Total Miles: 2,104.9
Near Skagen, Denmark – October 6, 2016
The ship rumbles to life and a low hum fills the decks. Gothenburg shimmers in the morning light. Cathedrals rise among the rooftops. Hills hold ancient forts and towers. The river is alive with traffic.
The ship moves slowly, easing out of the dock and into the channel. The shore slides by. We pass under a bridge and the river widens out into the ocean. Ferries and cargo ships stream by. Giant cranes hang over docks, waiting to load and unload containers from across the world. The city fades out as the land breaks apart into rocky islands that thin and disappear under the water.
Then there is only ocean and the giant liners anchored and waiting to enter port. The ship rumbles on, a fading line of white foam in its wake. Sweden melts into a thin line on the horizon before it disappears.
I pace the ship’s decks and wait for Denmark to rise from the sea. It comes the way Sweden left, a thin line growing until the port city of Frederickshavn takes shape in front of us and we ease into the dock.
I follow a long line of passengers off the boat and into the streets. The ground feels strange under my feet as I walk to the train station. It’s disconnected from my last steps, cut off from the line of footprints stretching back to Kinnarodden.
I board the train to Skagen, a town near the northern tip of Denmark then walk north along the beach past old German bunkers from WWII. Their grey concrete has been left to fall into the sea with hearts and the graffiti of lovers’ names etched into them. At the end of land, at the northernmost point, I dig my feet into the sand and watch the waves crash.
There is no monument. No sign. Nothing but a long, wide beach of shifting sand that changes too much for any marker.
But it is enough for me.
I leave a trail of footprints behind me as I turn away from the ocean, put the wind at my back, and walk south into the next chapter of the adventure.