31 Oct Cycling Northern Germany
After catching up on some much needed sleep, we decide to stay a couple extra days in the area. The campground is priced reasonable and since it is Sunday, all the stores in town are closed so we would have been unable to get supplies anyway. Luckily, we still have some basic food stables in our panniers and the campground store has fresh bread, lunch-meat and beer. There is even a small snack-bar near the pool where affordable Curry-wurst and Schnitzel are sold…
We feel like we are in Schlaraffenland.
We take long showers with plenty of hot water, eat fresh bread with “Zwiebelwurst”, lounge around the tent and sit in our chairs while watching people in the pool without getting eaten up by mosquitoes. We treat ourselves to Curry-wurst and french fries, and of course we enjoy a beer or two.
The following day, we ride our bikes into Travemünde and check out the beach and harbor area, have iced coffee and buy food supplies for the next few days.
It was drizzling on and off during the night, but by the time we crawl out of our bags it stopped raining and the tent is slowly drying out again. I head to the camp store and buy more fresh bread rolls for breakfast, we have a cup of coffee and start packing up. Although, the weather is not looking very promising, we start cycling anyway. In the next few days we plan on making our way across northern Germany toward Amsterdam.
Our route leads us along a few bike paths and quiet roads. Once we arrive in Lübeck, we stop in a little park near the tourist information center to eat Sandwiches for lunch, before exploring the town. Although we still bask in a few sun-rays while enjoying our meal, the sky is turning ominously black and the clouds look like their are ready to burst. Surprisingly, we manage to see quite a bit of the town before the rain starts. We don our rain-gear and keep riding.
As it is getting later in the day, we start looking for a wild-camp-spot. We know, it will soon be getting dark again, so we figure we’d find a place closer to Hamburg. If that plan should fail , we might be able to hit a campground on the north-west side of Hamburg. However, we end up taking a few more breaks along the way to look around. It is getting later than anticipated and the area we are in has always been a big industry and trading area, which means it is also heavily populated. Needless to say, we are not able to find a suitable wild-camp to spend the night. Trying to make it through the major city in the middle of the night, would get us to the campground way past midnight. So we opt for plan “C”: finding a hostel for the night. We head to the train-station in hopes to get on the internet, to check on hostels in town. We were not able to get on the “net” but a lady in the ticket booth was able to help us out and tells us about a hostel close to the station. While I’m checking for availabilities and prices at the hostel, Ron waits outside looking over the bikes. We don’t care for the prices, but after some debating, we figure, we do not have much of choice at this time. While we are talking it over, a guy comes by, looks at our bikes and says: “You are from Norway?!”, pointing at our reindeer-souvenirs.
Apparently, he is visiting from way up North and was happy to see something familiar from home. We chat for a moment, then he wishes us good travels and leaves.
After securing our bikes in an area provided by the hostel, we lug all of our bags and gear several stairs up to our 8-bed-dorm room. There is a sign at the door: “please no food in the room”, but we are happy to ignore it. We are hungry, it is late, we already spent enough money in this place, and we have our own food with us…so we eat another sandwich, before taking showers and getting ready for bed. It almost looks like we are going to have the dorm room to ourselves. That’s when we hear somebody fighting with the heavy door. We open the door and a man enters. The paper in his hand tells him, he has the bed right next to us, although there are 4 more beds on the other side of the room which is separated by a room divider. He decides to change his bed, gets confirmation from the front desk and after dropping off his stuff disappears again for a while.
Not too long afterward, it must be close to midnight, the door opens again. Another man enters with a suitcase, he too has the bed right next to us, this time the top bunk. So much for having the room to ourselves.
We chat for a while; he is on his way back to Denmark and seems a little bit nervous. He tells us he has not been home in a very long time, talks fast and gets all excited and sweaty. We get on to the topic about Ebola and how he thinks the whole thing, as well as other types of diseases are going to be used to quarantine and/or round up Americans. Soon we come to find out he is a writer for Infowars.com. Now, looking back at the conversion, he might have been right about a few things.
Finally, we all get to go sleep.
In the morning, we pack up quickly, decide to skip the expensive hostel breakfast and head to the train station instead to grab a bite to eat and have a cup of coffee…and off we go again toward Bremen.
We did not actually plan on going through Bremen, but have met somebody before, who told us to check it out, because it was his “beautiful home town”, and of course because it is home to Brother Grimm’s “Bremer Stadtmusikanten”.
After truly enjoying the sights of the city, we carry on. Today, we plan on finding a wild-camp spot before dark. Along our path, we ride past a sign leading to an ancient megalithic site. We quickly decide to go check it out, ride along the small field road and then turn onto a dirt path into the woods. Soon we reach a parking lot with a sign leading to the Hunebed. We push our bikes over the sandy path into the right direction and find ourselves looking at a huge ancient grave-site, called “The Visbeck Bride”.
Although the hunebed is about 5000 years old, a lot of stories were fabricated about these humongous grave-sites during the dark ages. According to a medieval legend, a poor farmer’s daughter was to marry a well-off man, who she did not love. Although, the wedding was already arranged, she swore that she would rather turn into stone, then marry this man. All behold, she and the entire wedding court were turned into stone while marching to church. Thus the two lines of stones and the big stones in the front resembling the coach and the bride.
We park the bikes at a picnic table near the grave to check it out. Some locals still leave food for sacrificial offerings at the stone to calm or to honor the spirits and old pagan gods.
Afterwards, we eat a bite and decide that we are not in the mood to continue riding for the day. Instead, we plan on spending the night near the grave and push our bikes into the woods, to sleep under the tarp. Since wild-camping is officially against the law in Germany, we do not dare to set up the tent. However, “resting” or “bivouacking” is allowed, so we just “rest in the woods” on our z-lite mats and under the tarp for the night.
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