Duisburg, I left you but you never left me. I am writing this post from a ICE train from Manheim to Basel. I’ve just spent a few days with my friend H aka “the world’s nicest man”. We had a great time in his city of Duisburg which is a slightly obscure industrial city where the Rhine and Danube meet.
We mostly cycled around (me on the communal bike with howling brakes), ate food and talked. We both work in tech worker co-operatives which are tech companies where there are no bosses and the workers make all the decisions democratically. Some say they are a model for a better world. I also say that.
We went to the six lakes outside Duisburg. I realised that swimming naked is not a thing that is universally done. I had only been swimming/sunbathing in the east of Germany where as soon as there is one puddle of water, all clothes must be discarded. Undeterred, I waded in with junk flapping in the wind.
On the way back from the lakes we experienced the most horrendous tropical storm ever. H’s smart watch alerted us to a level 3 weather warming. H is quite risk averse whereas I am quite positivist. I was wrong. We had to shelter in a bus stop as the rain and thunder and lightning was just too much to cycle in.
I leveled up my German cultural exchange program as H showed me the wonders of “Schlager”. A cursed genre of German chart music that favour football style chanting and lyrics about drinking beer and going to Spanish party islands. It’s basically the opposite of Berlin techno. Every movement, provokes a counter reaction.
H also took me to an extremely old fashioned department store so I could finally buy a belt for my too big pink trousers and some pink nail varnish. It was like the German version of Woolworths/Boots/BHS. We also went to a spooky industrial park converted into a pleasure park. It looked like a level from a Fallout game. I slid down a big slide but in general it was kind of depressing. H said it looked like Mordor.
Through a strange twist of fate another friend called K was passing through the area driving in his RV down to France. I’d kind of realised by this point that the goals of this trip were to see as many friends as possible. K asked if I wanted to tag along to Amsterdam and stay in the RV for a night. I said yes and before I knew it, were were driving down Dutch motorways listening to South American punk and catching up.
The campsite was bougie and they tried to make everyone pay for the showers. We got incredibly stoned and listened to music and played on K’s synthesisers. The RV was an amazing 1990s Fiat with a pleasing wood finish. It was very comfortable and K had got stuck into repairing and updating it. Can’t wait to see it when it’s converted fully into a hacker ACAB-mobile.
After a night in the bougie RV park, I had made a plan. It took quite a few spliffs to come up with this plan but basically I decided to not travel for 10+ to get to AL down in the French part of Switzerland. I decided to get the train to Basel and then stay in a hostel and make the shorted part of the journey with more changes tomorrow. Onwards!
The onward journey to Basel provoked a series of toots on Fediverse. Here is a selection:
DB, just whyJul 03, 2022, 17:09
Are people in Germany fine with it because they get money if the trains are fucked up?Jul 03, 2022, 17:10
Also why are there random soldiers in uniform travelling through every station. Is this some sort of stress training forcing them to traverse Germany via DB?Jul 03, 2022, 17:46
Also, why is Germany allowed an army? Just please no.Jul 03, 2022, 17:46 ·
I’ve discovered the railway maps in OSMand!! New train nerd levels unlocked.Jul 03, 2022, 17:10