populations. But it is too early yet for the butterflies to turn south. They will migrate again in September and the following months. Enough time to enjoy these beautiful butteflies!

Back to birds. While some species my migrate with a single long flight, others may use a lot of stops (or so-called stop-overs) to refuel. Before they take-off on their migration, birds first have to moult. During this period they are rather silent, since they are more vulnerable. It might explain why I have seen quite some birds, but heard less the last days. Then again, I have been cycling for more than six weeks, in which some birds were still busy with their breeding season, loudly marking their territory. The timing of birds can differ greatly. Last week I even saw shrikes still with down on their heads.

The closest bit of Norway to the other side of the North Sea

For many birds it is quite easy to follow a coastline in their migration southward. In following the coastline in Norway, they need to cross the open ocean at some point. The shortest way is to cross at the point where I was starting this latest blog. The southwest of Norway. There were so many birds there! Tailwind during migration make birds arrive in a better shape on their destination or stop-over. And they try to avoid precipitation. The fact that I had tailwind, meant that the birds had headwind. I might have probably observed so many birds because they were simply waiting for better flying conditions.

Incoming rain. Not a good way to start migration

Connecting across the sea

The countries I cycle through are all part of the Western Palearctic fly-way. Birds breeding as far as Taymir Russia might cross the North Sea along their migratory route. Some birds might only fly short distances, other may migrate with record breaking speed or distances. I have seen Arctic terns (Noordse Stern, Sterna paradisaea) here in Norway, foraging in the little fishing harbours. It is almost incredible to imagine that they will spend their winter in the Antarctic.

A Sparrow sandbathing

Staying closer to home, many birds may actually end up close to the North Sea (on land) or in the Waddensea for the winter. Birds connect the countries they visit with their migration. And the other way round goes as well: policies in the countries the birds visit impact the population along the entire flyway. While in the breeding ground in Scandinavia birds have all the spce they need, in countries like the Netherlands vast protection plans are at work to save good breeding environments. But the same species may still be heavily hunted in France. This may completely counteract all the protection work at play. It shows how connected the natural world is.

Watching birds

Birds not only show how connected the natureal world is across geographical distances. They actually help connecting plant populations. As commented one of my earlier blogs where I wrote about dispersal, birds may help disperse seeds. It is a rather new insight that shorebirds help with long-distance dispersal of plants, both aquatic and terrestrial. [Lovas-Kiss et al. 2019 Ecography] Very exciting indeed!

Seeing sea birds

Yes, birds make me excited. Of course I am keeping track of the bird species I observe during my journey. I am up to 121 right now. I am missing some common species that might not have started migrating from ther breeding grounds further north. Many other species I am lacking on my list are sea birds. But hey… A couple of cliffs (even though it is late in the season), a couple of ferry rides across the sea, and I’ll get them. And even after my journey around the North Sea I’ll go to Schiermonnikoog to actually catch waders during their migration. But for now: Shetlands, here I come!

Spending some time in Bergen

Blog 6 – Overexploiting Earth

After ending last blog on Eath Overshoot Day, it seemed that that was a good topic to blog about next. And the route matched the topic too. On day 33 I rode with some fellow cyclists and had a drink after. Part of the conversation was about climate change and overconsumption. They go hand in hand, but are separate problems with a similar drastic solution: stop capitalism, change the economic environment and stop overconsumption. We as humans always want more, setting the norm higher and higher. In the meantime we over exploit the only earth we’ve got. And it leaves plenty of traces on route…

New built-up area with wider roads

Gjernes to Stave

Day 33 – 81 km to Arendal – Started with light rain, which continued through most of the day. First took the oldest (wooden) traffic ferry in Norway. Met some other cyclists. Perfect hills to go fast on and showed beautiful forests and lakes. After meeting the cyclists again, cycled together to Arendal and had a drink.

Day 34 – 0 km – Perfect mix of giving my legs a rest and avoiding getting wet by staying in my tent while it was raining most of the day.

Day 35 – 85 km to Kristiansand – Followed part of the Vestlandske Hovedvei. Sometimes steep gravel roads through forests with some waterfalls and many birds. After Lillesand mainly close to bigger roads that definitely weren’t that big when my map was produced (i.e 2007).

Day 36 – 72 km to Mandal – Mostly rode close to big roads, that (again) weren’t that big when the map was made. My heart really ached to see the destruction to nature. But it leapt when I saw a viper! Eventually turned to rolling hills along the seaside once more.

Day 37 – 47 km to Lyngdal – Starting with a steep gravel road, made slower by the many birds. Took it slow this day, even had a nap under the trees next to the sea. Ending with the first proper climb with hairpin turns. Which, I admit, I just couldn’t cycle up… Down was amazing of course! But some dRT rivers need to learn how to behave around cyclists…

Day 38 – 46 km to Stave – A late start, but I knew it would be a short day. Starting of with a steep climb and a nice descent. The the landscape turned very flat, as if I were back in Denmark.

Vestlandske Hovedvei

Norway has shown more of its natural beauty, even in the rain. The fjords, lakes, forests, harbour villages and random cabins create an amazing scenery through which I rode. True, I’m not cycling when it’s very much going uphill, but this also allows me watch birds more often, as well as take more photos. Where Denmark gave me a Cirl Bunting as a new species for me, Norway gave me a Golden Eagle. Yes, new for me. At least consciously new. I also think a lot when I cycle. About my research, my life, but also the state of the world. And that is also what this blog is for. So let’s continue with the topic.

