Tag: Germany

Europe 2009: Mile 2845

29th April 2009

Woke once again to the sound of rain on the tent. Sky grey and weather cold.Not the best start to a days riding! Once again had breakfast in the tent then had a shower in the main block. Took our time – anything to avoid packing up in the rain. Eventually the rain eased a bit and gave us a gap in which to get everything packed. It was cold work – the temperature was 5°C apparently! Rode the bikes off the grass empty since we hoped that would be easier, loaded up and paid (apparently the public transport tickets yesterday were free – amazing!). Initially we headed towards Freiburg after getting petrol in Neustadt. We were traveling on the same roads that we saw yesterday from the train. We had wondered then why the lorries, trucks and cars were going so slowly – today we found out. The road itself was twisty, steep and wet. Not a good time to be going fast. At one point the road cut through a cliff with across on the top of it – an ominous sign if you ask me. We also went through a couple of tunnels. The first of these was quite short and the second started in the side of a mountain and ended in Freiburg. A weird experience.

From Freiburg we headed towards Colmar in France. On the way we crossed over the Rhine which, even this close to its source, is a big river capable of carrying some serious river traffic. In Colmar we decided to take a break to warm up so we pulled into an E Leclerc hypermarket and went to an American themed burger bar, complete with a waitress on roller skates! They were playing a DVD of American Graffiti which is a movie I must see at some stage. Isabel had a single cheese burger and I had a double “rodeo” burger. I have to say as an affectionado of burgers that I don’t think I have had a better cooked burger anywhere. It was rare in the middle, juicy and very nice.

After lunch we headed towards Nancy and were joined on the road by rain :(. To make up for this the roads went through some stunning scenery. Eventually the rain eased although it remained cold. We also broke our tunnel traversing record by going through a 6950m long tunnel. What an engineering achievement! All for the princely sum of 5.50 Euro. Luckily Isabel had forgotten to put her sunglasses on after lunch so she managed OK in the tunnel.  Around Nancy we took a break for coffee and cake (and loo) at a motorway services. There was a primary school party of kids doing the things that kids should be doing. Playing “It” etc. Very refreshing to see.

Cathedral, Reims, France

Cathedral, Reims, France

From there we headed towards Reims stopping only for petrol along the way. It was a long trek from Nancy (about 173 miles) but it was mostly on good roads thankfully. Just as we were flagging we reached Reims and decided to look for a hotel. Unfortunately the GPS had frozen (i.e. crashed) about 40 miles from the city so we had to find somewhere to stop to reset it (the procedure for that is a) take battery out; b) swear a bit; c) mutter nasty things about modern technology; d) put batteries back and e) switch the unit back on). Unfortunately we did this having ridden the wrong way up a one way street and whilst parked outside a Gendarmarie station (they are the armed ones you know) but luckily nothing happened. Getting there we had had our first view of the cathedral – All I can say is “wow”! It is an amazing sight.

Anyway back to the search for a hotel with parking for the bikes. Initially it seemed that we could find a hotel and we could find parking but not together :(. Luckily the guy in the Holiday Inn in the city centre pointed us in the direction of the Holiday Inn Express about 10 minutes walk away. Whilst it is not in the nicest part of town (but, having said that it isn’t too bad either) it has off road parking (behind a big locked gate – costs extra of course). We got a room, parked the bikes up, took the panniers sans petrol (see this French talk is easy) up to the room. Although this was basic it was quite expensive for what it was and everything is extra so this hotel is awarded

Two sarges

Early Evening, Reims, Framce

Early Evening, Reims, Framce

After changing out of out motorcycling clothes we went in search of something to eat. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from but we eventually decided on the Café Brasserie Martin for the simple reason that it looked nice and we have a good friend called Martin and I am a great believer in irony in food 🙂 We both had steak and chips with 0.5l of the house red (a merlot which was chilled strangely) all very very nice. After a coffee we headed back to the hotel through an early evening in Reims. From there straight to bed as were were shattered.

