Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 3 - Smurf coloured ice cream for breakfast

It seems that I have trouble paying attention,as I'm constantly having trouble keeping my bike upright. It happens fairly regularily. I'm either mounting my bike or holding on to it, my mind wanders off and I forget that I'm holding it. Next thing I know the bike is either crashing to the ground or I'm fighting to keep it upright.

Anyway, here's a rundown of the second half of Day 3.

Day 3 (Second Half)
As I left the internet cafe I was using and started off again towards my next destination, I found no sign pointing me in the right direction after leaving the town's market center. I assumed that I must have missed it, but the sign was indeed nowhere to be found. Cycling down what I assumed was the right street I still found no sign to point me to the next turn.


Further on I started to see a pattern develop. Ever time that I got to an intersection that should contain one of the signs leading me on, there were empty brackets connected to a sign post. It seems that someone (Or something) was removing the signs. This was though, after around two hours of wrong turns and guesswork to get me down the right streets. As the maps in the guidebook for this route don't usually go into much detail, and only usually list the street names that I would be travelling on if it was a major city, it was absolutely essential that the signs be in place.

From some of the features on the map, and from what I could understand of the written German directions (Which is fairly little, as well as the fact that the direction are written heading in the opposite direction), I headed out down a series of small side streets and ended up riding through a small residential area on the outskirts of the city.

Now this was completely normal, and what I was expecting. The route I've been following seems to keep as far as possible from areas of heavy traffic and usually winds through all sorts of out of the way places. Now, while I was driving past a series of small houses I spotted a drunk staggering around on the right side of the road, going in the same direction as I was. Now, normally I wouldn't be worried about a drunk, but this drunk had some sort of pistol holstered in his belt. This had me a little worried, as drunks are fairly unpredictable in the first place, and should he have some sort of deep set racial hatred of Australians, or foreigners in general, I could be in a bit of trouble. As I passed him on the left, I saw to my suprise (and relief) that he wasn't drunk after all, and merely retarded (Thus the staggering) and as well as the pistol in his holster, he was also carrying a more obviously toy gun in his right hand which was obscured from me. Happy that I wouldn't have to worry about dealing with a crazy, gun toting German full of liquor, I continued on my way.

Now I eventually ended up where I thought I needed to be, however this street offered two choices. Choice number one would have me heading down the street which as far as my guesswork could determine was the correct street to get me to my destination, and would have me winding through a few smaller cities. As it was getting late this wasn't looking too attractive. Choice number 2 would have me heading straight to Bernberg, which was where I wanted to get to tonight to try my luck with a camping center. This would however, have me travelling on a major motorway.

Slightly frustrated and not willing to trust my luck on guessing the right small side streets to take me to the next destination city I threw in the towel and just took choice number 2. This had me arriving in Bernberg's camping area while it was still bright out (Something I may not have achieved otherwise).

At the camping area I found only one other person staying there, who also happened to be travelling on the same route as me, just in the opposite direction. He was also travelling the full length of the route which would take him all the way to St Petersburg in Russia. He had a couple of issues with his bike so far. A broken chain which he repaired on the road as well as a ripped tire, which he replaced at a bike shop. He also warned me that things would get a bit more hilly in the next section of the route.

With that I was able to sleep comfortably without fear of being discovered. A lot of wasted time this day, but a successful ending.

On a closing note, here's another beautiful forest path.

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