Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I like borders that actually feel like borders. I suppose it appeals to the inner geography nerd in me, our obsession with imaginary lines. Anyway, this trip has not disappointed. Today I crossed the last border, into former East Germany, and I was not disappointed. There is still the line demarcated in the forest (or lack thereof), plus a helpful sign. The road also goes to crap. There is more debris on the ground, still more houses being fixed up, and, on the approach to Magdeburg, rows of shabby chic Soviet style apartment blocks. The other really dramatic thing that happens is the sudden dramatic increase in the number of wind turbines. I mean, there have been a lot the whole way across Germany, but omg, it's like they are trying to fly away with the ground! I have never seen so many wind turbines in my whole life! I suppose there are a lot fewer people. I noticed a sudden dropoff in the number of small towns, and the fields no longer seem to be connected to any particular house, but, rather, go on for miles. Anyway, today was 101 miles, from Hannover to Magdeburg, which ended up in the rain, in the dark, and on an unscheduled road, thanks to the dreaded cobbles. I can't actually believe that tomorrow is the end of this bike trip. It seems like months ago I started. I suppose it has started to blur together a bit into one, endless road. I can't imagine what it must be like to cycle around the world! Anyway, the previous two days were a bit more sensible in length. There was 68 miles from Dortmund to Bielefeld. This ride was predominantly flat and dominated by factories. I suppose the name Route Industrialekultur might have suggested that. Bielefeld reminds me of an old steel town, nestled in the hills. A bit rough, and just about nothing was open when I got there at 8pm. I had to resort to Subway from the train station (of course, tonight I had supermarket for dinner). Then it was 75 miles of hills to Hannover, or, rather, the southern suburbs of Hannover. I didn't actually get to see the city. I stayed with a family in a B and B. Very nice, even though it meant slightly awkward breakfast conversation this morning. I've really enjoyed all this cycling across the big open spaces of northern Germany, and I appreciate being in a place where cyclists are just accepted as a normal part of traffic, though I have to say the Germans get really pissy if you don't use the cycling provision, which can be a little hit and miss sometimes. I also wish I could play back all the road in my head like a tape, but I can't. There has just been too much. However, it has convinced me I love long cycle trips, and I actually do pretty well in my own company. I can never quite square that with always.feeling like I want someone around when I'm at home or being afraid to go out on my own sometimes. Hmm. Anyway, I must go to bed bc I'm totally exhausted and I still have a long way tomorrow!

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