I wasn’t fully awake, still bleary eyed and feeling tired after only managing 3.5 hours sleep. The crossing on the Trelleborg to Rostock ferry had been smooth enough. After being boarded last, the best spots to lay a camping mat had already been taken.
First I tried a nice looking landing with polished wooden floors. There was an automatic door leading to the restaurant and this screeched open every time someone walked past the Sensor. I abandoned that place and moved to the back of the ship.
Here I found a set of stairs, not cordoned off, but leading to the crews quarters. It was two floors down, away from the hustle and bustle of people eating at gone 11pm and trying to bag a bargain perfume or stock up on duty free booze.
The only issue with being at the back of the boat, is it’s near the enormous diesel engines powering the ferry to Germany. The slow, thud, thud, thud, thud of the engines was always there. After a while it became background and I fell asleep.
The alarm call at 5:00am waking me earlier than I would have liked. I ignored it, rolled onto the other side. My frozen shoulder aching like mad for a minute or two until the blood returned from where I had lain on it.
15 minutes later and another call for people to vacate the sleeping rooms to allow cleaning to commence. Oh well. Time to get up. I packed my sleeping bag, deflated my Mat and stowed it in the pannier, just as I have done hundreds of times before.
Making my way up to the restaurant, everyone trying to force themselves awake by filling with caffeine. I was no different. After I’d negotiated the coffee obstacle course with families, backpackers with their rucksacks swinging wildly from left to right as they made coffee, I moved to the front of the ship.
I took out my Cinnamon bun, plugged my phone into a handy charger (I’d picked the table for its view and socket). I looked out toward Rostock. Grey clouds loomed very large. The weather report said just clouds, no rain. Immediately I thought “that’s going to be wrong” and indeed, it was!
Imca whom I had met the previous day was already waiting on the stairwell. As soon as the doors opened we returned to our bikes, unstrapped them and started loading them. I had forgotten to take my cycling clothes with me and had to find a quiet corner to strip off and change.
After a wait, things started to move. Imca leading the way behind a lorry. A camper an tried to push in front of her, the deck hand noticing shouting at the driver to “halt!” We were then free to join the queue of traffic and make our way off the boat.
There were no stops. No passport checks. Nothing. We rode out and as soon as we could stopped to take bearings and work out how to get to the city. Imca was headed for the main station to take her back to Hamburg and I was simply headed to see a Rostock and then head south.
There were no signs to indicate a direction, one route into a motorway. Not a lot else. Using komoot soon had us on the right track.
We arrived at a ferry crossing. A lady waiting confirming there would be a charge for each passenger and each bike. Imca wasn’t keen on this so we headed left. A ride towards a bridge further downstream. The time passed easily enough and soon we parted ways as we arrived at the train station. Hopefully she got home by midday, her target.
I headed south. Cycling through cobbled streets, filled with cyclists and pedestrians. It was still early and people were on the way to school and work. Spots of rain started. I kept cycling.
Traffic lights for pedestrians and cyclists seem to be last in the queue. Waiting for several minutes to turn green. A stark contrast to the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden where hitting the crossing button changes pretty quickly, almost reiterating the pedestrians and cyclist priority.
Fifteen miles or so south and I’d reached Schwaan. A cycleway led up the hill. I passed a tree that smelt sweet, a bench next to it. I decided a good place to make coffee.
The buzzing because of the tree blossom was immense. I had to check i was not by a wasp nest. The path had brought me over a hill, no traffic and wonderful scenery to look at. No one about. About time to relieve the pressure on my bladder. Just as I reached full flow, a young lady created the hill, and started giggling!
I’m glad she found it funny and not distressing. I don’t fancy being picked up by German police for indecent exposure.
The ride through small villages eventually brought me to a cycle track. The Berlin to Copenhagen cycleway or Radweg. If not heard of this. It followed a river into Güstrow, where I was headed. No sooner as I’d gotten on the cycleway, the intermittent sun disappeared and spots of rain started. Spots turned into a full on rain. I passed other touring cyclists hiding under trees and one even had a small dog in a basket on top of his rear panniers!
