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The Czech List: Sunday 31st August

The Road Stop boasted a Sunday buffet breakfast well worth 10€, well-attended by non-residents. I've never had smoked trout for breakfast before. Or rice pudding. Or chocolate mousse.

With four hours until the return ferry left, and 45 minutes less until the supposed last possible boarding, we were cutting it fine for the three-hour journey even with the splendid German motorways. Heavy rain slowed us down, and we pulled in to the next services to put waterproofs on. Howard beckoned me over to admire a puppy in a dog carrier; when his owner returned to her car, I tried "Er ist schön, Ihre Hundchen!" (I know there are at least two things wrong with that sentence) and she told us he was a Border Terrier.

I'm not sure when we crossed into the Netherlands, but here we were following 'Hoek van Holland', then leaving the motorway in pursuit of car ferry signs. The daytime crossing felt more crowded than the overnight, since fewer passengers were occupying cabins, but we sat first on deck and then in the restaurant while I read The Good Solder Svejk (which I still haven't finished).

Land came in sight as the sun was going down, and we travelled west in deepening darkness. Howard and I said goodbye at Thurrock Services, unable to believe how much we'd done since meeting there the previous Thursday, and parted after the Dartford toll bridge, he taking the M25 lane, I the A2 for London. I got home just before ten PM, Howard a couple of hours later.

It was a brilliant holiday: three new countries, plus one I'd never visited by bike, many exciting things eaten, and some lovely riding. Howard said he liked the scenery more than anywhere else we'd been, which surprised me, since we've seen the jawdropping mountain vistas of the Alps, the rocky Dolomites, and the Italian lakes, but I knew what he meant; the rolling countryside felt consistently pleasant, and had a constantly exciting feel of foreignness without being overwhelming. It's a small country, so we felt as if we'd seen a fair bit of it, but I'd still like to go back and do some more.

Miles: 272.8
Total mileage: 2443

Czech road sign

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Howard beckoned me over to admire a puppy in a dog carrier; when his owner returned to her car, I tried "Er ist schön, Ihre Hundchen!" (I know there are at least two things wrong with that sentence)

Only one thing that I can see that's strictly wrong — but either way it's perfectly understandable, and that's what matters, right?
...except she turned out to be Dutch all along!

(The things I was thinking of were: wrong word for puppy (Welpe, I think?) and if something's -chen it's neuter not masculine.)
Yeah, "puppy" translates to "Welpe". But "Hündchen" ("little dog") isn't incorrect as such.

if something's -chen it's neuter not masculine.)

That's also true, but it's fair to use the "natural" gender instead of the grammatical gender. Also, by the time you got to "Hündchen", you'd already committed to "er". :)

The only real mistake is that it should be "ihr Hündchen", not "ihre". Well, that and the fact it's "Hündchen", not "Hundchen", but I didn't even notice that (what with your journal style's fairly small monospace font), and 'sides, it's just an artifact of translating what you said into writing. :)

...except she turned out to be Dutch all along!

I didn't know about the 'natural gender'! And clearly I've forgotten all my possessives :)
It's something that comes up on occasion. The canonical example is "das Mädchen", i.e. "girl"; technically neuter, but many people prefer to say "sie" instead of "es" anyway. In practice, either is fine.
Ah! 'Mädchen' is a bit controversial, am I right, in that girls have to be diminutive and neuter while boys are neither?
It probably depends on who you ask — there may be some who consider it "controversial", but I've never personally met anyone who does, and it didn't even occur to me it was a diminutive until you pointed it out. So if anything, it's a manufactured controversy, or a failed attempt at one. :)
Oh, one of those! I do dislike it when people start objecting to perfectly good words we've had for centuries.
Aye, so do I. Languages do change, of course, but I prefer for that change to happen because, well, it happens, not because someone decided to get huffy about it.
Smoked trout and rice pudding? How positively Whovian. ^_^ (I seem to've wound up enjoying smoked haddock a fair bit, of late - one favorite is working that, and maybe some prawns, into a package of Sainsbury's Basics macaroni cheese - works rather well! Usually spiced up a bit with some Berbere seasoning, fish sauce, garlic, leek, and something else, like asparagus)

Hm. How do they secure bikes on a ferry? With cars, it's easy - just belts around the tyres.

I feel the need to research some last-minute breaks before I submit to the joys of the unemployment process. ^_^
Cor, that does sound good - much more highbrow than my treat of bacon bits sprinkled over canned macaroni cheese :)

On a ferry they'll put a protective pad on the bike seat and have the strap over that. Usually there are a certain number of securing points on the deck, but the Harwich ferry had a length of steel cable so bikes could be positioned anywhere. I've also seen a scary contraption where you have to ride at the wall with sufficient speed to trigger a thing that grabs the front wheel, and sufficient accuracy to get your wheel in the thing in the first place...