What I’ve cycled so far (green is the latest leg)

Earth Overshoot Day

When I wrote last blog, it was Earth Overshoot Day. This day is the day on which we have used up all resources available for this year. What we use from this day onwards is basically a debt to the world, a debt for the future. This day is calculated by the ecological footprint of citizens. What area of the earth is needed to encompass all our needs for living (and taking up our carbon emission) if everyone on earth (7.7 billion and counting) lived that way. If we need an entire world, that would still mean that everything on earth is for mankind. Nature has no place in it.

Nature being nature

The footprint as well as the overshoot day may differ highly between countries. I was a little surprised to see the ranking of the countries I’ve been cycling through. The figure below shows what the date of Earth Overshoot Day would be when everyone would live the lifestyle of that country. And although the Scandinavian countries are rather known for their CO2 neutrality or at least their aim, they have an earlier overshoot day than the other countries on my route. (Ignoring Belgium for the moment, because they are right between Sweden and Norway) It is staggering to think that on the route I’m taking, we live like we have three to four planets we can exploit. So, how do we overexploit the one we do have? And what should be done differently?

Exploiting resources

The most well known resources we are exploiting, are resources for energy. Stocks of oil and gas are being burned up, creating an increased greenhouse effect. But the reason why oil and gas companies are interested in renewable energy and reducing the use of fossil fuels, is because the stocks of oil and gas and other fossil fuels such as coal are limited. In 2013 it was predicted that the reserves of oil will be finished by 2052. After switching to gas, that would be gone in another eight years. The limiting amount of fossil reserves is also why many companies are interested in the fields under the north pole ice cap, now that it is melting at non-preceeded rates. I am truly happy that Canada now created a new nature reserve in the polar area, which also makes it forbidden to drill there.

Fossil fuels are not the only resources we exploit which are only very slowly renewed, if they are renewed at all. Minerals are mined to create, for instance, batteries for all our electronics and also our so-called renewable energy. Not only are the working conditions in mines generally terrible, mining industries demolish vast areas of nature, polluting the surroundings with contaminants in the run-off water. And minerals are not the only bedrock resources we mine for. I cycled past quite some excavation sites. These sites are simply excavated for the use of rocks or sand in other areas. And have you ever questioned where metal products come from? Most often, again, from bedrock.

Excavation for sand/stone (for the new built highway)

There are also resources that do renew themselves. Trees can regrow and crops can grow yearly. Yet we overexploit those renewable resources too. If we use more in one year, than we can regrow in one year, we create a debt. We over exploit natural renewable resources. Imagine you wardrobe for example. It’s made of wood. Say for one wardrobe you need a third of a tree. One tree takes at least 60 years to grow. Do you really wait 20 years to buy a new wardrobe?

Clear-cut for wood

Surface area

In the calculation of your ecological footprint, the surface area needed for everything you do is also calculated. Mining resources and regrowing resources as discussed above take up space. The more you use, the more surface area you are using. This is what creates a larger ecological footprint. But it includes more. Take for instance the area of your house and garden. If everyone on earth would live ground floor with the average living space of a Dutch citizen (65 m2, and that doesn’t include a garden), 3.4% of the total land surface is already required. And that is just living area. Here in Norway it seems that everyone has a holiday cabin too, with a garden. You can argue of course that many people don’t have all of their living area on ground floor or even live in flats. True, but this is only one part of your ecological footprint, without having done anything yet, like eating or buying things. And it is not just your house and garden that take up space, the infrastructures you use do to.

Forest, agricultural land and freshwater: all resources

The food we eat has to be grown somewhere and that takes space. For an average Dutch person, 11 m2 is needed per day. That makes 4015 m2 per year. If everyone would eat like this, you would need 20.9% of the earth land surface. But your diet does make a difference. Eating vegetarian already cuts down 4 m2 per day. Hooray! Unfortunately the Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving didn’t give details on a vegan diet. But if you think both are somewhat extreme for you, cutting out meat twice a day reduces you footprint with 1.1 m2 per day.

Veggie dinner with a drill rig (once for BP) as view

In the footprint calculation, it also calculates what the surface area of forest should be to take up the carbon we emit by fossil fuels. If you want to know more about the footprint calculation, or calculate your footprint go to But there are more tests you can find online. I end up using less than two earths (if everyone lived like me), so I too have a lot too improve. Living with my tent and bike, generating my own electricity, eating mostly locally grown veggies food, but also taking 1 plane and ferries leave me with only half a planet!

What’s next?

How do we improve is the next question. We should stay within the earths boundaries of what is available. I would argue for the sake of nature, we should stay way below these boundaries. And these boundaries are basically the largest flaw in the economy. Economy takes a lot of their rules from ecology. But one of the simplest rules is missing. There is a limit to growth. Yes, we can recycle. Yes, we can change our diet. Yes, we can switch to “renewable energy”. But most importantly, we need to consume less. The current economic structure is all about making profit, making citizens consume more. This form of capitalism is no longer compatible with sustainable life on earth.

