Circus 2011 2012-08-20

The leaked report of my travels in 2011

I thought I threw "them" off my scent a couple of times but they seem to have tracked me pretty well. Regular checking for "tails" and circling the block wasn't successful.

Some untelligence agencies seem interested in my comings and goings.

Goodness me ... they plotted my major treks.
(Google Map)
Seriously though, this is the "plan" for the tour, originally drafted to line up all the ducks, and updated after completion to show approximately what actually happened.

It's now a post hoc journal.

I've added links and a precis to many places listed for background information. Just for fun, the precis may be in the place's local language.

Some of my own pictures and videos will eventually be linked and available from this page.

Dates are in German and about once a week, or at a change of location, I calculated and noted the approximate sunrise and sunset times so that the tour could make the best use of daylight.

Waypoints as per the map have been coloured and [tagged] with the corresponding letter in the journal. Google Maps will only plan routes for about 20 waypoints. Otherwise I'd have added in another 20 or so interesting waypoints.

2011-04-27 (Mi) Home Packing
Perth 22:30 Fly EK421/EK45 Frankfurt/M 13:15
2011-04-28 (Do)
Frankfurt/M [A] Wait 45 minutes for suitcase because the conveyor keeps getting jammed with luggage
Europcar - pickup rental car
This is not the car you ordered. Upgraded to a Golf TDI.
And, by the way; what's your phone number in Germany? Because you can't hire the car without one.
Frankfurt/M 14:30 Auto 250km / 3h Herne ca. 17:30
Herne [B]
Catch up with friends and prepare for training weeks
  • Settle in. Swap stories.
  • Shop for mobile phone SIM.
  • Buy some comfy shoes for driving.
  • Buy stationery and some provisions for the road and the first week in Belgium.
At least I didn't have to make my bears.
2011-04-29 (Fr)
Sonne 06:05 - 20:41
2011-04-30 (Sa)
2011-05-01 (So)
Herne 13:00 Auto 250km / 3h Tombeek, Belgien ca. 16:00
Overijse-Tombeek [C]

Overijse, aan de bovenloop van de IJse is een uitgestrekte gemeente aan de zuidelijke rand van het Zoniënwoud. Overijse ligt in het Vlaamse Gewest, maakt deel uit van de provincie Vlaams-Brabant en is een ééntalig Vlaamse gemeente zonder taalfaciliteiten.

Overijse bestaat uit zes duidelijk gescheiden woonkernen: Overijse-centrum met daarrond Jezus-Eik, Eizer, Terlanen, Tombeek en Maleizen.


I chose to stay at the Hotel Avalon because of its location. On the "right" side of Brussels to get to the OpenERP training about half an hour away by car and because it's on the other side of the "border" featuring a different language. Not that I can understand Dutch (Vlaams) really any better than the French spoken in Ramillies. I reckoned that I'd be fine as long as I didn't let on that I could speak German. Though even my German is not very good. :-)
2011-05-02 (Mo)
Sonne 06:17 - 21:03
Ramillies [D] OpenERP
09:00-17:30 Functional Training
There's one more guy from Australia taking part. Other than that, most are from surrounding countries.

It's cold in the mornings.

On the second morning, I notice that the car's windscreen has some frost on it. On the third morning, I spend 5 minutes scraping the hard ice off the glass.

Afternoons I cruise around, either shopping for food and beverages or getting a feel for the territory.

Friday lunch is at a restaurant where some of OpenERP's crew join us. The meal, some beer and/or wine doom the rest of the day's training. :-)

