|Welcome to Europe|
We left Sri Lanka more than one month ago, and it seams already two years that we left Asia. It was a long discussion where to go. You know, Sri Lanka is an island and from there you can only fly. We discussed a lot if and where to continue our journey in Asia, maybe China, Vietnam and so on. But Mascha did not want to miss her annual family meeting near Berlin in middle june, so we decided to fly to Europe and chose to fly to Amsterdam, because we didn't want to finish our journey flying directly to Munich or Berlin, we wanted to cycle also a bit in Europe, to taste the difference. Moreover Matteo has a couple of friends and cousins living in Benelux, and it was the right occasion to visit them. Sο, we booked the cheapest fly to Amsterdam (370 Euro each, bicycle included...not bad!) and we came back to the western civilization.
Our flight had a stop of 7 hours in Bruxell. In Asia we ("Wait, wait, shouldn't it be Matteo?!?") were used to eat really a lot, because every 50 meters there was someone who was selling delicious food at really cheap prices (at least for an european tourist). Moreover, after a couple of months a cycling traveller usually develops a super-speed-metabolism, and needs to eat much and often ("Stop again, shouldn't it be Matteo at least this time?!?"). The problem was that two unenployed travellers could not substain such a metabolism in an European airport, and defenitvely not in that of Bruxell. That was our first contact with Europe, and we had a price shock and also a "fashion" shock: everyone seemed to be perfectly dressed and to have a special taste for expensive fashion. For the first time we mentioned that we were wearing the same cloths since 6 months. Anyway, Matteo tried to buy something at Starbuks, the only thing that was not a posh lounge restaurant in the airport. They asked him 7.80€ for a sandwich with some cheese and ham. He refused to pay such a fucking price for such a shit, and he started his personal hunger strike against the Bruxells airport. At least Italy is still immune from horrible chains like Starbucks. They do not dare to open a shop in Italy and ask 2€ for a bad espresso or 4€ for a disgusting "capucino" that they are so stupid that they do not know that capuCCino is written with two fucking "c"! If they try to open in Italy we should set the shop on fire! We already missed our chance when they opened McDonald or Burger King, and now they are espanding. We should not repeat the mistake again!
- End of the rush-
|cle transport in Amsterdam|
|The first real "carbonara" after 7 months|
|Matteo forced his friend Stefano into a barber shop.|
|Would you recognize him???|
|A crazy house we almost rented|
In Brussels we spent some hours wandering around the city, visiting the European Parliament and marvelling at the art nouveau houses. The craziest one of them was for rent and we almost decided to move to Burssels just to live in this tiny slice.
|Matteo, his cousin Federico and their gran-gran-father|
|Holland- three kind of tracks: horses, bicycles and pedestrians|
After a night out in Amsterdam we returned to Leiden (near Amsterdam where Guido lived) at 7:00 in the morning. Unfortunately this was the Sunday we actually planed to leave for Berlin. Well said - done we left very late afternoon. The next Sunday, we where already in Berlin. Not bad for 800 km (and one day-off because of rain)! The Neatherlands are a cyclist's paradise with a lot of cycletracks and maps on every corner. Sometimes, it was too much even for us. For exemple when we rode through a national park. There were three kind of tracks: one for pedestrians, on for cyclists and one for horses. Incredible!!!
|Somewhere in Westfalia...|
|Germany is surprisingly green!|
Because of earlier experiences, Mascha was a bit conserned about the fast traffic in Germany and about the drivers who are not willing to break for cyclists. Well, this might be the case in deet, but after some months in Iran, India and Sri Lanka German traffic was quiet and smooth for us. The streets seemed to be empty after the masses of people in Asia, even Berlin seemed to have lost it's inhabitants.
|Summer in North Germany|
We saw some opjects of virtue as well. Such as this former call booth, which serves now as a free library or book store, where everybody can put books inside or take some. We got a play by Brecht.
Or this house on the right. The owner seems to have a strong need for security.
|Architecture at the border to Brandenburg|
|Mascha's experiments on Matteo's head go on|
Neverthelass Matteo won the second price in the table tennis contest.
|Lovely breackfast on "the foil" -the master piece of our equipment|
And now, after a stop in Munich, we are on the way to Padova! Trough the Alps, into the summer!!!