After 69 years still in working order

I’ve been on the road now for more than five weeks. I’ve been wearing the same clothes, living out of basically four panniers. Besides a book, I have all the materialistic needs to be happy. Maybe even too much, because the tablet is additional, and I cling too much to my phone. But I try my best. And when I am back, I will try even harder to reduce my footprint. Think not twice, but thrice before buying something. And I hope many others will, like me, reconsider they materialistic needs and consume less. You, or at least I, really don’t need that much to live a happy life.

All I need

That’s it for now. I will throw in some intermezzo blogs, for some more details on my trip and what I am carrying. Don’t forget I’m posting quite some phone pictures on Facebook and Instagram, if you want more visual updates. The themed blogs will keep coming regularly too. Anyone suggestions for one of the next blog topics?

Blog 5 – Extreme events

How can this not be the topic for this blog. In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France previous heat records have been completely obliterated by the last heat wave. And although it was not as hot here in Norway, we had a heat wave too. The past five days it was around 30 degrees. After some thunderstorms yesterday, it has cooled a litte. From tomorrow onwards the temperatures will finally reach nice cycling temperatures again. These heat waves are part of extreme events which are expected to occur more frequently with the ongoing climate change. It goes hand in hand with some drastic consequences, some of which I have come across during my trip. And I will tell more about it. First the daily updates!

Sea I went swimming in to cool down

Last bit in Sweden to Gjernes

Day 27 – 70 km to Fredrikstad – I crossed the amazing border between Sweden and Norway. Met a German cyclist on the road and had a very long ice cream break to stay out of the sun. We rode together for a bit and while he headed for the faster route to Oslo, I continued the “1” in the blazing sun. I had no clear plan for the day. After cycling for miles through villages, I ended up at a campsite. There I met another cyclist and she gave me some very useful information on which ferries were not going anymore, or only on weekdays.

Day 28 – 66 km to Horten – I started at the bikeshop, where they managed to fix my handlebar. It had gotten somewhat loose. All I remember further is that it was hot, but managable. The views were nice, but still quite similar to Sweden. The breeze on the deck of the ferry between Moss and Horten was very refreshing.

Day 29 – 65 km to Granholmen – This day was awful. There were some more climbs involved, but mostly it was just blazing hot. Again, it reminded me of Germany: plant trees along a cycling path for some shade! I wanted a shower and went to a campsite shown on my map. Instead, I found newly built houses. I was exhausted, had to cycle another 10 km in the sun, but ended up at amazing campsite, were I went for a swim before anything else.

Day 30 – 0 km – Another real rest day. The plan was to update my expenses properly, and write. The last part I did,s well as some shopping and washing clothes. Besides a very nice evening with my Polish neighbours, I mainly did nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was just too warm.

Day 31 – 53 km to Langesund – I started early, to avoid the heat. By the afternoon I managed to cover quite a distance, but my knee was giving some problems. So instead of cycling around the fjord to Langesund, I decided to take the ferry from Helgeroa. It was a long wait, but with a lovely elderly couple to talk with. There were also refreshments. Ice cream and (finally!) two showers with some thunder and lightning. The ferry ride was absolutely amazing! The campsite I was aiming for, again, no longer existed. Instead I went to a forest. This time free camping gave me other interesting experiences. Waking up at 1 because of deer barking…

Day 32 – 61 km to Gjernes – Still a very warm day. And my leg isn’t feeling right, so I decided to walk up the steeper, yet still cyclable, hills. In the morning spent a lot of time photographing butterflies. Spent some time in a harbour writing. After yet another ferry ride ended up at a lovely family-farm campsite and couldn’t resist jumping into the lake before anything else (again).

Border between Norway and Sweden

Overall, I am liking Norway more and more. The border crossing was very promising, but the villages and agricultural fields that followed less so. Slowly the landscape is changing. Forested hills, some wheat fields in the valleys and harbour villages looking over the fjords alternate the landscape I’m cycling through. In contrast to Sweden, there are many cycling paths. The people here are very friendly and curious about the journey. Many stop to have a chat. A drawback is that this country is extremely expensive. My groceries are more than double from what I paid in Germany.

What I’ve covered so far

Extreme events

Extreme weather or climate events can be technically defined as the occurrence of a value or weather variable above (or below) a threshold value near the upper (or lower) end of the range of its observed values in a specific region. Besides heat waves, they can occur as cold spells. Extremely heavy local rainfall might fall under this term too. With ongoing climate change, heat waves are expected to become more normal. The simplest reason for this is the increase in temperature.

The average temperature always has large variation around it. Extreme event, such as heat waves, occur in the outer margins. When the average temperature moves up, and our definition of a heat wave stays the same (i.e. the threshold value), this results in a larger chance of higher temperatures. Heat waves are likely to occur more often, but also the chance of a way more intense heat wave increases. Which is basically what happened last week. I copied a picture from the internet, which nicely shows what I just said.

Many people will say that the last heat wave and the previous one this summer are caused by climate change. But saying that is not absolutely true. They might be a consequence of climate change, yes. But it is difficult to separate weather from climate. In a simple way, you could argue that a single heat wave is not caused by climate change. Heat waves occurring more often than in the past, ís a consequence of climate change. One new temperature record may not be the result of climate change, but beating the record day after day most likely is.

