Day 9: Bremen to Hamburg to Hendstedt-Ulzburg

The station square in Bremen wasn’t as noisy as last night. Occasional breaking of glass (possibly bottles) but few crowds. Bremen Hauptbahnhof was busy, with lifts that only just take bikes – and still people trying to cram themselves in when the lifts are clearly full.

We aimed to take the 10:33 ‘Regional’ (RE) train to Hamburg but that was horribly delayed, so we took a 10:58 ‘Metronom’ (ME) train. The main difference between the two that I can see is that MEs are painted pus-yellow on the outside. In one or two carriages there are ground floors with about 14 bike spaces. I guess that’s normally enough but with two or three trains’ worth of passengers it was seriously crowded. There were no openable windows, so we sweltered! I think I half-emptied my camel in only 90 minutes.

Leaving Hamburg was challenging for a moment because my phone was too hot to function – or so it told me. Even when it cooled enough to work, there was enough glare to make the screen invisible half the time. So I’m not convinced we’ve arrived in Hendstedt-Ulzburg by the most efficient route.

Actually, knowing Google Maps, we didn’t. If there is a cycle-path parallel to a road, GM will insist on the road. In Germany this may not be a bad thing because the majority of German cycle-paths (in my experience, which is obviously not a statistically significant sample) are made of lumpy brick. When there is tarmac, it has gaps filled with sand, and it’s on the left side of the road with no guarantee that if the road forks there will be a cycle path on the fork you want.

Hence I should have learnt this, or printed it on a maillot: Wenn Sie Radwege aus arschschmerzhaftem Kopfsteinpflaster auf der falschen Straßenseite und ohne Beschilderung bauen, werde ich die Asphaltstraße benutzen – und Sie können sich die Hupe in den Arsch stecken!

And here’s another one for big cities everywhere: Das stimmt! Park deinen vierrädrigen Todeswagen auf dem Radweg, du Wichser.

Anyway, we made a reasonable (for this trip and these conditions) pace northeast through Hamburg’s suburbs and dormitory towns. Lunch was in Norderstedt, just into Schleswig-Holstein. So we are in our final Land for this part of the trip! And it feels I could have cycled more, but there’s no point in going mad in this heat.

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