Weekend trip to Rügen

Rügen is Germany’s biggest island, geographically. We rented a car and went to explore it. As you can see, the round trip was approximately 700 km, just like when I go to Prague:


We started on the sand dunes of the eastern tip of Göhren, after passing Sellin and Baabe. It was in this area that Christopher Isherwood stayed. The Strand Hotel in Baabe is mentioned in the Rügen part in Goodbye to Berlin. You can rent the traditional little beach hut for a day (8 euro) or a week (48 euro), just like back then I suppose. It was too early and too cold for beach life now though – we just enjoyed a stroll.



We got a new Volvo V40 T4 automatic with only 2,300 km on the meter.


First stop: Kars Erlebnis-Dorf = Karl’s Adventure Village, in Zirkow on Rügen. Not much to see, but how could I not stop there!







Lunch from Edeka on the boardwalk.





After Göhren we went to Sassnitz, which had a rocky beach and is famous for its harbour – I think I’ve arrived there several times with the ferry from Trelleborg.



And after the city of Sassnitz, we continued further up north into the national park Jasmund, where we parked quite far away from the sea and then walked several kilometers to the famous cliff Königsstuhl.





Afterwards we climbed down these stairs to the shore.




Of course I bathed in the Baltic!


When we came back to the car, someone had kicked off the mirror, so we called the police. Fortunately we had chosen to pay extra for Avis’ “Super Cover” insurance, which reduces our part of the costs to 0 (zero) euro.

After an adventurous day, we left Rügen and found a hotel in Stralsund, and a restaurant next door which still served food despite it was past eleven in the evening.




Next day: Sightseeing in Stralsund and then back to Berlin.




The Rügenbrücke was built in 2007.




Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee

First time I visit the art school in Weißensee. It was the opening of Xiaopeng Zhou’s Mit dem Stein arbeiten, a very beautiful exhibition. I found myself taken in by the whole atmosphere of the art school, so we stayed on its campus for a couple of hours and drank beer from Lidl in the warm pre-summer night.











Erster Mai in Berlin






So why does a “good” supermarket like the ecological Bio Company get its windows smashed? The logic is that customers who are rich enough to care about the environment are causing gentrification.



Some smaller Turkish shops covered their windows with wood despite hardly being the target of the window smashers, but then their logic works in mysterious ways so you never know.



A Turkish bank builds this fortress every year.


Kottbusser Tor was completely sealed off and no trains stopped there.







We put loudspeakers in the windows!


We dance on cars!


All in all a very happy evening, completely without riots as far as we could tell. 7,000 police officers were on duty.

Veloviewer Explorer

I just found a new feature in Veloviewer: The Explorer score, which shows how many zoom level 14 map tiles you have passed through, and the average distance per tile. For me at the moment: 1,005 tiles, with 13.5 kilometers per tile. The ratio isn’t so interesting for me though, since I have spent whole summers biking the same routes over and over again; Havelchaussee in 2013, Tempelhofer Feld in 2014. In 2015 I have deliberately searched out new roads, and that can be seen when my Explorer data are split for each year (that’s when the ratio gets interesting):

  • 2013: 100 tiles, 24.4 km/tile (2,443 km total distance)
  • 2014: 289 tiles, 22.37 km/tile (6,463 km total distance)
  • 2015: 816 tiles, 3.7 km/tile (2,985 km total distance so far)

Actually, the ratio isn’t calculated on my Veloviewer page, so it’s raw data rather than a “score”. If the number of tiles are divided by the number of kilometers, we get scores of 4.10 in 2013, 12.9 in 2014 and a blasting 221 in 2015, with an average of 74.4 since the start.

I’m skeptical to this kind of ratio score though, because even though it was fun to see, especially my exploring efforts in 2015, it also means that your score will get lower the more kilometers you gather, as long as you don’t search out new roads for each ride. This might discourage you from going out and “eat” kilometers. Maybe that’s why Ben at Veloviewer has chosen to present the raw data rather than the ratio score that I calculated myself.

Update: Ben replies on Twitter: “initially I used the dist per tile as the main ‘score’ but as you say, often gets worse with more riding so use count instead.”

But now over to the really cool thing, because those tiles that you have passed are marked green on the heatmap. And I just think I got even more addicted to Veloviewer, because how can anyone born in the era of video games resist the urge to paint the whole map green by going after those unlucky gaps in it! Look how beautiful:

Colonise it! My Explorer tiles on Veloviewer 27 April 2015.

Colonise it! My Explorer tiles on Veloviewer 27 April 2015.

That’s it. Gotta work now instead of getting caught up in addicting Veloviewer!

New bike lock

It was a principle of mine to not even own a lock for my Caad 10. The idea being that it’s not supposed to be left out of sight for the slightest moment ever – thus no need for a lock.

But I’ve had it for almost four years now. Maybe it’s ready to be alone on the streets at times.

At least it would be practical. Yesterday I waited 32 minutes for a bus (and it was 200, the flagship line!) before I gave up (cause I wouldn’t make it in time for where I was going anyway). Walking and using local transportation is so extremely inefficient. You want to run a simple errand and it takes the whole day. Hate it!

So on my way home, I decided to buy a lock and start using my Caad 10 as an everyday bike. Having had three bikes stolen during 2014, I don’t see the point of buying another one.