Drought and fire

Whether a heat wave is the result of climate change or not, they have many negative consequences. When temperature rises, evaporation of water increases. If there is no new water supply in terms of rain, this will create drought. Although the warm temperatures may be great for vinyards, the resulting drought can be catastrophic for other agriculture, and thus our food supplies. And not only agriculture. Nature in general suffers when there is a drought. Populations or species that are already fragile state may even go extinct due to drought spells.

More hazardous than drought, but due to it, are fires. It has been all over the news that large parts of the arctic is on fire. Ironically, emitting even more carbondioxide and thus enhancing climate change and the chance of more fires. These firese do not only occur in the arctic. Forest fires, heath fires, fires in the dunes, they all have some things in common. Especially heather and vegetation in the dunes is tough and quite dry by itself. Needles on the forest floor too. They may combust quite easily. Once it has started, it depends on the presence of the species what the intensity and the duration of the fire will be. I should read up on more fire ecology papers, but I assume that drought may impact all three traits of a fire.

Blackened trees from a fire

Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall

Another interesting consequence of increasing temperature is the fact that other extreme events may occur more often too: heavy thunderstorms. For thunderstorms there are a few basic ingredients: warmth, convection, moisture and (for thunderstorms with tornadoes) shear. Basically, with more chance of warm weather, your immediately increase the chance for (heavy) thunderstorms. In absence of wind, these storms may occur very local and cause flash floods. When there is much more wind, and with shear (wind higher up at a different angle than lower in the air), the rising clouds may start spinning, forming a tornado. Of course, tornadoes can be very harmful, by the inner stormchaser in me can’t help enjoying amazing thunderstorms.

It’s finally raining!

There is still a catch in this story. It is very difficult to predict these storms. Not only as weather, but also how much more often they will occur due to climate change. As said in the “drought and fire” part in this blog, high temperature will also induce drought. This reduces moisture in the air, decrasing the opportunity to form clouds. And then these storms are less likely to occur.

Thunder clouds over the ferry

How can we cope?

I would love to write paragraph on how nature can cope wih heat, and how you can separate consequences of heat from consequences of drought. Actually, I was in the north of Sweden 8 years ago to perform an experiment on how springtails respond to rainfall and heat as extreme events. So, I could say a lot about this. But it might end up as a way too long blog. I will therefore just stick to how I coped with the warmth here, and how we should adaot in general.

Perfect lake to cool down in

The sun is at its most powerful roughly between 1 and 3. Temperatures are usually highest between 4 and 6. I tried to avoid both as much as possible, by cycling the largest distance in the morning. I would then take a long break for lunch in the shade. In the afternoon I would cycle from one spot in the shade to the next, stopping to cool down and drink. Not always a wise decision. On some of the last days I should have stopped cycling entirely. On my rest day, I made sure my tent had maximum shade, and I stayed mainly out of the sun. This is basically all I did to cope with the warmth. But has the essentials in it to cope with any heat.

Breaks in the shade are not always pretty

The essentials to cope with heat are: stay out of the sun, keep yourself cool, drink a lot, and eat a bit more salt than usual. Most people do this in the heat anyway. But with heat waves occurring more often, and drought spells also being more likely, there are some other rules everyone should stick to. Limit you water usage is the main one. Only take a short shower, or simply wash yourself. If you had the opportunity like I had, jumping into a lake is even better I think. Don’t wash your car, don’t use a sprinkler to water your lawn (or if you do, only at night).

What I do find interesting is that many people now buy airconditioners to cool down. In a same way as the fires in the arctic, this is ironic. By using airco, you inavoidably use more energy, and contribute to climate change. I do get it. It is extremely nice to have a cool spot. But I myself will not buy an airco. I’ll try to keep my house as cool as possible, or simply lay in the shade of a tree.


In an attempt to conclude this blog, I would say the most important thing to do, is not to adapt or cope with heat waves. It is to make sure that we halt climate change, so that these extreme events don’t become the norm.

And as my last heat wave day coincides with Earth Overshoot Day, this may give an idea for the next blog, Because clinate change is not the only problem we’ve created. While my blog topic may change, the plans for my route don’t. I will cycle again tomorrow. Riding onwards into new landscapes. Till next blog!

Another way to cool down

Blog 4 – Climate movement and cycling

Where would the world be without the climate movement, and what has it to do with me cycling through Sweden. It starts with me entering Göteborg on friday, but way to early for #FridaysForFuture, continuing with the anouncement of the second heat wave since I started cycling, and furthermore discovering after starting my journey to Norway that a good cycling infrastructure is very important. And that brings me to the amazing Critical Mass organized throughout the world, which I joined in Ghent. So, I will talk about the journey a bit, but this blog will most likely end as an ode to all the climate activists out there, and everyone who is trying their best in their own way to make the world a better place.

Arriving in Sweden

Göteborg to almost Norway

Day 22 – 67 km to Stenungsund – after some shopping, it was a long, humid, warm ride out of Göteborg. Industry for about 20 km, and then quite some houses. Did not find a good spot for camping, so went the the campsite with a nice view over the water.

Day 23 – 76 km to Lysekil – A lot better than the day before in terms of landscape. Beautiful views over fjords, nice fishing villages, and agricultural fields alternating with forests and lakes on the islands. Managed to arrive just in time for the ferry all three times.

Day 24 – 0 km – Now that’s a rest day! My legs need to get adjusted to climbing, so I thought I’d take a break before I injure myself. Waded on the beach, fixed my gears and replaced the chain and made some sudokus.

