Post-Covid road and bus travel in Europe
I thought the Covid measures were over, but having a mask in your small bag, can save you trouble, and if you have one to share, it is even better. That is the very short summary as far as Covid is concerned, but there was so much more to be experienced and learned during a recent bus travel from the south of France to northern Europe. It was scheduled to take 33 hours, but lasted almost two more. Near the end of the journey, I discovered a network opposing the Covid narrative. It was founded in the UK by lay Catholics inspired by the White Rose Resistance Group in Munich that operated during WWII. I will return to that story much further down. First there are a number of paragraphs about travelling.
Driving a car in France
While writing this post, I learned there is a page where one can find gas stations in France: StationEssence.com - Le plein de stations-service
This may be useful one day, as I recall spending a few km driving around to find one on an earlier trip. I also found that the company that manages the road toll has an informative page in French
, where you can check out the different highways
, their highway stops
, or review 26 journey options with road toll
and distance calculated. Their English page
only has information needed to help you pay your road toll easily.
The Michelin Europe map
At the auto stop Aire du Bois de Dourre
, I bought a Michelin fold out map, "705 National - Europe 2022", to check the places on the journey. It is in the measure of 1 cm = 30 km and has the major towns. It helped me find out where we were going, and now later to track where we passed by. The route was South of France-Paris-Osnabrück-Copenhagen
The first leg
of the journey was a Flixbus from Southern France to Paris, Gare Routiere de Bercy Seine
. There was one driver, and there was time for stops, as he had to rest. The surrounding vegetation and vegetation changes as one goes north. I had hoped to see some extinct or sleeping volcanic cones, but we passed them too far away. As we drove into Paris one could for a short while see the Eiffel Tower and the area near the Montmartre
hill with its spectacular Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur
to the right, but it was not possible to get good photos.
As we arrived to The Paris Bercy Seine bus station
, I noticed immediately that there was more security than when I wrote about the station back in July 2020
. Among other changes, the ticket counters in the waiting room were open, the toilets too.
The Paris bus station is something quite different from an airport or even a larger train station.
For one thing, there was no coffee shop nearby. In the office there was a vending machine with drinks and snacks. There were also two charging cupboards with many lockable shelves for charging mobile phones, but to the frustration of several people they were not working. It is safer to have an extra battery pack.
In the large hall for the buses, there is a panel informing about departures and arrivals, the only one, I saw.
Paris to Osnabrück was the next leg of the journey
, and the most trying. It would not surprise me, if the two Ukrainian drivers were as pressed as the passengers. While direct and just 10 hours and 20 minutes long, there are only 5 minute stops in Lille, Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Arnhem, and Enschede. They kept the schedule to the minute, and showed skilled driving, with smooth takeover manoeuvres, which I ended up observing with a certain fascination.
Once in Osnabrück,
waiting for the next bus,
I went to the railway station to buy water. If I had looked more carefully, I could also have bought it nearby at a café, but there are no supermarkets nearby. Several of the people that had come from Paris wanted to board the bus up north, but the new bus coming from Stuttgart was already quite loaded with luggage, so the two new Ukrainian drivers did not even try to squeeze in one baby trolley with big wheels. I think the mother had to find another bus or take a train. It is probably safer to register extra luggage
, than to hope, all goes well. In fact, my own backpack turned out fairly large, and the first driver in France suggested putting in below the deck. We agreed I could take it up, on the condition, that if there was no space, it had to go down below at the next stop. There was however enough space, and I even had a neighbour, who also had stuff. The drivers, at the other buses, had no questions at all.
On the journey from Osnabrück to Scandinavia
, there were scheduled stops in Bremen (10 minutes), Hamburg (15 minutes) five minutes in Lübeck and "0" in Puttgarden. In reality, it ended up being a journey where many obstacles had piled up, and the people who had booked trains to Stockholm from Copenhagen leaving about 90 minutes after their scheduled arrival probably missed them, unless the train was delayed from Copenhagen by ten or 15 minutes which would be very unusual.
In Hamburg, the driver announced we had to wear masks
, he came twice and warned of a fine of 80 Euros. This came as a surprise, many were not prepared, but organized themselves. Then two public enforcers came into the bus and a lady who still did not have and tried to argue she did not know was hauled out, and the police were called. Like this, we were delayed in Hamburg by an hour and twenty minutes. When we left, I noticed the station was well guarded by security. Maybe fining people helps them to finance their upkeep.
In Puttgarden, German customs checked the bus.
