Published: April 16th 2010July 4th 2006
Along the Elbe just across the border
Germany - 25 Days Diary extract in italics Day 81 - 65.6 miles
I crossed the border about 5pm and followed the cycle paths along the Elbe, the countryside was lush, the sun out and no huge great fluffing cracks or pot holes every ten metres. I am about 25-30km from Dresden, camped next to the river, annoyingly close to the railway track. The river flows between 2 cliff like hills and looks wicked.
So I’ve arrived in Alemania and the world cup starts tomorrow - should be fun.
Day 82 - 50.2 miles - (€2)
Dresden was very nice - what stood out was the Frauenkirche - the restored cathedral.
I then cycled 24km to Meissen, with a Herring lunch break, arriving at 5pm. Meissen was okay but I’ve seen better - nice gothic church
Today was fecking hot - my pink skin will vouch for that
Day 83 - 53.2 miles - (€8)
The countryside is uppy-downy at the moment which is made more difficult by sore legs and an aching crack. I rushed to get to Chemnitz for the England game, I
missed the first ten minutes which was lucky as the only goal of the game was in the 4th minute - an own goal by some Paraguayan dude. Very interesting watching it surrounded by loud Germans, who hate England only a little less than we hate them. Boring game, it made me yawn like mad. I struggled cycling after stopping 2 hours and sinking a couple of beers but still managed about 18 miles. Tomorrows Sunday menu is: Herring, beans, jam, bananas and bread (the shops close on Sundays so I had to stock up)
So again tonight I am camped amongst the nettles and I am feeling much better - I felt a bit unstable the last few days - a mix of missing Jo, being back on the bike all day, tiredness - again it amazes me how the simplest things can alter my mood dramatically, like getting water last night and the sight of a couple of miles of flat land a few hours ago.
Meissen to Bamberg took a couple of days and was frustratingly uppy downy. Day 86 - 54.8 miles - (€3)
Last night I kept having to scare off, what I think was a badger, then this morning I woke up to find that the little shit had stolen one of my shoes. I struggled, barefoot, walking over the pine needles and cones and luckily found it, about 10 minutes later, about 25 metres away.
Bamberg is a very pretty Unesco city with a wicked 4 towered cathedral, a nice building next to the river with a painted outside and some generally old-looking Germanic buildings, there were weird looking statues all over the place too. A very nice city.
The day after I was expecting to meet my dad in Nurnberg (20 miles away) but that evening I got a text saying that he was actually staying in Crailsheim, 50 miles outside, so my easy day had just turned into a big one. Day 87 - 82.9 miles - (€3)
A fluffing marathon on the saddle and one I won´t forget, and i´ll get my dad back for this one, an extra 50 miles because of his lack of details.
Day 88 - Day 96 No cycling as I
met my dad and uncle, who had brought his car and we drove around Germany. Day 88
The German Language
I love how you can stick words together
We had a really nice breakfast at the hotel then we all drove into Nurnberg at 10am.
We visited the Nazi rally grounds and the fascinating museum. I stood where Hitler stood when he did speeches to the cheering nazi’s etc, the little sausage.
We had some salad and some beer, then the lads went in the stadium and I went into the fan fest with big screens, beer (con filas), some dickless England fans and porta-loos. The England fans were quite anxious as we had to wait ‘til the 83rd minute for Crouch to score against, the barely professional, Trinidad and Tobago. T’was a dull game but fascinating in the fan fest.
Afterwards we went for beer back in Crailsheim.
I was so impressed with Bamberg that I persuaded my dad and uncle to see it, before we continued on to Berlin. On the way we also went to Dresden, Leipzig and Colditz, the famous POW prison. Day 90
Drove to Dresden and looked around, stopping en-route in Bayreth to see
a wicked opera house and have a coffee - cool to see the communists influence in Dresden - new roofs on old bombed buildings and all the tower blocks.
In the morning we went to Sachsische Schweiz National Park with its jutting rock formations and some cool bridges.
After Sachsische Schweiz National Park we went to Leipzig via Colditz, to learn about escape attempts from Scloss castle, some of them quite funny e.g. using a glider, dressing up as woman, and posting themselves. In the evening we watched South Korea draw 1-1 with France, the Korean fans were wicked, dancing all over the place and amazingly all the fans cleaned up the plaza after the game, including ciggie butts and chewing gum - they went fluffing chicken oriental doing a conga all over the city until 8am - I wanna see them when they win.
We got to Berlin and checked out the centre - the division of this country is a fascinating piece of history - the East was Russian and the West divided unequally between the Yanks, the Brits and the French. The city of
Berlin was divided by a big fluff off wall that was pulled down in 1989 although there are still parts all over the city.
One of the strange statues
The Germans were desperate to get out of the East into the West and millions crossed “illegally” and only 150 were killed trying. Checkpoint Charlie was the only official crossing point. We also visited the former SS HQ - just foundations now but there is a wicked exhibition with some horrific photos We then walked to the fan fest to see the Germans beat Ecuador 3-0 - a huge fan fest - 5 screens along the road through the park, good food, loads of beer and a ‘Big Wheel’.
