Sunday 18 August 2013

And now, the rest of the story

Sitting on the high speed train in Dover, waiting to go. After a late arrival into Brussels, in the middle of some kind of great big street fair, I found my way to my very nice, uber modern and slightly peculiar hotel. Bed was comfortable, room was quiet and, unusually, air conditioned. I slept well, though not enough. Had a hurried breakfast in the empty hotel restaurant. Very yummy pain au chocolate. Everyone seems to do better pastries than the British! In a half awake haze then, I managed to purchase a ticket for me and my bike on the train to the coast. I shoved my bike into a doorway, not seeing anywhere else to put it, and was very glad when the conductor didn't yell at me. Anyway, an hour 45 to the coast, then a 23 mile, very flat, very windy ride across the French border, through Dunkirk, then out through another 10 miles of wasteland and gas plants to the ferry terminal. Amusingly, I had to go through the car lanes with my bike. First security, then French passport control, then British passport control. Then I and a few other cyclists got to stand out in the sun for an hour while they dicked  around and eventually loaded all the other vehicles. Ironically, as I wasn't planning on being in the sun all day and as it was raining this morning, I managed to fry the worst today. Go figure. However, once I decide I was just going to make a day of today, my stress level dropped precipitously from yesterday. Ferry ride was generally relaxing, if 45 minutes late. Badly behaved British children, slightly smelly French people, bespectacled Germans in their VW camper vans, inscrutable eastern European truck drivers. I do like the ferry. It's an interesting  mix of humanity.

So, yeah. Feels like about a million years and three seconds since I left home. I kind of feel a bit like, did I just do all that? I am actually kind of shocked by what a cycling paradise is Germany. And it seems to involve not that much fuss. Fantastic cycle paths built in the middle of nowhere, with very few people using them. No glass strewn on the pavement. Drivers that actually wait for you and make a point of getting out of the way. Whereas British drivers will whiz right by, sometimes, it seems, without even looking, Germans sometimes seems to require almost a written invitation to go around, which can also be a bit annoying as well. Anyway, tomorrow it is back to reality and back to work. Back to probably over 1000 emails I didn't check even once. Suppose that is just how I pay for my adventures. :-)

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