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Journal for 9-06-2007 : Augustfelde

Rest day. Lovely camp ground by a lake. Lovely warm weather. Bored silly :-).

Actually it was a pretty full day. I slept in a bit, after initially waking with the sun at 4:30am. Washed all my clothes, then tried out the restraunt. I got a massive pork schnitzel (twice the size of a standard Aussie dinner plate with a side of fried potatoes, and I washed it down with a large glass (by European standards) of German beer.

Now all this may sound disgusting except perhaps for the beer, but the beer was definitely the worst part of the meal. My schnitzel was really tender and moist, almost like a crumbed pork fillet only larger. The side looked small compared to the schnitzel, but would have made a meal on it's own. As an outlander I was offered French fries or vegetables, but I asked for the most German dish so I got the fried spuds. They were delicious too, slightly undercooked potatoes fried with onion and bacon. It took me over an hour to devour that lot. As for the beer, well it was probably ok as beer goes, but I was reminded why I don't drink the stuff (definitely not enough un-fermented sugar!).

Went for a walk by the lake to burn off lunch. Found a shady spot and had a snooze instead.

German Roads:
There are 4 types of German roads: Autobahns, Primary Roads, Secondary roads and tertiary roads.

Autobahns: The original freeways. Famously they have no speed limits. They are not needed because there is so much traffic no-one drives more than 90kph on them.

Primary Roads: Funded federally (I think) they are two lane roads that usually (but not always) carry heavy traffic (ie enough to make cycling unpleasant). They are built to a minimum lane width, about one truck width + 0.5m. These are the only roads I've seen which have signed route numbers.

Secondary Roads: Provincially funded, most roads fall into this category. Built to a minimum standard with a lane width about one truck +0.01m. All have the standardised German signage.

Tertiary Roads: This is where France and Germany differ the most. Municipally funded, in most cases use of tertiary roads is discouraged. Only on very rare occasions do they have signs, other than "keep out, locals excepted". They are usually one lane wide, usually paved with smooth asphelt, but sometimes (particularly in forests where no-one can see) they may be dirt or gravel. In some places they are made of pavers, and occasionally parve. Where they form part of a recognized bike route (Germany is covered with them) there is usually minimal signage to show the bike route. Many of these roads don't appear on maps. In one case, what had been a standard 2 lane road had a lane removed so this "road" could form part of the Wesser Radweg (bike way).

About 70% of German primary and secondary roads have bike paths next to them. It's clearly part of the road standard, and I suspect a relatively recent addition. A lot of these paths have better surfaces than their parallel roads, and look relatively new. The older paths had some typical bike path problems: tree root cracks, subsidence potholes etc. I had read it is mandatory in Germany to use the path if it exists, but if that is true then that rule is not enforced.

In the cities and towns cyclists are expected to use the footpaths. Curiosly, cyclists seem to have more rights on the footpath than on the road. If a cyclist crosses a road from a footpath, everyone else had to (and does) stop for the cyclist. However when on the road I frequently had people turn out in front of me when I clearly had right of way. And at intersections when I'm stopped, everyone else goes first, regardless of yield or stop signs. Had I approached the intersection from the footpath then I'd have gone first.

Also, in the north of Germany most roads have mileposts, every 100 metres!

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