Reims Cathedral at Night

Reims Cathedral at Night

Lessons Learnt:

  • Riding when it is cold and wet can be a miserable experience

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009:Mile 2591 Day 2

28th April 2009

Bus Stop, Titisee, Germany

Oops, we missed the bus!

Although we didn’t ride today we did cover some miles. It had rained during the night and this continued this morning. We were worried about the sidestands on the bikes sinking in to the ground and them falling over.I checked them (and got very wet doing so) at about 3 am and they were, thankfully, OK. Once again we had breakfast in the tent. When the rain let up for a bit we went to the main block of the campsite to wash and check the weather forecast on the internet- it was for more rain!. Whilst there we also got some wooden blocks to put under the sidestands to spread the load.

Train at Titisee Bahnhof

Train at Titisee Bahnhof

Since we didn’t feel like riding in the rain we wondered what we should do. We decided to try the German public transport system and visit Freiburg. Due to our exceptional and finely-honed planning skills we missed the bus into Titisee. Since it wasn’t far we decided to walk into town despite the drizzle. When we got there we headed for the train station (“Bahnhof”) to wait for the train. Much to Isabel’s delight it was a double decker and we found an empty seat on the top deck (She is such a child sometimes – unlike me, of course- I am a child all of the time!).

Freiburg Old Town

Freiburg Old Town

Anyway the train arrived and left on time. Luckily we survived the shock of that and we were soon wending our way through beautiful mountains and valleys. I wish I were a good enough photographer to convey the beauty of this place. After 38 minutes we arrived at Freiburg station as per the timetable (when will these people learn that this not the proper way to run a railway? 🙂 ). We then headed for the old part of the city which is beautiful.

Market, Cathedral Square, Freiburg, Germany

Market, Cathedral Square, Freiburg, Germany

We wandered around looking for the cafe (for Black forest Gateau) we had found on the internet the other day. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to exist any more. Bummer! In the cathedral square there was a market on. The quality of the produce was unbelievable. We decided to leave purchasing of fruit and vegetables from the market until later. We did, however, buy a sausage in a roll. Very nice and just what we needed as it had just started raining again. Of course, due to our aforementioned, superior planning skills we didn’t have any waterproofs with us. Typical!

Old Building, Freiburg, Germany

Old Building, Freiburg, Germany

From there we wandered through the back streets looking at shops and the historic buildings. Eventually we came across the Cafe Schmidt and decided to see what their Schwarzwald Kirschkuchen was like – All I can say is that I am so glad we did! What a revelation that was!! (If it wasn’t over the top I would add another “!” there 🙂 ). It was light with a crisp thin base. Seven layers (yes I did count them). You could taste the Kirschwasser but not so much as to be overpowering. The cream was fresh, the cherries dark and tart. It was a typical German (read “big”) helping but it didn’t feel it – wonderful – even Isabel, who doesn’t like cherries in any form said she could eat it. She had already opted for a cheesecake though.

Buildings, Cathedral Square, Freiburg, Germany

Buildings, Cathedral Square, Freiburg, Germany

From there we did some more wandering and then back to the market to purchase food for this evenings meal. Whoops! The market had closed! There was one vegetable stall still open where we bought some tomatoes and two pears which they wrapped in a cone shaped bag. We saw a greengrocers in the corner of the square so we went there for some potatoes. Once again the quality and choice of the goods available was amazing. They even had some small artichokes which I was almost tempted into buying but was not sure how we would cook them back at the campsite. On leaving I counted (because I am actually a very sad person 🙂 ) the number of different type of tomatoes they had – nine (including green ones – great for making chutney) and this was just a small shop! We also visited the North Face shop to look at tents and lightweight waterproofs. They had the most interesting small (Mr Teddy sized) tents which I can only assume are for demo purposes. They also had rainwear in 3XL (i.e. my size). Amazing – try finding that in the UK!

