First of all let me begin with belated thanks to Willem Alexander of Holland for letting me stay in his country for a few days. I’d also like to thank Joachim Gauck of Germany for the hospitality his countrymen have shown me. I know poor old Joachim is probably very busy running his country, but if he gets a minute I’d just like him to have a little chat with the police in Osnabruck and tell them that chaining a bicycle to a lamp post is not the crime of the century. He might also reflect on the fact that it’s bad for international relations for German police to shout at a poor blameless Englishman who’s just innocently parking his bike. I suppose I should have expected it, they stick to the rules here, and they do have a LOT of rules. This is a tiny crossing on a tiny street, one of hundreds, and I haven’t seen ANYBODY dare to cross a road unless the bike is green. It had to be tried though, so carefully looking, not only both ways, but behind me as well, I brazenly cycled across while the signal was red. I can report back that what happens if you ignore the signal is that a cyclist who’s waiting to cross from the other side angrily mutters something in German as you ride past him. I got away with it though because I didn’t tell him my name and I didn’t mention the war.
Still travelling East and Skippy, the campervan, is behaving himself perfectly which is more than I can say about the fridge, which seems to change into an oven overnight. I had an old guy come up to compliment the van this morning and he kept using the phrase “bullie” which is obviously German for “Bob, I think your campervan is brilliant, and so are you”. It probably isn’t, but it made me smile each time he said it.
Here’s a quick iPhone snap of my sleeping arrangements for the night. It was billed as a rest area but there were some very dodgy looking blokes in cars parked up and wandering around in the woods after dark. They were probably all just taking their dogs for an evening walk I should imagine. Although they all seemed to have forgotten to bring their dogs with them.
Everywhere I’ve been in Germany there are beggars which is something I never saw when I lived here. The contrast between the affluent Germans and the immigrants is very obvious with the Germans buying high end goods in the fancy shops and the immigrants sitting around on the floor smoking roll-ups. I gave this chap some money in exchange for his photo. He came from Budapest and wasn’t able to find work, speak German or have a place to live. Just one of many here it would seem.
This is an early morning shot of a canal in Nord Rhine Westfalia and they certainly make canals big here. The barge wasn’t hanging about either, I definitely wouldn’t like to be on this canal in a little English narrow boat when this thing came past.
It hasn’t all been chasing boats though, I actually did some grown up shopping at, what to my uneducated eyes, seemed like a German Tesco’s called K+K.
Talking about English shops, it seems Woolworths haven’t shut down, they’ve just emigrated.
I didn’t actually go inside so I don’t know if it sells the same things our woolworth’s used to sell. Rheine seems to be about the same size as Peterborough but it’s absolutely full of pavement cafe’s and little market squares with mainly independent shops unlike a typical English town.
I came across this house while I was exploring, It’s known as the Carillon and is a fairly recent addition as it wasn’t built until 2007. The total weight of the bells is over 500 KgIt can automatically play up to 96 different pieces of music depending on the season and day of the year. It can also be played manually using an internal keyboard. I’m just glad that I don’t have the upstairs bedroom.
Lastly, I think my SatNav might be playing up, I thought the road had started to get a little bumpy, but it said turn left and I was only following orders.
That’s all for now, I have an appointment with a frozen “Erdbeer mit frischen Erdbeeren und Erdbeersose”.