Day 25 – 77 km to Grebbestad – Up and down, rolling around… no, rolling hills. A bit of everything. In terms of landscape, in terms of weather. Finally ending in a forest for my first ever alone free camping night.

Day 26 – 64 km to Färringen – A bit less up and down, but still a bit of everything in terms of landscape. Did groceries and (oh, how dreadful, not.) ate some dinner out, to spend my last Swedish cash. Ending at a beautiful lake, with a nice swim, and of course, since I was planning to write, meeting people.

Sweden is a fantastic country! Also to cycle in, but I guess the North Sea Cycle Route is a little less perfect. Which means that enjoying the wonderful landscapes is interfered with fear of the upcoming very busy road and wondering if the next car will give me even less space and hit me. All of that disappears into nothingness when you can end your day by jumping into a lake and hearing the water splash and sound of birds when you fall asleep in the middle of nowhere. As I am writing this, I am actually sitting at the shoreline, enjoying the sun slowly drop behind the trees.

Cycled so far (different colour per blog)


Of course Sweden has to be connected with Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future. I can’t help but to visit one of the #FridaysForFuture locations. A couple of hours to early, but it is nice to imagine young people on the square claiming their right to be heard, in an attempt that the world not only listens, but also starts acting!

Fridays for Future location in Göteborg

While cycling through this small part of Sweden, I did not notice much about the concern people have for the climate. A whole lot of old timers passing by, the fjords full of motorboats and cycling past quite some industry. Once I looked more closely to the cars overtaking me, I did notice that a larger proportion than I am used to is electric. And although the windmills are not as abundant as they were in the polders of Germany, I have seen hydrogen and solar panels.

Harbour village

Most striking was actually in a conversation that someone pointed out to me that in these times (i.e. with climate change), cycling is actually the best way to travel. In no other country has anyone started the topic of climate change. In Germany many people (on their electric bikes) were in disbelief that I did not want to cycle with an electric bike. The fact that I am generating electricity whilst cycling was unheard of. So in that sense I suppose in Sweden and Norway, climate changes is more addressed that in many other countries. To all other countries: please prove me wrong and act now with an ambitious and social climate plan. The Swedish govournment actually wants to have only electric new cars on the market by 2025. With the outstretched countryside of Sweden, cycling is not often an option. Electric cars running on renewable energy is a way better way forward. But I think I will leave the topic of energy to another blog. Either in Norway or in Scotland.

One of my camping spots

Critical Mass

Electric cars are not everything though. A proper cycling infrastructure can motivate people to leave their car at home and get their bikes out of the shed. As said before, cycling may not always be fun. Eventhough the landscape is beautiful, feeling unsafe is never good. And feeling unsafe is not caused by the cyclists, but by the drivers. Yes, you could wear a helmet (which I do now, and felt weird the first time after cycling for 20+ years without a helmet), and you can dress yourself up in bright yellow (which I don’t, I makes me feel ridiculous, but my panniers do a good job), have a lot of reflection (yes! my panniers are completely covered!) and turn on your light (usually yes, in the dark definitely, but now I’m charging my battery instead of have my light on). But most of these actions will not make you safer. Although there is some debate. Apparently the most effective for drivers to drive more carefully is having a blonde ponytail, rather than wearing “safe” clothing to make you stand out. And helmets are definitely good in protecting your head (when worn correctly. I’ve seen some people wear them at crazy angles), but wearing a helmet may also cause the cyclist to take more risks.

Me wearing my helmet

As an alternative, and in my opinion a much better one, the cycling environment needs to be safer. Making drivers more aware to the vulnerability of cyclists (seriously… the amount of times I’ve had minimum space between me and a car overtaking me, preferrably with another car coming from the other directions) is one thing. More effective is seperating cyclists for vehicles: cycling lanes. Other options are for instance reduced maximum speed, cycling streets (cars are not allowed to overtake cyclists) or the ban of cars from the city centre.

My bike with reflective and fluo panniers

One way of promoting a safe cycling environment is Critical Mass. These are mainly organized is cities. I joined the ones in Ghent often. By the way, there is another Critical Mass in Ghent upcoming Friday! Cycling with a big group of others does not only create awareness, it is also fun! You see a whole aray of different bikes, but more importantly, a very diverse group of people. Promoting cycling is not only good for the environment. Cylcing instead of using the car also reduces particulate matter emmision. If you cycle yourself, you also become healthier. Not only physical, but also mentally. You become happier! So, check out your local Critcal Mass. Most of them are found on Facebook.

One of the very busy roads on the route

Climate movement

Like Critical Mass is a movement to promote a safe cycling environment, the entire climate movement (of which Fridays For Future is only one part) promotes – no – demands taking action to stop climate change. In a week where Greta Thunberg got the first Freedom Prize in France and the Belgian Youth for Climate got the award for democracy, I want a huge shout out to everyone in the climate movement. You empower people! You make the world a better place! “This is what democracy looks like!”, “Plus chaud, plus chaud, plus chaud de le climat” and “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” come to my mind directly. Sitting here on a rock in a very peaceful environment, the memories of the amazing climate marches are extremely easy to recollect, despite the complete opposite surroundings.