Freiburg Cathedral interior, Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg Cathedral interior, Freiburg, Germany

After making our purchases we headed to the cathedral to take a look around.It is currently being renovated in part and you can see the stonemasons at work. Inside it is an amazing place. Lit a candle for my parents and for others we miss. After that we did some more wandering around before ending up in an eiscafe (no shock or surprise on that one really 🙂 ) for a well deserved coffee and ice cream.

Man, Bike and Dog, Freiburg, Germany

Man, Bike and Dog, Freiburg, Germany

From there we walked back to the train station via a Tabak shop for some Montechristo cigars – my one weakness (well my one weakness I will admit in public) and a gentleman’s outfitter for some braces as I have been having errr “gravitational” problems with one set of trousers I have with me. We then got on the train which, depressingly, once again left on time for the journey back. When we arrived back at Titisee the bus pulled up outside the station and we boarded. After a journey of about 10 minutes we got off at the campsite stop for the short walk to the site. we then had a coffee and Kirschwasser before going back to the tent for dinner and bed.

Lessons Learnt:

  • German public transport is very efficient
  • Buy food whenever you can – do not wait until later
  • A very good Black Forest Gateau is a wonder

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 2591

27th April 2009

Mr Teddy playing cards

Mr Teddy winning at cards - again!

Woke to grey clouds and light rain so we decided to go back to sleep – we are on holiday after all :). The rain put a slight dent in our plans to ride around but nothing serious. We had breakfast of rye rolls, cheese and some very nice smoked Black Forest ham in the tent. We then played cards to while away the time (together with some real coffee from the camp shop which was most welcome). There is, for me, something very soothing about the sound of rain on a tent (well about rain on the outside of a tent anyway!).

Eventually the rain eased up although the sky remained grey and cold. We decided to use the internet terminal at the campsite reception (2 Euros/hour) to update this blog and search for the best Black Forest gateau around here – apparently there is a cafe in Freiburg that does a good one. Since it is on our way to France we decided to visit on Wednesday. After that we took our stuff back to the tent and went for a walk in the woods. Initially we went down to the lakeside via some very boggy ground but then we headed up the side of a nice mountain on a path that wandered its way up and to the side of the campsite.

At first we walked through pines but then we entered an area of deciduous trees which gave a completely different feel to the path. Not better but definitely different. It was all very beautiful but, of course,neither of us had taken our cameras with us :(. Oh well, it will have to remain a private memory for us both. We wandered as far as the path kept rising and then turned back towards the camp now far below us and seemingly hard up against the Titisee. As we made our way slowly back we looked at the mosses and ferns and fallen trees around us,all of which made a magnificent accompaniment to the tall tall trees of the Schwarzwald.

Black Forest Road

Black Forest Road

On arriving back at camp we decided to take the bikes and go and look for something to eat this evening. On leaving the site we turned left and headed for the town of Feldburg. We rode through some nice roads and then started climbing. We negotiated a hairpin at the entrance to the town of Bärenthal and turned onto more of a main road climbing all the time through more pine trees. It started getting noticably colder and there were patches of snow alongside the road. These increased in density until we reached the ski town of Feldburg at an elevation of 4093 ft (a record again for us).

Waterfall, descent from Feldburg

Waterfall, descent from Feldburg

Since we didn’t see any shops we decided to keep going. We were then confronted by about 5 miles of steep (10% gradient) descents along sweeping roads. We both did this very slowly because neither of us felt completely confident and because the scenery was too stunning to miss.

Church in Todtnau

Church in Todtnau

Eventually we came to the town of Todtnau where we turned off and parked the bikes up in front of a very pretty church. We went to the local bakery to get some bread and then had a wander around town before stopping for coffee and ice cream at the local Eiscafe (I may have said this before but I think they are such a civilised idea 🙂 ).