2011-05-03 (Di)
2011-05-04 (Mi)
2011-05-05 (Do)
2011-05-06 (Fr)
2011-05-07 (Sa)
Sonne 05:53 - 20:53
Tour - Wavre, Waterloo, Leuven, Spa and Overijse. (And Brussels, unintentionally)
  • But before I go, I stock up on drinks and snacks for the day.
  • Strangely, the Aldi in Overijse doesn't open until about 9 a.m.
  • Carrefour in Waterloo had some fresh bananas for my lunch.
  • People want too much money to look at an old battlefield.
  • I follow my nose to Leuven and find it quite to my liking.
  • Cruise right across the country to Spa which looks very touristy. I don't stop for long. The drive to Spa was more interesting than the destination.
  • Discovered Cherleroi Airport. Nearer to Spa than Brussels.
  • Head back to Waterloo for a burger. Don't ask why Waterloo. I just happened to drive there on the motorway after Spa.
  • I round off the day with a Leffe Brun at a pub in Overijse, just below the war memorial(s),
2011-05-08 (So) Revisit Leuven
  • Seems like a ghost-town on Sunday from mid-morning until well into the afternoon
  • It's a University town. Some of the few locals tell me that students abandon their digs on the weekend for mum's home cooking, etc. and return late on Sunday. Which'd explain the tumbleweeds across the empty plazas.
  • Much of the town was completely destroyed in the first World War. i.e. many of the old buildings are mostly fake
  • Lots of EU money seems to be available to re-create how some people think the place used to look.
2011-05-09 (Mo)
Sonne 06:03 - 21:16
Ramillies [D] OpenERP
09:00-18:00 Technical Training
Some of the faces are the same, including the Aussie's.

Tuesday morning I sleep though my alarms. Wake at 8 a.m. No time for brekky ... quick shower, get dressed and hit the road!

Friday morning is hectic: Packing, checking out and refuelling the car. Then the morning rush hour into Brussels spills over into the side-roads making for a slow run to the final day's training.

Training wraps up on the Friday with a lunch "tour".

2011-05-10 (Di)
2011-05-11 (Mi)
2011-05-12 (Do)
2011-05-13 (Fr)  
Ramillies, 17:30 Auto 250km / 3h Herne, 20:30
Herne [E]

A visit to the Ruhr and to Herne is definitely worthwhile. The city on the Emscher River offers a wide range of leisure and cultural amenities, unique industrial heritage sites and a fascinating mix of architectural styles.

Despite a high population density, the city has lots of green spaces and parks like Geysenberg.

Start of Holiday

Catch up with friends and do some sightseeing in the neighbourhood.
Help friends celebrate their football team's championship win.
Spend some time doing my laundry and other, ordinary things.
2011-05-14 (Sa)
Sonne 05:42 - 21:03
2011-05-15 (So)
2011-05-16 (Mo)
2011-05-17 (Di)
2011-05-18 (Mi)
2011-05-19 (Do)
Herne 10:00 Auto 160km / 2h via Paderborn/Elsen Schlangen 17:00
Schlangen [F] [H]

Schlangen liegt inmitten des Naturparks Eggegebirge und südlicher Teutoburger Wald. In den langen Trockentälern östlich von Schlangen lockt der Blütenteppich des Lerchensporns im Frühling zu einem Besuch.

Die einstige Prachtstraße Fürstenallee verbindet die Ortsteile Schlangen und Oesterholz-Haustenbeck.

Friends and family
2011-05-20 (Fr)
2011-05-21 (Sa)
Quakenbrück [G] Round Trip to meet with friend
Family, friends and sightseeing
  • Visits around Schlangen and Elsen to say hello. Wander around Schlangen while the sun is shining.
  • Drop into a previous home town Schwalenberg and have some lunch at a restaurant between dropping into a brewery shed where they perfected a black-red-gold beer; and other sightseeing to see what is not longer recognizable.
  • A Greek lunch with aunt and uncle in Bad Lippspringe. Doing our bit to support the Greeks who are working.
  • Try to get a wireless Internet connection that's quicker than moss.
  • Shop for a replacement mouse after struggling with a dodgy cable.
  • Noted that the Halberstädter Straße in Paderborn doesn't directly lead to Halberstadt.
2011-05-22 (So)
2011-05-23 (Mo)
2011-05-24 (Di)
2011-05-25 (Mi)
2011-05-26 (Do)
Sonne 05:27 - 21:10
Schlangen 09:00 Auto 425km / 4h Berlin-Steglitz, 15:00
Berlin [I]

That one word says it all.