I was close to where I aimed to get. I’d made note of some guest houses and hotels and went to the first on my list, the Hotel & Restaurant am Schlosspark.
It looked quite upmarket. Now wet and looking slightly bedraggled, I made an effort to look a little more presentable before entering. Taking off my wet cycling cap and jacket.
The lady on reception confirmed they had rooms. I enquired the price as a single online was €69 about £59 a night. She confirmed the price and I then enquired about bike storage. An area downstairs could be used to lock my bike. I explained I had no lock which she understood was a problem. Can I put in the room I enquired. She w want keen. I have a sheet I can put it on, other hotels are normally ok, I said. She relented and said I could if Input it on the sheet. I used my groundsheet.
Wow. This place is a bargain. The room was on the third floor. More spacious than I expected with large shower and washroom. Two big velum windows (ideal for stringing up the washing line!) complete with free haribo!! Result. And breakfast was included.
After showering, washing clothes, stringing up the line, sorting out bags and generally faffing. I went back downstairs. Forecast next day was heavy rain. I hadn’t had a day off since I’d started and Gothenburg was a no go (thanks Bruce!) and asked if I could book a second night. No problem. Sorted!
The afternoon was spent starting writing the blog entry for Sweden and having an hours map, due to the lack of sleep on the boat. At 18:00 I had another hours nap, before going downstairs to the restaurant.
The young waiter was eager to practice his English, would go away and forget and start talking German and then apologise. I asked him to stop apologising. His English was very good and I don’t think they get a huge number of English people.
The waiter was keen to explain the dishes of the day, which I said I had already made up my mind. I’d seen what I wanted advertised in the lift to the room!
My only undecided item was, which German beer to go for to accompany the Currywurst. He explained the beers and I opted for the Lübzet Pils at €4.50 for 400 ml.
Food and beer was fantastic. After dinner I wanted to stretch my legs so went for a walk to the nearest Lidl where I bought fruit, chocolate and 4 cans of Lübzer Pils for €0.79 each (€0.25 refundable on the can) to drink that and the following evening. I then just chilled for the rest of the evening. Although there was a party going on in the next building. It did not bother me too much.
Next morning I awoke feeling relaxed after a good nights sleep. Making my way downstairs for breakfast. It was quite busy and the hostess asked whether I’d like to sit in or out. I chose in with my back to wall, this let me people watch. I grabbed a plate, the spread was fantastic. I opted for baked beans, scrambled egg, frikadelan, crispy bacon, pancakes and syrup. And when I’d finished that I went back for more pancakes and syrup.
On the way in you are told to pick up a whole large pot of coffee. I managed to drink most of it! That was enough that I didn’t need to eat again until the evening.
Rain was due afternoon, so I made sure I got into town early to take a look around. There was a museum of Christmas cribs. I have that a miss. Looked at the Rathaus (city hall) and wandered in and out of shops. My hair needed cutting. Barber was €8. In Rossman (similar to Wilkinson’s) they had rechargeable clipper for €9.99. I bought a set as I’ll need to cut my hair another couple of times. They worked quite well. Not as good as my more expensive clippers at home, but lighter and did the job! I didn’t look so much a hobo after.
Afternoon I read and played around with the guitar. Finished the blog update. Dinner came, I was set in the same spot as the previous night. I opted for currywurst again, but a Weiss beer this time. The lady sat next to me kept looking at me, so I tried to chat. But she spoke no English and I little German. She kept trying to talk but I didn’t have a clue what she was saying other than about every 10th word.
Leaving on a Sunday meant visiting a bakery early as most shops are closed. Loaded I left and headed south West toward Berlin.
Country tracks mixed with cobbled villages. A useful deterrent to speed but a pain in the arse on the bike. overnight halfway was at a campsite. I called as I was late arriving and the chap who ran it came to book me in. Flabbergasted at where if cycled so far, he asked if I wanted a beer. I of course said yes. Getting my wallet out to pay he said “nei frei”. Very grateful I thanked him and asked if he’d mind me taking a photo.
