We awoke totally refreshed and enjoyed sailing through the heads and along Klaipeda’s lagoon. The ship birthed a stone’s-throw from our home. It was a quick simple ride on familiar roads and bike paths. In all we cycled about 5km.
All up on this trip we cycled 448km over mostly flat terrain. We encountered some lovely cycle-paths and some totally ugly trails. I really hated all those frowning furrowed faces that looked so nastily at us and I really valued those few friendly fellows who gave their time. I cannot reconcile the people I met on this trip with my lovely German friends who I have met abroad over the years. It seems to me as if these two groups come from different planets. I have no intention of returning to Germany ever again. Nice enough place, clean enough place, but way too perfect and way too grumpy for me.
Anyhow, our holiday was not over. Shortly after getting home we dashed across the lagoon and drove, bikes in tow, to the coastal town of Pervalka. Here we stayed in the lovely lagoon-side guest-house of Vila Baldininkas and enjoyed the warm hospitality of our hosts.
I was quite excited, because the guest-house was hosting a žygis. A žygis is kind of like a vintage car rally for bicycles. My plan was to cycle the 50km of independent sealed seaside cycle-paths up to the ferry and the start of the žygis, then ride back to the guest-house with the rally.
On the cycle north I rounded a corner and entered a long straight. I was doing about 30kph, when I saw a woman on a bicycle about 500 metres away. I noticed her bike wobble a little, so immediately placed my hands on my brakes and started riding defensively. Everything was fine, she kept to her right and I kept to mine, at the last minute for no explainable reason, she turned hard left directly into my path. I hit the brakes and started heading towards the trees. I clipped the edge of her front wheel, catapulting me over my handlebars. The last thing I remember was hearing and feeling my peddles unclip and being impressed by this technology.
I woke up lying on the edge of the cycle-path, to the sound of a woman with blooded knees walking towards me screeching, “Oh my God, oh my God, what have I done?” Indeed, what had she done? Well for one, she had broken my collarbone. She had also sentenced me to a corrupt hospital system where we were to discover our medical insurance company was equally as corrupt. She has caused us much personal expense and much emotional stress, but hey it wasn’t all bad: other than a little scratch, my bike was not damaged at all.
I cannot help but thinking, this would not have happened in Germany. Germans can ride bicycles and they can ride them in horrifically straight lines. They get to the right as soon as they see you coming and leave you feeling safe. To the best of my knowledge, German hospitals are efficient and not corrupt. I would expect that if a German medical insurance company emails me and says, ‘all your return hospital visits are covered’ that this would mean when we submit the bills, they will actually pay the money. This was not the case in Lithuania or at least not until we kicked up a significant stink.
So my conclusion, you deep furrowed Germans, is that you are not as bad as I make you out to be and if ever I need rigid efficiency and the expectation that the person coming towards me will actually cycle in a straight line, then I want to be on your shores. If I am in a car crash, then I want to be in your cars, if I need to go to hospital then I want to be in your hospitals. However if I want to go on holiday and relax in imperfection, then I will go to Italy.
Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Training, part 1
Day 2 – Training, part 2
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 1
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 2
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 1
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 2
Day 5 – Each Other, part 1
Day 5 – Each Other, part 2
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 1
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 1
Day 7 – Bonking, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 3
Day 8 – Time Keeping
Day 9 – Homeward
Day 10 – I Love Germany