Wed 29th Aug.
I had planned to be in Berlin for around the 31st, which would give me some time off there before the festival. I was very close to meeting that estimation, but had the problem of a broken wheel to fix before I could do that. I thought the wheel would need replacing and that this would cost me around €80 at least. Not a life changing sum of money, but enough to mess up the flow of things.
I rode the unstable bike into Pirna and decided to get coffee and a pastry from the first bakery I came across. It was perfect, filtered coffee with a bit of milk and some delicious blend of sugar and pastry. My love for the German bakery expanded tenfold. I wanted another, but decided that I would have this once a day in the mornings while in Germany so I always had something to look forward to in Germany.
I went into the town centre and with great luck, I found a bike shop that was open. The lady working there spoke no english, but we managed to diagnose the problem and she said to come back by about 1pm, giving me five hours off. That was painful as I knew it was a big chunk of time, but on the bright side the bike was being fixed and I could relax.
I looked around and crossed the bridge into the other part of the town, which was more built up and a bit had a lot more shops. I looked around and decided to get lunch in one of the cafes there, which had an extra dining area for food. I ordered a bratwurst with mash and peas and took my time to eat. I had plenty of time after so I stayed and caught up with some writing. I realised while I was there that in a strange way, when you purchase something from a place and sit there to eat it, in a strange way, you’re buying time in a place. The nicer the place, the more expensive the time your spend there costs. This was more specifically tailored to my visits to places, but I believe it to be true for a lot of things, cafes, restaurants, hotels. When you eat in a nice restaurant, you’re paying for the food, but you’re buying the association that comes with the name of that establishment. Think for example, of staying at the Ritz in London, compared to any other hotel in the area. You pay for the name and in hospitality, that means time.
On the subject of time, it was time to go and collect the bike. I picked it up expecting a fee of +€80, and it came to €24 for part and labour. It was two small bolts in the inner wheel, the thread had gone on one and that caused the wheel to go out line. I couldn’t believe, it felt like I’d saved about €60.
I went to the Lidl nearby and got back on the road. I went back across the bridge, through the town and on the river to Dresden.
The first thing I did here was to go on the internet and apologise to the host who offered to put me up. It was during this episode that I discovered wi-fi is called ‘wi-lan’ in Germany, pronounced ‘vi-lan’. That had caused a lot of confusion up until now and now I was able to ask for the internet without sounding weird. I drew some cash out and picked up another German kebab. Life was good.
I went into the city from the river and had a look around then stopped to eat the food. Kurt told me it was a beautiful city and I should really stop to see it if I could. I could only honour it with a few hours, but I got a feel for the place and saw some of its magnificent Gothic buildings in different parts of the city. It felt modern and and old at the same time, a tasteful blend of the two.
The cycle path following the river, surrounded either side by grass. I found the road on a map I needed to take me to Berlin and I spent the rest of the day getting close to the road so I had a good start tomorrow. The river took me out of Dresden and through some smaller towns. The path was smooth and often went through areas well built up with trees. It was clear that Germans loved to cycle and you could see why. The facilities were there for them and they went through lots of areas of natural beauty. Along one cycle lane, I found a vending machine for inner tubes, highlighting the kind of intelligence and forward thinking Germans and German companies have.
I stayed by the river for another hour, passing a few bars that were filling up in the evening. I got to Meissen and this was were I’d join the 101 road that would take me to Berlin, about 160km north. I went through the town and had to get down soon. once I was through the town I found a sports complex which I wanted to camp on, but was privately owned. I found a field next to it that joined a residential area there. I could see some of the houses from my spot, but it was getting dark and as always I’d be out early in the morning. A storm came but I was set up by this point.
If I rode well tomorrow, I’d have one more night of camping before I’d make it to Berlin.