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August 10th, 2000 · No Comments

August 10, 2000 Berlin to Senftenberg

Day 223

I left the Berlin Hostel early that morning to get a head start on a long day.  The city is so huge, it took almost 2 hours to exit, it seemed I caught every red light possible.  I followed Mark and Sandy, a tandem team out of the city, hoping to be able to cut down on the DRG reading time.  The stoker on the tandem always has more time to read so I like to take advantage of that if possible.   It was a good plan, but still we missed a turn and had to go a long way just to get turned around and back on track.  When the tandem stopped for a potty break I kept on going.  That turned out to be a mistake.  Within minutes I missed another turn and was going down a cowpath.

Since there were no other riders in site, I was sure I goofed.  I turned around to retrace my steps and catch up with the other riders.  It was going to be a long day!

The roads were the worst and the best all in one day.   In the villages the streets are most always cobblestone, once out of the village the road turns to a lovely, smooth blacktop.  I don’t understand why they keep the awful, bumpy cobblestones, they are so dangerous.

In Germany I have become an expert on the various types of cobblestones, some are better than others.  I have learned to be careful where I point my front wheel, I must be careful not to get it stuck between the stones, especially on the large rounded stones.  The little stones hardly make a difference, but the big ones can throw the bike and the rider.  The worst is riding on an incline when the surface is wet.  I was so glad it was a dry day.

After having 8 days off from sitting on a bicycle, this sign in a bike shop amused me.

“Sitzprobleme?” (does this really need translation?)

Gel Saneldecke (gel seat)

19,90 Deusch Marks (about $10)

The focus of the picture are the railroad tracks out the front window.  We were seated with our bikes, right behind the engineer’s seat on the train. It was very cool!

About mid-afternoon, I met up with “Team Queen”, they invited me to stop for lunch with them.  While we were eating they decided to ride to the next town and catch a train to end of day.  I thought that was a great plan and went with them, even though there was less than 20 miles to go.  I love hoping on trains in strange places, it is such a challenge, sometimes.

This time turned out to be fairly simple.  We managed to find the train station in next town, which in itself was not an easy feat, the whole town was under-construction and a big mess.  The tickets were purchased for both us and our bikes and we boarded the oncoming train within a few minutes.  The timing was perfect.

While waiting on the platform a nice lady and her mother quizzed me in broken  English about Al the Alien and our trip.  She referred to Al as my “kinder” (child!)  The Germans really love Al.  I showed the ladies my Odyssey brochure, the one with the world map on it.  They were so interested in what we were doing, they couldn’t believe it.

It was just another moment in my day when I was approached by a friendly soul, speaking German at me a mile a minute.  I am attracting conversation from the locals, because I have an alien on my bike!  I love it!  I do wish I could understand more than I do.  The country folks are so friendly, but they don’t speak English at all. They do continue to speak German at you, as though if they speak it long and loud enough you will understand what they are saying.  Sometimes it works!

Our train ride was short and sweet.  We watched the Odyssey riders criss crossing the rail road tracks on the route, while we looked over the engineers shoulder down the tracks.  Our bikes and us were parked immediately behind the engineers seat.  It was so interesting to be in that location.  I watched as he worked all the levers on the train.  He was a busy guy.

We got off the train at the end of the line.  We didn’t know how to get to camp, so Sue started asking folks outside of the train station.  Since none of us could understand what they were telling us, we were beginning to think we needed to go look for “yellow heads”, but a nice lady overheard and told us to follow her.  She got in her car and waited for all of us to get our helmets on and get ready to follow.

We chased her through the streets until we got to a busy, main street, where she pointed us off in the direction of camp.  At the same time a few “yellow heads” rode by.  We were back on route! Success!

Tags: Germany · Northern Europe