Ice cream, eiscafe, Todtnau

You are never going to finish that are you?

After that we headed the local Penny Markt (directed by a very nice waitress at the eiscafe) to get something to eat for this evening. We purchased some pork with onions ready to stir fry and some fresh white asparagus (which, while not as good as fresh English asparagus is quite superb in its own right). We then headed back to the campsite (OK we actually headed in exactly the opposite direction – sometimes the GPS is correct!) up into the mountains again. Going up a 10% gradient is much easier than going down. Upon our return we parked up on the grass again and I had a shower – mainly because animals downwind of me were beginning to die in unacceptable numbers. After that we put our tarp up, moved the kitchen under it and went and did some much needed washing of clothes. Whilst waiting we had a coffee then tumble dried what needed to be tumble dried, made food and went to bed.

Isabel and ice cream, Todtnau

Oh yes I am!

Lessons Learnt:

  • If the weather is against you stay in bed – it is your holiday after all
  • Be adaptable
  • Staying for a couple of days in one place actually increases your freedom
  • Kriega US-10 bags make very good shopping bags

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 2559

26th April 2009

Bikes everywhere

Bikes everywhere

A short day again. Just a quick hop across to the Schwarzwald (Black forest) which is where some of Isabel’s ancestors came from. After another good breakfast at the hotel overlooking the lake we set off. We had decided to head for the town of Titisee for no other reason than it has a silly name (hey I grew up on Carry-On movies 🙂 ). Again the roads were good and, this time, full of bikes enjoying the good weather. On the way we came across a cafe full of bikes. Naturally we sopped for a coffee and a gaze at all the bikes. Most were German (naturally) with some Swiss and French and two British (us). There was also a Honda Blackbird complete with a sidecar for two – cool! When they left there were four people on board – who says you need a car?

Bikers changing rooms

Bikers changing rooms. Titisee

After our wander we were back on the road. After some more good roads we arrived at the town and parked up in a large car park. Not only did this have a separate area for motorbikes it also had a changing room (with lockable lockers – price 1 euro refundable) for bikers. I like a country where bikers are not treated as 3rd class citizens. Having deposited our helmets, jackets, camelbaks etc. we headed off to the part of the town on the lake (i.e. the actual “Titisee”). This is very touristy (but then again that is what we are 🙂 ) selling generally the same stuff – quartz cuckoo clocks etc – but a nice little wander anyway.

Pork Knuckle and Potato Salad

Dish of the day - Good grief!

For lunch we went to one of the restaurants that were dotted about. Isabel had sauerbraten and spetzle (a dish her mother made) and I had the dish of the day – Pork knuckle and potato salad -very nice and very big! After that we did a boat tour of the lake (I’m surprised that the boat didn’t sink after that large lunch!) which was quite pleasant. After that we did a bit more touristy wandering looking at all the shops.

Camping Bankenhof, Schwarzwald, Germany

Camping Bankenhof, Schwarzwald, Germany

Then it was back to the bikes to look for a campsite. We intend spending some time (about three days) in the Schwarzwald so we will be able to have a base and ride out without the luggage for a change which will be nice. We would have liked one on the lakeside but the road to them wasn’t really suitable for bikes so we chose one in amongst the trees instead.

Tent and Bikes and Trees, Schwarzwald, Germany

Tent and Bikes and Trees, Schwarzwald, Germany

Didn’t check the road in the campsite (which was loose gravel) nor the fact that we had to park the bikes up on a grass slope 🙁 – Oh well we managed it. Anyway we found a nice pitch away from the caravans and mobile homes and up went the tent in quick time.

All in all this is a very nice campsite with friendly owners and good facilities so we awarded it

4 sarges out of 5

Isabel and beers

Isabel and beers

After getting the tent up we went off to get a beer at the campsite bar/restaurant since it had been a very hot day. We also got some bread and groceries from the onsite shop. We then made dinner back at the tent, played some cards and went to bed hoping that the bikes didn’t fall over in the night!

