Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Latest News: Today there is an article about my trip in one of the most famous swedish newspapers!

Today an article about my trip was published in the swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter http://www.dn.se/insidan/jorden-runt-pa-tva-hjul/
They made a nice map of my journey which I was allowed to use on this page (see maps)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 354 - 363, Berlin (Germany) to Stockholm (Sweden) via Gdansk (Poland)

Day 354 - 356, 20 km

I spent some more relaxing days with my sisters family in Berlin. 
 One day we went downtown to see the Reichstag Building and its famous dome of glass.
In front of it there was a park with fountains where we competed who could jump highest. My nephew Daniel jumped much higher than me.
This is at the river Spree not far from the Reichstag building.
 
The queue to the Riechstag Building was VERY long. They told us we had to wait 1,5 - 2 hours before we could go up in the dome. 
Therefore we changed our minds and decided to walk to the Siegessäule instead. 

 The golden angel on the top was very bright in front of the blue sky.
 We went up all steps and had a wonderful view back to the Reichstag building.
 Inside the dome we could see the visitors walking up in the spiral.
 Then we took a double decker bus and had a good view on the streets of Berlin.
 There were many bicycle paths and a lot of bicyclers everywhere!

Day 357, 135 km

On May 24th I left my sisters house in Teltow. She and Daniel followed me one hour with their bicycles.
 We passed a very luxurious mall.
This is inside the elevator.
Then I rode by myself the rest of the day. I had a good tailwind and soon I passed more giant fields of solar collectors.
Germany really seems to try to get rid of all nuclear power!

The border to Poland was at the river Oder.
Then suddenly I was in Poland!
 I rode some more kilometers before I found a nice wood to hide my tent.

Day 358, 145 km

As soon as I started in the morning the rain begun. What I did not know was that it would rain more than 24 hours!
I did not take many pictures that day because of the weather. Here is a polish church in the rain.
I rode all day although the roads were all covered with water. Many times passing cars splashed water in my face and many times I fell down in 10-15 cm deep potholes which were invisible in the puddles. In the evening I came to a town called Walcz where I stopped at the restaurant Mustard to ask if they knew a cheap hotel.

The owner could speak English very well and asked me where I came from. When I told him about my trip he said "you must be hungry" and offered me to choose a free meal from his menu.
While I was eating delicious Chinese food (he also offered Italian and American food), he called a hotel and booked a room for me. Then he guided me with his Volvo to the hotel and paid the room for me!
I was really grateful that I did not need to sleep in the woods that night because everything was flooded and it was raining all night...

Day 359, 140 km

The next village I passed was called Szwecja
 which means Sweden. Probably it was named by Swedes, who actually had occupied this area of Poland once. The weather still was foggy and moist, but now I could see the potholes.
The roads and the landscape reminded me of my first days of my trip, when I rode in Lithuania and Russia.
 It was really nice!

Day 360, 100 km

In the morning I found out that there were only 100 km to Gdansk and that even when I rode very slowly I would come 24 hours before the departure of my ferry. So I looked for things I could do along the road. Soon I passed a sign guiding me to a view tower. It was 500 m off the road in a wood on the highest hill of the area.
 The view was fantastic!
 When I walked back to the parking lot there was a shepherd with a goat. Many students had come to climb on the tower and they admired the cute little goat!
 I bought a bottle of goat milk from the shepherd and ate my muesli with goat milk. It was really tasty but the shepherd gave me a lot of parsley and garlic. He said I need the vitamins!
There was another guy who took paid for the parking lots. He had the same kind of costume and had a lot of music instruments around him. He let me try some of them and insisted to ask the other guy to take pictures of us playing.
  He could speak German very well and showed me a textile sheet with Kaszebsze Notes. He told me that in this part of Poland people had their own language which was called Kaszebeze.
He even sang the song for me.
He also told me that the mountain there was the highest between the Pyrenees and the Ural Mountains (which must be a little excessive...)
In the afternoon I arrived in Gdansk.
I had been there before, but I did not remember it was so beautiful!
 I guess they must have renovated many buildings since I was ther six years ago.
 In the eveninng it was raining but I found a good dry sleeping place.