My current spot

My personal experience with the climate movement are all centered around Belgium. The red line on the beach of Oostende in 2015, organized by Climate Express was one of the main imprints in my mind which made me decide to ride this route. The 65.000 and 75.000 people in Brussels in december 2018 and spring 2019, organized by Climate Express, Klimaatcoalitie, Youth for Climate, and a whole other array of organizations were extremely impressive.

The movement will not stop, unless climate change has stopped. Anuna and the others for Youth for Climate already anounced that their actions next year will be bigger. Extinction Rebellion is continuously growing an this week also reached Buzzfeed, which might reach a new group of people. And actions such as Ende Gelände will, I assume, also continue. I might actually take the ferry from England to Belgium a few days earlier to you the third Global Strike for Future in Brussels (and not only there!) on the 20th of September. See you there?

Beautiful view on a safe road

The coming weeks

For now I will leave this very peaceful lake and continue my route. Some time tomorrow I will cycle into Norway. The only country on my route that I have never visited before, and the last new country I’ve never cycled in before. From next blog onwards I will be able to compare thee countries with each other in respect to the topic of the blog (energy for instance). I will be at least three weeks in Norway.

I already know I will love the country, with amazing views over the sea. I also know my legs will love it a lot less. But with the memories of the enthousiasm of the climate movement in my mind, it may also empower my legs to cycle up those mountains.

Till next blog!

One of the beat views along the route

Blog 3 – Dynamic dunes

… or the lack of them. That and they causes and consequences will be the topic of this blog.

Last blog ended with me arriving in Denmark, and the expectation of some more dunes. And dunes I got! After a day and a half I left the Waddensea behind me, and truly arrived at the North Sea. The absence of dikes was a blessing. But dunes can also be pretty endless. They have some more variation. Forests, heather, beach, and sandy as we known them. Up to Skagen, I cycled mainly amongst dunes. And therefore it seems the perfect topic of this blog.

At the North Sea

I might not go into much detail in this blog, because everytime I plan to write, I run into another cyclist and we start chatting and time flies by… So, here goes. With another promise that the next blog will be within a week.

Rudbøl to Frederikshavn

Day 13 – 70 km to Ribe – Beautiful rolling countryside with blue sky and fields of gold. Gravel roads are interesting to ride one. Ribe itself is a nice old village. Reminded me somewhat of Den Burg (Texel).

Day 14 – 86 km to Henne – The weather turned grey. But it suited the landscape. Fields of heather, some lakes ad some coniferous forests.

Day 15 – 75 km to Vedersø Klit – Day started nice, and for the first time in a while: no headwind! But as soon as I arrived truly in the dunes, it started raining again. In front of me the sky was blue, behind me the sky was blue, but an eternal raincloud hung over me. Even when I stopped for some pancake. The small gravel cycling paths are terrible for your bike when everything is wet. Everything was covered in a layer that stuck like clay.

Day 16 – 10 km on a rest day – With everything wet and my mood turning as grey as the clouds the day before, I took a day off. Cycled to the beach to step into the North Sea for the first time this trip and cycled to the forest to have some lunch and listen to the birds. And some practical stuff. Getting laundry done and all my gear sorted and dry again.

Day 17 – 93 km to Svankær – The campsites are a bit expensive in Denmark, so I started using the Shelter app. After cycling along the dunes and some fjords for a day, I ended up on a shelter spot in a forest. The nice thing: the family already there had the campfire going. The bad thing: mosquitoes…

Day 18 – 82 km to Thorup – Another beautiful day among dunes and forests. And ending on a shelter spot in a forest, with a campfire.

Day 19 – 109 km to Thornby – Yet another beautiful day among dunes and forests. This time also ON the beach. And ended up, again, on a shelter in a forest, with a campfire. And met up there with another cyclist I met earlier in Germany.

Day 20 – 87 km to Hulsig, including Skagen and back – The plan was to ride with the other cyclist to Hirthals. But as soon as we left the forest, I saw quite a lot of birders. Cirl bunting (Cirlgors, check!) and possibly (Roodkopklauwier). After 55 km along dunes and forests dropped all my stuff at a campsite and cycled to Skagen and back. Since this was the route anywaym it seemed a bit redundant to cycle those extra 30 km with luggage.

Day 21 – 37 km to Frederikshavn and the ferry to Sweden – I finished the North Sea coast in Denmark, so it’s time to cross over to Sweden. It was a cycling highway from the campsite to Frederikhavn. The official North Sea Cycle Route does continue for another 250 km to Grenå, but I’ll skip the last part.

Of sand, sea and wind

Similar to salt marshes, dunes are a result of the inflow of sediment and the trapping by plants. But the sand, coming from the sea, is more affected by wind than the smaller sediment of salt marshes. The wind determines the directionality of drifting dunes. With on average wind from th southwest, dunes can slowly drift to the northeast.

Initial formation of small dunes

While dunes are initially created by grasses trapping the sediment, a diverse array of plant species and associated fauna will arrive. This takes time. Unlike salt marshes, dunes are not nutrient rich. On top of that, water is not retained and the sun on the sand makes everything extremely hot. Additionally, sand caught in the wind is always creating dynamics in which vegetation can get covered up again. It is tough to grow in the dunes, which make the flora and fauna living there also vulnerable to changes.

