Barcelona/Spain – Berlin/Germany

Barcelona, a great city, which is worth a longer stay in any case. Many very different buildings worth seeing. Outstanding are the organic buildings of the architect Antoni Gaudi, Casa Battlo, Park Güell, Sagrada Familia, being build since 1882.
In Barcelona, there is a dense network of rent-a-bike-stations, which actively is used, only to leave the city by bicycle is not intended – only highways and tunnels blocked for cyclists lead into the direction I planned.

I go up into the Pyrenees in the tiny state of Andorra. Tiny as well is the capital and only town of the principality, Andorra la Vella. It is wedged into a valley with steep sides, so that you can see from anywhere in the city its end. Three kilometres after entering I pass the exit sign of the highest capital of Europe. The whole country looks like an alpine ski resort, and it heavily lists. From Spain it goes always uphill towards France – higher and higher, it is getting colder and colder until I cycle amid snow-capped mountains. Instead of going by bike the people use to slide down the mountains on boards. It goes over an almost 2500m high pass, and the Pyrenees have been overcome – compared to the Himalayas and the Andes it is a piece of cake. It goes down to France, which is reached after only about 40km in Andorra.

In another order of magnitude is my total mileage. 40075km shows my bike computer, the length of the geographic equator. In kilometres the earth is circled by recumbent.

Using the maximum daily output I pelt through France to Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where my brother lives. We both are excited about the reunion, additionally for 6 days I enjoy to feel a little at home at a place after a long time.

Let’s go for the last stage. After a day through Switzerland, German is spoken, a day later I reach Germany.
Despite the lack of exotic the journey through Germany is not boring. It’s fun to see my homeland through the eyes of a tourist. Attractions there are always – Freiburg, Heidelberg, Mainz, the Thuringian Forest, Erfurt. After I have travelled in my life more than 50 countries by bike, it is also long overdue to eliminate some deficiencies in terms of geography of Germany.

My next destination is the place Kriftel on the outskirts of Frankfurt a. M.. There 2.5 years ago in the company HP Velotechnik was constructed my Street Machine, the recumbent, which since has been on my whole trip a reliable tool. Sure such constant loads causes it’s wearout, but there was never a defect that would have forced us to put the bike on a truck or something like that or to fly in special recumbent spare parts. And after more than 40000km it still is fun to drive with the Street Machine. At a very pleasant meeting, I can share my experiences of the long-term test to the developers, and thankfully I get some worn parts replaced free of charge.

Now there are approximately 200km to friends in Thuringia, another approximately 200km to friends in Saxony-Anhalt, then as much again to Berlin. Three short sections, interspersed with short breaks and reunions.

„From Querfurt by bike?“ two boys ask me unbelievingly. Querfurt is 20km away. Only after they have asked three times, they realize that I really want to travel all the way to Berlin, yet just over 200km, by bicycle. Including the fact that I can’t easily understand the mumbled dialect of Saxony-Anhalt of one of the boys, the same dialogue, as everywhere in the world.

Having the euphoric feeling of managed the circumnavigation of the globe, the bike rolls on its own in glorious spring weather. On my stop in Saxony-Anhalt Denise surprises me with her visit – a great joy after I was alone once again in the past 2 months for more than 4000km. Everything is perfect.
There is a sharp break, as we witness how a serious friend severely injures in an accident with not foreseeable, but possibly long-term consequences. As I currently can not be helpful, I continue my tour the next day. Occasionally I am asked what was the worst experience of the journey. This just happened shortly before the finish line. The good mood is gone. It does not roll on its own. Headwind. I try to repress the incident, at least for the moment, because it is approaching my big day, but it does not work.

The last night I spend with my parents at the gates of Berlin. On April 19th, 2009 I cycle into the city and after 42.148 kilometres cycled the circle closes where everything started on October 14th, 2006 with Maik, at the Weltzeituhr (clock showing places and its time arround the world) on Alexanderplatz. Cairo is on it, Tokyo, Panama and Rio de Janeiro. I drove around the clock. Some good friends receive me. A friend painted a welcome sign with a total mileage, which attracts the attention of bystanders and a photographer of the Berliner Kurier. This brings us a pleasant meeting with interested reporters in the next days („Tour de Welt“, Berliner Kurier vom 24.4.09).

The world on recumbents – a big, taking a lot of time project is finished. Unbelievable. So much I have seen and experienced, visualized the world with my own eyes, parts of the world I intensively got to know. There still is much to see. But for now I’m looking forward for an end of the nomadic life and the conveniences of everyday life in Germany, little things for us, but not everywhere matters of course.
The biggest of the trip is that I was able to realize a long-cherished dream, what unfortunately probably too few people can say of himself.


pictures to this article: Barcelona/Spanien – Berlin/Deutschland : Fotos
press: Berliner Kurier, Berlin/Deutschland, 24.04.2009, „Tour de Welt“

23. Mai 2009 - Tom | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

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