Bestyren: om allt som tar tid och hur vi löser några av dem

Men hej!

Sitter här på vårt B&B med morgonkaffet i stilla ro. Ute är det disigt, och det börjar även bli kyligare och blötare. Kanske beror det på att vi tagit oss över gränsen till det forna västtyskland. Eller så beror det på att universum vill skona mitt rumpskav genom att det kallare vädret kräver att jag byter bibs. Eller så beror det på att det blivit den 18 oktober! 

Inte vet jag. Men det jag vet är att denna resa börjar urarta till något riktigt ljuvligt. Vi har en så fantastiskt varierad terräng och mångfald i väderlekar. Och det är helt ok att kränga backar med fyra väskor. Och utför är man skitsnabb! Tugga distans behöver vi knappt, eftersom det alltid är nån sväng eller avtag eller backe eller utförslöpa att fokusera på.

Och jag har verkligen fått fördomarna om tysk cykling på skam. Hur kul kan det vara liksom! Norra Tyskland, bara betong! Tur att de har falafel och solceller. Men icke. Så mycket grusvägar, lummiga träd och vinrankor jag sett på denna resa! Och min kassa tyska har också kommit til användning, bara en sån sak. 

Så frågan kvarstår: Hur många gånger kan man plåta en lövbetäckt grusväg, beskriva hur man forsat fram genom löven och sen återge smaken av falafeln man käkade i solen på järnvägsstationen innan alla läsare blir uttråkade? 

Alla ba ”men hur går det egentligen? Hur ser en dag ut? Fortsätter du bossa med Forest som du gör med alla andra eller hur funkar det?”

En del av svaret på det är att jag sitter här solo med morgonkaffet. För att jag tar längre tid på mig på morgonen helt enkelt. Och mer tid på mig överlag. Ingen aning om hur det går till! Men det finns alltid saker att trixa med verkar det som: kedjan, ta kort, nåt med väskorna, örhänge som hannar fel, kepsen, PP, etc. Vilket leder till stress från båda. Till exempel att jag navigerar åt helvete precis efter frukost för att morgonkaffet stressades ner. Missar skyltar, skyller ifrån mig och ligger bakom och tjurar. Hur kul sällskap är det liksom! Så då bestämde vi att jag går upp tidigare. 

Det som annars tar tid är ju att bestämma hur långt man ska cykla varje dag, och därmed var man ska bo, och på vilket hotell. Vi bestämde att vi turas om att välja, för att spara tid. Nu har det inte riktigt blivit så, men vi har blivit snabbare på de besluten, och förstått hur långa dagarna bör vara för att vi ska komma fram runt 19, när det börjar mörkna. 

Andra beslut är ju var man ska käka och när. Här gäller det att bejaka varandra och snacka igenom innan. Vill nån käka så käka. Fundera inte så mycket. Falafel går alltid ner. Ta en kaffe eller en kaka annars bara, eller ta med halva falafeln till hotellet. 

Typ så! 

I övrigt är det rolig cykling, underhållande och varierad. Jag saknar väl kanske ett par till bibs och några favoritcykeltröjor, men i övrigt är packningen bra: extra skruvar, extra spiraler och sådana småpryttlar har visat sig vara värdefulla. De skumpiga kullerstenarna kan få vilken skruv som helst att tappa greppet. 

Nu kom Forest ner och ska dricka te och käka flingor med mig. Han sa nyss att det är disigt ute.

Vi ska köra in i nästa region idag: norra Rhen/Westfalen. Om ett par dagar nåt vi holländska gränsen. Undrar hur holländsk falafel smakar. 

Kram på er! 

Glad Anna, morgonkaffet sipprade ner lagom långsamt så jag slapp vara ett rövhål fram till nästa falafelpaus ❤
Annonser

October 16: The cream, the castle climb, the cobble stones, the heat. The puncture. 

I’m getting some serious rash from riding. The cream I’m using to survive the rash is the excellent cream for infants that I got from my sister. 