Lessons Learnt:

  • Germany has good facilities for bikers
  • Being tourists sometimes isn’t a bad thing
Mr Teddy all ready for bed

Mr Teddy all ready for bed

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 2487

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! OUCH! My bum hurts! Yep, a couple of records broken today: Longest distance (343 miles – longest by far!) and highest elevation (3204 ft). After a light breakfast of bread, smoked cheese and coffee while we watched two grebes doing their mating “torpedo” dance three times (something I had never seen) and also watching seven jays fly past in under a minute – wonderful. We packed slowly because we were sorry to go and then left the campsite. After getting back into the swing of biking (it’s like waking up rusty each day) at about Volary. After riding another couple of kilometres we turned on to the A4 towards Passau in Germany. This has to be, quite easily, the best road I have ever ridden! Sweeping curves through pine forests, snow still on the ground in places, mountains all around (it was here we hit our elevation record). Ups and downs, lefts and rights – just a pure joy. The sort of road you could ride again and again and again. Eventually it passes from the Czech Republic into Germany (as road 12) but remains as good. The sort of road bikes are made for. The other big plus is that there is very little traffic. I definitely feel a return visit coming on.

View of Passau, Germany

View of Passau, Germany

At the end the road runs down into Passau on the Danube. Here we could have turned left to Austria but, because of time constraints, we headed into Germany. The town is very pretty as it nestles along the river. We then turned on to the A3 Autobahn towards Regensburg before turning onto the A92 towards München. Miles upon miles of motorway riding to look forward to – nice! We stopped off at an Autohof (motorway services) for a bite to eat and petrol. We decided to try currywurst just to see what it was like and, to be honest, it wasn’t bad.

Trees in Blossom, Germany

Beautiful Blossom!

The München ring road (similar to the M25 except that it works) then on to the A56 with the snow capped German Alps in the distance. Now that is motorway riding 🙂 (I love mountains – not climbing them – I am a fat man after all – but they just bring me joy). After another stop for coffee and cake/ice cream and we were off again. After about 50 miles we were finally off the autobahn and on to side roads again. These were almost as nice as the roads this morning but not in the same way. They were more gently curved through a lot (and I do mean a lot) of orchards full of young fruit trees in full blossom (I am guessing apple mostly). Absolutely stunning.

Mr Teddy resting beside the Bodemsee

Mr Teddy resting beside the Bodemsee

We headed towards a campsite in Stockach near the Bodensee via a long detour because the main road was being repaired. No problem because it was a very scenic detour. Unfortunately we found that the campsite was upslope up a very loose gravel road – no thanks! We then looked for lodging on the GPS and found one that appeared to be directly on the side of the lake so we headed for that instead – it was about four miles away and, yes it is on the lake side. At about 70 Euro for the room (without lake views 🙁 ) it was slightly expensive but we were tired and sore and decided to take it anyway. We awarded this hotel

4 sarges out of 5

Having changed we had dinner on the lake terrace (on the lake edge) watching ducks, coot and grebes and smelling the ozone smell of a freshwater lake. Does life get any better? As the sun went down I had a schnitzel Forest style (i.e. with mushrooms) and Isabel had one with ham – very nice. The beer (Alpizsbacher Klosterbräu) wasn’t bad either. Some planning followed (with coffee) and then bed. These are the days touring on motorbikes are about!

Jetty and Bodensee evening light

Jetty and Bodensee evening light

Lessons Learnt:

  • Long distances can be done if you take frequent breaks to stretch your legs but they still hurt!

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 1464

18th April 2009

Poland! At last! And the 3000th mile on the GS’s clock!

