Monthly Archives: October 2014

Statue

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This is the statue of Hendrik Lorentz,
the physicist who contributed towards the engineering of the dike and the pumping stations to evacuate the water. His calculations for the tidal flows and forces made the feat possible. In fact, the entire project was completed early and was less troublesome than expected. He’s looking inland rather than out to sea, which I thought was a little strange?

The statue is located where the dike was sealed by the last bucket of till. Till is a form of clay dredged from the local waterways, used to coat the sand used in the construction on the Dike. The top layer of grass is kept by sheep, which do a better job of compacting than cattle. So it says anyway!

What an amazing technical achievement to see built in your lifetime as a local eh?

Talking of technical, for some reason my email account has been disabled and I can’t unlock it with my phone. It means I have to update the blog by web page online, which is a real pain! At least it’s near the end of the trip, and hopefully not long before I can get to a ‘real’ computer. They also have WiFi at the ferry port 🙂

Press conference

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I’ve just had my first press conference! Jouke’s friend Ubbo from the local paper came round to interview me. Jouke acted as translator for me and it was a lot of fun. They took some pictures and particularly liked my Viking helmet!

I’m not sure when the next issue is out, maybe Friday or Tuesday? Either way, I’ve given Ubbo the blog address and if it’s printed there’s a chance my blog might just tip a million views! I’m only short by 970,000, which I get the impression may be their circulation!

Or was it 970? Or maybe 97? I’m not good with numbers.

Harlingen

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I found a great B&B in Harlingen, on the coast of Holland. The owners Jouke & Karin have really looked after me, recommending a good restaurant last night and just chatting in general. They have informed the local press about my trip, so I now have my first press conference booked in!

Harlingen itself is a nice quiet town with plenty to sea (pun intended!). Lots of wooden sailing boats in the harbour and on the canals, Harlingen will be host to a huge tall ship regatta in 2018. More tall ships than Amsterdam, which is important apparently!

I’ve just realised that this is my first B&B of the trip. I told Jouke it was the best of the whole trip! In fairness though, I’ve stayed in a few other B&Bs in the past – and I have to say his place is excellent.

Windmill at Bad Zwischenahn

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Yesterday was OK weather wise, even sunny at times. This morning I’m greeted with a familiar sky, completely grey. No discernable edges to the clouds and no colour. It’s like an unfinished painting where the sky has yet to be done.

It’s fairly typical of the location and time of year, another sign that I’m really not far from home now. My American friends have completed their journey, and this week will see me compete mine – I hope!

I’ll push into Holland today and maybe the north coast if the weather’s not too bad. I’d like to see the dike (dyke?) and explore some of the part that’s not Amsterdam. I’ve only been to Amsterdam and I’m curious as to what else lies in Holland.

Cigarettes anyone?

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It’s interesting to see the different attitudes towards smoking and drinking in different countries. In Sweden a lot if people use chewing tobacco, popping it under their gums. I don’t know of anyone from the UK that does it, I’ve never even seen it done by strangers.

In Denmark and Germany they haven’t banned smoking in pubs. (Or if they have, nobody takes any notice!). For the first time in a while I smelt stake cigarette smoke on my clothes, not something I’ve missed at all! However, sit outside for lunch and you’re not eating next to a load of smokers. No easy answer is there?

What surprised me most was the cigarette machines on the streets. I thought it was pretty bad that anyone could buy them, with no checks in place for age restrictions. (Save the height of the coin slot I suppose). However, when I took this photo tonight I noticed the driving licence reader. Effectively that makes it 17+ to buy them from the machine. I wonder if it’s a new thing, or if I just didn’t notice it on the other machines??

Bad Zwischenahn

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Not the best of names for a place, especially considering that apart from the campsite, there’s nothing particularly bad about it. I had a false start today as I left my spot at the campsite in Lübeck. I was half way to Hamburg when I realised, so I nipped back to fetch it. Another 80km or so won’t make any difference in the big scheme of things.

Bad Zwischenahn looks very posh, there’s lots of topiary in the gardens. Plenty of sports bikes around so I’m guessing there’s some good twisty roads nearby. I had my eye out for the cops, as they tend to go hand in hand with bikers having fun. I didn’t choose here as a stopping point, I was going to stay in Bremen. Bremen is where Becks larger is brewed and I don’t mind the odd Becks.

I had a campsite planned out on the island in the middle of Bremen city. Unfortunately when I arrived I found that the island is pedestrian and the campsite was a 2km walk in. I don’t mind the walk but carrying all my gear would be impossible. I couldn’t get WiFi anywhere so I blasted up the road some more.

After a lot of looking I finally found a campsite here. There’s no WiFi of course! Looks like I’m incommunicado for the day!