The streets were desolate, I passed a few people sat out side a bar in a make shift paddling pool (at this point the score was 0-0). I also passed a massive group of people all huddled in garage getting out of the sun. I did on a couple is occasions hear shouts come from houses as I passed by, one was pretty loud so I guessed there must have been a German goal. I kept riding along in the deserted streets when all of a sudden I started to hear car horns. A car passed by with a massive German flag out the sun roof, the people in the car were shouting and cheering at me. Soon there was another and another all heading into town. It seemed that every open window had to have a person, flag, or both sticking out of it. Then a couple of convertible vw golfs passed me. They had 5 or 6 people all sat on the back beer in one hand flag In the other and at least one silly red yellow and black piece of clothing. ......so i guess Germany won then?
At this point I didn't know the score but I did wonder why everyone seemed quite so happy. At first it was drunken youths in the cars. Soon there were families in people carriers with 4 or 5 kids out the sun roofs waving flags and 60 yr old posh women in Mercedes hooting their horns and waving their flags just like a regular football hooligan
. As I neared the centre of town the noise started to increase there were air horns and vuvuzelas people revving their engines and the occasional bang of a massive smoke bomb. When I got to the main street I realised where all the cars had been heading. The noise now was astonishing every car had their horn going like crazy. There were people wandering up the road shaking all the drivers hands congratulating them and waving flags over their cars, people were walking up and hugging random strangers (I just managed to avoid this) but no one seemed to care. People were cruising up the street then getting to the end and turning round so they could cruise back. The number of people in the cars began to increase, there were now people sat on the roofs drinking beer most cars had their boots open with people sat in there as well. The pavement was also covered in supporters, draped with flags with wigs and horns just staring at the what was happening trying to take it all in. It was an amazing atmosphere and one which being English we never get to experience, i did start to wonder if the same scenes would be witnessed back home if this was us not them, would we even know what to do? I'm not so sure we would. If Germany get to the final i'm not sure if i will still be in the country but if happens but if they were to win there will most definitely be a lot of cars with broken horns!
I got carried away taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere and totally forgot I was still 30km from Hamburg
. It was now much cooler and I made it to the outskirts of Hamburg in good time. I started to relax and think about kicking back with a beer at the hostel bar. This was a gross misjudgement as what I had not bargained for was how much of a nightmare it is to get in to Hamburg. It is a massive industrial city and Germany's main port the reason for this is that it sits over a number of islands. The problem is that there are bridges everywhere. I worked out by the time I got to the centre of town I had ridden 20 km to get 5 km as the crow flies so frustrating when you are really knackered and riding through slightly dodgy deserted industrial parks. By this point it was 9:30 (there were still cars passing with their horns going) I pitched up to an awesome looking hostel, as usual in my laid back state I hadn't bothered booking, so I was shocked to find they were fully booked until Monday. It was now 10 and I was stuck in Hamburg without a place to stay I started to get a tad worried. They gave me the name of one another hostel, when I arrived I nervously asked if they had any dorm beds, the reply "yeah of course we do" and the cost, €12 a night for a 4 bed dorm with breakfast (an epic continental buffet) included (compared to over €30 a night for a 6 bed dorm in Amsterdam), sweet. The best part is the shower is amazing (the most important thing when you are cycling) and there is a TV in the room so I could watch the highlights of the first day of Le Tour De France on eurosport, WINNER! So a perfect end to another day in the life of a cycle tourer and it just goes to show things always work out for the best on the end no matter how tiring frustrating and bizarre the day turns out to be!
P.S. I know there are lots of spelling mistakes but the spell checker wont work i also cant get some things because of the German keyboard
I had a pretty huge day today. As is always the case (and I need to do something about it) I didn't end up leaving until 11:30 (i was actually trying to update this thing but the Internet wasn't playing ball). It turns out that 38 degrees is a tad warm for cycling 120km. I took about 3.5 litres of water with me but I was soon getting through it. To make matters worse Germany were playing their quarter final match. I decided not to watch it as I really couldn't care less and I also needed to get some miles under my belt having spent an extra day in Bremen. Th roads were nice and quiet and for at least an hour pretty much every one of the few cars I saw had a women driving. I did see one unfortunate couple having their wedding photos taken in front of an old barn, they had unwittingly picked the worst day possible. Not a good time to be running really low on water. I think it must have taken about 50km before I found a somewhere that was open, a small garage with two old ladies running it. They looked as though they were wondering why it had gone so quiet all of a sudden I don't think the enormity of the match being played had dawned on them