The campsite was deep in the forests next to a lake. I did go to see the lake after eating and while enjoying the beer. Unfortunately there were lots of mosquitos. Lots of people live at the lakeside.
Berlin, I booked another hotel. An easy hotel. Same owner as easyJet. I requested that intake the bike to the room. The receptionist said it won’t fit. I said it would. I’d booked a double as that’s all there was left. If need be it was going on the bed next to me. Rooms were very small. But bigger than a tent. The bike fitted.
I asked the receptionist what I should see by walking tonight and where I could get good currywurst. She said currywurst chain “Curry 36”. I found one at the main railway station. Wow it’s an impressive station. Big, roomy. Lots of levels and big trains with sleepers on top.
Currywurst was really good. quite expensive but the beer was cheap to accompany it. I got chatting to a German man who was there for work. We talked about the economy. How he was looking to buy a property in Spain. They are much cheaper since Brexit as many brits leave.
I mentioned that I saw no cardboard recycling. He assured me that at home people recycle. I no fact due to the plastic deposits and on glass and tins. I expect more is recycled than in the U.K. the price of things still seems very cheap considering there is a deposit on most containers.
I went for a walk taking in the Brandenburg gate. Alexanderplatz, the Reichstag and some other central buildings. All very impressive and again all very clean. Barely any litter.
There was a memorial to the victims of the war.
The following day I needed coffee. In the centre prices are hiked. I walked to a McDonald’s for 9am. It was shut! Trudging back to the hotel I got my kit out and brewed a coffee on the side of the street, attracting some odd looks and stares.
Heading out of Berlin I plotted a route to the east side gallery. Part of the remaining wall that has had graffiti related to the wall out on it. Calling it graffiti is a bit harsh.
I also swing by checkpoint Charlie where lots of tourists were. There were large groups having tours. I read the signs that explained.
I came across several signs that showed I was on part of a death March route. These are prominent in villages along the route.
Another sleepy village campsite. I called Mr Rothe who came and checked me in. A great nights sleep and I was awoken by the sound of children. The local school had come to the campsite on the lake. Excited children were laying out blankets to eat packed foods and then learn about the area.
A couple of the teachers came to see me and ask where I had travelled. Nadine one of the teachers spoke very good English and explained she got caught in lockdown in the U.K. and enjoyed her time there. She was planning on travelling to Sicily in the summer holidays. she asked where I was headed and I explained Leipzig and beyond. She offered me a sofa in Leipzig. Which I was silly not to take her up on the offer and to learn more about the area. Devizes has a wood called the Leipzig plantation.
I stopped in Leipzig to make coffee. A young girl with a guitar sat on the next bench got her guitar out and started playing Metallica on a nylon guitar. It sounded pretty cool. I got my guitar out and she played that as well. Theresa was far more advanced at playing than me!
At the end of the day I was heading toward a town called Zeitz. It was starting to get hilly. Then on the way out of town a large hill to descend with a junction at the bottom. No shallowing of the descent. My brakes started to overheat and fade. Slightly worrying with a lot more hills in front.
I reached a campsite after going up and down several brutal hills. The elevation profile saying no more than 5%. I strongly disagree with the profile.
Arriving I was greeted by Marcus and made very welcome. A quick shower and I joined the other campers at the bar immediately being made welcome and asked to join their table. Thomas a summer resident had lots of interesting stories and was from East Germany originally. He also spoke Russian and Spanish. He was frustrated his English wasn’t good enough to explain things in fine detail. His English was very good!
I was offered food. I had of course, currywurst. The best one yet by a long way!
This was followed by several beers! Cheers for the beers Tom!
I was also given a sticker to put on my guitar. Anyone heading this way. I highly recommend this campsite!
I’m now going to continue heading south where I hope to meet up with Max. He worked for DS Smith and I met him originally at a DS Smith way introduction meeting some years ago.