Today’s ride was quite eventful. We started off with a pretty serious climb up to the Bernburg Castle. The first actual climb on this trip. We then entered the cycling trail, with the aim to ride 112 km to Wernigerode where we got an awesome deal at a hotel.

We rode through various landscapes such as forest trails, cobble stones, muddy off-roads and some gorgeous gravel. 

We got more and more elevation and the trail became more and more remote. As we rode through vast fields at midday, the heat was up to 26 degrees. There was no wind.

We got onto a gravel section, slightly uphill, and I got into a meditative state. I laughed from the excitement of the gravel grinding. We went down, and as we turned left, I felt the familiar numbness of the steering bars: puncture. 

We fixed the puncture and managed to lose a spring. I put on a spare one. The puncture had stolen 30 precious minutes from our schedule and I started to feel sunstroke. Or heatstroke.

We decided to cut off 10 km from the trail by going on an ordinary road. Paved. Windy. Straight. My legs were dead. I hardly pedalled.

Back on the trail, they were revived. We once again had oxygen, trees and leaves around us. We went uphill and downhill on bumpy forest trails.

My front panniers had felt funny for a while and we realized they were lose. Forest helped me tighten the quick release and we took off again.

It was getting dark. We went uphill on small forest trails. We put lamps on, we had a bite of nut bar, and realized we had 20 more km to go.

We lost the signs for the route. A few German ladies attempted to make us understand German and we made it to a small road from where we’d find the way. 

Dark. No wind. Warm. 

It was actually quite perfect conditions. The paving was smooth, we had water, we had batteries on the phone, good lamps, extra tube. Perfect warm but enough chilled temperature. We had everything! 

(One thing I’ve learnt so far is that once there is a place for lunch, seize it. We didn’t do that today, and had lunch outside a grocery store at 4 o’clock. Luckily, we managed to refill our water bottles at a tourist information.)

So we went up to the hotel, where our booking had been cancelled due to our late check in, but was put on a different room with free breakfast.

118 km today.

All good.

Again. 

Bäbisen 

Klockan 13.46 idag den 14 oktober fick jag reda på att min fantastiska vän och följeslagare genom cykellivet, min vackra Katja, hade fött klart sin och Jonas bäbis. Jag stod utanför ett slott i Wittenberg, en tysk liten pittoresk stad vid floden Elbe, och hade hittat wi-fi. Forest skulle snart komma ut ur slottet. Inuti slottet, eller kyrkan kanske det var, låg Martin Luther begravd. Han hade tydligen uträttat en del viktigheter med utgångspunkt från Wittenberg. Sa Forest.

Jag hann inte kolla på liket innan jag fick bilden på bäbisen i telefonen. Ett litet litet knyte, så fulländat, så skrynkligt och så hjälplöst. 

Så Katja, så Jonas, så mycket kärlek som låg insvept i det där vita stycket av förlossningstyg. 

Jag grät. Som jag bölade! Det lilla, lilla knytet! Katja och Jonas, föräldrar! Knytet, en gåva till världen och ett underverk! 

Som jag bölade. Där mitt på ljusa dagen stod jag, bredvid slottet eller kyrkan, i mitt röda lotto-kit med hjälmen perfekt inpassad på cykelkepsen, lutad mot Ridleyns överrör. 

Jag skakade. 

För även om det inte var det första lilla människoknyte att födas till världen, och inte det sista, så var det ett underverk. 

Jag skakade. 

Ja. 

Det gjorde jag.

❤ 

Sedan körde vi en asfin sträcka längs Elbe, i kortkort! Fint va? 

Wiki how: to find cheap accommodation in an upmarket area at 9:30 pm

Yesterday we took off from Berlin and went south towards Potsdam. We rode on Unter den Linden and through the Brandenburger Tor and took a left. After some time of bad navigation from me, Forest took lead and got us to Potsdam. 

Potsdam was beautiful but busy. I pushed Forest to keep going although it was getting dark, and we took the south route by the lake to… places by the lake. It got pitch dark and we passed by cute little towns. 

