Monday, July 04, 2005

The Motorcycle Diaries

Yesterday I had an adventure.

My first motorcycle ride! I certainly didn’t drive, driving in Germany isn’t my thing and I don’t have the proper driver’s licence anyway. My gracious host however invited me along, and how could I turn down such an interesting offer?

We rode out into the Erzgebirge, and I was quite nervous for the first part of the ride, though the driver claims I didn't show it and it was quite easy riding with me, I didn't lean in any weird way or anything. I guess some people lean the wrong way and that messes up things like curves. Knowing this, of course, I had to think at every curve, even every straightaway, that it was my last. After a bit, though, I calmed down and started to really enjoy the ride, it's a fun and new way of seeing things. You know how much I love tooling around on my bicycle, well, this was 100x as much fun. It felt very adventurous and I just kept thinking "oh, geil geil geil!!!" (German for "cool cool cool!") when he went a little faster or passed someone, it's just completely exciting.

We went into Frauenstein, a sweet little town with a fortress up on a hill and had a coffee at a little cafe on the town square, then rode on a little further over the rivers, through the woods, and up and down the hills. On our way back to Dresden we stopped in Freiberg, a nice little city I'd never visited, and had ice cream. The ice cream was unfortunately not sooo great, but it was a nice break, with nice company. We had a look at the city, too, the city center is really cool, mostly original, as Freiberg wasn't entirely destroyed in World War 2, like Dresden. We saw some super cool buildings from the 15- and 1600's, and some others on the town square with 3 levels in the roofs. I don't know how that works, if they're just really narrow multi-level attics or what, but it looked cool in the roof with 3 rows of windows. We also noticed something strange about Freiberg: it was completely empty. There were a few people at the cafes in the center, but not so many, and really just no people out walking in the park or anything. We tried to figure out if they were maybe sitting at home watching racing on TV or eating cake and drinking coffee and staring at each other, or maybe on holiday. It was really a bit spooky, we had the feeling we shouldn't talk while walking through the town. Then we got back on the bike and had a fast ride back into Dresden, which was quite breathtaking. My favorite moment was when we were on the highway coming toward Dresden and had a panoramic view over the city, with the Frauenkirche, Catholic Church and castle all sticking up in the center of the sea of buildings, eight hot air balloons floating over the city, all on a lazy Sunday evening. It made me smile, and made me love Dresden again from this new point of view. We continued on through the city, over the bridge by the synagogue, and this view of Dresden also made me smile, with a closer view of the Altstadt in the warm evening sun, and this time I counted nine hot air balloons, all hovering close together over the city center. Yesterday was a good day for a hot air balloon ride, and for a motorcycle ride!

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