It is 6:30 am, I am looking down the hill to a small pond surrounded by reeds. There are ducks on the water and from the water’s edge a small deer has fixed me with a frozen stare. The weather is perfect, still windy though. This is the life, only the sounds of nature and solitude. I pack up, check the bike – puncture front tyre, couldn’t care, life is still good.
I cycled less than a mile and had to stop. I was surrounded by small managed lakes teeming with wildlife. Ducks of numerous variety, swans, rabbits, hare and more deer. No wonder the gentleman had wanted me to move up the hill into the trees to camp. I had no idea I was on the edge of what is probably a wildlife sanctuary.
I cycled through beautiful lanes to Harpstedt. Well maintained and profitable farms abound. There is a fair amount of intensive pig rearing going by the telltale odours. There is money in this area. The photo below is of a bus stop. Would you actually want the bus to arrive with these facilities?
Similarly there seems to be no expense spared even for the birds when they are waiting for the bus.
Every bus stop has a cycle stand adjacent to it. The process being that bus passengers cycle from home, part their bikes, have a picnic and never get wet whilst waiting for a bus that always arrives within one minute of the timetable. German efficiency!
Now in Harpstedt with it’s red brick church:-
And working windmill:-
This town, with cobbles streets, void of litter, with a place for everything, reminds me of a German town north of Adelaide in Australia, build by German immigrants to remind them of their Fatherland.
All the traffic that hasn’t been around this morning was forming massive traffic jams through the suburbs of Bremen. Just to confirm that my initial reluctance to embrace the cycle ways of Germany is now history. I have cycled only for a few miles actually on a road with other vehicles and whenever, which is frequently, a cycle path crosses adjacent roads ALL motorised vehicles give way, unless traffic lights say otherwise, or your the young driver three days ago coming up a slip road off the motorway looking in the wrong direction. Your face was a study in horror, as you thought you were about to exterminate an old English cycling git. The cycle paths are wonderful, but progress is considerably slower, although so much safer, ( when drivers are vigilant). This means that none of the traffic congestion affects cyclists, this in turn encourages more to cycle. Hence the thousands of cycles.
I’m now in a hostel for a few nights and have swapped the sounds of nature and solitude for the sounds of trams, trains, buses, cars and aircraft. The positives are, no tics and no cyclist eating dogs.