We didn’t have a place to stay, but we figured we’d get into some cool place at a decent rate.

Lamps on.

This lead us to a bar by the water that showed us a guest house with pricy deals on rooms. We said no thank you and went to a bar with wifi and got ourselves a delicious onion soup, some pizza and a beer. 

We got wifi and checked for hotels. No place to stay. 

What to do? We got on our bikes and kept going towards the next little village, Ferch. There could be options there. Google offline navigation lead us onto a dark, sandy road and into the bush. Pitch dark. Lamps on. After two turns on muddy gravel, we stood still under the stars. We were in Ferch. 

Ferch was obviously nothing but a dot on the map.

I started preparing for a night in the wild. We could do that! Forest would share his sleeping bag, we could put on all our clothes and try to get some hours of sleep. 

We pushed our bikes up a muddy hill. I was quite unsure how we’d make it through this night.

Perhaps the deal at the guesthouse wasn’t so bad after all. Pricy, but breakfast included and we’d have a shower. We went back, but she had closed down. We hit the road again, and decided to pedal towards a town some 15 km north west. 

In a corner of a street, we ran into two guys in their teens. I figured I might as well ask if they knew of any hotels. Any cheap hotels. 

They started to discuss my question in German. And that’s when things started going our way: the guys knew of some rooms by the sea that they called holiday rooms. They started to explain the way, and what phone number to call, but ended up escorting us. Outside the house, there were three German seniors playing boule in the dark. The guy asked about rooms, and apparently one man was the landlord. And he made a phone call, and the building had a room for us, at a rate cheaper than any hostel we could ever dream of. I practised my crappy German that I had picked up during some train trip ages ago, and the landlord was quite happy because he didn’t know any English.

He showed us around, and prepared breakfast for us, and as he said goodnight and we were left in our room, we could hardly believe that this was even happening.

What if we hadn’t taken that pitch dark detour in the woods? What if we wouldn’t have had that delicious onion soup at that bar? Then we might not have run into those guys. And what if I wouldn’t have asked those guys for hotels?

So many what ifs. But we were rewarded (for what? I don’t know) with this lovely quiet place by the sea. For some reason, things fell into place. 

And during today’s cycling on the R1, a cycle route that crosses over from Russia to Germany and Holland down towards Spain, we were even luckier. Smooth paving, away from the roads and digging deep into the forest.

And the forest today was the definition of fall: peacefully going to sleep while the leaves were changing colours: from green, to yellow, to orange, to deep red. Some leaves would even wrap around the teees as if they were hugging them; supplying extra warmt in preparation for the cold season. 

I’ve learnt that navigating and stopping to look at the map takes a lot of time from the riding. So this route, this car free route!, is what we’re going to be on for maybe the rest of the trip.

Some photos from the riding before we hit the sack:



Puncture-upon-Spree 

Något jävla ollon snarkar som fyra skogshuggare med rödvinsfylla i vårt up market-fyrabäddsrum. Ursäkta könsordet men va faaaan!! Orka ligga vaken hela natten!! Men vad kan en göra om inte trycka i sig ett par extra tjocka öronproppar extra långt in (kanske ända in i örontrumpeten? Fatta namnet ❤ ) och drömma sig tillbaka till dagens episka punktering vid sjävaste Berlinmuren.

Well then. 

Today’s puncture took place by the Berlin Wall. It all happened slightly west of the Eastern gallery entrance. Forest was ahead of me, carefully investigating the various paintings of the wall. I had made a turn to overlook the flowing river Spree, and stood firmly with my left leg nicely resting on the top bar. 

I was starting to enjoy Berlin: we had taken our bikes out to let them tour the city with us, and it was fun to be a part of he cycling crowd in the cycle lanes. It’s like that in Copenhagen, just as here in Germany: when you’re on a bike, you become someone. You’re not just some annoying little piece of flesh on pricy metal that cars honk their horn at or try to run over. You are a part of traffic that others respect. They’ll stop at you, they’ll wait for you to pass and they’ll expect you to behave.

