Tuesday  Dateicon  7.8.2012  Tigericon  0km

We started out looking for an attraction called "story of Berlin" that was supposed to be close to the hotel.
After searching fruitlessly for a while without finding anything except a locked bomb shelter we came to the conclusion that it must be closed even though the tourist map seemed fairly new.

We instead went to Charlottenburg Palace and spent a couple of hours there, just like I did at the Louvre I spent most of my time looking up instead of around because the building was spectacular.

For lunch we went to a Balkan themed restaurant.
I had something they called kebab but was more like an assortment of small dishes. No matter because it was just as good regardless of what it was called.
Something that wasn't very good was the Berliner weissbier both Bear and I ordered with our food.
It was "mit schuss" which we both took to mean that there was a shot "along" with the beer but instead the had hideously defiled it by putting the shot in the beer.
I got a dayglow red spectacle and Bear got a high-vis green abomination.
I guess it was worth trying once for the hell of it but I'm sure I'll never develop at taste for beer with a sharp hint of strawberry.

After replenishing our reserves we head on to Unter den linden.
After a coffee at the not very imaginatively named Victory café at the Victory column we go take the stairs up to the lookout since it was closed when we went by yesterday.

From there we went to the parliament building, Reichstag and from there we head for what's left of the Berlin wall.
There where markings to show where the wall had stood and there where plaques at a lot of places where people had tried different ways of scaling or other ways of getting through to the west.
The whole thing shook me up a bit because in my opinion that wall mass a crime against all of humanity and I consider it to me one of the greatest achievements of my generation that it got torn down.

It's getting time to head back towards the hotel but we make a detour by Berlin Cathedral, an absolutely spectacular building along with many others along Unter den linden.

We're starting to get hungry again so we rest our weary legs at a the Berlin-Moscow restaurant which probably by no great coincidence it opposite the Russian embassy by UDL.
I got a Radeberger beer with my food since it seemed schuss-free.
The Bear apparently didn't learn anything as he goes for a Berliner weissbier and gets the same green abomination as earlier.
Conclsion: A Berliner wb will contain either a gooseberry or strawberry liqueur no matter what it says on the menu  so let this be a warnung.

After supper we go out in search of the führer.
Or at least (what's left of) his bunker.
The for obvious reasons blasted the crap out it but there's supposed to be a plaque showing where it was according to the guide (yes, it was in the tourist guide and it wasn't a Nazi version).
Apparently it's a parking place now but we never managed to find it.
It's hardly surprising if they don't really want it to be found.
We give up and head back to the hotel.

  

Charlottenburg Palace


If I'm going to be able to take a sip out of this I think I'll have to hit the gym first.

It was a very beautiful building.

...and the garden wasn't half bad either.

Excuse me waiter, someone has poisoned my weissbier.

Victory column

Reichstag

The wall that has become synonymous with the word.

A memorial of people killed while trying to escape to the west.

How on earth could I ever have imagined that a hefe weissbier with grapefruit juice was going to be any good because it was obviously exactly as horrendous as it sounds.

Berliner Cathedral

 

Wednesday  Dateicon  8.8.2012  Tigericon  320km Total:1610km

Since we both have a lap of the Nürburgring on our respective bucket lists that's where we're heading.
That the choice fell on Hannover as a stay was for no other reason than that it's pretty much half way between Berlin and the ring.

On the way we made a detour to a picturesque little village called Wolfenbüttel.
Amongst its other achievements its also the head office of Jägermeister which is like blueberries (or Crepes) for our Bear.

To no great surprise a spur of the moment factory tour was out of the question (no harm in trying) but we got a calling card for if we'd be coming back some other time and directions to the giftshop.

We got a couple of t-shirts and Bear got a ridiculously large  bottle of Jäger (1.75 litres) for a bargain price. He was grinning from ear to ear.
So in one fell swoop the Bear has converted his green machine to a supertanker full of Jägermeister for the duration of the trip.

We got some coffee at an open air café in town and the city centre was straight out of a Disney film.
Regardless of the Jägermeister the detour was well worth it.

We arrived at the hotel pretty late (about 8PM) so after check in and the usual routine we located a Bavarian beer house where I got a Tyrolean Goulash, do I even need to mention I had a weissbier with that?
A small kartofelschnapps chased the beer down.

