Day 59: Poznan, Poland to Berlin, Germany

Number of tie wraps: 49 (holding steady)

Countdown: 7888 miles down, 697 to go

We are in the home stretch now! We left Poznan this morning about 9:15, and soon began seeing signs to Berlin. The roads today in both Poland and Germany were fantastic, the same experience as the original 1908 racers. Although Berlin gave the German Protos team quite a party when they arrived in first place on July 24, 1908, our reception was a bit more subdued. Click here to read the original New York Times article about the Protos reception.

Road sign to Berlin

Road sign to Berlin (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

This morning, after being on the road for about an hour, we stopped at a gas station and stocked up on flavored potato chips for a picnic lunch, including Mexican Cheese Fiesta, Chakalaka Taste of Africa, Kielbasa Onion, and Hot Chili. We also found some refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, and a CD with a collection of Polish rock music. There were three CDs available, and since we couldn’t read the titles, Karen and I selected the one in the sage green case, bypassing the CDs in the white and bright green cases. Although the bands were Polish, the music sounded similar to early-1980s music in the U.S., such as Journey, the Cars, and Billy Idol. If anyone out there is an avid collector of early-1980s rock music, please let us know and we’ll be happy to pass the CD along after we’ve listened to it for the rest of the trip.

A sample of our chips for lunch

A sample of our chips for lunch (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Before leaving Poland, we took a brief side trip to the town of Swiebodzin, whose residents raised money for the construction of the world’s largest statue of Christ, which was consecrated on November 21, 2010. In addition to the statue, the monument includes many other Catholic traditions, such as the Stations of the Cross and a garden containing the Mysteries of the Rosary.

Statue of Christ in Swiebodzin, Poland

Statue of Christ in Swiebodzin, Poland (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

After leaving Swiebodzin, we gobbled down the Mexican- and African-flavored chips (the African ones tasted a bit like curry, in case you were wondering) and decided to keep the other two bags for our next picnic lunch. We traveled a back road for about 30 miles before we reached the main highway again and we saw hundreds of trucks lined up at truck stops and gas stations along the way. Karen told us that trucks aren’t allowed to travel on the autobahn on Sundays during the day, so the truckers just pull over wherever they are and take the day off.

We crossed the Oder River into Germany a little after 12:30.

Crossing the Oder River into Germany

Crossing the Oder River into Germany (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

We arrived at our very nice hotel in Berlin a little after 2 and then wandered to the Beer Garden at the Zoo for a beer. Tonight we’ll be eating at a traditional German restaurant, and tomorrow we’ll spend the morning running errands and the afternoon seeing the sights of Berlin.

Beer Garden near our hotel in Berlin

Beer Garden near our hotel in Berlin (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Tuesday we head to Hanover, a drive of 293 km.