There were about 9 or 10 armed officers in several cars. They did not check our passport, but our luggage. All the luggage was taken out from the storage and put on the side, then dogs came to sniff, then two officers entered the bus and one by one we were let out to collect our luggage, meanwhile guarded by two officers, and go to a car that worked like an airport scanner. On one side there were two officers supervising that the stuff went into the car. On the other side, two were supervising that it came out, before we collected it. Once in a while someone came running and a bag had to go through again. The whole process took 45 minutes. Having missed the second ferry, and after waiting another half hour, we boarded a ferry, which was the luxury stop on the whole trip, with a well stocked duty-free shop, and ship decks with all the fresh air I had missed out on for more than 30 hours.
In Roedby, we were checked again - passports
. This did not come as a surprise. A seasoned local traveller who boarded on the German side, not only said, she had never experienced such a thorough German custom check, she also warned that Danes always checked the passports. While she claimed the Germans did not care and did not mind, the Scandinavians did not want illegal immigrants. Sure enough, as we came out of the ferry, the bus was guided to stop by armed border police aided by one or two from the Home Guard army unit. Again all the luggage had to go out, but we had to find it ourselves from the storage and drag it along. The first to get out had to walk the furthest. At the end, the line was about 60 meters long. Then they began checking from both ends of the line, and quickly all was done. As I was being checked, I learned from the police officer we spoke to, that one can exit Denmark and legally enter Germany with a picture ID, but to enter Denmark, even if one has a residence permit, one needs a passport. After about twenty minutes, we were back in the bus and on our way. However, not long after there was an unscheduled stop, where they filled water on the bus, which by then, having just left the ferry, few needed. After that the rest of the journey was uneventful, at least for me, but for those who missed their connections... one of which already in Hamburg noticing the delay, was crying, as she had to go home to her father who had become very ill.
We were checked twice, and the weather was nice. If it had been raining, what then? For this reason, when packing luggage it may be an idea to put a plastic bag on top, or wrap the content in small plastic bags
, so any rain does not enter too easily if you are checked and have to wait outside.
On the choice of the route
In the line for passport control, one person said that going to Denmark by train is more reliable. She will never go by this bus route again, though I think it is unusual to have so many obstacles. I regret not having kept the extra face masks, I had in my hand luggage, as I could have offered one to the person who did not have one, and we could perhaps all have avoided the delay in Hamburg.
Regarding the people who missed their train to Stockholm, I think leaving less than two hours for a connection is a bit desperate, unless that is what the bus company suggests, or it is the last train. The fact is that road traffic can be heavy, and sometimes there is very slow traffic due to whatever.
What the delays did do, was that the passengers talked more
. I found out that not only were more than expected going to Stockholm, but a family also to Oslo in Norway. And a PhD student explained she could use her phone to send instructions written in Python to their supercomputer, which then ran simulations. Apparently, computers can model chemical reaction pathways. A paper she showed was "Competitive binding of HIF-1α and CITED2 to the TAZ1 domain of CBP from molecular simulations", though they were working on something else now, pertaining to oxygen in cells and cancer, I believe.
You can pay extra for seating, but can you get it?
When I stepped on the first bus, I had a seat that was occupied. The driver appointed a free seat opposite, which was perfect. On the second leg, I had a ticket without seating, which in this bus meant that I could look for a seat marked with a green notification, mostly aisle seats, or sit at any place that was free, and move when someone came to claim it. However, not everyone knew about the system. For instance, two men stepped on the bus after midnight and asked an African mother with four or five kids to move, since they had paid for those two seats, but she wouldn't. Then they spoke to the drivers, but they did not want to bother, so the guys ended up sitting in two separate places until they early in the morning found a solution when someone else moved. Before that, they had still some nice seats, so I don't think they were unhappy. This situation happened again, and what I overheard the co-driver say is that he had to sleep, because he had to drive, and therefore had no time for this, otherwise he could spend the whole night. In the morning, four Dutch girls had paid to sit together in the front, but a tired, frustrated, second generation, teenage girl resisted. Again, drivers could not help, but the Dutch girl was persistent and quietly kept on raising points. Then the mother, who was sitting elsewhere, got involved and the girl moved. But that was not the end of it, as the mother went to the drivers, and said there was no place for her. This time, one driver acted. Of course, there was a place, though not next to a scarf-adhering person.
