Today I hit the 6 weeks mark on cycling through Europe. That means a quarter of my trip is already over. I’m not sure how I feel about this, it raises a lot of questions like, is the hard part over? What happens when the thermometer hits 35 degrees in the mountains? What will it be like in countries where people don’t speak English. Am I meeting the right people? Am I living the life I want to live?
I’ve let these questions bounce around in my head as I bike from North to South these past weeks, and I think I have figured out a few things. Let me explain with a small story.
I plan day by day, which gives me total freedom and all the time in the world, because hey, I only have one deadline, arriving in Sicily around December. This abundance of time has made me think a lot about the concept. Before I started on this trip, I was always struggling to find enough time. Time to see friends, time to visit family, to do sports, go to work, do I even have time to take a holiday?! I was always busy and never found the time to relax. Isn’t it odd to say you “can’t find the time”? Where is it hidden? I think I am starting to figure out that to find time, you have to be aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Maybe then you will find the time to enjoy life instead of just living it.
All this crazy long and silence days of philosophizing brings me to the story from Ane and Jens who I met in in Denmark. Jens is a former Michelin chef and Ane is a well know designer. Acting on their dreams, they changed their lives for the better in their opinion. For them this meant spending more time with their kids, not prioritizing money in their life and living more self-sufficiently. Now they keep sheep, pigs, poultry and grow more than 300 varieties of edible plants. They also grow historical seeds for growing and sharing. Occasionally they host fine dining dinners, lunches and cooking workshops. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and I noticed they were never bored. There’s always plenty to do around their property, even the kids learned quickly to help out, picking strawberries, feeding the ducklings, running around in the field.
After a day of work we made a strawberry pie and ate the vegetables and meat from the land. Everything tastes so much better, the crunch and flavour, the bright colours and something extra because you’re eating your own produce. This visit gave me some daydreaming material for my bike trip the next days, weeks or even months.
And then BAM! The rain arrives. My dad told me just before I was ready to kick off from Oslo “Anne, you just need some hard, windy and rainy days, just to enjoy the other days more. Suffering is suffering, it doesn’t matter, just know it will get better at some point.”
At some point….. When is ‘some point’ for goodness sake!?
Civilisation seemed like a far away memory after hours of heavy rain and head wind through the forests of Sweden with only me, and hearing only the noises of nature. Do I stop and cry or do I peddle on? But then yes, my dad of course was right, it does always get better. A small town came into view, people were looking at the completely soaked girl on a bike, biking into their town. It gave me a powerful feeling; Yes, I am such a rockstar!!! Riding through the pelting rain like it’s nothing? That’s Life Cycle Stories!
And then a hot shower, dry clothes, crispy chips, fried chicken skin, tasty, crunchy vegetables, a cold beer and last but not least people around me who make me feel welcome! That is a feeling so satisfying, it’s hard to explain.
Next time, more about food, adventure and the thoughts keeping me busy along the way. I still have an inspiring ice cream story to tell and at this point I have arrived in Germany. I visited a sausage factory, where I get to make sausages from scratch… I Needed to get my guts together for this experience.
I’m also on my way to catch some trout’s in the blackforrest with Joachim, making craft beer in Freiburg and maybe I’ll find more cool stories along the way. I will give you an update every 2 weeks, and for daily short stories follow me on Facebook and Instragram.
Now a Recipe to end this story; Ane’s strawberry pie. My favourite thing about this strawberry pie is its simplicity: it’s made with very few ingredients, and you can have it in the oven in under 15 minutes. Serve it with some whipped cream, lime crème fraiche or just a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can pimp it with the zest of orange, lemon, some pine nuts or pistachio, or even adding different fruits. Experiment a bit, that’s the fun thing about cooking!
- 1,5 cup of flour
- 1,5 teaspoon baking powder
- 0,5 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1,5 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 0,5 cup milk
- 0,5 kg strawberries halved
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees°
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Add the strawberries and mix everything together, leave some strawberries for the top
- Bake for about 1 hour, until the cake is lightly golden.