Another day in paradise
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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 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
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
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.