Checkpoint Charlie – Check
Posted by TravellingStrom on July 12, 2012
Mayan Prophecy Countdown
So much for an early start, I slept in :oops: But, I was not worried, with only a few hours to get to Berlin to start with. I packed up and said hooray to the others, check out (English)Andys hack, it is a Ural and he has replaced the motor with a Daihatsu diesel motor, a slow but sure way to get around, he was heading to the southern Georgia area for a bike rally. The others were heading back to Denmark after playing in the Alps :)
So I head off with the last view of the castle and then into the mish mash of country roads and detours that I ran into on my entry to this area. If they want tourists, they may want to fix that as it is quite confusing, covering 20km to get 5, hopeless without a SatNav, but I guess a major road or bridge is undergoing repairs, so maybe it is only short term.
Once I did find the slab it was pretty fast running although I stopped frequently to double check my chain oiler, I am remapping it and need to find the dry/wet spot :) Once that point is found it is a simple procedure to add extra oil with a few button presses during rain, and of course I found some of that on the way in big heavy showers now and then.
So, mid afternoon I get into Berlin with no idea where to go, lol. So, I checked my GPS and wonders of wonders, it had The Brandenburg Gate as a POI, so that was easy, follow that and find a park and get a few photos, a very impressive structure it is too.
The only bummer was the stage being erected in front of it which spoiled the photo and the thumb of the picture taker, I will have to remember to tell them about that next time! So, then next item on my agenda was Checkpoint Charlie, this was the main crossing point between east and west Berlin when the wall was up and is quite famous, I also found that by using the GPS and it was only 1km away, so another few photo opportunities and I also paid a few bob to get my passport stamped :) It was actually 2Euro for the photos with the honorary guards and 5Euro for the stamps, worth it but!
Just as I was packing up to move a thunderstorm hit so I bolted, I did get some of it but missed the main event that was just behind me, lucky I was going the right direction! BUT, because of that I forgot to go see the WALL memorial, bugger, oh well, another reason to return ;) So, my next port of call or destination was going to be the Salt Cathedral in Warsaw, Poland. It was not going to happen today as I originally intended to stay in Berlin but as I do, I changed my mind on the fly. So I wanted to get as far as possible into Poland before finding a place to stay. I was now in “have to get to Russia” mode in my mind. Every day of July I spend outside of Russia is another wasted day on my visa and it cannot be renewed. I was actually confused while heading east, because the signs kept pointing me towards Frankfurt, but as I got closer to the border I realised the bit on the end in brackets on the signs (oder) must mean a different Frankfurt to where I had been before :)
Once I crossed the river I entered Poland, the usual border line being a river and high tailed it north. I kept riding until quite late as although there were a few rain events, I was dry and comfortable. I have a different attitude to rain now, I see it coming and don’t care, weras before I was looking for cover or somewhere to hole up for the night. That does not mean that I like riding in foul weather, but general rain is not an issue. I ended up calling it a night when I saw a sign for a pension, it was next to a lake and seemed OK. They had a bar, food and WiFi, all the basic necessities of a tired world traveller. I could not understand the menu, but managed to get beer and some snags and chips, not a bad result for the day :)
It was here during the evening that I looked up the Salt cathedral and found I was way off track!!!! In fact it was near the town of Cracow, 400km south of me not near Warsaw at all, so I totally stuffed up there. All this hard fast riding is making me make mistakes, my bucket list of things I missed doing is getting bigger by the day! Never mind, I still have to negotiate the rest of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia before I can enter Russia. I do not have a visa for Belarus nor the Ukraine, or I would have taken a short cut ;)