Doesn’t everyone want to be that sort of someone?

We had cycled through Prenzlauer Berg, where we’d had double espressos and some goodies at a bakery to dry off from the rain, and the sky was finally clearing up. 

We reached the river Spree. We reached the wall, and rode slowly next to it to meditatingly take in its history and to enjoy its paintings.

Forest took off to take a closer look at some certain graffiti. Me and Ridley were situated in between the two walls; the part known as the death zone. This is where hundreds of people who tried to escape while the wall was up, were killed. 

I looked down at the wheel to make sure that it was good to go, and I as I realized what had happened, I felt delirious. My head tingled. I had to look down again, I had to lift the front fork up and down and up and down onto the ground to make sure that it was what it appeared to be.

A puncture.

By the wall.

In Berlin. 

I told Forest. We started walking. We decided to keep heading towards Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg as intended. We took the nearest bridge over the Spree in order to quickly get to a bike shop. We passed a reggae place called yaam where we had a quick look around, a satisfying pee, and a tasty veggie wrap with sweet potatoes and a spicy peanut sauce. 

We kept on walking, and my poor Ridley rolled beside me with the empty tire like an injured horse. I had to lift her up and down the sidewalks not to injure the rim.

It was for sure an urban injury: Ridley had got a piece of glass pierced through the tire. 

Finally we reached the bike shop. I bought a tube and asked for some duck tape to put as bandaid inside the injured tire. The bike guy shook his head and said: good tires, but not for riding in Berlin. Stay off the cycle lanes. Stick to the car lanes, less safe but less glass.

(“You don’t do that to a Ridley!!”)

I said “I know!”, in German, and then I changed the tubes slowly, carefully. Forest played around with the Allen wrenches, and finished off his fixing session with my multi tool,  also known as hair clip.

We then put our lights on and rode back to look for a pair of gloves that Forest had left somewhere.

I was happy. What else could lift my spirits like a little bike repair session? In Berlin? 

Forest did an admirable job navigating back to the hostel. It was dark. We went out for some up market falafel and cheap beer, and rounded it off with a sweet Lebanese dessert roll.

We are now filled up with falafel, Vietnamese food and Bretzels. And beer. We are ready to go south.

But hey: Berlin must be the capital of falafel. Imagine a restaurant with nothing but falafel dishes. Falafel with hommus, falafel with grilled vegetables, falafel with babaganoush, falafel with falafel …

Oh well. Tomorrow that falafel with falafel will have to do its job: we’ll ride south-west towards the river Elbe in strong headwinds. Then we head to Dresden, or hop onto this exclusive, car free cycle route that passes by the Netherlands and Belgium on its way from Germany.

We will see.

It will be good, all good. It will turn out, no matter what.

Some photos for the road:


Summary week 1

Today I’ve been thinking that this trip might turn into a falafel and wine trip with less biking and solar panels research than I intended.

Therefore, I need to do a short summary of accomplishments so far on the trip: 

1. Navigation progress. I learnt by experience that navigation is crucial on a cycle touring trip. We had some shaky experiences before I realized that I could use google maps offline navigation. You just set the route when you have wifi and then navigate, preferably with your earplugs plugged in, offline. Works perfectly fine and you can focus on riding in any conditions. Preferably badass.

2. Warm showers. Tonight we’re spending the night at our third host. A nice woman in the outskirts of Berlin who has more bikes than I could ever dream of. She does touring with her husband and gave helpful tips about riding by the Elbe, up to Bornholm and further down by the Polish border, plus she fed us dried tomato pasta. Warm showers is a great way to meet people. 

3. Solar panel chit chat. We had ridden by a house twice on our way to the Buddhist festival, and finally knocked on the door to see if he would talk to us. He would, and he told us about the politics and economics about his panels. Valuable acquaintance.

