After a slow breakfast, a shower at a nearby camping ground, and one hour’s cycling, I saw a free camping sign. There was some mowed lawn, a fire pit, a small hut with firewood, a toilet, and a guestbook. The spot was somewhat sheltered by trees, with a boy scout building right next door. The larger landscape consisted of patches of farmland and fenced pastures for horses and a few cows. A village called Bække was less than two kilometres away.
It was very early for camping, but I have my rule to never pass great campsites. Perhaps even more importantly, there was a lot of rain on the way. I could already smell it in the air. Staying made much more sense than pedalling in rain and looking for a wet campsite some hours later. I pitched my tent with the tarp on top for extra protection, then cycled to the nearest shop to buy food.
It rained for most of the night. The seams on my inflatable pillow failed, after five years of use. I slept with a towel placed awkwardly under my head.
In the morning I wiped off the slime trails left by snails on my tent, packed up, wrote my thanks in the guestbook, and rode to Bække again. This time I found an unmanned tourist office. A room with plenty of information and leaflets, a small exhibition, a place to sit at a table, a microwave - even tissues, papers and pens, and various other bits and pieces. Someone clearly had tried to think about things that visitors might need, and then provided those things. The bathroom even had a free shower.
I took the opportunity to recharge my devices, and ended up using the place as a kind of personal office. I don’t get many chances to sit in peace with the laptop plugged in for some time-lapse work and other digital nomad stuff. No one else was there for hours, until the very friendly manager came to say hello and ask me if I needed anything. He explained that during the summer season they have staff present, but at this time of the year the office is just left open for anyone to use. He went out of his way to loan me some super glue for the pillow, but unfortunately it wasn’t strong enough for the job.
Eventually I stayed so long I decided to simply use the same campsite for a second night. In the first 100 days I had only taken 16% rest days. That seemed too few, even considering my otherwise slow pace. It was time to start resting more. I picked up some sausages and veggies to fry by the fire, and had the free shower waiting for me before leaving. All in all, Bække was perhaps the most tourist-friendly place I’ve been to. Everything was provided free of charge.
While I often talk about how wonderful it is to receive help and kindness from meetings with strangers directly, these kinds of anonymous gifts or services have a special kind of place in the life of an adventurer. Whether it’s a picnic table, a drinking water tap, a shelter, a helpful sign, or anything, in a way it feels like a heartwarming little note saying:
Regardless of your skin colour, sexuality, or financial status, this is for you. We respect your desire to visit new places and are glad that your journey has brought you here. We understand that being on the road isn’t always easy, so hopefully the facilities offered here are of some help.
Hopefully some day I’ll own a patch of land that I can turn into a little oasis for passing travellers.