Day 361, 50 km

Next morning I investigtated the surrounding of Gdansk and found out that there were really nice beaches and wonderful bicycle paths along the coast NW of Gdansk. I decided to make some research if it was a good place to go on vacation and became more and more convinced about it!
 I also bought some gifts for my family before I rode to the ferry to Nynäshamn/Stockholm.

Day 362, 70 km

Although it was raining when the ship arrived (at 2 pm on June 29th 2013) in Nynäshamn, my friend Axel expected me there to ride together with me to Stockholm.
We visited the Tourist Office to get maps and advices about the best route.
It was a strange feeling to speak swedish and to ride on swedish roads. I almost had forgotten that swedish bicycle paths were so wide and that the pavement was so smooth!

Late at night I arrived at my house. My girlfriend Emma, who had watched it for a year, was expecting me and I showed her on a map the exact route of my trip.
If you enlarge the map you can see my route
She told me that next day all my children would come for a welcome party!






Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 344 - 353 Zürich (Switzerland) to Berlin (Germany)

Day 344, 0 km

My old (former) teacher from Vienna came and visited me and my sister in Zurich. I met him at the station and then we took a streetcar to my sisters apartment. We had a good time exchanging old memories, and he was very curious to hear about my trip.
 In the evening, when I had left him at the station again I did more sightseeing and window shopping in Zurich.
 I also visited a nice quiet church.
 Zurich is a beautiful little town.


Day 345, 135 km

I packed all my stuff and was ready to leave Christina at eight in the morning. Suddenly she suggested to follow me on her bike some kilometers.
 We took small roads north, out of the town. Christina was a very good biker. I thought she would follow me to the edge of Zurich but she continued to the river Rhine.
 After that bridge we unexpectedly came to Germany (the border had a corner) and then back to a Swiss town called Schaffhausen. There we admired the famous Rhine Falls.
 I took many pictures
 with my powerful zoom lens
 Then I said good bye to Christina and continued alone to Germany (again). I found a good sleeping place in the Black Forest.

Day 346, 170 km

I had a good wind from SW that day. Soon I passed Donaueschingen and discovered that the river Danube.
 But it was very small compared to its size in Vienna...
 I also discovered that many of the roads in Germany are not allowed to ride for bicyclists. There are special bicycle paths which are beautiful but difficult to find.
 I also saw many beautiful plantations in all towns I passed.
   

 In the evening I came to Karlsruhe where I found a big castle in the middle of the town.

Day 347, 130 km

I had big difficulties that day to find good bicycle roads. On my road map I could not see which roads were allowed for bicyclists and which not and more and more were not allowed...
 Sometimes there were good signs but there were signs when I needed them most....
 I found out that it always was easiest to ride straight through the centers of the towns I passed because then it was not so difficult to find the roads.
 I tried to ride on small paths along the river. There I found a fountain which again was unusual.
 But the water was good to fill my bottles.
 There were many boats of different sizes on the rivereRhine.
 In Mainz I decided to leave the river and make a shortcut over the mountains to Cologne/Köln.
 But the hill after Wiesbaden was very long and steep.
 When I was tired I found out that there was a fence only 20 meters from the road. Anyway, I was so exhausted that I did not hear the cars passing in the night.


Day 348, 155 km



Next morning I continued towards NW. The wind came from S so I often had tailwind. I passed several hills around 500 m elevation and had beautiful views over the Rhine Valley west of me.

In the evening i came to Köln where my sister Anna was expecting me.

Day 349, 40 km

I had a relaxing morning, planing my route from Cologne/Köln to Berlin. At noon I rode downtown to look at the famous Dome of Cologne
 On the bridge there were thousands of Love Locks! (on the other side of the bridge, closer to the old town, the distance between the locks was even tighter)
 The church was HUGE!
 This is the beautiful entrance, where I met an reporter from the newspaper "Kölnscher Rundschau" and told about my trip. He even took a picture of me and thought it would be a good story to write in the newspaper.
 I also went inside and looked at the impressing windows.
 The Dome was very high, This is a picture with the panorama view of my camera
 On the bottom of this cross you can see how small the visitors are...
 I also climbed up on one of the towers and had a nice view on the bridge with the Love Locks.
 South of the tower I could see the television tower and the skyscraper from Deutschlandfunk, where my sister works. I rode there to meet another reporter who wanted to make a short interview while we were riding along the river.
 But then it begun to rain heavily and the reporter had no rain gear so he became very wet.
I rode back to my sisters house and we decided to do more sightseeing in the evening. We went to a huge warehouse called Globetrotter. There you can buy all kind of outdoor wear and gear and you even can test in indoors in different climate rooms!
On the picture you can see kayaks which you could test on a lake in the middle of the store.
I bought some new rear panniers because my old one really were not waterproof any more...

Day 350, 135 km

While I adjusted the new panniers and packed my stuff Anna made me the largest food package I ever had.
I left Anna's and Thomas' house quite early in the morning.
 It was raining a little almost all day. Because of my eye infection (conjunctivitis) I still was wearing my glasses which was quite inconvenient.
 At noon I found a room with a view to eat my lunch.
 Above you see my new panniers which match to my safety vest and my laces!
The road was good (and allowed for bicyclists!) and I passed many nice houses. In Germany you can see solar panels on all kind of houses! I even had some tailwind that day.

Day 351, 115 km

The day was calm and rainy again. But I never needed to put on my rain clothes because it only rained a little.
When I had passed Paderborn route 1 turned to a highway were bicycles were not allowed, so i had to find bicycle paths again.
 Those brought me to the famous Externsteine
 There were steps and bridges so I was able to climb up on them.
 Many tourists were there at the same time.
 Then I continued some more kilometers but the back streets I found on google maps turned out to be small paths in the woods where it was impossible to ride because they were so steep and slippery.
Finally I found a good sleeping place on a old railway intersection (there were no rails any more...)

Day 352, 155 km and a lift of 215 km

The fog was so thick in the morning that I did not feel safe to ride. But because it was Sunday there was almost no traffic so I decided to do it anyway and whenever I heard a car I pulled over my bike and stopped.
Soon the fog disappeared and I came to the town Hameln (Hamelin).

 It was a nice old town, almost all houses looked like the one above. There even was a big Arena called Rattenfängerhalle.
Then I rode to Hannover, where I again had big problems to find bicycle paths. IT took me some hours and many turn-backs to pass that town. Finally I succeeded and now there were no more hills,
there only was a huge flat.
Because it was extra long weekend and nice weather I met many bicyclers that day. But not only bicyclists!
In the evening I got a phone call from my sister Birke in Berlin. She wanted to meet me already  the same day so she offered to fetch me in Wolfsburg and drive me to Berlin!
Because my schedule to arrive in Stockholm before June is quite tight I agreed and late in the evening I arrived in Wolfsburg. There I met her and her family.
Late at night we arrived in Berlin.

Day 353, 15 km

Today I had a really good relaxing day. First 9:30 we went out of bed. In Germany nobody is working on whit Monday, so even my brother in law and my nephew were at home. After brunch we made a bicycle tour in the surrounding and ate a lot of delicious ice cream.
I also made up my plans for the rest of my trip: I decided to continue NE to Gdansk (Poland, about 500 km from here) and take a  ferry from there over the Baltic Sea directly to Nynäshamn. I will arrive there on Wednesday the 29th May at 1:00 pm. From there I could take a local train to Stockholm (70 km) but I want to find out how it is to bike in Sweden.

If you read this and feel to join me the last 70 km please meet me at the ferry terminal! We could ride together in a slow speed and reach Stockholm in the evening!
Tell me about your plans if you want, contact me at wilfried.steinbach@gmail.com