We have now been on the road for two weeks and we have cycled twelve days out of it. I am mentioning this not to show up but because for us this is the longest we have ever cycled. Previously we have been cycling on Outer Hebrides but I think that all in all it was just about 12 days including the two days that we have spend travelling there and back again. This trip was definitively important for what we are doing now – maybe we have mentioned somewhere else that we originally wanted to borrow Jiří’s tandem bicycle only to find out that rail companies do not take tandems on board unless they are folding. Anyway that was the only time when we travelled for this long on a bicycle.
Last time we had a chance to post something before the weekend. We have then found a perfect long distance cycle path that took us all the way from Eindhoven to a town/city of Venlo that is on the border with Germany. If you ever find yourself cycling in Netherlands take this route (LF13) as it goes along small canals and through the countryside. It was also the first really warm day and so we decided to have a swim (and bath at the same time) in one such canal. The water was crystal clear we saw some tiny frogs, myriads of dragonflies and huge lonely fish. When I saw it for the first time I was so excited I called Adam who (of course dear, a BIG fish is there..) came too late. However, just when we were nearly waist-high in the water it came again and it was so friendly (or lonely) it came so close that if Adam had not made a step back it would run right straight into him. It then kept coming in intervals while we were swimming, taking pictures, sunbathing and doing the laundry.
That evening we finally crossed the borders to Germany through some World War II historic site (find for yourself more about Venlo and that is where we were). Nothing that extraordinary has happened except for one encounter we had. When we were trying to figure out how and where to get to Germany we decided to have a try on local railway station. We cycled up towards the main entrance when we were passing a group of guys and in an attempt not to crush into them we scratched a bit a wall on the other side. Guys were apologetic for standing in our way, we said it’s fine nothing has happened and then they asked us where are we going. So we said to Czech and suddenly they started talking in Czech and Slovak and were even more enthusiastic. We also heard a very nice compliment and that is that they thought we are Dutch – for me this is the absolute top, even if Dutch people do not think so.
Today we are staying in a camp site in Germany in Bad Breisig, where shower is for €0.5 per 5 minutes and we’ll enjoy every second of it! We are pedalling in a steady pace along the shores of the Rhein River for a second day and we are not at all getting bored. I have never seen river this huge ever before (or I can’t remember). I am really fascinated by all the ships and tankers and cargo ships that we see every day in both directions. What makes us really smile is that these huge beasts are really slow going upstream – so slow that even we are faster. We take over such one, then get lost somewhere on a wrong diversion, that take us the longer route, stop for an ice cream and then we find ourselves taking over the same ship.. it feels like a weird déjà vu.
The cycle route along Rhein river is really great – signs (almost) everywhere, the surface (almost) even and the scenery and temperature are great, or as our friend Rafael says “gorgeous”. There is not really much that we can say about Germany as we have not seem much else than the cycle paths. Yesterday night we have arrived in Koln/Cologne. Sadly we’ve manage to find our way through the suburban maze so late that we only rushed through as we still needed to find a place to camp. So here are just few photos that we took.
However, so far we met only nice people who are patiently listening to my attempts of speaking German (most of the time asking where something is and even more often if they speak English – sometimes they do). Conversations spin mainly around cycling, touring and related topics… truly enough, with people on nice or weird bicycles there is always something you can speak about.
What was by far most surprising for us was that shops were closed on Sunday. With all our baggage we are shopping for food daily and so it was not really the most pleasant news. On the other hand, it seems absolutely reasonable – why shop on Sunday?