Germany

Germany is one of the most influential nations in European culture, and one of the world's main economic powers. Known around the world for its precision engineering and high-tech products, it is equally admired by visitors for its old-world charm and "Gemütlichkeit" (coziness) or hospitality.

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Basic Information

Literally the only foreign (to me) country in this trip I've visited before. I'll probably visit it more often in the near future. That's why Germany is more of a transit country during this trip.

But there are a couple of days I will be spending in Germany, so why not make the best of the time available?

The route passes through Germany twice. First on its way north to Denmark, and much later it crosses the entire country from Poland back to The Netherlands. The roads are absolutely sublime and the speed limits are reasonable.

leng chaw'wIj nIHlu'ta' !

a Klingon traveler

I do speak a little German. I'm afraid I've only practiced giving orders in German during the past ten or so years, so that won't be any good. Hopefully everyone I meet can speak a little English, Dutch or Klingon. Not that I speak Klingon. I just generally like people who do.

Map

External Info
Distance traveled 1276 km
Time spent 5 days

Places of Interest

disclaimer   These are only places that make up 90% of the plan for this trip. Whether or not I've actually managed to visit each and every one of them can be found in the ride report.

Husum

From Eindhoven to Husum I'll pass through Osnabrück and Bremen. I think. Both pretty awesome places to visit. Too bad there's no time to hang around in Germany for very long. The roads in northwestern Germany are a bit like the Dutch ones. Not very exciting. There is a ferry over at Wischhafen, though. Ferries are awesome. Don't want to miss that.

After racing through Germany, probably just blindly following the GPS, Husum will be my first stop. After almost 600 km this small North Sea harbor city will be a welcome sight.

There are a few camping sites along the coast. I hope one of them will have room for a motorcycle and a tent.

Wischhafen
Wischhafen ferry

CC-BY-SA-3.0 Луц Фишер-Лампрехт

Northern Germany

When entering the country for the second time from the north-east, leaving Poland, I've got the entire width of Germany to cross. I'll leave everything up to chance.

Germany is pretty nice, especially the country roads away from the main autobahn. Maybe I'll come across some of the best scenery of the trip in Germany, who knows. I'll just program my GPS to take me to The Netherlands and I'll let it surprise me.

What I do know for sure though, during this last leg of the trip, that I'll be greeted with smiling faces everywhere. Or, to use a famous quote:

Europe's cuddly teddy bears. The Germans.

Jeremy Clarkson
Beer Maid
Typical German lady

CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 Tobias Apps


Ride Report

This is only what I remeber of Germany and quickly wrote down during the trip. I'm sure I've missed some details here and there. Sorry! It's chronological, mostly.

Part one

Now the GPS works again outside of the Netherlands, the road to Husum seems straightforward enough. With speed limits of 100 km/h on most of the roads, Germany seemed to pass by pretty quick. Because of this, the Garmin didn't lead me back into the Netherlands, but chose the faster German roads instead. Just south of Linge I decided it was time for a break. The bananas I brought, which entered the top case almost green, turned out to be well on their way towards their brown, liquid form. I guess that black top case works like an oven in this hot and humid weather.

The German traffic and roads are an absolute breeze. Nice asphalt, wide roads and a very sane layout. Too bad big, slow farm vehicles are allowed to use them too. It can get pretty dangerous when the speed differences are this high. Or, as a Dutchie, I'm just not used to situations like these. The Germans seemed to cope just fine without issues.

Racing towards Bremen, and what did I see? It was an actual ferry! The Lemwerder - Vegesack ferry is the first ferry of the trip. And, by definition, awesome. Not soon after, a second ferry. This time taking me across at Wischhafen. I just made it with the change I found in my pockets. Maybe taking ample amounts of change would have been a good idea. Something to make sure of for when I'm in Norway.

