Finally holiday! After working for two days last week I prepared myself for the trip to Wuppertal (Germany). Preparations means, doing some shopping, creating a route, uploading the maps to the GPS, getting things ready, lubricating the chain, mounting a new set of front tires and cleaning and polishing the bike. Besides that I lay down on the couch and relaxed.
Last week I borrowed the Radical Design Cyclone Bicycle Trailer from Georg Dekkinga as preparation for my trip to Wuppertal (a week of Biblestudy in Germany with the subject: "A much better Covenant") and my participation in Euro Tour 2013. Last Saturday I packed up a few things (like my tent, sleeping gear and some clothes) in the trailer and cycled to my youngest brother Ewout in Stadskanaal. He is also going to Wuppertal and he is willing to bring this stuff.
Early this year I mentioned that the Euro Tour 2013 was canceled and that I was looking for an alternative. This eventually turned into my joining a stripped down version of the original Euro Tour 2013, Plan B. In stead of 100+ riders there are now (only) 32. But I'm not going to join them for the entire trip because the first week I will be in Wuppertal (Germany) for my (other) holiday. After that I'm cycling to Igel (close to the Luxembourg border) in two days and I will be joining the group for the last five days back to Leer (Germany).
Last Pentecost it was already the tenth time the hitchhiking contest of improvisation club Ulteam was held. The previous editions took us to Berlin, Bruges, Trier, Lille, Århus, Brussels, Cologne, Gent and Heidelberg. Where we end up this year was to be revealed Thursday night at midnight during the traditional hitchhike drink in the local cafe. The organizer of the weekend, Liesje Lift, couldn't make it. But Marco and Anneke, her helpers, were present. After a exciting quiz this year's destination was guessed correctly. We were going to Poznań (Poland)!
Don't worry, I'm still alive. It's just that the last couple of days it was raining and you don't get out much then. Yesterday the rain wasn't that bad, so in the morning I went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as suggested by a local New Yorker friend. The had a exhibition of Frans Hals, a famous Dutch painter. First we got a tour from a lady who could tell us a great deal about his paintings.
Yesterday was a relaxing day for me. Should be after the long to the day before. Sleeping in a bit, updating my blog and reading up on some ROAM posts and videos. Around dinner time I went three blocks up the road to Mama Pizzeria. I ordered the small one of 16 inch, but that turns out to be something like 40 centimeters, it's huge! Fortunately there were enough hostel guests who wanted to help me eat the thing.
Yesterday the 14 hour tour of New York City's highlights was scheduled. At 10 AM we gathered into a group of 22 people. Jerry, our guide, was a old geezer of around 75 years who did this walk twice a week brining tourists from the hostel to explore New York. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, China Town, Little Italy and everything in between. It's impossible to describe everything from a 14 hour tour into a short blog post, so I won't even try.
Last night there was a BBQ with a DJ, a band and later that night stand-up funny men. The night started with a free beer followed by a (not so free) hamburger with salad, a cookie, chips and a drink. The food was good and the music was swinging. There were a few local rappers and other talents who made the night swing. I also met some new people and will probably go to a bar somewhere to listen to some music with one of them next week.
New York City! After taking the 7:15 AM bus and the metro to Union Station in Washington I took the train to The Big Apple. A journey of around 3:20 hours. The trip wasn't that bad. I got to rest a bit and enjoy the scenery going by. When entering New York City I could immediately see the damage hurricane Irene left behind (I guess, she did it). Intersections were flooded and other business parks were not accessible. In the distance you could see the tall buildings and moments later we went underground and ended up at Penn Station.