4. Kadampa Buddhist festival. We’ve spent three days at a Buddhist centre, attending teachings and guided meditations within this tradition. Truly valuable. 

5. Night riding in hard conditions. Midnight riding from the bus stop in Berlin out to our hotel was the greatest adventure so far. Doable thanks to offline navigation and good bikes. 

6. German falafel and cheap wine. Yes, we’re digging into the goods of this country: when we got home from them festival last night, Forest went to get some falafel and fries and I poured the sweet, cheap lovely wine for us. We enjoyed it in front of watching the new Twin Peaks on the hotel tv. Yummy.

After all, we’ve done quite a bit and no need to worry that the trip will be empty of experiences.

That’s the kind of list I make when I need to feel better about what I’m doing. 

Tomorrow: downtown Berlin! 

There’s something deeply satisfying in badass navigation.

Me and Forest have got quite a bit of night riding in these past few days. It means to get up from a nice and cosy indoor position, hop into the cycling clothes and onto the bike. We’re attending a Buddhist festival and we stay at a hotel 19 km from the site, so we get two rides per day. 

The morning rides are pretty rough, my legs are used to longer rides to wake up, but it’s nice to get a morning ride in before all the sittings at the festival. 

The night rides, on the other hand, are exciting: you need to conquer any weather condition and get onto the bike and navigate through the darkness no matter what. 

Yesterday we had rain and wind and navigated with a new method: downloaded the route from google maps, went offline and got the instructions from headphones. This took a lot of stress off my shoulders and it’s nice to just rely on a voice that tells you where to go. And you don’t have to worry about getting your phone wet. 

Today we had a chillier temperature and a crazy moonlit, starry sky. The moon was low, giant and orange. I saw a shooting star. 

I think night riding appeals to me because it forces me to push the limits. And I always feel faster than usually, although I’m usually slower. And the sky is much more interesting to watch. 

That’s all for now. Tomorrow we’re staying at a warm showers host again, close to here. Then we will spend a few days in Berlin.

After that: west, east or south. 

Day 5: night ride 

I’m in heaven. I can’t think of another way to end a day than a bike ride through the outskirts of Berlin in the dark, all lit up by the full moon. 

How it happened? Well, Xavier messed with our plans of catching the subway, and we had to put on an offline navigation from a subway stop 18 km from our hotel. 

Easy, we thought.

You’ll just see, replied Xavier.

And google maps navigated through the narrow streets and cycle paths and onto a road almost completely covered in a fallen tree. The path was wet with leaves and we were in the woods. Forest took off as the true Canadian path finder he is, and I thanked higher powers for my tyres and my lamp. And my muddy gravel riding skills, as the path turned into a path worse than a low budget cyclocross race where nobody really had had the time to maintain the track.

There was mud, water, leaves and silence and everything was overlooked by the full moon. 

It was actually quite peaceful. 

And i knew why: because of offline navigation. We knew all the time exactly where we were going. This is the very key to peace in mind while riding in a foreign place. 

However. As we carried our bikes across one fallen tree after the other, I came to think of the Blair witch project movie, although not as scary. And I came to think of all the gratitude I felt towards the Ridley at the moment, and the quiet moon and all the leaves and how the woods seemed to be endless.

We rode along, and as we started to approach our destination, I felt grief. I could have carried on for hours. 

It’s all about the navigation, and the dark, and the full moon.

It’s mysterious how day 5 could turn out like it did. 

But it did. 

And I love it.

Good night. 

Friday 4 pm 

Mitt vanliga jag hade klättrat på väggarna idag. Ingen cykling, blaskigt morgonkaffe, brist på planering så att vi missar diverse tåg och bussar, strålande sol så att jag känner att vi borde cyklat istället för att försöka hitta diverse nya vägburna förbindelser söderut. Men mitt resande fot-jag vill annorlunda: jag hör mig själv säga: ”nu är det slut med funderandet på alternativ. Nu tar vi och lägger den här dagen till handlingarna och tar nästa buss. Var ska vi fika?” Och så gjorde vi det. 

