Confused Internal Compass
Another eventful day since we entered Germany four days ago. Following the cycle routes has been tremendously exiting, taking us through some interesting paths, towns and roads. Staying on track is a different scenario as it take some concentration as you zig-zag through the beautiful valleys. The last two days we did an extra 60 – 80km due to some crappy navigational skills…. but we still believe it was a lack in the cycle route signage 🙂
Finding the town of Uchte was maybe the most challenging and at time very frustrating as we could not find any road signs and endless dead-ends in small towns. We tried to find towns to go east (our intended direction) but there was no easy way. We headed North, South, North, South between small towns and finally found a town pushing us into an easterly position. If you drew our route on a map it would have looked like stock market graphs.
Between me and Ulrich, I believe we are relatively good in direction, but it has changed dramatically since we arrived in Europe. Trying to work out where North, South, East or West is nearly impossible most of the days. Even if its a sunny day it is very difficult to work out directions with the sun that is not rotating over your head. It still rises in the east and sets in a westerly position, but what is confusing is that the sun is never higher that 45 degrees in the sky. So it feels like it is rising and setting the same direction. I have never in my life been so directionless and it is sometimes very frustrating when you have no idea where North is! My internal compass is spinning around trying to find a direction.
Strangely finding water has been more of a struggle in Germany than in some of the other countries. You see taps everywhere but when you open it…. no water. But if you get thirsty its your own fault because you can always ask people at one of the thousand houses next to the road to fill your bottles.
Many travelers I met in the last few years said Germans are not the friendliest people… Well maybe they don’t smile that much as they walk in the streets, drive their cars or do grocery shopping. In general their English is a bit worse than rusted, but that don’t keep them to show interest in what we are doing, where we are going or trying to help with directions. Most of the time its just…. “Me South Africa”, “Hanover” (the location where I am at that point), “going to” (hands going crazy and pointing into the distance) “Poland / Hungary / Croatia / Middle East” and then “Have a great day Goodbye” 🙂 As we cycle away you see a huge smile on their faces (probably thinking, crazy guys cycling through Europe in the winter). I have found that in so many cultures and countries that when people cant speak good English, they would rather keep quiet and mind their own business. But this has not been the case until now in Germany until this point.
According to our planning we should have arrived in Hanover before 11am, then it changed to about 14pm as we struggled with the cycle routes again and in the end we were hoping to get to our Warmshowers host before dark. Our 45km cycle day turned into an 80km but we finally got to our destination and time for a much needed day off!!
The last time I slept on a bed was on Christmas day…. So this is such a big luxury 🙂