Day 2: Flood, elderly drivers & the Wannsee Conference House (Amsterdam – Berlin)

 

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My bike protected by sandbags

The sound of the generator pumping water in front of my window woke me up in the early morning. I was anxious to see whether all had gone well. The owners had said that they feared the basement would have flooded and even told me to put my bike on higher ground inside the courtyard. I got up and walked outside. Everything was surrounded by sandbags and I was told 800 people had worked through the night to keep the water from flooding into the town. Right above the hostel was a row of bags holding what seemed to be a lake. The owners were worried it would not hold…

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The day after – minor damage

After a tasty breakfast I went to pay. The owner told me I did not have to due to the noise and all. Feeling kind of guilty not paying at all, as this was totally out of their hands, we met halfway. I can really recommend this hostel if you are travelling through Germany and need an affordable place to stay near Hannover. Friendly people and very clean.

 

Up to now all had gone well. I survived the boredom of the highway, a dangerous flood and was only 40 kilometers from Berlin! Then – as often happens when your getting too comfortable – risks present themselves. In this case, it was in the shape of a elderly driver.

While casually riding along, some guy decided to stop his car in the middle of the highway to take the Ausfahrt he almost missed (well he had missed it, that is kind of the point…). This totally busted my balls! He had obviously not seen me (although I was wearing my oh-so-elegant bright yellow/fluorescent rain coat) and was pretty shocked at my somewhat heated remarks. Come to think of it, I may have even called him “bro”… Ah well, guess it was good to test my ’emergency-stop’ skills. It definitely pumped up my heartbeat after the somewhat boring hours on the highway!

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Wannsee Conference House

After reattaching my nuts I got off the highway and drove to the Wannsee Conference House. This is where top Nazi officials met in 1941 to discuss the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ (An extensive article on this topic will be published shortly). At present, it is a Memorial and Educational Site. It houses a thorough and exhibition on the history of the building itself, the Holocaust and the Wannsee Conference. The nice ladies behind the counter were kind enough to store my luggage (they saw me walking in as a mule). Obviously, this is one of the downsides of travelling by bike. You always have your protective gear, luggage and helmet with you….

Finally – Berlin! What an awesome city to ride in. Broad car-friendly setup (in comparison to many other European cities – yes, looking at you…Amsterdam…). Food shops all over the place, rich history & visiting friends. This is going to be great!

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Berlin calling…

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