Men vafan! Helvete. En storm som heter Xavier har tydligen härjat till det rejält i norra Tyskland: sju döda! Det förklarar alla förseningar och inställda tåg. Sju döda. Två sittandes i sina fordon när träd faller ner på rutan. Vindstyrkor på upp till 39m/s i Belgien. Och här sitter vi och gnölar om inställda tåg.

Things are not yet going our way today. I can live with crappy coffee. But the train we wanted to catch was cancelled due to a storm in the Berlin area, and the bus we wanted to take only had one seat left. We’re two people and therefore we had to wait for the next bus. 

Oh well. It’s easy to get back in the right mood with a bike. We went for a small ride around Rostock and found an exciting little park. Then we went for espresso and lasagna and now we’re on that bus.

Xavier. That’s the name of the storm that messed our plans up. And it’s apparently pretty fierce: it killed seven people and many trains in northern Germany are out of service. 

Society is vulnerable against the forces of nature. The storm is supposed to continue on towards Poland and Russia. We will get to Berlin in a few hours. From there, we will bike to our hostel and spend a few days at a meditation event. 

After Berlin, new plans will be made. We will go east, or west.

But for sure, we will cut out everything that requires any type of scheduling. 

Sun, please quit shining outside the bus window, you make me crave cycling too much. 

Please listen to the sweet melody of the sea. 


But please also remember: a bike trip remains a bike trip as long as you bring a bike with you. 


Day 4: train day 

Not published until today at hotel breakfast in Rostock due to wifi 

Att resa tillsammans är som att renovera huset: det finns oändliga möjligheter till delad glädje om man tillsammans definierar och fokuserar på sina gemensamma nämnare. Ju mer man pratar igenom upplägget i förväg, ju mindre oönskade kostnader uppstår på vägen. Planering kan hjälpa men viktigast är ramarna, pratet, snacket, bubblet. Och det behövs alltid en buffert av kaffepengar för att muntra upp den som behöver muntras upp, eller för att spendera på sådant som tar en till målet på andra sätt än man hade tänkt från början. En tågresa med cykel på grund av sovmorgon och ännu icke inarbetade packrutiner motsvarar en inkassoräkning; en middag på stan på DET DÄR stället som man råkade gå förbi och bli kär i motsvarar en finare tapet som råkade bli tillgänglig, etc.

Allt för att tillsammans klara av att hålla humöret uppe, fokusera på syftet och unna varandra att få sin önskan igenom lagom många extra gånger. 

Kostnader kan balanseras i framtiden. 

Idag lyckades vi förena de där gemensamma nämnarna.

Today was a good day. We started off late, and therefore we were gonna need to catch a train at some point. Costly and not as satisfying as riding the entire 150km, but a must. 

We rode down by the coast to Koge and took the train from there to Navstaedt and further down to Nykobing. This meant we got farther and farther down on the danish Falster island. 

And it started to clear up, and we took a detour onto some cute little rugged shoreline with boats and seagulls. The evening sun was shining and the wind was heavy. 

Then we could continue riding down to Gedser to catch the ferry to Rostock where a hotel room was waiting 10 km south of the harbour.

The ferry offered us fries and beer. We had dubble portions and an extra beer. To go with that, we had the fancy leftover veggie cheese and some cold Mexican burgers. A worthy cyclist meal.

If the ride to Gedser was sweet and sunny, Rostock was wild and rainy. And we were to get some night riding in again. We got off in the heavy rain at 10pm, trying to find our way. After some loops we chose a reasonable route, and could take off onto the dark, windy German land. 

And after our 10km, the hotel was there. Too early for me; a lover of rain riding, especially in dark conditions with a good lamp. But still good.

We cooperated well today, and both of us enjoyed the rides. 

A good day. 

Photo bombing you a bit sorry 

Photos med and Forest 


The rain ❤ 


Fisherman taking off to his boat 


Tänker alltid på Katja när det kommer fram någon liten katt och vill studsa