Miniature oak forest as climax vegetation in the dunes

When sand threatens

Of course, dynamic dunes may also cause problems. These problems are based on a human interests. It is only when drifting sand threatens to engulf building, or cover roads, that it is considered a threat. There are basically three options when this happens, and all three I have come across on journey in Denmark.

The first option is to let nature do its thing. This happened to the 14th century church south of Skagen. In the 19th century it was decided that the church could no longer be protected against drifting sand. The church was closed, partly demolished, and washed white to serve as a beacon for seafarers. To my mind, humans are not very good at abandoning their structures. Currently, the option to let the dunes roam free is not the go-to option.

Abandoned church due to drifting sand

The second option is a very temporary option. I suppose this has also been attempted for the church in the previous example. You can simply shove the sand to the side, as demonstrated on the road to Hvide Sande. However, the sand will continue to drift.

Shovelling sand back off the road

So, there is a third option: stopping the sand from drifting. The fixation of the dunes is done by planting Marram grass (Helm). As this is the main plant in the dunes to trap sand anyway, it seems like a simple solution. But the fixation of dunes has also other consequences.

Planting Marram grass

When sea and wind threaten

Historically, the dunes would move more “land inward” whem sea levels rose. When they are fixed, this is no longer possible. As a result, wind and wave action during storms may erode the dunes. Small cliff formattions will occur, and the beaches become smaller. To keep the beeches sandy, the Dutch and the Belgian use sand suppletion. Sand from deeper in the North Sea is added to the beach. The Danish have another solution. They use piers to trap some sand.

Piers along the beach

If a row of dunes is small, it might even be broken through with a severe storm. In Denmark there is one specific point where this may occur. At Ferring is the former connection to the Nissum fjord. The conection to the sea now lays way further north at Thybøron. But this former fjord-entrance is vulnerable in a similar way that seadykes can break through. The houses right behind the dunes… I wouldn’t want to live there during a severe winter storm!

Former opening to Nissum Fjord

When mankind threatens

The threats of sand, sea and wind are usually threats to man-built structures or argriculture. However, mankind may be a larger threat to dunes.

In entering Denmark, I hoped to see beautiful dynamic dunes. I had heard that Denmark had some of Europes most impressive dunes. I was disappointed. I’ve seen a total of 2 sand dunes. One of which was landinward… Almost the entire coastal dune line was completely covered with vegetation. Only where people crossed the dunes to go to the beach was sand visible.

Sand dunes!

Besides the absence of dune dynamics, I was somewhat surprised by the vast number of holiday houses built throughout the dunes. The houses themselves are not that big, but the are spread out quite a bit. If all the houses were more clustered, that would lead to larger “untouched” areas of dunes, more suitable for birds for instance.

Holiday homes in the dunes

Across the water

After cycling the entire west coast of Denmark, to Skagen, where the North Sea meets the Skagerak, I was convinced I would see more natal dunes than in Belgium or the Netherlans. Buy arriving in Skagen and seeing almost all the tourist in Denmark combined trying to reach the tip of Skagen, I was actually very disappointed. The absence of dynamic dunes as well as the immense tourism made me ready to leave Denmark behind and start another chapter of this journey.

Tourists at Skagen

In a way I am excited to go to Sweden. The country where I had a wonderful summer working in 2011. But also the country where Greta Thurnberg comes from. An inspiration to fight for climate justice. Sweden, here I come!

Blog 2 – Sea level rise

As promised last blog, I will talk about sea level rise. With that comes the endlessness of dykes. Since day 2 I’ve followed the seadyke a lot. But once in a while I turn landinwards a bit and come across beautiful old villages, former seadykes or riverdykes. Only by the change in building style, I can now feel I’ve left the Netherlands. But then again, the dykes never end. What’s on either side of them does change. From sea to salt marshes on one side to agriculture, villages and nature reserves on the other side. While nature reserves inland make for beautiful days of bird watching, on the other side of the dyke lies one of my… hmm… I might even say passions. I can’t explain why, but whenever I am on a salt marsh, it makes me happy. And hopefully next year I’ll be working on one again! But first, I tell you all about the last week and how dykes and salt marshes relate to sea level rise.

Sehestedt to Rudbøl

Day 6 – 91 km to Otterndorf – via Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. Still feels like Friesland most of the time

Day 7 – 74 km to Steinkirchen – turned landinwards somewhat. Hit 500 km and my first hills. Preparation for Norway has started.

Day 8 – 99 km to Kollmar – skipped visiting Hamburg. First proper rain! Well, proper… let’s say it was refreshing whilst cycling.

Day 9 – 87 km to Meldorf – definitely not my best day. Rain, a lot of wind, grey, and overall a pretty boring landscape. Although the “stuwwallen” came as a nice variation in the route.

Day 10 – 61 km to Sankt Peter Ording – on my “day off”. Something with campsites that were not open. But had a lovely day of bird watching!

Day 11 – 65 km to Husum – Visited the beautiful lighthouse of Westerhever.

Day 12 – 77 to Rudbøl – So fed up with the wind I cut off a bit of the route. The plan was to go to Denmark tomorrow, but repair works on a dyke forced me to deviate from the route. It made then more sense to ride directly to Denmark.