A bit of a strange day to be honest. It was cold for most of the day. Grey at times. From the overnight stop we headed towards Łeknice in Poland. Stopped at Bad Muskau at the border for something to eat at lunchtime. We ordered a started. Errr they have big starters here and I do mean BIG! After that we headed off across the bridge over the river that marks the border. Immediately after that there is a market which is very busy with cross border visitors which may be because Germany is in the Euro zone and Poland isn’t (It uses the Zloty – what a cool name for a currency!)

Once out of the market and the town there are “Ladies of the night” stationed about every 1/2 km (OK it’s in the middle of the day but I’m trying to be polite). There were even some stationed in one of the villages with normal people walking about! These stopped after about 5 km. From the state of the roads and houses you can see that this is a much poorer area – at least that is what it seems like.

Some of the roads are quite bad. No actual potholes but the surface is very uneven. With the roads in this state a lot of concentration is needed especially since the drivers here love overtaking! Also bikes seem rare here because we are stared at a lot but that may just be because of my magnificent physique! 🙂 Rode to Głogow filling up along the way. I am not sure the petrol station deals with a lot of foreigners as they didn’t seem to know how to work the card machine but they made up for that by being helpful in other ways and they filled the bike up. Once in Głogow we drew some money from an ATM.

After that we headed roughly North-East to look for a place to stay. Along the route we saw cranes on the nest. There were two of them – bigger than I thought they would be. Interestingly many other small birds (LBJs) were using the underside of the nest as well.

unfortunately the first accommodation we found had a wedding on and no rooms available. The second looked nice but was being renovated. Luckily we came across the Hotel Ach Tu To in Strzyźewice. This also had a wedding on but had some rooms available. Everyone was very friendly – even the wedding guests.The car park was large but we could easily park the bikes out of sight. In all we award this

4 sarges out of 5

After we took the panniers to the room we changed and went looking for somewhere to eat. Since the hotel restaurant was full of wedding guests we had a wander around the place and found nothing. Luckily the next door petrol station had a bar that served food. We had a light bite then went back to the hotel for planning, reading and an early night.

Lessons Learnt:

  • Start searching for accommodation early since the first you come to might not be available
  • Polish petrol stations sometimes serve food!

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 1303

8th April 2009

OK, We are not in Poland yet. We had to do a bit of re-planning due to unforeseen circumstances.  These were errr basically Isabel & I falling off! What happened was that that we missed a turning and the GPS (yes I am going to blame my tools) took us o a detour on an unpaved road (actually 2 unpaved roads). The first was OK – nice and compact but the second was much much sandier. I tried standing on the up on the pegs (a’la off-road school) and did alright up to about 30 mph which seemed plenty fast for me. Then I came to some deep sand. The bike bucked but came through OK but I was unnerved and I made the mistake of sitting down and closing the throttle. After about 100m I hit some deeper sand. Naturally the bike decided that it needed a rest and went down with me under it. Luckily the panniers kept it from falling completely over. I tried to indicate to Isabel to move on to the field alongside the track which was more compact. She tried to get onto that but there was quite a big ridge to negotiate first. Isabel managed to make it, unfortunately her bike didn’t. So 2 bikes down! Luckily mine was OK with the only damage being to the fuel can holder. Isabel’s bike came off worse. Screen smashed where she went through it and a crack int he fairing around one of the screen screws. Also the Touratech engine bars had touched the fairing in the fall and left a couple of scratches. Not impressed I ust say. Anyway we got the engines back up and went into a petrol station ~2 km away to make repairs. Got the screen off and superglued the fairing. Because of the way the Transalp is built it really needs something just above the front fairing to keep water out of the back of the instruments. So out came the emergency saw and surgery was carried out on the remaining screen to make it safe(r). It fitted the hole but didn’t do much else!

While we were there a very nice German Air Force helicopter pilotstopped and asked if we were OK and told us of a Honda dealership in Schlieben which was about 20 kms away. Apparently he rides a BMW (of course) 1150 GS. After saying goodbye (he didn’t have to stop but did anyway – if that was you then many many thanks) we headed for the dealership to see if they had any screens for the Transalp in stock.

