Thursday, 24 August 2017


I was due to go to Hanover for my 3 month's check-up; when I went to book the flight British Airways had doubled the cost! I had a look around, and discovered I could fly to Berlin and take a train to Hanover for less than the cost of flying direct, plus I could do a bit of sightseeing in Berlin on the way. Of course I then had the additional cost of a hotel in Berlin, but I've never pretended to be logical ;)

Anyway, the Wednesday lunchtime flight went fine, I found a nice hotel near the centre, dropped my bags and went out to eat. Luckily, Happy Cow showed a vegan vietnamese restaurant one block from my hotel, where I had a delicious bowl of noodle curry soup then retired to the hotel - oh and it was a pleasant 26degC much better than the cold and rain I'd left behind in London.

Next morning was bright and sunny so I got up early and went out for a walk to explore the town. First monument was the Jewish memorial, thousands of blocks in a random pattern.

Next stop the famous Brandenberger gate. I then crossed the road and walked through a park that had some more monuments - all of them on a very large scale.

 After walking around the park for a few hours I was getting peckish, so out came the Happy Cow app to find, yes, another vegan Vietnamese restaurant not far from the Jewish monument, so it was another delicious bowl of noodle curry soup.  On the way back to the hotel I stumbled upon a massive shopping mall so wandered in and was entertained by a group of locals trying to dance the tango in the central square. I spent an hour or so amusing myself watching them, then strolled back to the hotel where I had a nice early night.

Next morning I decided to try and find Checkpoint Charlie and some history of the wall; the weather wasn't so great but a pleasant walk downtown and I found the place, complete with a couple of embarrassed German 'performance artists' pretending to be US soldiers for the tourist cameras.

Adjacent to the checkpoint was an interesting little museum that had various videos and photos  that explained the history of the division of Berlin and subsequent events - most interesting and I spent a few hours there.
Section of wall

After leaving the checkpoint area I walked up towards the river, intending to visit some museums, but admit that on the way I came across a massive Volkswagen showroom - I hadn't realised that VW own Bugatti, Ducati, Bentley, Lamborghini amongst others, so spent a good hour kicking tyres and getting in and out of high-end vehicles I could never afford. Oh and I found a perfect replacement for the ailing engine in my Jeep ;)

By now it had started to rain, as I strolled back towards the hotel I came to Alexanderplatz, a square surrounded by shopping mall but with some kind of festival going on, so I spent the evening wandering around the food stalls sampling vegan snacks and listening to music. A pleasant evening then back late to the hotel and bed.

Saturday was my last full day in Berlin so I decided to visit the island on the river that has 5 museums; unfortunately being Saturday every other tourist in Berlin had the same idea! As I'm not good with crowds I just visited the beautiful cathedral, walked up to the viewing platform for stupendous views then down and away from the area.

Luckily I had kept in contact with a young lady I had met while hiking on the Canary Islands last year; Mara lives in Berlin so we had arranged to meet up on Saturday afternoon. She and boyfriend took me out for a vegan meal then we visited a few bars. They were nice, he was a bit intense, wanting to discuss politics so after a few orange juices I made my excuses and went back to the hotel and bed.

Sunday morning and time to catch the train to Hanover. Nice train, left on time (of course!!) and I had a pleasant 2 hour ride through the countryside to my destination. I'd had a great time in Berlin, now to settle down to a week's treatment at Dr Wolf's clinic.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Infinitely adjustable means infinite wrong positions ;)

Well this started off as a fairly boring post ("Hahaha - They're all boring you silly old git") discussing the problems I'm having getting my handlebar adjustment correct, but then as I went out for a ride to check the latest minute incremental adjustment I'd made, I came across a small car & bike show in a field in Billericay. Hoping against hope that I might bump into Tricky Dickie and his Cortina ## I braved the wet grass of the car park and had a quick look round.

Higher, comfy seat (with black cat)

Front tyre not knobbly

Rear tyre not knobbly

Infinitely adjustable bars......
Unfortunately it seemed as if a lot of people had left due to the thunderstorm I'd just ridden through (!), but there were still a few little gems scattered around.
Plastic 3-wheelers

And his stereo goes up to 11

Monster truck rides

Not sure about this?
 Got chatting to a custom bike fabricator, really impressed with his work, all his bikes looked as if you could actually ride them.
Nice little custom Harley

Custom originally an Aprilia RSV - nice fabricated forks

Bandit 600 with a twist

After an hour or so I'd seen everything twice, and could see another storm heading my way so I once again braved the wet grass ( well I have just changed the tyres from knobblies to street ) and set off home through the country lanes. A pleasant and unexpected little ride-out.

## Ian Dury & the blockheads 'new boots & panties' album track 5