Posted by: Stevie D | August 29, 2012

Germany.

Germany.  Economic and technological powerhouse of Europe. It’s innovation and invention driving forward the otherwise stagnant European Union. Home to many of the worlds most prestigious and well-known brand names. So how come hardly any of it’s campsites or bars provide WiFi?  A minor detail you may think given the extent of it’s success in other fields. But to the travel blogger out in the field, communication is all, so this minor oversight becomes a serious obstacle which can throw the whole operation into chaos.

We are currently at our fifth, and probably final, German base camp since we crossed from Luxembourg, and this is the first with WiFi. Every other country we’ve been, with a little careful planning, no problem. Maybe we’ve just been unlucky. A couple of places normally had it, but it wasn’t working. Either way, it’s put me three weeks behind with the blog and someone’s gonna have to pay. And yes Germany, you’ve guessed it, the fall guy is you. Normally, there’s a post for each major stop-off along the way. But Germany will be crammed into one. All the great riding, spectacular buildings, lovely people, bratwurst and beer, squeezed into one little post.

It’s a real shame, because we’ve really loved Germany. Either way, on we go.

We crossed from one of Europe’s smallest countries into one of the biggest (being sure to fuel up before we did so).

Our first stop-off was at Diez, near Limburg, but it was only ever going to be an one night affair and we moved on next day. We travelled east and settled in the small town of Kelbra, nestled between the Harz and Kyffhausen National Parks.

The view across the lake at the campsite.

I’ve rarely seen so many motorcycles in an area without some big event taking place. They were everywhere, and well catered for by the locals with Bikers Welcome signs on many roadside businesses. They came for the roads which, I can imagine, were bliss for a guy on a hairy sports bike.

Riding in the Oberharz is a dream come true for budding ‘boy-racers’.

The (very) old town of Stolberg, where I enjoyed my very first Bratwurst of the trip.

The roads in the area were fantastic,great surface,great bends,great scenery.This shot was taken on the old border between east and west.

We had an interesting chat with a guy camped next to us. We were in what used to be known as East Germany until 1989, when ‘The Wall’ came down. He was one of the few who escaped over the wall back in the sixties, when he was 17. He, his girlfriend and another friend had crossed the barbed wire and a minefield to reach the west. We spoke at length about those crazy days in Berlin when the world changed. It had been moving to watch on TV at the time and it was special to talk with one so closely involved.

The morning we left saw an incredibly red sky over our campsite, which foretold of much rain to come.

Next it was off to Berlin to take in the sights. All the stuff I’d seen on TV, there before our eyes.

Berlin is a hurly-burly of old and new,tossed around in a sea of humanity from all corners of the globe.

One of the worlds most famous landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate.

The awe-inspiring Reichstag building.

The atmosphere at Checkpoint Charlie seemed a whole lot more relaxed than I remember seeing it on the TV when I was a lad.

The old sign at Checkpoint Charlie is still there, and is a magnet for tourist photographers.

One of the last surviving sections of the infamous wall.

Our next stop was the small town of Falkenberg, just north-east of Leipzig. We were camped by a lake which was thronging with German tourists and where few people spoke anything but German. It was a good place to use as a base though, and we had some great rides around the area, which had more level crossings than anywhere I’d been before.

The lovely old town square in Torgau, on a very hot Sunday afternoon.

I became quite fascinated by German roofs. Their skylight windows look like little eyes, don’t you think?

Many villages around the area had cobbled streets and an ‘olde-worlde’ feel.

The campsite at Falkenberg had much to be commended, and it’s fine Biergarten was near the top of the list.

Finally, I must admit to telling a falsehood. I said at the start of this piece that all Germany would be covered in one post, but we were so impressed by our final port of call that they get their own, personal post. Besides, they did have WiFi, so don’t deserve to be punished like the rest of their countrymen.

More soon.

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Responses

  1. I was in a few of those places almost 30 years ago. I went through Checkpoint Charlie. I wrote my name on the Berlin Wall (it was all there at that point). I may have seen the Reichstag building and Brandenburg gate, but I was young, so I don’t remember exactly.
    Seeing the cobblestone streets and the buildings brought back a lot of memories.
    I can’t wait to see the destination that’s deserving of its own post!

    • I’m fascinated to know how you came to be in Berlin all those years ago Shadowrun. I’m sure it was a completely different place to that which I’ve just left behind.

  2. Nice one Stevie … I set off on Sunday (at last!) through France Belgium Netherlands Germany and on to the massive rally in Austria at Faak..Are you going?
    Thornton.

    • Shouldn’t think so. Our plans are further east at the moment. Have a great ride and great rally though.


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