So what is the German for “I have dropped my bike and smashed the screen and was wondering if perchance you had one in stock?” – No we don’t know either! Anyway a very helpful mechanic tried every single screen they had but with no success. They gave us a booklet with all the German Honda dealers. We phoned one that was on the way to Poland but they didn’t have one either. After our hectic morning we decided to get something to eat so we rode off to Doberling-Kirchain.

After riding nervously on some cobbles we found a very nice bakery and cafe where we had some coffee and sandwiches (Ok and some cake to boost our sugar levels). Whilst there Isabel phoned Reading Honda to see if they could ship a screen out to us. Unfortunately they were out of stock but did give us the phone number for Honda Poland – excellent and great service too. Honda Poland were duly contacted and a very helpful guy there gave us the addresses of two Honda dealers in Poznan and phoned to see if they had any in stock and phoned back to say that one of the places could order and fit on Tuesday 21st. Brilliant service! All Isabel had to do is call the dealer and arrange it. So what is the Polish for “I have dropped my bike and smashed the screen etc?” – No we don’t know either!
Luckily they seemed to understand a little bit of English (which is more than I can say for my Polish) and on mentioning the Honda Poland persons name they understood and hopefully a new screen will be waiting on Tuesday at 10am. After that we decided to look for somewhere to stay for the night. After a bit of a ride we found a Pension (Werners Landgasthaus) in Lieskau that had a room. The bikes were parked in an open garage out of site of the main road. The room itself was quite nice and the staff friendly so it was awarded

4 sarges out of 5

We had a beer and did some planning. Hopefully Poland tomorrow but after today who knows? But we can hope!
Lessons Learnt:

  • Don’t miss turnings!
  • Keep speed up on sandy bits

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2010 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 1229

16th April 2009

An easy day – only 65 miles. But such beautiful miles – through woods on quiet curvy country roads. Saw lots of buzzards and other birds of prey and kites. Also saw a deer, a weasel and a fox who ran off to the middle of a field and then sat down and watched us ride past. Magical!
Got to Wittenberg early at about midday and decided to find somewhere to stay. Found the Pension Zur Elbe. On arrival we were treated to a free beer each by the owner which was very nice! The pension itself gets a very worthy

4 sarges out of 5

4 sarges out of 5

Wittenberg Church

Wittenberg Church

I’m still unsure of myself when climbing off the bike. Need more practice I guess. After taking all the luggage up to the room we changed into cooler clothes and wandered into town which was only about 0.5km away. Had a light lunch (well for Germany it was light – mine had lard!) and walked to the church where Luther nailed his 95 theses (well the modern church on the site as the old one burned down. Went looking for a laundry to do our washing but failed. Went to find an eiscafe instead. What a good compromise!

View from room window - Luther church

View from room window - Luther church

After that we went back to the hotel to wash our clothes. Then a bit of a rest (after all eating is hard work!) before heading back into town for dinner. Had a very nice (and big) schnitzel in a hotel/ restaurant/ brewery which is the most brilliant combination. Also tried too much of the breweries dark beer. After that we staggered back to the hotel and bed. Tomorrow we hope to enter Poland.
Lessons Learnt:

  • Sometimes a short day is great and acts as a break
  • Do washing when and where you can – don’t wait for something better
  • Hotels/pensions are great for charging batteries and soap
  • Cafes are great places for sugar and UHT milk/cream
Strawberry ice cream fantasy - delicious!

Strawberry ice cream fantasy - delicious!

Red berry ice cream dessert - oh the choice is so difficult!

Red berry ice cream dessert - oh the choice is so difficult!

