We finished! Grey, drizzly and windy day for the finish, alas, with full-on rain later. Winding our way out of Rotterdam was slow and made me very glad we didn’t try to finish the previous evening when we would have been tired and hungry. Eventually reached Hook of Holland and cycled out to the end of the breakwater for the obligatory photo before looking for some lunch.
Really wearing day yesterday with some rain and a lot of wind. Westerly wind. And we were heading west.
An easier day today even though a bit more distance covered than yesterday. Wesel is not a large town and we were quickly out in the countryside – peaceful surroundings and easier navigation. The wind had dropped a bit also, and was mostly coming from the west or south west, so we only one short section of headwind.
A day of detours and wind today. According to the infallible Wikipedia, Düsseldorf is the seventh largest city in Germany and Duisburg the fifteenth – Duisburg with a population approaching half a million and Düsseldorf well over 600,000. There is only a very limited belt of farmland between the northern suburbs of Düsseldorf and the southern suburbs of Duisburg, so the morning ride was slow and complicated as Bruce navigated us through urban streets. It’s much more tiring doing the endless starting and stopping at junctions, and quite wearing keeping the concentration up to figure out the route cyclists are supposed to take.
The weather changed today: we had grey skies and a little rain this morning, and when it brightened up, it turned very windy. So windy that I was cold on the bike at times – a first for this trip.
The Deutschland Tour cycle race finished its first stage in Bonn today. We had reconsidered our plans yesterday and decided only to cycle as far as Cologne. We spent the morning at Haus der Geschichte, a museum of German life since 1945. This was fascinating and it would have been easy to spend the whole day. It was also tempting to stay and see the finish of the cycling, but that was not going to be till late afternoon – and we still have some way to go.
Well over 30 degrees again today, so although not a long cycle, the last hour was quite demanding. There were still cliffs and castles today but fewer, and the valley is broadening out. We didn’t see the geyser at Andernach in operation, but we did see the remains of be famous bridge at Remagen. We also saw Drachenburg castle (19th Century) looking admirably gothic up on the hills across the river, with the ruin of Drachenfels Castle (12th century) sitting higher above it. They do good castle round here.
Since neither of us has visited this part of Germany before, we are taking the opportunity to be tourists and explore a little. We will have to press on with the cycle tour tomorrow as we still have quite a way to go, but it’s been lovely to explore Mainz and Koblenz a little.
You know it’s too hot when a headwind is welcome. You know the route-finding has gone wrong when you are on a bridge crossing the Rhine and that was not part of the plan. And you know that the indecision at a multi-crossroads of bike paths on a slight slope was a bad idea when you lose your balance and topple off your bike sideways in front of two concerned Germans.
We passed the halfway point today shortly before arriving in Speyer. No particular celebration at the time as I was dying in the heat – over 30 degrees again this afternoon and no breeze – and fixated on finding the hotel. Mercifully we had planned a shorter day in the saddle to make a bit of tourist time.