I’m half way to Nordkapp! Come back later for the full story of cycling day 50…
Have you come back? Good. Then let me finish off this post… It’s now Sunday evening and a full three days after cycling day 50 has finished. Obviously that evening I arrived in Hamburg to meet up with my teacher friends Dominic and Annet who I hadn’t seen for (I think) 8 years. Writing lengthy website posts wasn’t a priority all weekend in afraid but here goes; what can I remember?
I didn’t really follow the HH-HB route as I wanted to take more direct route into Hamburg so stuck mainly to the straight roads heading north. As such it made for some pretty uneventful cycling [that’s a useful excuse as to not giving too much detail Andrew, three days after the event!]. Hamburg is, I presume, Germany’s second biggest city (I could be wrong!) so the suburbs were pretty extensive. What makes the suburbs of Hamburg a little more interesting are the docks that are just a stone’s throw from the city centre. A large family of port cranes sit on the southern bank of the Elbe making for an unmistakable skyline as you approach from the south. Around the port is, of course, extensive industry – you can see some of it in the pictures below – but as with much of German industry it lacks the shabby, run down look of much of industry elsewhere on the European continent. Germany is a country where they not only have an industrial mite but they look after it. Not much of what I saw as I cycled a tortuous path through the factories, warehouses, oil storage tanks and the like was ‘ugly’ in a way that such installations in many other countries are and are well avoided. It was an interesting cycle, much more so than the first two-thirds of the cycle along the roads leading into the city.
I crossed the Elbe via the old tunnel that is now little used by cars and mainly given over to pedestrians and cyclists. Large lifts do still take cars down and up the entrance shafts but they are outnumbered by a considerable factor by those choosing two legs or two wheels. Currently one of the two tunnels is closed for refurbishment meaning that traffic, including cycling traffic, can only be used in one direction at certain periods. When I arrived it was from north to south so I was left to push Reggie the few hundred metres to the other side. (I was to revisit the tunnel on Saturday with my hosts as a tourist.)
The not insignificant (albeit very nominal) half way point of the trip was passed at just before 1pm outside the rathause in central Hamburg when my Cyclemeter app told me that I had cycled 3,750 km since leaving Tarifa. My calculation of 7,500 km for the entire trip from Tarifa to Nordkapp was very much back-of-the-envelope if you remember but I don’t think it was a bad estimation. I’m maintaining my average of 75 km/day so I’m on track to cycle 7,500 km by the end of cycling day 100. It will be interesting to see if I am anywhere near Nordkapp at the time…
The 3,750 km point wasn’t, of course, the end of the day. It was another 15 km to Dominic and Annet’s beautiful house in the north-eastern suburbs. Once we had had the chance to catch up there remained just one thing to do; deposit Reggie at the local bike shop for a full service. Once back at the house it was finally time to relax and celebrate getting half way across the continent. Perhaps.