After leaving the ferry behind the first stop of the trip, a camping site in Husum, wasn't far off. It wasn't hard to find at all and base camp was set up within minutes. With the North Sea at walking distance I decided to spend the last hours of the day walking along the beach. If you could call it that. It wasn't really a beach and after that long in the saddle you couldn't call it walking either. With fresh air in my lungs I went to sleep.

As agreed with the camping site owner, I left early in the morning. So much for the romanticized camping feeling of freedom and awesomeness. Everything was soaked. And I really mean everything. It didn't rain that night, but heavy fog rolled in from the sea. Pretty much resulting in me being cold, soaked and aching all over. I had to pack up camp with numb fingers, wondering what the hell I got myself into. I'm afraid I woke everybody up that morning when I struggled to get the Alp off of the muddy camping grounds.

Time to go north, towards the Danish border. Slowly the clouds parted, the fog disappeared and the sun started to shine. I soon forgot about what happened that morning and was smiling all the way again. Life was perfect by the time I crossed the border into Denmark.

Part two

Riding into Germany for the second time felt like coming home. Well, a bit. The roads are superb, even at the Polish border. The difference between the two countries is staggering. One thing was weird though. A lot of homes and farm buildings were surrounded by large fences. At a local gas station I asked about those. The owner told me it was because of the increase of theft in the region. Thieves, presumably from across the border, steal everything from cars to the fences themselves. German police is powerless. I don't know if it's really that bad, but if you compare the two countries it's hardly surprising.

Berlin is huge. I've never been to Berlin before, but it's easily the biggest city I've seen so far, except Singapore maybe. Traffic in the city is actually very well organized and I had no trouble reaching my hotel. The hotel, NH Berlin Mitte, was hugely expensive. It's my own fault of course for booking one day ahead and wanting something close to the city center. I was expecting luxury for that amount of money. It was mediocre at best. Personnel was rude and the food was absolutely horrible. Ah well, at least I had a roof over my head.

The next day was exploring time. Everybody's enthusiastic about Berlin. Let's see why. After walking around for a few hours a few things were obvious. First, Berlin is a huge construction site. Everyone's building or restoring something. Second, tourism is booming. Lots of American tourists. Of course I've checked out the sites like everybody else does. Berlin is Europe's cultural heart and has been that way since the end of the war. The cultural and historical significance of this city is profound. I've read about most of the significant sites of the battle of Berlin and I've even played a few games that were less historically correct. Being there myself is quite an experience and I tried to follow the Soviet advance towards the Reichstag as closely as possible while exploring the city.

After visiting a few museums, including one filled with East German motorcycles, I needed to sit down with a nice German beer. Finding a spot was quite hard and it took me an hour of walking before I spotted an empty seat. It was quite a warm day that day, so a nice white beer or pilsener was exactly what I needed. Why not both? Both it was. A standard Wernesgrüner Pilsener and a rather interesting Erdinger Weissbräu Dunkel. Don't be fooled by the color of the latter, it's still a white beer. The taste is just slightly more caramelized. Seeing the sun set over Berlin was quite the fitting end to this city trip. I went back to my hotel to prepare for the ride home the next day.

I left Berlin early. Although not as early in the morning as I had hoped. The hotel parking garage door was broken, keeping me and some rich guy in a tuned BMW 5-series from leaving. Since the weather forecast was rain for the next week and I didn't have a map of Germany anymore, I took the fastest and shortest way back home. Autobahn it is. Plagued by the occasional rainfall the Alp had no trouble taking me home with an average speed well over 140 km/h. Lacking a 6th gear she did get a little thirsty, especially because I wanted to know how fast this thing could really fly. 190, apparently. Fully loaded. What a machine.

Early in the afternoon I crossed the border into The Netherlands. I made it.


Photos

These are the photos taken during the trip through Germany using this gear. Hopefully they're in chronological order. If you'd like a larger version of a particular photo, just let me know and I'd be happy to make it available to you. All photos can be redistributed freely under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.