I left Aarhus well rested, and it was still very windy, the one from the front, the one to hate. But, as I had been pretty lucky thus far with the wind, I kept the head low, did not see much and just battled through the south of Denmark. (not without stopping in Christiansfeld, a very interesting little town, founded by reformed Christians, way before Martin Luther, with cool architecture and “honey cake” to eat)
The north of Germany greeted me with more good riding, perfect cycling infrastructure and very unusual tropical temperature. I had steaming hot days with ferocious thunderstorms nearly every night. This whole area was new for my, have never been there, but it is full of small well-kept towns. Nothing spectacular happened to me, just that a kid ran his bike full speed into mine and I broke three spokes and one pannier….
I could not resist to make a little detour and visit the Ruhrgebiet once again, after Ellie, Max and me had such a good time there last year. Funny, I did my civil service in Bochum, one of the cities in the heart of the area, I hated it, very much so and left after 18months and never even looked back. But nowadays I love it. You would be forgiven to think that the “Rhein Ruhrgebiet” is just one massive city of 11million people, while in fact it is a conglomerate of many cities and towns. It is the old industrial heart of Germany, with coal, steel and any other type of industry. However, they are very different from the classical old European towns, which emerged from a core settlement around a church or aristocratic estate. Most towns are settled around steelworks or collieries. Nearly all the old factories have closed down and are now gigantic museums and playgrounds, with museums, events, sporting ground, or just overgrown relicts. Most mining stopped in the 1970th and 80th and since then the whole area seems to have been in a competition who is the most creative in resurrecting itself. All connected with perfect bike-paths, much green, grey housing estates and a potpourri of quirky eccentricities. I spend two days just riding, being amazed and visiting stuff.
After that it was nearly home turf. Down the Rhein valley, past Koeln, a quick stop in Bonn, where I finally managed to meet up with my very dear friend Julia, who I last met at our wedding, where she was my “best woman” (Not sure how you call that, I had no best man, I had Julia). Once in Koblenz, I could not really bear that the first part of the trip is already over, so I made a sharp turn to the east rode up the Lahn valley (Which is a complete delight, by the way) and over the steep hills of the Taunus, to make it “home” to my good parents, plum cake and a comfy bed.
And now I am waiting for the two punks to arrive and for the next chapter of this trip to start.