Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From France up to England

Friday, 12th of August. Slept quite long, spent some time in the internet and had a nice chat with Elise, so it was 12:30 when I left Elise's and Julien's place. 20 kilometres left up to the ferry harbour, cycled the road Julien had shown me yesterday on Google streetview. Great cycling among the dyke – proper dike, but also arduous (called Dig du Breack). No tourists, only some fishermen. Arrived harbour at 2 P.M. after 775 kilometres since I started in Bamberg, that's the time the ferry goes – damn, but then I learned that checking in needs lots of time anyway. While waiting to enter the ferry I saw some people playing boules.

It's unbelievable how many cars and trucks fit into this ferry! And I was the only cyclist (so I was prominent – many people called out to me, if they identified me, the amazing cyclist). As I had a look at the interiour I felt immediately like being inside Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. People of all ages and sizes (that means height and width), myriad restaurants, casinos and gambling machines for all ages… all offering dissipation and entertainment by spending ones money. Furthermore public address announcement every few minutes, either friendly and impersonal like a hitchhiker's door or so extremely enthusiastic and British. Normal and strange at the same time. Kind of surrealistic. As you can see, I'm not really used to such settings. In my conception you are able to go outside onto deck of the ship.

I had a nice chat with an English lady – thank you for spending some time with me! She told me useful details about England (time zone – the ferry company fooled me as it wrote departure: 4 P.M., arrival: 5 P.M. pretending that the passage would only last one hour…, Great Britain road types and some more). England exerts itself for appearing likeable. When we came within eyeshot, we had a bright side to White Cliffs of Dover.

Looking down on the port of Dover from the Cliffs. This photo was taken by Tom Corser and is © Tom Corser 2009. http://www.tomcorser.com
When I arrived in Dover first I had problems by following the bicycle guiding line at the harbour, then suddenly I realized that it's left-hand traffic in this land which made me totally confused. It went even worse, when I tried to find my route within all this traffic in town, my stomach felt very weird, just knowing I was doing wrong with being on the left. It took me some time to discover how this left hand cycling works, at first I didn't had a behaviour pattern about how to turn to one's right without ending at the right side. It really frightened me and I was close to cry, as I had to act in a way, I knew it is wrong – not even wrong but also extremely dangerous. In my normal life context. It also felt very strange, like being in a mirrored world (and in this way only two-dimensional), which wasn't the – so called – real one, so anything else could appear as maybe being not quite real, too. A weird feeling about when everything is losing its matter and structure and coherence.

Leaving Dover I had a very exhausting cycling upon the hill leading to Dover Castle. Please follow the (not so exhausting) route up to Dover Castle on Google streetmap, by following A254 (maybe you first have to revolve and look in the converse direction) respectively Castle Hill Road and Constable's Road… – What do these cycle path signs mean? Why do they always start and end?

View Larger Map
When you reach the point where Connaught Road goes to the left, have a look to the left and enjoy this great outlook all over Dover! Believe me, it was really high angle. When I tried to cross road and cycle upper road to the right, it once – and only this time! – happened to me, that I ended up at the right side, and while realizing, some fast cars were coming towards me (notice the windy road), it was quite shocking, but not that bad as this constantly feeling of doing or being wrong, to act against the best of my knowledge. I am pretty sure this wasn't about missing faculty of abstraction but about can't trust myself, my knowing, my feelings, my body signs. Shortly after I was able to cool down and inure to this usage.

I like England and the English East coast. I like this old fashioned house building style. It was somehow hilly but easy to cycle, and – big surprise – there was no wind at all. Sometimes I cycled the coast. I cycled through Deal (which is located at the coast), Sandwich (Sandwich ist absolutely great, absolutely worth to come back!) and Ramesgade up to Margate. Great landscape and a beautiful sundown… – They must have another sun as we have at the continent, so bright, it just moved me away.

One of my bike's back end wheel spokes did break, I'm not really sure what to do about. Repairing would probably cost so much, it would be easier to buy a new rim, but in that case I could also wait till the defect enlarges oneself and shows some impact, what it isn't doing right now.

I arrived at today's couchsurfing host Allan's place after sundown (I had cycled around 45 kilometres from Dover), and he offered me a bubble bath – what a great pleasure! I felt extremely good at Allan's place and actually also before. I desired to stay any longer. When talking about, Allan and I agreed, that we would like to spend some more time together.

We spend the evening, or let's better say, the night with tasting much alcohol from all over the world countries, each bottle with its own history. Meaningful experiences about Allan's life. Each sample was accompanied by a song I played on my (right now five string) guitar, which was anyhow connected to the country, some ingredients or any other connection I was able to make (sometimes just a one word connection). I sang and translated Griechischer Wein from popular Austrian singer Udo Jürgens as we tasted Greek wine, I sang Hörst du die Regenwürmer husten? as we tasted original Tequila with worm… It was a remarkable night, magical atmosphere. It was close to 2 A.M when we went to bed, to me that meant I went to my Greek styled room with fine outlook at the coast.


  1. Hey there,
    definitely love your blog :) It's so good to hear (well actuall read) that you're having a good time (most of it is good I guess) and you're meeting nice people :)
    I really enjoyed having you visit and I would love to come visit you one day in Bamberg. :)
    And I will definitely follow your journey on your blog from now on :)
    Franzi :)

  2. JA, das Gefühl, auf einem Fahrrad wie vom andern Stern zu sein, kenn ich. Ich war letzte Woche in Wacken und hatte meine Fahrrad dabei. Da wir wegen später Anreise in der hintersten Ecke des Zeltgeländes mit 30 Minuten Fußweg zur Bühne quasi im Nachbarort campierten, habe ich gelegentlich das Fahrrad genommen. Nun gibt es neben den Fußgängern auf den Wegen natürlich auch jede Menge Fahrzeuge wie Müllwagen, Quads der Serviceteams, Dixi-Reiniger und Rettungswagen, aber gefühlt nur ein einziges Fahrrad...