Day 93 - 0 miles - (€0)
A quality day.
The first half was spent sightseeing, taking in museum island, the huge cathedral (which Paul and I climbed up), the platz where the Nazis burned books - where there is now an underground empty library as a tribute and temporarily a load of bears from each country int world.
We saw where Hitler’s bunker used to be and a memorial to all the jews that died. We went into a history museum and saw two exhibitions - one on football (with some ace photos) and a wicked one on German history which we looked at from 1930 > present day - they have a fascinating history with Hitler’s rise to power in suspicious circumstances, his brainwashing of a nation, the division of the country and the different paths they followed under communist and democratic rule and the fall of the wall/reunification. We then went back to the hotel and made ourselves look beautiful with wigs, face paint and England gear.
The fan fest was 95% German fans with some English and Swedish mixed in. The result was 2-2 ( a wicked Joe cole goal but we deserved to lose), the atmosphere was cool and the chanting was great (‘5-1, its good to be back’, ‘we scored the last goal at wembley’, ‘its coming home’) and everyone singing ‘Walk on’ and the Germans were cool.
We went to Potsdam - seeing the meeting place of the SS leaders where they must have decided to exterminate jews, again an amazing museum
Day 95 - 0 miles - (€0)
the morning we went to where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to decide how to deal with Germany, post WW2 and we drove around a cool park covered in beautiful palaces. Then we drove to the modern but unimpressive Magdeburg to watch USA 1-2 Ghana before driving to Goslar - a Unesco town with hundreds of wooden houses.
Between Bamberg and Nurnberg when I received the news about my extra 50 miles
Day 96 - 41.2 miles - (€67)
Off to a festival
In the morning I ate my last posh breakfast so naturally I took the piss with the salmon sarnies then we drove to Hannover. I said Bon Voyage to dad and Paul then caught the train to Bremen (€20, just over one hour). I cycled 25 miles out of Bremen to a tiny village, called Schleeßel, where I thought the festival was, it only had about 10-15 houses and there was no sign of any festival. After cycling around trying to find the festival for about 30 minutes I got suspicious (Careful Insp Morse) and ended up talking to a dog walker who told me in hand signals that I was in the wrong place, so I cycled about another 15 miles to get to Scheeßel (Schleeßel, huge difference huh) where I met Sina outside.
It took me 30 mins to get in before I started drinking and smoking with Sina and Nico. The Artic monkeys were quality, Seeed were pretty cool but Manu Chau was Da Bollocks.
Day 97 - 0 miles - (€10)
The Hives were wicked - cool pause during a song. The strokes may have been asleep for all I know, Adam Green had mint lyrics about drug taking and Jessica Simpson dieing. The Germans beat Scccchhhweden 2-0, how they chanted all night.
Day 98 - 0 miles - (€10)
So festivals - tonnes of people, alcohol, drugs, tents. I’m covered in mud and the beers are €2.50 for about a 1/3 of a pint con one euro deposit for the tiny plastic glass. No bands stood out really but England luckily beat Ecuador 1-0, a Beckham free kick. In the evening before Muse even got on to start at 10pm the heavens opened and then some. It felt semi-life threatening when we returned to the tents they were under water. Luckily Sinas tent was still standing and wasn’t leaking so we managed
to use my mattress after changing clothes to get some sleep.
Me and Dad before they went in the stadium
Despite being soaked and everything was proper soaked we still managed to roll a J.
Day 99 - 24.3 miles - (€17)
So the morning after the storm - most of my stuff is soaked, my camera and alarm clock are no more, luckily I managed to salvage my tent and now have more tent pegs than when I started. I cycled about 15 miles before hopping on a train south.
Some cycling to Winterberg and then I took another train to Koln via Dortmund. I met a good friend, Jon Mcternan, Top Geezer extraordinaire who sneaked me into his hotel and then we went for some beers. Days 101 - Day 104
We hit the beers with some top banter, got some herbal medicine off some dodgy African by the river…. And we saw Ronan Keating play, well sing, well try and sing. I celebrated turning 27 and we perved in ore at the amazing number of gorgeous girls around. Day 104 - 0 miles - (0)
I went to Gelsenkirchen on the train
with the lads. There were tens of thousands of England fans, mostly wankers. The lads paid 550 euros for some tickets in the Portugal end so I went to the fan fest. On the way down a nice man got me an ice cream to nurse my hang over. The first half was dull then it became exciting after Rooney’s red card - we gave a heroic performance but fluffed up on penalties …. Again.
Where Hitler made some speeches
Some of the English fans were an embarrassment, particularly the racist chanting (“id rather be a paki than a turk”), the group of lads following two mums with push chairs through the park singing the “ten German bombers in the air” song to the tune of ‘nine green bottles’ and the sweaty train ride getting back to Koln was an experience as they crammed us in like sardines. About midnight me and Jon had some beers and smokey smokey by the river until 5:30 am.
From Koln I cycled towards Aachen in order to cross into Belgium, I camped a night in Naturpark Hohes Venn-Eifel just before the border and crossed early the next day.
There are more photos below