So here it is, my new Abus Granit Plus 640:


Very small, fits in your back pocket (though I was constantly worried that it would fall out when I pedaled) and still security level 12 out of 15. Cost me 70 euro, but what can you do. Weighs only 788 gram:


And here my Caad 10 is locked for the very first time, it’s a perfect fit actually:




That unpredictable street thug called Alditalk

I recently switched to Alditalk, a discount mobile provider, after a friend had told me about their insane speeds. They started by ripping me off because of a “technical error”, so all my 34 euro (prepaid) were gone in an instant. They later gave me 20 euro back because of goodwill. I still hate them. But my friend was right about the speeds.

First, here’s the speeds I get on my phone through my home line on wifi:

Telecolumbus 64/3 deal.

Telecolumbus 64/3 deal.

As for Alditalk, they have a very competitive 24h flat for 1.99 euro: It includes 1 GB data, which is quite generous. So you can afford to do a speedtest. Now the terms of the 24h deal is up to 7.2 Mbit/s:


However, this is what I got:

Alditalk Tagesflat with a "max speed of 7.2 Mbit/s".

Alditalk Tagesflat with a “max speed of 7.2 Mbit/s”.

That’s wild! And totally unexpected! Of course, coverage sucks (E-plus) and the connection goes down all the time anyway; even radio streams were interrupted. But still. German internet is like a powerful but unpredictable street thug who can give you your fix, but only if he wants to and if he’s in the right mood.

Note: I prefer Germany to Sweden in almost all respects, that’s why I live here. The laws, the media, the bread. It’s like a member of the Swedish Academy who lived here for a while said: “Germany is like Sweden for grown ups.” It’s only in the area of internet speeds and prices that Germany (like many other countries, I guess) lag behind Sweden (and Japan) about ten years.

Adult shipment from Japanese Amazon Marketplace

My Amazon order from Monday 6 April 2015 also contained a couple of items from Amazon Marketplace, which are then shipped separately from those sellers (just like Amazon in other countries works). I realised that main Amazon doesn’t ship adult goods abroad, but Marketplace sellers do. So I got myself a few used adult manga …

The first Marketplace order arrived today in the regular mail. So it took quite exactly one week for it to arrive (after all, I placed the order at 23.24 on Monday last week). Finding this colourful parcel in the mail is half the fun:




In addition, last month I had Kohei bring me my favourite manga back from his last Japan trip, after having placed an Amazon order which I had delivered to his place. It’s a lush mix of Yowamushi Pedal, Kokoro Button and Yotsuba to = manga for boys, girls and children:


I’ve already finished the first Yotsuba volume (which is volume 3 in total). I think it takes me about 3 hours to read one of those volumes; about 30 minutes per chapter. I don’t look anything up, because Yotsuba to is so simple that I understand everything, well maybe except a few words here and there. Fireworks was the theme of this volume, very sweet.

Trying to explain the concept of bike paths to an alien

Sometimes it’s enlightening to pretend you’re explaining a phenomenon to an alien.

Let’s say you have an alien by your side who doesn’t know what a car or a bike is. You would say:

These are two means of transportation for humans. One of them is powered by fuel, the other one is powered by human energy. Get it? (You have to be pedagogical with these aliens.) In the first case, no human energy at all is needed. It doesn’t matter if the road goes up or down, you basically just push a button and lean back. Whereas in the second case, only your own energy is what moves you forward. So everything that slows you down – upslopes, curves, road bumps – will demand more energy of you.

The alien now has a clear image of the two means of human transportation. Then you ask it:

Let’s say you want to separate these two means of transportation. You want to build two different types of roads for them. Now, let’s say you build one road that is straight and smooth, and another road that is curvy and full of road bumps from tree roots. Which one would you give to the fuel powered type of transportation, and which would you give to the human powered one?

That’s too easy! the alien would reply. Even I get that it would be better to give the straight and smooth road to the human powered method, because it would demand less energy from you, and the only energy you got is your own. Whereas the fuel powered method can make do with a less smooth road, since you just push a button to move forward anyway.

Then you explain to the alien that it is the opposite way around: The road for human powered things goes in crooks and circles around the straight road for fuel powered things, often crossing it every few hundred meters, causing extreme loss of human energy. In addition, these winding “roads” are so cheaply built that they quickly deteriorate, with tree roots penetrating the surface in a way that doesn’t happen in the more expensive road made for fuel powered things.

The alien is of course shocked! Then it realises:

Oh, I must be missing something. Maybe the fuel powered method is very sensitive to bumps? Maybe every tree root in the road makes the fuel powered thing really uncomfortable to drive? And the people on the human powered things don’t mind these roots?

And you reply that no, it’s actually the opposite way around in this case too; the fuel powered things – and by now you can reveal to the alien that they are called cars – actually weigh a thousand kilos and have thick tires and heavy suspension, whereas the human powered things – ok, they are called bikes – are extremely sensitive to tree roots and other hindrances in the street.

But then I don’t understand at all, the alien says. On my planet we’re fostered with a very logical way of thinking, but this isn’t logical at all to me. If what you’re saying is true, then why are the roads for what you call “bikes” often made of uneven stones, while the road for “cars” next to it is smoothly paved? And why is the “bike road” constantly interrupted by cobblestones, when the “car road” is not? The alien shows you a photo:

11 February 2015: Street vs bike path on Adlergestell east of Grünau, just before Schmöckwitz.

Why? The logical alien doesn’t get it. And frankly, neither do I.

Svenska medier är som en mobbande högstadieklass

Tyskland är Tyskland och saker fungerar utan att staten vill lägga livet tillrätta för alla. Biskopen i “Fanny och Alexander” är inte framme och hytter med pekfingret på samma vis. Och åsiktskorridoren i tyska medier är betydligt bredare, debatten intellektuellare och mognare. Svenska medier framstår mer som en mobbande högstadieklass.

— Oscar Swartz i Expressen