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36. Hamburger sophistication (July 11)

What do you order for dinner in Hamburg?

Sweet-potato chips.

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But ask any Hamburger citizen and they will tell you with pride that the food here is highly sophisticated and exquisite. From rich and savoury to spicy and sweet, luscious meats, delightful veggies, free range biofriendly everything under the sun and rain.


I began the day at Zeven. A nice little town 86 kilometres by bike from my destination in the city.

The farms are perfectly manicured and manured, judging by the scents. I rode along adjacent to the main roads until Buxtehude, where I was supposed to head north (via the pretty part), sometimes ignorance is not bliss. Instead I  followed the googley girl’s shortest route which was along the edge of the highway to Harburg and then north into a melange of bridges and intersections, where my phone battery expired and left me stranded.

Fringe people don’t really speak English, but they understand enough, and I don’t really speak German, but I understand enough. Thereby communicating quite efficiently. However, the people I asked said it was possible to go into town from all directions. I just needed one. Thank Goodness for church steeples.

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Buxtehude is lovely, the old centre is perfectly preserved and interesting. I sat down there and ate my breakfast bun.
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Hamburg is a port city with an incredibly difficult history of fire, plague and war. But obviously the population is clever and resilient, so they have created a splendid city once again.
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A whole bridge for my bike and I… crossing into the city in style!
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Last night Regina and Michael, with their pretty niece Zoe, kindly hosted me. Regina hired ebikes so she and Zoe could ride with me tomorrow, but the clouds came up and the rain came down in buckets.

After an abundant breakfast we decided not ride out until the rain subsides a bit. I’m happy to have a day of rest in their lovely home.
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35. Grimm’s Bremen story (July 9)

Lucky find, the hotel in Neubruchausen, it was pleasant. I especially liked the knitted bunny incubating my breakfast egg.

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The scene changed dramatically when I went out of the door. WHAT THE grey sky!

The cycle path was mine all the way from Neubruchausen to Bremen, about 35 kilometres.

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Here are some pictures of random things I stopped to photograph along the way.

The camera is looking weary, and the strap has blackened my neck. It has done thousands of kilometres dangling under my arm without a lens cap.
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My heels dug into the pedals, because I don’t enjoy riding through the fringe of big cities. But Bremen has it all sorted out, and now you can go all the way in, on dedicated cycle tracks.
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Just a quick recap:  “The farm animals were old and mistreated, so they travelled to Bremen to become musicians. On the way they looked into the window of a little cottage and saw some burglars admiring their loot, so they made an altogether hideous noise, and the robbers ran away….but the robbers came back later that night. The animals kicked, bit, scratched and screamed at them, so they ran away and never came back, and the animals lived there forever”. Or happily ever after at least…
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Storks are bringing babies!
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The true Grimm story is about the wind. It came from the side and tried to flatten me and fly away with my panniers (bags). I struggled along for miles and miles, looking for a lunch place and not finding one.

Eventually I stopped at a bus stop booth for wind protection, and ate the half roll and cheese left over from the other day. It was surprisingly delicious. A swig of water and I was on my way with the wind howling in my ears.
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Just when the clouds hung darkly low I rode past an irrigation sprayer and heard pops on my helmet. I thought  “Oh no, now I’ll have to put on those plastic trousers”. But I didn’t.

When I arrived in Zeven, the first thing to do was circle around for a hotel. There was a fancy blue place with ‘restaurant’ written very large in gold. The lady said she didn’t have a room for me.

My luck was up, because the only other hotel in town, Hotel Central, did have a room for me, a very nice big room with beds covered in starched white sheets and duvets, and a soft white pillow….

88 kms