After leaving Copenhagen we slept in a service area, and continued down the E45 and then to the A7 into Germany. We stopped at an Aldi in Germany and got over excited by the lower price of food. We even had avocado gasp emoticon
I had arranged to meet with Kal, an old friend from Leeds who’d recently moved to Hamburg, so we got his address details and met him at his apartment. We managed to park the truck right outside, visible from the room we were sleeping in so I was happy! It was great to catch up with Kal, we went out for Vietnamese food which was nice but Kal paid cash and the waitress helped herself to a hefty tip – instead of bringing back the change she popped it straight into her purse! Shaz and Kal were not having any of this haha. The waitress did still end up with a decent tip though, but a voluntary one! We had a couple of beers back at the apartment, sleeping on his comfy couch.
We had planned to leave after getting breakfast with Kal in the morning as he had some friends flying in in the afternoon, but instead pinched some of his cereal and went out sightseeing with Kal. We saw the typical sights of Hamburg including climbing the steps up the St Michaels Church tower (wasn’t keen on the height but if I can handle Preikestolen…) had a coffee at starbucks and had a good walk around the city. It was mainly chucking it down with rain, and having spent the last few years in Dubai, Kal was not impressed and by the time he’d ended up having to buy an umbrella I think he was close to just jumping in a cab heading for the airport! He battled through though and we decided to go with him to meet his friends who had just arrived.
At the Radisson where they were staying, it was still our plan to say hello then make our way back to the truck and push on. But ‘Big Ni Hao’ as she was known bought us all beers and started making plans for a night out. Within about 10 seconds it was clear we were not leaving and Shaz and I were very happy to gatecrash their night out.
We made our way across town heading for the St Pauli area of Hamburg and were surprised to see lots of police presence around, as we approached St Pauli the police presence was unbelievable, what seemed like hundreds of police vans, riot trucks, water cannons and armoured vehicles either lining the streets or driving in huge convoys, lights and sirens blasting! Turns out it is the annual Schanze Riots, I quick google suggested it was a historic protest of right wing vs left wing but in more recent times had turned into something more meaningless and violent. Some video’s showed petrol bombs, burning cars and violent clashes with police! We stopped for food at a pub and then started bar hopping. At one point, we could hear a lot of commotion and went outside, we could see a long line of riot police advancing steadily away down one of the main streets – but didn’t witness any violence.
The beers flowed and we ended up in some crazy bar, blasting German singalong pub music, it was hilarious and we had a great time. Toward the end of the night we were in a dance club that was packed and still having a blast. I think we drank too much beer though, and Shaz and I sloped off about 1:30am getting a taxi back to Kals flat.
Sunday, the morning after, all 3 of us were a little worse for wear. Sharon perhaps more so. Kal and I went out for coffee and let Shaz get another hours rest before bring her back a cappuccino. We headed back out into town as it was supposed to be the main riot day, but aside from some strange people trying to be antisocial, but just looking like douches, it was quiet. Turns out the previous night was the main event and it had been much more subdued than previous years. The weather however was glorious, 21C! We stayed out most of the day, having ice creams, coffees and dinner out. We got back to Kals early evening and he convinced us it was pointless to leave, might as well get a good nights sleep and leave early in the morning as he would be up anyway for work. Kal had an early night and Shaz and I jumped onto the metro into town and had a late dinner.
Monday morning Kal was up early for work, we said our goodbyes and got ourselves ready. Had breakfast at the same café Kal and I had been to the morning before, then hit the road in the truck and headed for Calais.
Cheers Kal it was a blast mate smile emoticon
We did 500k that day and made it almost to Belgium, sleeping in a secluded car park in a really posh area on the outskirts of Breda. We booked the Eurostar. Sad frown emoticon
Tuesday we made it to Calais and we were allowed on to an earlier train. We battled with ourselves trying to understand why we were going back. But we have plans to go to Canada/USA, we want to make changes to the truck and a few other reasons added up to make it sensible to go home. 30 mins later we were back on British soil.
We worked our way along the south coast, Dover, Brighton, then calling in on friends Lisa and John in Yeovil, then Anna and James in Penzance, before the slog back up north to home, Mold. My mum had waited up to meet us!
7700miles, 62 days, 8 countries. Why aren’t we still out there???
To be continued..