Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 72--Back to Bäckerei!

I finished Holland by following LF13a through Venlo to the border. Of course, there was no "Welkommen Deutschland" sign. The only way I could tell was by a change in the bike route signs from Dutch towns to German towns.
Still Dutch signs
Now German

I didn't really have a map. I had written the Google directions, and they worked for awhile, but then I just followed the bike route signs to the various towns I knew I needed to go through.

Coming through the first German town, I spied a Bäckerei. Since it was after 10:00, I figured a snack was in order. I even remembered how to ask in German! I also had the first Apfelschorl since before I left Germany. 

I continued on following the signs. I also returned to some hills. It was funny, because I was riding along thinking, why am I going so slow? Do I have a flat tire? No, turns out I was going up a slight incline! It was hardly noticeable to see, but I've spent the last five days riding on flat flat (no, that's not a typo, it was flat flat--one flat doesn't do it justice). 

I finally started seeing signs for Neuß. But, really, I was going to Stürtzelberg. I put the address for the Campingplatz into the Garmin. It brought me the usual "Garmin Way". At one point, it said to turn "right to trail". Except, there wasn't a trail. Not even a hint of a trail. In fact, there was a big industrial complex. However, I'd seen a trail a few meters back. Even though it was not what the Garmin intended (it kept telling me to make a U-turn), it did end up becoming the trail I was supposed to be on. I'm thinking there used to be a trail there until they built the complex. Anyway, it all worked out.

I made it to Strandterrese Campingplatz at about 3:00. First the lady said they were full and I should go to Düsseldorf. I said I couldn't because my friend was meeting me here and I had no way to contact him, and he wouldn't be here until 8:00--too late to go on. She said okay, and I paid for both Christian and I. Well...since I got here, eight other cyclists have come! We are packed into this small grassy area like sardines! It's great! I haven't gotten to camp with this many cyclists the entire tour! I've staked a claim with my chair for Christian's tent. So far, everyone seems to be doing the Rhein Radweg from the other direction. Carl, originally from New Zealand, currently a history teacher in Cambridge, is cycling form Switzerland back to Cambridge. He's been doing the Rhein, but will go to Holland tomorrow. 

This area was full by the evening!

Christian arrived about 7:45 or so. I had saved him some Brat Kartoffeln, but he had eaten, so I ate the rest of it (and it was goooood!). He also brought me some fresh walnut cake (my favorite!). We've had a great evening talking and laughing. I feel like I haven't talked to other people this much for weeks! 

Tomorrow Christian and I will begin cycling the Rhein back to Mainz. I started this tour with Christian on a river (Main), and I will finish this tour with Christian on a river. Fitting, I think!

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