Ironically, today’s ride was almost entirely devoid of them.
Only long, Roman-straight roads through endless Elysian fields, waving their slowly ripening barley gently at us as we pass in the beautiful heat of the day. The only punctuation to this scene is the occasional cool, dark stretch of forest that we pass through. I tip my visor to get the smells – green. That untangleable mix of smells that comes from damp, cool vegetation, heated slowly. I smile. I’m feeling relaxed and care-free, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here. Everything feels deliciously perfect. Further up the road a pine forest delivers a hit of musky, spice. Then back to the barley again. Towering windmills populate some of the fields lazily turning their blades and marking Germany as a forerunner in the use of renewable energy. Their ponderous, majesty mirrors the lazy, lack of urgency that I feel. I’m vaguely aware of a subtle shift inside of me. I’m settling in a little deeper as the lifestyle sinks its roots into me a little further and nourishes my soul. My senses appear keener than they were at home. I’ve also noticed a willingness to loosen my grip over that which I cannot control recently and relax into things and it seems it’s paying dividends for my mood.
By rights today should have been a write-off (20th June)
Last night we arrived just outside Berlin. We needed internet to locate the Iranian embassy, contact a friend in Poland and do a few other jobs. Having seen a train-line running through a few of the towns we’d identified we’d decided to catch the train in to Berlin to alleviate the stress of navigating a new city by bike so we also need the campsite to be close to a train station. I hate searching for a bedding down site with specific requirements. It makes things so much more difficult. We found an information point and located a few promising options in the nearby towns. The first didn’t look promising for internet so we tried a second. This one you had to call a phone number to reach reception – not possible as our phones aren’t working here. By this point we’d dropped all requirements and headed back to Erkner to follow a sign for a Pension that I’d seen as we’d rode through the first time. Uncharacteristically, it promptly disappeared once we were off the main road – great – so I rode cluelessy on through an affluent residential estate with high fences and intercom’d gates. It looked like the sort of place designed to keep strangers out, not welcome visitors in to stay, I noted with increasing discouragement. I spied a restaurant up ahead but the sign gave no indication it was anything but a restaurant. I stopped, sighing. I was out of options and getting tired. As often happens when I hit this brick wall, Mickey takes over. He hopped off saying “I’m going to ask inside”. Funny, but I hadn’t thought of this option, I’m so used to relying on myself for information, something I’m having to readjust but it’s a slow process – good to have one more lesson. It’s one of the reasons Mickey and I make a good team I think. We each have different strategies and when one fails the other usually works. This time was no exception. He came out smiling, “we can stay in here”. The last thing I was expecting him to say! We parked up by the lake the restaurant was situated on and I went in to sort out payment. The guy handling the booking was also busy serving in the restaurant so we sat by the lake with the other customers and waited. After a while, the guy still busy, we decided to drink and then eat. When we were finished, the restaurant was beginning to empty and we were shown to our room.
Actually, it was more of an apartment, accessed through the boathouse which was filled with long canoes stacked next to our path up the launching runners that led to our door and infused with the rich, spicy smell of weathered, aged wood which hit us pleasantly as we entered. We’d been beginning to wonder what we’d paid for given we’d sat there waiting for the key for a couple of hours by now so our surprise must have been evident on our faces. Even a sauna in the bathroom, a little kitchenette and an kindly allowance from the neighbour to park our bikes securely on their patio, and all for the princely sum of 45 euros per night. As stressful as it can be not to know where you’ll be sleeping that night, it’s certainly leading us to some weird and wonderful gems and paying dividends to the experience so far!
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Lessons learned and the kindness of strangers
The ‘right way’ to adventure: isn’t it time we smashed this idea?
Or take a look at our journey in pictures here: