I’m back at it!
It’s been a year since I last rode the camel. Preparing the bike and my stuff should have come easy for me. But it didn’t! I was less concerned about getting everything together this time. It made for some amusement to my cousin and her husband as they watched me scramble last minute to get everything together.
Lists are not my favorite things to put together. In any case, I have what i think I need. Not what I ‘should’ have written down! Yeaahaaa! Or with a camel its, Yala (Arabic for “Lets go”)…..hut, hut, hut!!!!
I took off from my cousins house near Lahti and headed straight to the Finn Lines ferry in Helsinki. An hour ride of straight highway that would bore the most novice of riders. Highways are meant to get you somewhere fast, thats it!
I was about 10km from the Port when it started to rain, reminding once again, on a motorcycle your exposed to the elements.
I pulled up and immediately went into the line where some older motorcycles were parked. There not your average motorcycles. Ariel Motorcycles
I tried to start a conversation but none of them spoke english. In perfect Finnish dialogue less is more, when it comes to conversation.
I rode onto the boat and into the garage. First thing I realized is its not the viking lines! A little older shall I say! But an absolute beautiful view from the deck. Here we go 29 hours to Germany.
The boat ride, although long, my lack of planning forced me to get only what was left to book. A Cabin Sweet!!!
I was well rested after a 29 hour boat ride from Helsinki to Travemunde, Germany.
I arrived at night around 10pm with no real idea where I’d sleep. I saw a camp site on my map, but really had no idea if it was open. Or if I could get in late. Either way I pulled up to the gate, passed through and found a spot to put my tent. I’d worry about paying in the morning.
The next morning was cold and damp. I woke up and immediately started to pack, excited to get back on the road. A coffee and a pastry later and I was off!
Berlin was to be my first stop. A city like many steeped in history but the only thing I knew about it was that it was, at one point, divided into two parts. East Germany built the Berlin wall to prevent its citizens from fleeing to the west. Oh, it’s also a place that has whatever your heart desires and where the party never ends 🙂
Taking the 24 and riding the Autobahn wasn’t the initial plan, but I wanted to move faster and leave the option open to stay in Berlin or continue on. I wasn’t quite interested staying in a bigger city with all that excitement. It created an initial reaction of anxiety. I’d rather camp! Maybe my Finnish bloodline of hibernating was taking over.
As I moved along with very little local interaction, I stopped for gas and quickly realized things change quickly from country to country. I walked into the bathroom and as I was walking out, there was a gentleman standing with a tray. As if he was homeless, begging for change. He yelled at me in German and pointed to the tray to put down a few coins. Confused …..I watched as people passed me without putting money on the tray and said, “No thank you! He yelled at me again even louder this time drawing a restaurant full of onlookers. I looked back at him saying, “No thank you!” even louder. Walking away he was yelling something louder and louder. I didn’t stick around to find out what he had said. I scurried outside thinking his aggressiveness was really rude or maybe I was supposed to pay. Either way, “Peace!” angry dude, back on the road!
I arrived into the city after experiencing the autobahns no speed limits once again. 80mph does not satisfy the road warriors who like to fly. It’s more like 125Mph that seems to be the norm.
One of my mentors of travel, like many, was Anthony Bourdain! In one of his shows he stopped at cafe in Berlin that served meat pies. Hungry and curious if they were as he said, I sat down only to be yelled at after not understanding what the older germany lady was saying. I kept saying, Meat pie! Meat pie! Before a good german samaritan came to my rescue and ordered it for me.
With a meat pie under my belly and not being satisfied of how long I’ve ridden, I decided to continue on towards Prague. Berlin looked like a lively progressive city, but I just wasn’t keen on partying all night long.
Because of my decision to get all the way to prague, I opted for the Autobahn once again. Germany has plenty to offer but I’ve never been to Czech Republic. My curiosity got the best of me.
I left Berlin with hot weather and traffic that would piss off any seasoned bay area’n!!!
Determined to get to Prague before sunset, I rode as fast the autobahn could take me. I can’t remember the ride much because all I saw was tree line after tree line. Once again a novice would of been bored! Being able to ride like the wind was the only thing that made it bearable! By the way its super efficient! Fast is on the left, everyone else to the right! Take notes america!
I arrived at sunset and saw a beautiful architectural city with a huge river. The way the sun bounced off the buildings, created some unique colors and made for a warm welcome.
I found my Air BnB and a parking spot. Went and ate a Thai dinner. I was craving something of substance and spices. Topped off with a good beer, and then I was wiped out. Looking forward to exploring what seems like an amazing city.
Each Air bnb, in each country is unique. Subtleties like trying to open the doors with hundred year old keys or even trying to use the loo, might make you feel hopeless!! 🙂