Time Keeping

Day 8.

We slept soundly and were very happy to have slept in a warm dry room. ‘ Deutsches Haus’ you served us well and were very hospitable for tour-cyclists.

We had a 10:03 train to catch, so left early enough for a quick supermarket stop, before arriving at the station at 9:33. It seemed the station was a little closer than we thought. In fact it seemed that the terminal was a lot closer than ninety percent of the travelling locals thought. There were quite a few of us standing there waiting for the train. It arrived at 9:53, we all in a very orderly, sullen and quiet manner lined up and boardered the train. We all sat in perfect silence for ten minutes and watched the clock tick over, then at exactly 10:03 the train softly closed its doors and rolled off down the tracks.

I was stunned and smacked straight back into culture-shock. Everyone quietly embarked the train ten minutes early and sat soundlessly there waiting. I kid you not, no one boarded in those ten minutes, no one was running late, no one was jumping on the carriage with cheeky last minute smiles. If they all knew the trains ran like clockwork, why oh why did they all arrive ten minutes early? This perfection was seriously searing my sanity and killing my nerves. For me it takes chaos to find peace. Incidently such perfection isn’t all evil, I was genuinely thankful for this modern train with its level bicycle-friendly entrance.

We changed trains in Rostock. In the next train the cycle carriage was right by the disabled peoples seating and the toilets. To my absolute delight the lock on the toilet door was broken and rattled all the way to Kiel. At last Germany was being nice to me and giving me something damaged, something slightly chaotic to relax my culturally frayed nerves. It was an utterly pleasant trip all the way into Kiel.

We rode around Kiel’s uniformed cycle-paths, stopping briefly at the ridiculously expensive YHA youth hostel, before we decided to keep to plan A and cycle out of town to a camping-ground. About four kilometres into the ride whilst cycling side by side up a hill, Sharon and I looked at each other and said ‘we could get used to this, we could do more of this’. Without knowing it, right there and right then a seed had just been sown for a rather large cycling adventure.

We stopped at a supermarket, purchased some pastries from within the shop and then purchased some delicious fries from a very friendly immigrant, laughing and cooking from his tired-looking caravan. With bellies full, we continued cycling to Campingplatz Möltenort. We met some grumpy cycling man on the way, it seemed to us that he was telling us that we couldn’t cycle any further. My map said otherwise, I was feeling confidently arrogant, so we just ignored his advice and carried on.

The camping-ground had a large open field with a sunny and a shady side. I was hoping to pitch where the morning sun would quickly dry our tiring tent, but alas this was Germany and a random pitch is disorderly. The attendant directed us to the exact spot where we were to camp. This turned out to be in the darkest coldest corner right beside a strange-looking man who was pitching his tent aided by a half empty spirit bottle. Such rigidity as being told exactly where our tent should be was causing me to be desperate for Eastern Europe.

As it turned out, I did not need to wait long. That evening we went to the bar cornered between the camp shop and office and ordered a very good beer with the help of some very experienced locals. There was a woman at the table beside us with a lovely radiant face, sparkling eyes and the slur of a positively drunk person. But at least she was smiling and attempting to be friendly. Those fluttering eyelids were indeed Ukrainian. It ended up being quite a sweet and quite a dodgy final evening.

Though we travelled many miles, we only cycled 12.47km and most of them on city streets.

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

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