23 Jun 2014

Europe 2014: Day 3 - Bad Driburg to Berlin

We went for breakfast at about 9am—in usual German fashion it was various meats and cheeses, breads and eggs, as much as you can manage. Suitably full-up we continued along the B-roads toward Berlin with rather ominous clouds looming ahead.

Nature called so we found the first somewhat discreet side road. Zev was skeptical about who might be down it, and sure enough a rather guilty-looking couple emerged. Ha! After a quick ‘comfort break’ we felt a few drops of rain as we set off again.

Zev here. Can you put down that bloody camera long enough for me to find a bush to pee in?!
My gear is waterproof but Zev’s trousers are not, and the rain started coming down much harder very quickly. We took refuge at a petrol station so Zev could put on the waterproof over-trousers and had a conversation with two chaps on quad bikes. These look like fun but they are lethal machines in the wrong hands (namely mine)!

We rode past field after field of blue and pink carnations and yellow daisies.

Fields of daisies as far as you can see.
Then we came across a strange tower, which had been retrofitted with a spiral staircase so passers-by could enjoy the view. I should mention that Zev is a hobby botanist making salves, lotions and tinctures, and he is always on the look-out for new plants. 

Up the hill from the fields we came across this odd tower and obelisk.
Zev’s botany skills kicked in straight away.
Of course that spiral staircase proved far too tempting—view from the top of the tower.
Proof that I am actually still a part of this trip.
Looking out the entrance of the tower.
A charming forest pathway running past the tower.
Heading into the east of the country we stopped briefly to find a restaurant and came across this amazing sight:

Germany has something for everyone—fast roads, slow roads,
scheissevideos and takko fashion (sandals with socks, presumably?) 
Unsuccessful—the whole country seemed to be literally closed up by 5pm on a Sunday evening—we carried on after feasting on a handmade pizza from a petrol station (clearly this isn’t a culinary tour!) and soon arrived in Brandenburg.

Brandenburg town square with fountain burbling away.
Clocktower in Brandenburg.
I’m gonna cut you.
This chap seemed none-too-pleased that I was snapping away photos...
Somewhere between Brandenburg and Berlin we decided to take an inviting-looking side road with scenery like the African savannah.

A tear in the fabric of space sending me to the African grasslands? Sadly not—just a field road. 
Back on track, the fields suddenly turned into dense forest with the sun trickling through the trees. I tried to capture this as best as I could on camera, but the following photo doesn’t begin to do it justice.

A rather stunning bit of forest.
My bike is getting close to its place of birth.
We arrived in Spandau at about 6:30pm and stopped to find a hotel. After several unsuccessful attempts—a couple with only street parking and one with the phone engaged for more than half an hour—I spoke with the bookings people at Novum Hotels and the lady found me a room (and secure parking) at the Hotel Aldea right in central Berlin. Perfect!

We went for a walkabout to find something to eat and even Berlin was suspiciously quiet—there were others out and about, but not many at all. Perhaps I’m too used to London’s unrelenting crowds but everywhere we’ve been so far feels so calm and quiet!

Berlin tower block—all satellite dishes tuned to the World Cup!

A slightly derelict but impressive stately building.

The most delicious meal I’ve had in quite some time...

...which was served to us at Efsane Bistro

So super dodge...
Back to the hotel, full of felafels, Mr Sandman had no troubles at all.

Europe 2014 quick links

Day 1: London to Sint-Gillis-Waas
Day 2: Sint-Gillis-Waas to Bad Driburg
Day 3: Bad Driburg to Berlin
Day 4: Berlin
Day 5: Berlin to Prague
Day 6: Prague
Day 7: Prague to Wemding
Day 8: Wemding to Ammerschwihr
Day 9: Ammerschwihr
Day 10: Ammerschwihr
Day 11: Ammerschwihr to Eschdorf
Day 12: Eschdorf to London