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2009 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 1164

15th April 2009

Another early start. All packed up and away by 9:10. We are getting better! First stopped for petrol and then on to Weimar and the Buchenwald memorial. What a somber thoughtful place! A place of death in a place of such beauty. What mind could think up such a juxtaposition? A place of almost infinite sadness. We spent a quiet time walking around under a hot open sky. It is an example of when a really bad idea meets almost limitless power. Not just content with starving and working the inmates to death they also shot, strangled and infected them as well. The techniques of killing employed are still shocking today. I am glad we visited although saddened that the history here has really not really taught us anything.

From there we traveled on to Jena and a traffic jam. It was boiling! Almost too hot for me. Then on to Naumburg. Because of the heat we decided to go the quick route which meant the Autobahn (A9 / A14). We stopped at some services on the Autobahn. Oh dear! They really are the pits. I mean they are spotlessly clean and the food is good – what are they thinking??

After what seemed like a long distance on the Autobahn we came off it onto a B road and then on to Plötzky and the camping site at Kleiner Waldsee. Quite a nice campsite although we needed to do a bit of offroading over the grass to reach our pitch. Managed that OK thankfully. Overall this campsite gets

4 sarges out of 5

4 sarges out of 5

Put the tent up and went for a beer (Hafferoder – is this becoming a habit?). Made food, had a shower and then to bed. Tomorrow plan a much shorter trip to Wittenberg – only about 60 miles but we need a break. All-in-all a day for doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching. These are the days that I need to live.

Lessons Learnt:

  • When visiting somewhere only plan on doing at most about 80 miles afterwards
  • Cities = Traffic Jams 🙁
  • Humanity doesn’t learn from its mistakes in general

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2009 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.

Europe 2009: Mile 1003

14th April 2009

Kriega US-10 Tailpack fitted on crash bars

Kriega US-10 Tailpack fitted on crash bars

Another 200 mile day! We started (for us) early at 9:10. Today felt much better than yesterday probably because we stopped more often. The first stop we made was at an Aldi for some food. The Kriega US-10 tailpack that we are using on the side of the bike is a really effective food carrier bag. We would prefer to buy at local shops but we don’t have anything at all.

Went over some beautiful bridges and through a few nice tunnels on the Autobahns as we went along. Once of the tunnels was over 2 km. At one stage we went from the old West Germany to East Germany according to a sign alongside the road. At one stage we came off the Autobahn and up a twisting road on the side of a mountain. It got very cold at the top (2670 ft according to the GPS) and there was still snow on the ground! I had my ventilation on my jacket open because it had been very hot lower down and I was freezing! Eventually, thankfully, the road headed back down into warmer weather.

In Gotha we become stuck at a red light on a left turn that refused to go green. Probably we were too light to trigger the mechanism (Me too light?? – must eat more before I fade away). Eventually we decided to go straight on instead. Eventually the GPS managed to catch up with our change of plans.

While trolling along one of the country roads we saw an “Eiscafe” sign (Eiscafe am straum). Because of our trips to hamburg we know all about Eiscafes. They are ice cream with attitude! The Eiscafe was nestled in the middle of a small village alongside a small stream. We eventually parked the bikes up (after going round twice looking for a place to stop) and went for the “healthy” iced yoghurt and strawberry option. It still comes with a heart stopping quantity of whipped cream though! I am still having problems parking and getting on/off the bike. Hopefully I will find an improved method soon.

From the Eiscafe we headed down some more nice roads until we came to the Stausee near Hohenfelden which is a bike lake. Off we went through some forest roads to the Stausee campsite. We booked in and pitched the tent (we are, hopefully, getting some sort of system together). Unfortunately the area we were pointed to for tents and it felt like we were just put anywhere they had. therefore this site only gets

Two sarges

Two sarges

After a look around we made food (Bockwurst, mushrooms, onions and chicory – what a glorious mixture) and had a shower which was great. Then we did some planning and then to bed.

Lessons Learnt:

  • Stopping regularly makes long distances easier
  • Eiscafes make stopping easier 🙂

Adrian & Isabel

& Mr Teddy

© 2009 – 2016, fatman-overland. All rights reserved.