I would not discourage against paying for a special comfort or seating, but just be aware, that sometimes things don't work out as planned. I learned from listening to the Dutch girl that stood her ground, but perhaps the mother that had a sleeping child on her lap and three or four young ones nearby did the best thing when saying no to the two young sporty men, who had other good, if not even better seats for the rest of their journey.
When moving around from seat to seat, one sometimes end up with someone who has one seat, but would like to have one and a bit. For a large person, there is not much to do, whether one is the large person oneself, or the other is. In one case, it was mostly attitude, I kept calm and used the aisle. After an hour, he moved a bit more, and we were both comfortable. This probably does not happen all the time.
Hygiene, and health
In the bus from Paris to Osnabrück, there was no water, (or the supply had run out), but toilet paper. From Osnabrück, there was water but no toilet paper. As all stops from Paris to Osnabrück were only 5 minutes and none near restroom, it is better to bring toilet paper and wet wipes, or hand sanitizer
. If you need to brush your teeth, you can use, and even brush with mouthwash
rather than with toothpaste, so the rinsing water is less needed. As the stops were short, bring enough water
and food to last you until your next bus or more even, as for instance the shopping options at the Paris station were poor. Once a a route has been tried once, one will better know what to expect and prepare for.
During the trip I slept or dosed as needed and was normal evening tired when I arrived. Many passengers had travel pillows, it can be a great help to support the neck, I am told, I did have earplugs in the bag, but the bus was silent enough, just as I like to be awake enough to what happens, if anything does.
For protecting the eyes, sunglasses
are great. All windows except the front screen were toned, so while I could use them during the day, I would not be able to read. Instead, during the day, I used a pair of transparent safety glasses, which often have some UV protection too, and block a bit of the light, but more importantly, they shielded my eyes from the draughts coming from the air-conditioning system, which typically dries them out causing irritation. I had another pair of transparent uv glasses that also worked well. In the night, however, the sunglasses were magnificent. I was on the upper deck and the light from inside the bus, oncoming cars and the occasional street lights were disturbing, until I got the sunglasses on. While it may be more healthy to sleep with blinders, it is a bad idea, as you can't survey your surroundings, as you need to.
in the coach buses worked better when the buses were moving. During the short stops, it was on slow, almost standby capacity. While that may be bad, what is worse is that most people seem not to study the settings that permit them to regulate the flow of the air. As a result, we seemed not to get anywhere near the air and cooling we should have. It is a bit odd when just a few months back many were in Covid mode and still the majority are fully maxed and boosted. I spoke to a travel guide about the ventilation problem, and she said it is something one needs to tell people, but who does? From where I was sitting, I could regulate a few controls, and I did.
can be an issue when having to sit for hours on end and overnight. This time, I took the shoes off
when it was possible. As a result, my feet did not swell or get overheated, although I had extra socks
in my bag, in case there was a need.
: As mentioned, it is good to bring face masks, even a FFP2
mask, but that is probably even better for some locations.
one needs more than for a short flight, and I read more than I had expected.
A couple of photos
The weather was dry and pleasant throughout, although the temperature dropped as we went up north and as the night progressed. In the early moring it was down to 14 degrees in the Netherlands. On the way to Enschede we had beautiful views of the rising Sun.
The White Rose
On the ferry while everyone was walking down to their cars, I noticed something, stopped up and took three pictures, this is part of one of them:
The day after I came home, I zoomed in on the photo, read the address, found the channel and discovered about The White Rose
Fight the Good Fight.
Restrictions have eased, but it's not all over yet. Suppression of free speech, vaccine injuries, fake news, forced poverty, the climate change fraud, and other issues need to be exposed. We need to fight back the "great reset" with all its dangerous and destructive contents. Humanity is at stake as never before.
Their slogan is "Defend Freedom - Defend Humanity" On their about
page they say:
About the White Rose UK
The White Rose UK is a peaceful resistance group based in the UK. It all began around Pentecost in 2020, when we realised that covid-19 was no more dangerous than the flu and that covid restrictions, imposed by our government, were clearly violating our basic human rights.
On The White Rose UK website we publish articles, videos and other information that help people to become more aware of what is really going on. We also offer leaflets for distribution
and readers can subscribe to our newsletter
. We encourage people to join the peaceful movement to restore our freedom, our rights and our humanity.
Brief History of Die Weisse Rose
During World War II a German underground movement called Die Weisse Rose
(The White Rose) distributed leaflets calling on people to resist the Nazi regime.
