Tuesday 2.8.2011 116km Total: 1042km
Thank god for GPS because now us country folk really are in the thick of it.
The traffic in central Hamburg is absolutely chaotic and on multiple occasions I do manoeuvres that normally would give people an aneurysm at the same time as they're doing their best to push the horn through the steering wheel.
I don't know if they're forgiving just because we're tourists in general or if they like Swedes in particular or if they're just extremely chill because we get away with riding like complete idiots without anyone even so much as giving us the stink-eye.
And lucky for us because here I start something that's going to be some kind of theme throughout the journey: I get to a stop light and just as it's about to turn I instinctively pull the throttle to make it through...
...which I do obviously but the problem is that Bear hasn't got a GPS and is not about to be left abandoned in the middle of Hamburg so he quickly get to decide to either be left behind or run a red light.
I think this happened 3-4 times just today and is was without a doubt mostly (all) my fault.
So what do country folk to when they get to the big city? They shop obviously!
What do country folk on motorcycles shop? Accessories of course and that's why we've set our sights on the Mecca of motorcycle accessories, Louis Megashop.
An enormous shop where we probably could have spent the whole day.
I don't honestly know if it's because we want to conserve our travelling budget or if it's the lack of space but all we actually buy are a couple of wire-locks.
A smart thing about the shop was that they'd set up some kind of wind tunnel by putting a bike in front of an enormous fan which gave buyers a better idea of the fit and sound level of the helmet when actually riding.
It was a smart idea which I've never seen either before or after.
Since we're on the theme we ride across to the Touratech store but they really didn't have a lot of toys on display so that went pretty quick.
I got a t-shirt as a consolation prize.
Since we didn't have the slightest idea of where to stay we ride to the central station.
My idea was that there would be tourist information office there that could point us in the right direction.
It turns out I was right and since we're both paranoid about the bikes secure parking was the priority which meant we got a room at the rather posh Crowne Plaza.
After check-in and a shower we hit the town but since none of us had read up on it beforehand we wandered pretty aimlessly.
Actually we spent most of the evening hunting for food since Bear cracked the idea that we obviously should get hamburgers when in Hamburg.
This gave way to a completely farcical hunt for the eluding hamburger because despite it's name it's obviously not a big part of this cities cuisine.
I takes us nearly two hours until we can gouge down on a couple of burgers.
So if the menu was decided on stereotypes I thought it stood to reason that dessert would be apfelstrudel.
That chase was a bit more fruitful as we only devoted an hour to find it.
We got a couple of strudels at an amazing open air restaurant by the Alster river and with it I got some kind of coffee with liqueur.
Judging by the strength of it surprised me that it wasn't transparent.
Sometime during the evening we also take a stroll along the Reeperbahn, both of us had obviously heard of the place as it is rather notorious but we where both ignorant to the fact that it was here in Hamburg.
Helpfully enough it was marked on the tourist map.
Not very overwhelming.
Sure we where approached by both prostitutes (who opened with "Wacken?" so that was supposedly fairly obvious) and barkers at dubious "clubs" but for the most part it felt pretty much like just a bar street and not the Mecca of debauchery that we'd heard of.
It's like being a kid in a candy store.
I immediately took a liking to Hamburg, a really nice city with a few exotic quirks.
Here we ate our apfelstrudel.