Autobahn driving SUCKS!
Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
47Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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Up at 7. Showered. Then breakfast in Heaven with the lovely Tina serving. Then it was time to go get my motorcycle out of the parking garage. The hotel's parking is situated a block and a half away in the lower level of an apartment block. My problem was that there's a security gate blocking the exit and the card access is halfway up a ramp. Hmmm? How to stop, get the gate open, then get started again without stalling and falling over? The Universe is awesome. Just as I'm leaving so is someone else. I quickly follow them through the exit with the gate arm just narrowly missing coming down on my head. Yeah!
I get to the corner of the building and I get stopped by the Polizie
As I'm putting my stuff on the motorcycle it starts raining. Looks like my first day of riding will be in the rain. All suited up and it's time to hit the road...that is...after a couple of detours. Oops! Dead end! Then I can't get to the street the GPS tells me to so it starts recalculating stuff. I'm riding on the Autobahn for about an hour when I stop at a rest area/gas station. I pull out my map and determine that I'm heading North. My destination is north-east. In the interim, Claudio comes over and introduces himself. He pulled into the rest area right behind me on another motorcycle. He's heading towards the North Sea with Hamburg as his destination for today.
Driving on this high speed highway sucks. I'm not seeing anything and I'm detouring away from where I'm going. Time to go cross country. I get off at the next exit and the GPS keeps on trying to re-direct me to the Autobahn (the fastest way to my destination). I need a solution. I enter a town in the general direction I'm going into the GPS as a "via" point
I do this for a few hours and haven't gone very far when I decide it's time to speed things up and get to where I'm going. I delete the towns in between where I was and where I was going and the GPS recalculates the fastest route, which happens to be going in the direction I just came from for a while and then away from where I'm going so that I can reach the Autobahn. Then it starts raining again. It had started clearing up. Now it was raining harder than before and the cars are passing me at, "I don't know what speed, as I'm doing 120 and they're still flying past me.
As if the rain wasn't bad enough but then the wind picks up. I'm having a hard time staying on the road and I'm getting tired. I take numerous rest stops. Then I stop for lunch. As I'm backing the motorcycle up from my parking spot I slip and the bike falls over. Somebody comes over and helps me put the bike up but I pulled a muscle in my right leg and it's sore
I finally arrive at my destination. Exhausted! Who says riding a motorcycle is relaxing? Is it time for bed yet? (It's only 3h00)
By the way. The German countryside was very beautiful...and stinky. You get the full experience of the country when you're riding...cow dung and all! All the small towns I drove through were also awesome.
My accommodations at this stop are the exact opposite of what I had the first 2 nights. I'm staying in at the Opera Hostel in a room for 7. We'll see how things go.
The next day. (I.e. Today!)
Last night, after writing the previous stuff, I went for what was supposed to be a short walk to get some supper. But I kept on seeing so many interesting buildings that I kept on walking (without a map, nor my camera) until I got lost. My spidey senses have stopped working. I thought I was heading towards the hostel but was actually going in the opposite direction then crossed the street the hostel was on without realizing it and continued on for a walk that lasted over 2 hours until I found a building I remember walking by at the beginning of my "short" walk
Last night our room for 7 had 5 people. The first person I meet is Alison. She's from Reno, Nevada and has been studying German for the past month and a half for some College credits. We chat a while (she's happy to be able to speak English with someone who understands "American". Then Theodora shows up. She's from Italy, not far from Venice. Her English is pretty good. The three of us chat till late. In the interim, brothers from Romania have dropped off some of their stuff in the room and must have gone to the common room.
I slept better than expected but worse than I should have. The outside noise was minimal and so were my roommates. Nobody snored. I had difficulty falling asleep and then I woke up somewhere around 4 and couldn't fall back asleep and then one of the Romanian brothers had his alarm go off at 6 and then shortly after that they got up to leave. By 7h30 I was up. I showered and then headed to the kitchen. Alison was up and having breakfast. There was a young couple at the next table, Jordan (I think. Yes, I have a bad memory for names) and Brandy. They're from Minnesota. They're travelling a bit before heading to London to study/work for 9 months or so. They've received fellowships to study the history of religion(or something like that)
Then we meet a father and daughter from England. We chat a while about travelling and the places they've been to. We also chat about "mid-life" crises and how at certain points in people lives they re-evaluate what they are doing. We probably could have chatted longer but I'm here to see the town of Erfurt and so off I went.
Erfurt was founded by Saint Boniface in 742. Now isn't that a coincidence. I was born in the city of Saint Boniface, before it amalgamated with Winnipeg. Erfurt is situated in the heart of Germany. It has one of the best preserved medieval city centres. I re-walked most of what I walked last night (without the lost part) but with a map and my camera. Today I walked a more direct route to the points of interest. I saw Petersberg Citadel, the only well preserved Baroque city fortress in central Europe. I also visited Cathedral Hill with St. Mary's Cathedral and the church of St. Severus. My walk took me through various town squares. Check out a few of the pictures I took of the town and its sights.
By 1 o'clock I was exhausted from walking and the lack of sleep so I went back to the hostel for a nap. Alison is the only person from last night still here in the room. At this time I know that there will be 3 new people in the room. One young lady came in as I was napping and then a young guy on a motorcycle (he carried in a helmet) (but he hasn't said anything and so I assume he doesn't speak English as he did hear me speak with the hostel clerk) whom I don't know anything about and another young lady from Israel who speaks English quite well (and that's all I know)
I've finally read my GPS manual and will now be able to change the settings to have me stay off the Autobahn as much as possible. We'll see how it goes tomorrow as I make my way to Berlin, my next stop.
Staying in a hostel has been great. I've met a lot of nice and interesting people that I wouldn't have by staying in a hotel. Though Alison has told me that this is the nicest hostel she's been in throughout her Germany travels. So maybe I'll be disappointed in the next one. Or maybe not!
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