Roughly where I’ve been

For the last 12 days I’ve been mainly cycling along dikes. This includes a lot sheep shit covering my bike and gear, a lot of wind and sometimes some boredom especially when it starts raining. I deviated from the North Sea Cycle Route, mainly to follow the dyke more. The route does not always really follow the sea. After Cuxhaven, for instance, we turned land inward and from Hamburg to the north followed the Elbe. After Cuxhaven, there were so many orchards! At the campsite I even pitched my tent in a cherry orchard. The Elbe was a nice deviation from the dykes. But from now I’ll slowly be expecting some more dunes too.

Endless dykes

The Dutch are known for creating land out of sea, and keeping the sea from the land. And one of the most important reasons for this are dykes. But the Dutch are not the only ones with dykes. Welcome to Germany!

By now I’ve seen hunderds of kilometers of seadyke. These are large structures separating the sea from the land. But not always does this work. Extremely high tides and storms may cause water spray over the dyke, or actually cause dykes to breach. Once that happens, you’re screwed. Along my route, there are many reminders of high tides, or from floods. Some in the form of height measurements, but – to me – more impressing are old photos of floods on the site were they were taken. It basically shows you what is at stake. And cycling through some crowded villages does that too.

With the current global change, sea levels will rise. Extreme storms will also be more frequent. If nothing changes with our sea protection, the chances of land flooding will only increase. A seemingly easy option is to increase the height of the dykes. This has been done in the past. Cycling through Germany, you could clearly see that the old dykes were much smaller. The old houses so close to the dyke seem very vulnerable.

When sea and river meet

Once you build a sea dyke, you also need to allow water from the land to flow back into the sea. This is always tricky, and quite technical. So, someone else may explain how that works precisely. I did come across some of these outflows. Some are simple pumping stations. Sluices are already somewhat bigger and allow ships to go through.

Pumping station

One of the more impressive I came across, is the Eidersperrwerk. I did look at the structure, but was way more interested by the birds. At the south end, there was a colony of black-headed gulls. At the north end, there was a colony of common terns. It is not by chance that they breed there. Because of the sperrwerk, not only water has to pass through concentrated openings. Aquatic life has to do so too. Fish get trapped, which is basically a fast food service to the birds. I spent quite some time here photographing the terns. I’ll show those pictures in about 3 months.


If you’re Dutch-speaking and want to know more about how aquatic life deals with these Deltawerken, there is a nice documentary “Holland –  Natuur in de Delta”, which also includes the Deltawerken as barriers for migrating sticklebacks.

To quickly come back to the theme ‘sea level rise’, when a river meets the sea, but there is some water regulation in between, problems inland can still arise when extremely high tides are simultaneous with high water levels in the river. The river water can’t flow out to the sea any more, which could potentially lead to riverfloods too. A very visual and fun game to play and understand the effect of sea level rise and water protection (including rivers) is Pandemic: Rising Tide.

Salt marshes!

While making a dyke larger is often a go-to solution, it might not be the best one. And that is where salt marshes come in.

What is a salt marsh? If I would let my heart speak, it would be something like “a beautiful grassland with purple flowers, smelling like fresh mothballs, with cool insects, some grazers and a ton of birds”. But that may not help much… Besides, I apparently only note the cool things, and leave out the horse-flies, the inability to shelter against rain, sun or wind, and getting stuck in the mud… And this last part is key in explaining what salt marshes are.

At the salt marsh of Hamburger Hallig

Salt marshes start as a little build up of mud particles as a result of slow-flowing sea water in an intertidal area. At first diatoms and later plants will settle on these slightly higher formed ridges of mud. Once plants settle, they cause an increase in sedimentation and the land will grow. More plants arrive, more mud is trapped, until the land is by hardly ever flooded. The soil is still salty, so only a particular set of plants grows here. Once the sea water can’t reach the salt marsh any more, for instance due to building a dyke, the soil and vegetation turn brackish and will slowly loose all salt.

Most of the areas through which I’ve cycled here and in the north of the Netherlands would have been salt marsh in absence of dykes. These salt marshes used to be very nice for cattle grazing. The grass is of high quality. So, men actually started building salt marshes to create more land. Building structures on the mudflats initiates the trapping of sediment and thereby the growth of salt marshes.

Trapping mud

So, what has this all to do with sea level rise and dykes? Well, the plants on the salt marsh help reduce the water speed of very high tides. It reduces the wave action. This means that a dyke with a salt marsh in front of it, needs to be a little less high. It also reduces the chance of waves demolishing parts of the dyke, potentially causing a breach. Along the German coast, restorations of these man-made salt marsh structures is actually happening.

Restoring building salt marsh

There is much more going on with salt marshes and sea level rise. How well do they keep up with sea level rise (studied in the Dutch waddensea as a result of the subsidence of the salt marsh at Ameland due to gas extraction). How will they respond to climate change? How does grazing come in to play with this all? But it is too much to go over everything we know so far about salt marshes. For now, I wl say goodbye to them. There will be some more in Denmark. But mostly I’ll say: I’ll be back! Well, at least, it’s the plan that I go back to study the salt marsh again. More specifically, the insects in the very cool (or hot) warming experiment on Hamburger Hallig.

The road goes ever on and on…

So now, I’m sitting just across the border in Denmark. With the German part of the North Sea Cycle Route now behind me, the road will bring me some new adventures in Denmark. And of course you’ll hear about it next blog!

Hello Denmark!