Day 2

3rd May Phew today was tiring as expected. Just over 300 miles from the Hoek to here, about 25 miles south of Hamburg. I arrived at about 3.30 or so. These ‘biker hotels’ are an enigma. They market themselves in this way, and even have some bike mags around but everyone is so unbikerish and uninterested in my travels or in putting Bertha away for the night that I genuinely began to think I had turned up at the wrong hotel. After fussing about for a while in this strangely shaped room in a hotel that looks beautiful from the front but inside looks and smells as if nearly a hundred years of continuous smoking are being disguised by doses of air freshener, I crawled under the contienental pancake duvet and fell asleep, feeling a bit feverish but perhaps its just tiredness. Last night I slept poorly, I wwoke with my heart pounding in panic that the ship would capsize, the sea seemed rough and horizontal with my eyes closed I could feel every movement, both the regular ones and the sudden shocks. Once asleep I dreamed that I waas constantly battling to keep people out of my room. A stream of young people wanted to come in first to sleep and then as the dream wore on to use my room as an art resource room. I swore at them viciously but they took no notice. At 6.30 the Ddutch woman woke us all up and I got vertical and made my way on the still rolling ship to one of the bars where I paid about #7 for two coffees and a dried croissant with 5 mls of disgusting jelly passing for jam. Preparing my bike to go once on the car deck a man came out of nowhere and asked me where I was going. Norway – eventually I replied. Wow, he said, I feel jealous. These are the nicest moments.

The ride for the first few hours was freezing and I was shivering on the bike and eventually pulled into a service station and had a strange bacon and egg and cheeze and mustard roll and a hot coffee. I put on more layers and soldiered on. Eventually I crossed into Germany which seemed to take an age this time. The ride on the A1 (the aah einz) was uneventful apart from seeing the results of a huge two lorry crash o the other carriage way with the fire brigde in attendance and a long and quickly growing tailback. I
m so glad it wasn’t my side.

So now I am here, showered and with my socks washed, plucking up courage to go down and sample the food. This place markets itself as quite a restaurant with an impressive wine cellar and home to lovely beers, so lets see if it really is.

On asking the apron clad waitress for a table for one I was responded to with wide eyed and speechless shock as if the last thing she expected was someone wanting to dine here. I notice she has a plaster over a vein in her forearm and conclude that doctors have been taking blood trying to work out why she is so stupid. However the rest of the meal went well and I was served a tasty schnitzel washed down with two glasses of refreshing beer, followed by more gifts from Mien host who inquired about my journey to Norway which he must have remembered from my booking. I ended the evening in the car park, now crowded with the smart cars of the well heeled and middle aged diners, smoking a cigarette leaning against Bertha who is waiting for me to continue north tomorrow via Hamburg to Odense. I am so tired despite my earlier sleep and my muscles in my forearms are already beginning to ache.

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