Friends and sightseeing
2011-05-27 (Fr)
2011-05-28 (Sa)
2011-05-29 (So)
2011-05-30 (Mo)
2011-05-31 (Di)
2011-06-01 (Mi)
Sonne 04:50 - 21:19
Berlin 10:00 Auto 140km / 1,5h Dessau, 11:30
Dessau [J] Technikmuseum Hugo Junkers
Dessau, 15:00 Auto 110km / 2h Halberstadt, 17:00
Halberstadt [K]

Abseits der großen Harzstädte gibt es eine Fülle an Sehenswertem, oftmals noch unentdeckt oder als Geheimtipp bekannt. Nehmen Sie sich die Zeit und gehen Sie auf Entdeckungsreise in der Region rund um Halberstadt.

Family, friends and sightseeing
2011-06-02 (Do)
2011-06-03 (Fr)
2011-06-04 (Sa)
2011-06-05 (So)
2011-06-06 (Mo)
2011-06-07 (Di)
2011-06-08 (Mi)
Sonne 04:45 -21:26
Halberstadt 10:00 Auto 450km / 5h via Merseburg [L] Pilsen, 15:00
Pilsen [M]

Founded in 1295, Pilsen has become a cultural and economic centre of the West Bohemia. It came into prominence in the 19th century after the founding of the Skoda Works Company and the Pilsner Urquell brewery.

Diverted to Merseburg and bought a navigation system (for €139) which knew about Czech roads in detail. While swigging some Müllermilch®, I planned a detailed route along the lesser roads leading me to discover stately mansions, castles, rural landscapes, and some stunning views of Stríbro which suddenly made dodging the oncoming traffic on the narrow roads worthwhile. But I didn't want to dawdle and take lots of my own pictures because I wanted to get into Pilsen before the end of day.

I found my way Hotel Pilsen without any problems. There was a construction site next to the hotel but that didn't stop me from enjoying restful nights. Off-street parking was obviously a bonus as the local parking inspectors were fully occupied writing tickets, clamping and towing.

2011-06-09 (Do) Sightseeing and meet friend
2011-06-10 (Fr)
Sonne 04:53 -21:11
Czeching out Construction workers were busy next door, and their service vehicles hadn't left enough space at the end of the one-way street for me to leave. I effectively communicated my wishes and the workers cheerfully provided a passage without a single word being misunderstood.
Pilsen 12:00 Auto 370km / 4h via Regensburg Dirlewang, Allgäu 17:00
Dirlewang [N]

Dirlewang ist ein Markt im schwäbischen Landkreis Unterallgäu

Family, friends and sightseeing
  • Swap stories, eat and drink
  • BMW classic car show in Mindelheim
  • A cruise through the Allgäu, as far as Kempten and Landsberg am Lech
  • An evening pizza on the outskirts of Mindelheim
  • Lunch is sometimes much further away than expected
My new navigation system got me to Dirlewang OK but had already been misbehaving when planning the journey out of Pilsen. And now it looked like it had a catastrophic memory failure. I still had TomTom Navigator running on my Palm Treo for getting around Germany (maps from 2007) but there was no way I'd ignore the failure of the new one which I'd had for less than a week.
2011-06-11 (Sa)
2011-06-12 (So)
2011-06-13 (Mo)
München 10:00 Auto 150km / 2h München, 15:00
München [O]

BMW, museums, history, Kitsch and culture. All in a city nestled in the beerfields of Bavaria. Shame about the tourists. ;-)

Hotel Herian
2011-06-14 (Di) Before leaving to visit the museum, I phoned the shop where I bought the failed navigation system and they were very helpful. The dead one could be exchanged at another branch of the retail chain. Unfortunately, there wasn't a branch within about 300 km, but there was one "on the way" to Lake Constance; in Sigmaringen.
Deutsches Museum has a Dudy for a Bohemian Rhapsody
2011-06-15 (Mi) Poing [P] A day out with friends
2011-06-16 (Do) Deutsches Museum Flugwerft - Schleissheim
München 13:00 Auto 420km / 5h via
Ravensburg and Sigmaringen [Q]
Daisendorf 17:00
Daisendorf [R]

Sonnen- und Aussichtsterrasse am Bodensee. Die Nähe zum Linzgau im Hinterland, zu Österreich und der Schweiz sowie zur bayerischen Nachbarschaft, bieten viele Möglichkeiten zur Freizeitsgestaltung.