We didn't really see anything else in Hannover but no matter, the hotel cost about €50 for the pair of us, I doubt we would have found anything cheaper even outside of town.

 

Jägermeister HQ

Wolfenbüttel


This is how you get with a pannier full of Jägermeister.

Yes, it's a crystal chandelier and yes, it outside on the street.

Thursday  Dateicon  9.8.2012  Tigericon  450km Total:2060km

We left Hannover with our destination set for Nürburgring, a legendary race track.
(As a point of reference it generates twenty million search hits on Google every year.)
Riding a lap of the Nordschleife is something I've had on my bucket list for a long time.

The ring is open for anyone to drive or ride on for anyone in registered road legal vehicle.
It's because the track is in legal terms a public toll road so there's no need for any special permits or insurance to ride here.
Because of that you really see all kinds of vehicles on the track from all points of the scale.
Everything from track day cars to people carries or in extreme cases coaches but luckily there weren't any here today,
We parked up in the pit and got our Ringcards, it's just a normal access card you put in a card reader to open a road barrier so you can ride onto the track.
Along with the card we got a pamphlet with safety instructions which judging by how some people where driving they read it very selectively.

In the pits we got to talking with a couple of Brits on sportsbikes who rode down here from the alps and apart from the general bike banter we also got some good tips for the rest of our journey.
Since none of us where keen on riding a lap with bikes laden with gear we agreed that we would take turns riding while the other would stay in the pits with the gear.

My riding had all the aggression of a nun on her way to church on Sunday (on a moped) but I enjoyed it immensely all the same.
I actually though it was so good I wanted to do it again.
Since I'd already ridden a full lap of the course I picked up the pace somewhat and almost immediately bit of more than I could chew.
Coming over a ride that goes straight into an S-bend in a very S-bend unfriendly speed I had all I could do grabbing a handful of front brake without diving over the handlebars or riding of straight into the salad.
Just to make matters worse this particular bend is one of just and handful of places where there are spectators along the track and along with them quite a few semi-professional photographers.
So I'm pretty sure that somewhere in Germany someone has a great picture of a Triumph heading right for the greenery with the front suspension completely bottomed out and an idiot Swede about to go over the handlebars.
Thinking that I'd managed to memorize a 20+ km course in just one lap was of course completely idiotic and I was right back down to nun-speed again.
As I recall the only other vehicle I overtook on my two laps was a minivan but I still came back into the pits with a smile as wide as a barn.

Finished with todays adventures we head for our accommodation for the night, Sliders guesthouse located in a small village called Dollendorf.
Since both Nürnurg and Dollendorf is in the Mosel valley the ride to Sliders was the riding yet on our trip, perhaps also due to the fact that I took a wrong turn at some point which made the GPS reroute onto a road I could have ridden back and forth all day.
With those kinds of results I don't mind the odd navigational error.
Checked in at Sliders we went to a restaurant with Bredan (the proprietor) and four other guest (7 in total) in his Citroen Berlingo which he drove as he'd freshly stolen it.
Me and the Bear sat in the back but since we hadn't eaten since lunch I wouldn't have minded if he'd dragged me along after the car if it meant I was going to get something to eat.

Brendan had before he had a serious accident worked as a freelance test rider for different bike magazines testriding new bike models on the ring.
What he'd pensioned himself from as a professional he now did as an amateur... on a public road... in one of the least aerodynamic vehicles ever made... on edge of a god damn cliff.
If he got through a single corner without screeching tires I must have missed it because I was preoccupied with not wanting to die.
At the restaurant the Brits obviously get beer as soon as they're in the door and they never even asked us I've we wanted any, they ordered anyway.
I was more than grateful and perhaps I wasn't the only one that needed something to calm my nerves after that roller-caster ride.

I was so hungry I ordered a 250g pepper steak with potatoes and salad thinking I'd never be able to finish it but for once I was obviously as hungry as I felt because despite the large beer starter it went down like nothing.
Bredan was buddy with the owner so we got a complimentary schnapps as dessert.
From there it was back to Sliders and under the covers because tomorrow we have the longest leg of the journey ahead of us riding to Munich.

 

Hallowed ground.

Talking with the Brits.

Lucky for me there where photographers documenting more than just my mistakes.

Hail to thee, those who are about to die salute you.