One of their leaflets mentioned that every single human is entitled to a government that guarantees the freedom of every single person and the wellbeing of the community. Every human should be able to reach their natural goal, their earthly joy, autonomously and by their own accord. Die Weisse Rose spoke to people’s conscience and urged them to wake up from their dangerous lethargy.
In their fourth leaflet the members of Die Weisse Rose wrote: “We won’t be silenced, we are your bad conscience, the White Rose won’t leave you in peace.”
“We won’t be silenced, we are your bad conscience, the White Rose won’t leave you in peace.”
(Die Weisse Rose)
Well, some people do not seem to have much of a conscience.
The German resistance group consisted of the students Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl, as well as their friend Christoph Probst and single other members. Coming from a Christian background, the Scholl siblings turned back to Christian moral after having spent some time in the Hitler Jugend. Spreading anti-regime leaflets was a dangerous activity, and after being caught, several members of the White Rose were sentenced to death or imprisonment by the Nazis. After the executions of the siblings Scholl, a friend still carried on with distributing leaflets entitled “And their spirit lives on”. With this in mind, The White Rose UK is part of the continuation.
Regarding the history of the White Rose group in Munich, The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
has an article about how the group worked, and how they were caught.
The White Rose
Five students from Munich University and one of their professors challenged the Nazi regime by forming the White Rose group and beginning a secret campaign. They asked the German people to react to the violence and oppression which were all around them by standing up and fighting for freedom. In June 1942 four leaflets, published in quick succession, with the title Leaflets of the White Rose appeared all over the city of Munich.
The efforts of the White Rose are featured in the film ‘Sophie Scholl: The Last Days’
Challenging the Narrative
The disproportionate and dehumanising covid restrictions are a disgrace to humanity.
Like the White Rose in Germany, that resisted the Nazi regime, we encourage people to resist the covid tyranny.
We do not want anymore lockdowns and demand an end to all restrictions. Visit your friends and family, the lonely, the vulnerable and the dying. We are humans and not controllable robots. We need to socially interact, without anti-social distancing and without face masks.
Journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians should stand up for the truth and speak out publicly. If the majority of people rid themselves of fear and panic and make use of common sense, those who want to control us will eventually have to give up, and we will be able to guarantee a future of peace and freedom for our children and grandchildren.
The truth will make you free (John 8:32)
With continuing The White Rose in the UK we are driven by the same spirit as the German Weisse Rose during Nazi Germany – a spirit that comes from the conscience and rises against injustice;
a spirit nurtured by the depth of the heart where truth is embedded.
Symbolism of the White Rose
A white rose stands for peace, purity and innocence. In religious tradition, a white rose symbolises the purity of the Mother of Christ.
We believe that humanity was created out of love and for a good reason. Therefore, it is our duty to defend the dignity of every human! Peace and love originate in God, who is the creator of the world. Without truth and without love there can be no peace – without peace, there can be no freedom. Pray with us
that His Kingdom may come!
While the above identification with the German group, White Rose Resistance Group
, is meaningful, it turns out the White Rose as a symbols in the UK has an even older tradition:
White Rose Day - the Feast of Queen St Margaret of Scotland and the birthday of our last Catholic king, King James III and VIII
10 June is White Rose Day
, the day when Prince James, Prince of Wales (James Francis Edward Stuart; "The Old Pretender" or "The Old Chevalier") was born in 1688, thus occasioning the English Whigs to begin to plot against his father, King James II and VII, our last Catholic King, so as to exclude from the throne all Catholic monarchs.
See also the White Rose of York
dating back to the 14th century.
If most political groups of the past were motivated by politics, is there is a change underway? From the about
A few years ago, Catholics in the US reflected upon the political work of the German White Rose group
The White Rose and the Faith
The White Rose UK has been founded by lay Catholics
and is supported by Christians of all denominations, as well as people of other faiths and none.
The Scholls and other members of the original White Rose in Germany, were inspired by the sermons of Catholic Bishop Von Galen and the writings of John Henry Newman (a former Anglican who converted into the Catholic Church and has recently been canonized).