Got a new navigation system in exchange for the dead one in Sigmaringen. They didn't have the exact model in stock so I agreed to take the next model down in the range and got €10 back in cash for the price difference. Kundendienst!
2011-06-17 (Fr) Family, friends and sights around Lake Constance
2011-06-18 (Sa)
2011-06-19 (So)
2011-06-20 (Mo)
2011-06-21 (Di)
2011-06-22 (Mi)
Daisendorf 10:00 Auto 170km / 3,5h Weil im Schönbuch [S], 13:30
I had car parts to pick up on the way to Bad Camberg. A small detour to save a lot of dough on car parts.
The car was also running low on juice and there was cheap fuel. A bit of a win.
Weil im Schönbuch, 14:00 Auto 180km / 4h Bad Camberg, 18:00
Bad Camberg [T]

Die zweitgrößte Stadt im Hintertaunus. Der anerkannte Kneippkurort ist der älteste seiner Art in Hessen und der drittälteste in Deutschland. Das Wahrzeichen der Stadt ist die Kreuzkapelle.

Sehr schlechtes Wetter! — Miserable weather!
  • After refuelling and getting back on the Autobahn heading North around Stuttgart, the weather started to turn really nasty. Heavy rain, hail and thunderstorms.
  • Then the traffic started backing up ahead and about 2 minutes too late, comes the traffic alert about a car crash in the road works ahead. No more exits. Rush hour. It doesn't get any better.
  • It took about 90 minutes to drive 7km.
  • So glad that I'd refuelled.
  • At the next rest area, I pulled off the Autobahn and phoned ahead to my hosts at Panorama Apartment to let them know that I'd be quite late!
  • It's still daylight when I arrive and lug the suitcase, etc. into the studio apartment.
  • Local supermarkets open late so I can buy some makings for dinner and breakfast. I peruse the selection of beer and booze but decide to leave them alone for the night.
2011-06-23 (Do) Cruising and sightseeing around the Taunus
  • Damp weather. OK for driving but not pleasant for hiking.
  • I decide to buy a roast chicken for Friday and Saturday dinner(s)
  • Refuel in Usingen where it's a bit cheaper than in Bad Camberg
2011-06-24 (Fr)
2011-06-25 (Sa) VW Veteranen Treffen Coffee and cake with yet another Felsche
Between looking at classic Volkswagen cars
  • Feed the dozens of collected drink bottles into the deposit machine at the local Aldi. It spits out a docket for about €4 so I have more money to spend on bears.
  • While it's raining, I select some Schnapps from the local store; for taking back to Australia.
2011-06-26 (So) Last sunrise in Germany.
  • Packing for the flight back to Australia.
  • I spend some cash at the car show gift shop on a coffee cup and a bag.
Bad Camberg 15:00

A diversion via Wiesbaden to top up the fuel tank before returning the hire car.

Rental companies seem to buy their fuel from apothecaries, judging by the price they charge if the fuel gauge isn't on full.

Auto 60km / 1h

Once I'm out of the Taunus region, the skies are clear and the sun is shining.

A chance to stop and soak up some sun while finishing off the drinks and fruit I'd bought earlier.

Flughafen Frankfurt/M [U] 18:00
  • Return the hire car
  • Check in my baggage when the counter opens about 45 minutes later.
  • Trouble at the security check. My hand luggage is "suspicious". Well, it's got adapter cables and car chargers for 2 mobile phones, 2 cameras and 2 video cameras as well as noise-cancelling headphones. Doesn't everybody carry those things? :-)
FRA 22:20 Fly EK48/EK424 Perth 00:55
2011-06-27 (Mo)
2011-06-28 (Di)
Home There's no place like home
  Not spammable
Copyright © 2011, 2012 Bernd Felsche, Perth, Western Australia.