Sunday 31.7.2011 440km Total: 440km
We had decided that we'd meet up at the local petrol station and depart at 8AM but one of Bears panniers was of a different opinion with the lock refusing to cooperate.
I instead ride up to the Bear-pit and act as moral support during repairs.
It turns out to be a relatively easy repair and even though we're a couple of hours late departing it really doesn't matter as we have no set destination or mileage for the day.
We stop for coffee at a rest stop in Mellerud and a couple of other places to stretch our legs and the whole day flows uneventful.
We decide to start looking for accommodation around 6PM at a major rest stop somewhere in the outskirts of Helsingborg.
Some people had obviously made this place their home judging by the laundry out to dry and the families with somewhat turbid DNA which made it feel like a priority to come to a decision rather quickly.
We've brought along a guidebook from the Swedish Motorcyclist organisation SMC and there find a place called Tomasdals hostel.
We call them up and get the reply that we've more than welcome to stay.
The final stretch of road to Tomasdal is without a doubt the finest riding of the day and the hostel gives an immediate good impression with its grand location surrounded by open farmland.
Since we didn't have any supper we're not late to reply to the offer to share a meal with our hosts along with a local brew.
After supper we go for a dip in the pool.
For "just" being a hostel it sure had all the creature comforts.
Monday 1.8.2011 486km Total: 926km
We trod along nicely during the day and a bit blasphemously only use my parents homeland Denmark as a lunchstop.
Obviously at a sausage restaurant even though I can't recall if any one of us had the red delicacies.
We've set the destination for today at Owschlag because it's home to a renowned biker-stay called Dannevirke.
However we didn't book in advance and to our disappointment the staff that we scared half to death when we finally found in the laundry-room tells us they're fully booked.
But she also tells us that the guest house that's pretty much next door might have a room.
Said and done, we walk down to the Landhaus Hentschel (which I think translates to something like the Hens country house or something like that) and ask if they might have a room for the night.
There was and when we ask for secure parking she offers her own private carport.
It has been the subject of many a conversation afterwards but my possibly hastily thought out theory to the unusually friendly way in which we where treated is that we only asked for one room even though we where two guys and didn't even ask for (it slipped my mind at the time) how many beds where in the room.
I don't have a lot to back my theory up other than the fact that her terrier threw a fit of rage when we inspected the carport and she just casually explained that "it hates men" like it was the most natural thing in the world.
In conclusion I think she liked women and drew the conclusion that we probably played that side too, whoever drew hasty conclusions we'll probably never know and it really doesn't matter because we got a good stay out of it even if it meant lying head to foot in a double bed.
Since we were tired after the days riding we didn't explore the village any but instead opted to get supper in the guesthouse's own restaurant.
I though I embraced the local cuisine plenty when I got a schnitzel but Bear went full native and got some called Saurfleisch (which directly translated means sour-pork).
I don't think he knew at all what he was in for but he took it real well when the waitress brought him what looked like spam inside a large gelatin ball.
He gave it the review edible but considering how hungry I was at that time I have serious doubts about how edible it really was.
During dinner we got to talking to a some other bikers from Scania so the topic was a given, and the mood didn't get any worse by the complimentary kornschnappses we got after dinner.
Tuesday 2.8.2011 116km Total: 1042km
Thank god for GPS because now the 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, I'm really not a very considerate road captain.
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.
Really 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 which judging by the strength of it surprised me that it wasn't transparent.
Sometime during the evening was also take a stroll along 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 were 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.