The pamphlets they wrote were influenced by these theologians who belonged to a network of Catholic priests and altar servers who initially spread leaflets with anti-Nazi homilies. Christoph Probst, another member of The White Rose, grew up without religion, but requested baptism and was received in the Catholic Church shortly before his execution. The Scholls themselves were drawn to the Catholic Church, and it may not have been much longer before they too would have joined the Church. Read more here: The White Rose of Conscience
October 4, 2016: The White Rose: From “Politics” to “The City of God
March 14, 2018: Learning from the White Rose
Among Russian Orthodox Christians, one of the founders, Alexander Smorell, has a star:
The Holy Martyr Alexander Schmorell (now also St. Alexander of Munich)
was a medical student during World War II and one of the founding members of the anti-Nazi group, the White Rose. Along with the other members of the White Rose, he tried to rally popular support amongst Germans to try to resist Hitler and the Nazi regime. He was arrested in February 1943, and was executed on July 13
, 1943, at Stadelheim Prison in Munich. On 5 February 2012, he was glorified at the Cathedral of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich, Germany
. He is commemorated by the Church on July 13.
July 13 is one day after Caesar's birtday. Here is his icon:
Alexander Schmorell was buried behind Stadelheim Prison, in the cemetery at Perlacher Forst. In his last letter to his family, he writes the following:
"Now it shall be none other than this, and by the will of God, today I shall have my earthly life come to a close in order to go into another, which will never end and in which all of us will again meet. Let this future meeting be your comfort and your hope. Unfortunately, this blow will be harder for you than for me, because I go in the certainty, that in my deep conviction, I have served the truth..."
For years, St. Nicholas parish remembered their young parishioner executed by the forces of evil by visiting and performing services by the grave. Also honored was Alexander's nanny, who was instrumental in keeping him in the faith.
From his biography:
Alexander Schmorell was born in Orenburg
, Russia, on September 16
, 1917 (September 3
on the Julian Calendar
), and was baptised
in the Russian Orthodox Church
. His father, Hugo Schmorell, was a doctor of German heritage and held German citizenship, although he had been born in Orenburg as well. Hugo Schmorell left Orenburg to study medicine in Germany, and then returned to Russia to practice medicine, though he settled in Moscow. It was in Moscow that he met, Nataliya Vvedenskaya, a Russian woman, who some sources say was the daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest
. As a result of anti-German sentiment resulting from World War I, Dr. Schmorell had been forced to stop practicing medicine there. In theory, he should have not been able to practice medicine anywhere in the country, but due to the incredible need for doctors in Russia at this time, he was allowed to return to Orenburg to practice medicine there. With him came his new bride.
Soon thereafter, in September 1917, a son, Alexander, was born to the couple. Although Hugo Schmorell was by confession Lutheran, he allowed his son to be baptized in the Orthodox Church. Although Hugo Schmorell was by confession Lutheran, he allowed his son to be baptized in the Orthodox Church. When Alexander was around a year old, his mother died of typhoid during an epidemic. Dr. Schmorell then hired a Russian woman to be a nanny for his son, a woman by the name of Feodosiya Lapschina. Besides taking care of Alexander, she also was an Orthodox Christian,
and took the boy to church and taught him about the Faith. Dr. Schmorell remarried in 1920. The woman whom he married, a nurse by the name of Elisabeth Hoffmann, was also German, but, like Hugo Schmorell, she had grown up in Russia.
During the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, and another friend, Willi Graf, were sent to Russia as medics.
For Alexander, it was a homecoming of sorts—this was the first time in his life that he could remember experiencing Russia for himself. He told others that there was no way that he could shoot at a Russian, though he added that he couldn't kill Germans either. In Russia, he provided a link for his friends to the Russian people. He sought contact with regular people, doctors, and Orthodox priests; he, Hans, and Willi attended Orthodox liturgies together (wearing Nazi uniforms, no less!).
When they returned to Munich in October of 1942, the activities of the White Rose were redoubled.
This time, more people were directly involved, including Hans' sister Sophie, Professor Kurt Huber from the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, and Traute Lafrenz. Through Alexander's friend, Lilo Ramdohr, contact was established with Falk Harnack, younger brother of Arvid Harnack, who had been arrested in connection with the Red Orchestra (and was also associated with the Bonhoeffers).
In January of 1943, the publication of the fifth leaflet was ready. This time, the members of the White Rose risked their lives to distribute the thousands of leaflets all over greater Germany. Alexander's journey brought him to Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg.
To tie up the journey report, and return from the dive into Christian inspired resistance against modern day tyranny, here is a picture from the ferry, where I found the messages. The picture is taken towards the east. If you keep going, it will be the shore of Poland, Russian Kaliningrad, Lithuania, and Belarus. These places would come within less than half the distance, I had travelled at the time I took the photo, though I admit to get there is not so easy. and the journey longer than the distance by air.