136 Miles per hour

We were able to get a lift from someone, returning from an initial trip to Poznan, Poland. They had explored investment conditions for a distribution center in the Poznan – Gorsow region in Poland. At 11.30 am the MG happened to drive by and stop in front of our apartment, right at the moment that I was about to call them once more and check if they could find it. The hundred and fifty kilometers on the Polish side of the borders had taken them about two and a half hours. I could vividly imagine the road conditions, as they had been three years ago in Lezcyca, Poland. The roads in this small town were littered with potholes, while the highway that ran along the center of town was no wider than a two-way, two lanes road. This would be a major concern for any investments to be made, prolonging time-to-market, therefore shortening speed-to-market, and increasing the frequency of repairs and the replacement of material. Nevertheless, Poland was still a very attractive partner, although capitalist producers already today start looking for alternative locations in Ukraine, where labor is even cheaper. Today, we would be saving money though, and we would be cruising the German Autobahn in a BMW-technology based MG.

We pull out of Berlin, turning at Boddinstraße down south Hermannstraße. As soon as we reach the outskirts of Berlin and traffic wears down, we reach higher speeds. An deprecated and run down stand for spectators lies awkwardly just outside Berlin along the highway.

The slight curves of the road lift the chassis slightly up from the road surface, as Ton who drives us, turns the steering wheel. A quick peek at the speed meter shows that we reach speeds of 220 kilometer per hour. With my rational mind, I always calculate in the possible occurrences of the sudden and unexpected, and I realize that at these speeds, there is no time to respond in time to any failure or error by either the car itself, its tires or other cars on the road. During the first hours we mainly pass fir forests whose trees have lost most of the bottom foliage. Probably, the exhaustion of the cars and trucks have caused the trees to die off slowly and only the foliage higher in the air, the younger foliage has been able to survive. Later, the forests become denser and more varied in specimens.

It is when Ton mentions the former West East German border’s checkpoint that I remember crossing the border on my secondary school’s trip to Berlin. The light posts with the heavy light carrousels on top scattered around the border’s parking square, trigger my memory. Then, a few hundred meters further, I seem to remember the guard tower, welcoming visitors to East Germany. At the checkpoint, after a long time waiting for action, the East German border patrol enters the bus, and inspects random bags, searching for smuggle wares. Now, we cruise by the relics of a divided Europe with high speed and no delay.

We drive by Magdeburg, Dusseldorf, Köln and Aachen, and by the time we reach the Dutch highways, I am happy to be submitted to speed limitations again. We will spend a few days in Limburg, before I will clear out my Amsterdam apartment for good, finally burning my ships behind me.

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