Quite a while and I haven’t written much about my Europe trip. Lot of posts need to be written, a lot of people want to know about my expenses and budget and all that. Today I am more in the mood for prose, so writing about Day 1: Cycling Berlin to Copenhagen….
This was the day I was slated to leave my Berlin AirBnB homestay and cycle away! 😉
My home stay hostess was away traveling so I had the place to myself, we hadn’t fixed any time to leave, I wanted to be away as soon as I could, but I knew it will not be so easy. Because the 12 days I had in Berlin to buy all my gear and stuff were a bit less. So much so that, I had bought my camping gear just couple of days earlier and just the night before I had fixed the front pannier rack all by myself (beejesus!)
When I woke up, I started off with my yoga because well, that is the best thing to do 😀 Yoga is why I practically never had an early start. By the time other cyclists were leaving the campsite I would just get started with my yoga and it would take about an hour or so. So Day 1 wasn’t any different, once I did some yoga and quickly made some hot drink to drink enroute, came the big task. I realized that I had not done a test run of loading all the stuff on the cycle. I had done test runs with the two panniers, but I didn’t load everything – camping gear and all. So I would now be doing that for the first time. Aila!
There were all sorts of questions like, whether I should take my cycle out of the house and load everything there or load everything and then take it outside. Finally chose the first option because taking the cycle out of the building door would be tough with all the luggage on it. So you see, since I had never done this small Questions took a time to figure out. But I just used simple common sense and experiments. Like to put all the luggage on the racks I first tried duct tapes but they didn’t seem very reliable. So I fortified it with some ropes too. Later on the road I realized that the ropes tended to stretch a bit and loosen over time so I had to tie the ropes a lot tighter. Duct tapes weren’t very useful.
This first loading of the cycle took QUITE some time! Maybe an hour even. There came the big shock of my life….
The stand broke. Unh… yea the STAND BROKE! For a while I wondered whether I had packed just way too much?! But then it was just two rear panniers and my camping stuff – It was not that heavy! Anyway thank god I had a good Lebara sim card (I bought it earlier for 10 euros only) I called my bike shop and spoke to them. They told me to come there right away, they will try and fix it. This bike shop was just 10 mins cycling from where I was staying, so not much trouble.
Off I zoomed to Bike Piraten…
They got working on it immediately – the German sense of efficiency and all. 🙂 Thankfully 1 out of the 3 stands they had in the shop fitted very well with my cycle and it was strong enough to take the weight!
The learning is that you need a stronger stand than usual for long distance trips, because it needs to bear not just the cycle but also the luggage weight. So anyway I was so flustered and keen to get on with my trip that from the cycle shop I just started cycling off towards Oranienberg – my first destination.
In case you noticed, I hadn’t eaten a single bite. Err yea…. it was 3pm in the afternoon (I had also spent some time cleaning the apartment to return to my host) and I was hungry but I needed to reach the campsite on time. So peddle, peddle away! 🙂
So, with such an eventful start, it was only after I reached the outskirts of Berlin that I reflected on the fact that, I didn’t have a stable accommodation for the next so many days. I also wondered whether I was mad for the nth time, but I have learnt well to simply ignore such thoughts especially when deep down there is such a strong current of excitement bubbling. 🙂
So on and on I went… finally around 5.30pm I took a stop at a Netto supermarket and had some delish vegetarian sandwich and coffee. Also by this time my Mom was insisting that I eat something (via whatsapp). Oh yea I had so many people following my journey live via the whatsapp group. Hehe. I didn’t update too often, just enough to let them know I was safe and really enjoying 😉
Anyway with quite an interesting ride and happy thoughts I reached my first campsite, the beautiful heritage site, Oraniengberg Schloss. 🙂
Schloss means a manor in German. From what I understand Oranienberg Schloss is a heritage manor with a huge garden around it. There is a small harbor behind this garden where there are many boats on the river Havel. It was overall a very serene place with the clear waters of Havel, lots of boats and caravans all around. Silence and solitude. Lovely place for a first campsite!
I passed a lot of caravans and boats, I was looking out for the tent-camper area, when I came by a place with tents but there was a locked door barricading it. I needed to get a digital card or something to get through into the tent campsite where there were other tenters and caravans too.
One more adventure for the day, The harbor master had left and I had to self-sign-in via a machine like an ATM. I had to pay and get my campsite pass. This was fine, because I can grasp such things quick enough (even though I had never used such a machine before…) but the problem was that the machine was malfunctioning. I chose the right option and put in the money but didn’t get the card. Another cyclist couple came there and tried it too, but it didn’t work for them either. They then decided to head off to some other camp site, but I was pretty tired and I was also solo and new at this.
So I was stuck outside the campsite with a malfunctioning machine! The place was beautiful though and some Polish folks were so impressed to see a solo cyclist girl from India that they took photos and invited me to Warsaw. They also asked me “How many miles” and I just blushed and said First day… 😀
Anyway, my plan was to just camp near this machine for the night because it all looked really serene and safe. There were lot of boats moored nearby and people were staying in the boats and in nearby caravans. Just the tent campsite was behind a locked door. While I was wondering what to do, I saw an old lady nearby and instinctively went and asked her for help. She called in her husband who understood the problem and then he used his camp card to get me into the camping site. He said that we could talk to the harbormaster the next day 🙂
So that’s how the first day went. 8.30pm. Fair weather. First day of cycling accomplished. I didn’t even put the rain proof tent cover and I could see stars from the netted windows in my tent.