Another day in paradise

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Where I stayed
F1 hotel, Hannover
What I did
Got cold

Flag of Germany  , Lower Saxony,
Thursday, October 20, 2011

After a good nights sleep in a warm bed I did feel a lot better this morning. Today I had to face the horrors of the efficient German road system which is not efficient, barely follows a system but did seem to be a road... of sorts.
What the big problem is, from my perspective is the roads are all over the place and to get onto the main ones you go through a random twisted lane so your GPS points one way then by the time you get on the road you think you want you’re point in a totally different direction. Also my European map, Google, GPS and the German authorities have very different ideas and senses of direction so my progress was slow, so slow in fact that it barely qualified as progress.
I had lunch today around half past 2, (European time) somewhere between Essen and Hannover. It was such an easy ride according to the maps but directions dried up as soon as I got on the road. Talking of getting on the road, I got out of a nice warm bed, wrapped myself up in multiple layers and even added wet-gear as a wind breaker and by the time I actually reached the main road it was cold. The wind cuts through my gear like it’s not there and around 9.30-10 when I headed out it was only 4 degrees and by lunchtime it had risen to 12. Add the wind blast and the outcome was a sorry little Jack freezing off his favourite bits for hours. On the plus side, I’m carrying bottled water and it’s like getting it out of the fridge, actually it’s a little colder than I usually like it. There were a few places with no trees by the sides of the road and some even had sunshine on them but without cover the wind blasted across the relatively flat fields and into me. It almost felt like Germany was picking on me.
The German drivers are arrogant to the point of it being ridiculous. They have no empathy whatsoever for other people. They see you indicate to pull out after a truck decided to pull out on top of you and they just head straight for you with no consideration of your continued survival. This happened more than once today.
My first encounter with the police was a mostly positive one. The police are not like they are at home in London. I pulled in to check my map and got chatting with some locals and a copper came over to help. He filled out a list of directions, shook my hand and stayed to chat with the pair of local builders. In England they would have tried to arrest me for crimes against humanity just for the horrific crime of owning a bike. The only drawback was that his directions were almost but not totally incorrect. They did get me back to the main roads and after that a mixture of common sense, directions, maps and GPS pink arrow got me heading in the right direction.
After hours of heading in the right direction the cold was starting to get my mind wandering. I was having a bit of trouble focusing and remembered I hadn’t eaten yet. I resolved to stay on the road until I found a place with something to eat and fuel for the bike. No point making more than one stop. By then I was wearily resigned to making an early stopover in Hanover tonight at the local F1 hotel with a mad dash into Poland in the morning. I should make Hannover by late afternoon so I think I’m going to do that. I can dump my gear and sort things out, find some local shops and get some relatively healthy food without any meat (I’m a vegetarian) and get an early night. I can then make an early start and blast through Berlin. I don’t mind going through there fast as a month ago my girlfriend and I spent three days in Berlin so I feel like I’ve “been there, done that!” If I remember rightly I couldn’t wait to leave although there was a few nice Kebab places and that might be dinner if Hannover decides to be nice to me.
So I found the F1 hotel with no real problems although my Garmin sat-nav has now completely packed up again. It played up badly during my trip to Europe and is up to its old tricks. Tomorrow is an almost straight ride into Poland so I’m not overly concerned at this point but I wouldn’t recommend owning one to anyone I liked or might ever meet again.
The weather added some intermittent showers because that might be some additional fun. After I arrived at the hotel it actually got a bit worse so luckily I missed most of it. Once the sun went in it got worse, the roads got icy in a matter of a few minutes. When winter properly takes hold then this route is not a fun one to take. I dread to think what’s up ahead. Behind us is Damon, a dude we met in London. He’s following us out in a few weeks but the journey is going to get harder every day he leaves it. Winter is coming here and it’s going to be rough.
So I asked the guy if there was a supermarket and he gave me directions to a local Aldi. I grabbed some bits and they told me they don’t take Visa. I queried the fact that they have a card machine on the counter to take payment and yet they don’t accept the most common form on the planet. He didn’t speak the most common language either so we were onto a loser with this conversation. I went on and found a “Penny Market” which is more or less the same thing. They didn’t take it either! I was told there was a cash machine somewhere and then a guy found me on the street and showed me where it was, my faith in humanity strengthened if not restored to previous levels. Try as I might I don’t like Germany. It’s too like England but with all the bad things amplified. Riding here on the motorways is like circling the M25 but with never ending German-made estate cars flying up behind you at 120mph. I was riding today at an average 75mph and was a slow mover by their standards.
Interesting question... What has a Virage 535, a BMW R1150gs and a black R6 got in common? They were all on the road today. They were seriously the only motorcycle I’ve seen all day, a stark contrast to the summer when Europe is swarming with them. I guess the cold relegates them to the garage while their owners go and vent their frustrations by trying to knock over weary travellers with the sporty family cars driven flat out until the top end bursts.

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thunderstick on

This poxy thing...I go to post a comment and a box opens up in the middle of your epic text. Woft. As for the roads -- FTS big! All a big cold slog right now, but once you hit Poland and head for the sun you'll be alright. Time doesn't sound too much of a problem, especially if M had a tough one too. The cold water is alright for you - it causes the body to increase energy output by heating the water up, so as long as you remember to eat (no pork pies) to feed the furnace you'll be ok. Rough news about the shatnav too...last thing you need with those roads and all that pointing is a wobbly pink arrow. You can borrow mine, but it'd only tremble for an hour and the maps would rotate like a fucked clock. good riding big buddy! Keeping track...

jtw000 on

I don't know whats wrong with the sat nav. It went dead like last time, the screen is jammed. It's either the cold or the vibrations from the bike or something. It was absolutely fine at home but the further I go the worse it gets. Bloody thing. I'm working my way through musli bars in an attempt to stay awake today. On the road for 7am, (8 here but I'm not in their time zone mentally yet) and should get to Poznan for lunch, then try to work out how to get to Marcins.

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