Clope in burg

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I am now in the thick of it, surrounded by 80 million Germans, who have no idea I could be hiding behind any Volkswagen.

  
I’m in Cloppenburg, a small city close to Bremen, my next stop and next resting day. Clope is French slang for cigarette, and I was reminded yesterday that smoking in restaurant is still legal here. I was in a cafe waiting to contact my host (tired and cold and wet, not a really good combination), and realized absolutely everyone was smoking, including the waiters – thankfully not close to me. This was made illegal in France seven or eight years ago, the only piece of legislation I give credit to former president Sarkozy. He also slashed VAT for restaurants by a factor of four, cutting 3 billions from the nation’s budget, right when the subprime crisis was looming clearly in the US.

  
Anyway, I left my host this morning with a grey overcast sky, a forecast of rain on the way, and a chilling 14 degrees. It never got warmer today. I motivated myself with the promise of a burning shower at destination. With a second shirt on, and my k way cutting the wind, everything was all right. After ten to twenty minutes of riding, the body gets warm enough anyway. Still, I would like to get some summer conditions, if that’s ok?

   
 The ride from Lingen to Cloppenburg was supposed to be simple, more or less following the main roads. My gps still had some fun early on, making me go back and forth, and a bit later on, offering a ten minutes shorter ride, by crossing through a forest. Nein danke. It tried again close to the end, when there wasn’t even a path on its map. Maybe Google should use some user generated feedback. I’m 100% explorer in the Bartle model, still there are limits.

  
I was again side by side with a very busy road most of the way, happy to have my own space. Close to the end, I saw some GMO field testing. I saw a lot of that in the US, but I thought it had been (stupidly) banned in Europe. People can be frightened by anything. We’ve been selecting and modifying plants and animals since the Stone Age. Sure we can go further now, but these changes have been the main path to sustaining so many more people.

  
Apart from the cigarettes vending machines in the hotel, it took me some time to find a supermarket in the city center. And what do you know, it was a Russian one! Right in the middle of Germany. All Russian products, everyone speaking Russian. I was back in Ismaïlovski park. I hope Putin won’t pretext again he must protect Russian minorities and send little green men in Niedersachen.

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