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Nijmegen and beyond – into Germany!

October 8, 2010
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The luxuries of campsite camping…

 

tough day?

 

we rose quite late today after our pampering the night before. some tasty banana oriented breakfast was followed by a not so hasty pack up and preparation to cross our first proper border into Germany!
Our good fortune was soon to be struck dry as I discovered my first broken spoke. Ows – the previous owner of Francesca, my beloved bike – had warned me of its spoke breaking nature and we were in a pickle. luckily there was a decent bike shop in Groesbeek just round the corner, so Julian strapped the damaged wheel to his tasty front rack and ripped down to the shop to get it fixed – in which time i quickly jumped online to make a short sharp update as to the loss of the computer and our current status.
A friendly dutch couple on the campsite lured us into their caravan with coffee and biscuits plus advice on the coming road to Kassel and beyond – the showed us how to fold our maps properly (the map of holland was in tatters after pulling it out constantly and fully in the rain)
they exclaimed the hilly nature of the coming few days and showed us on their tom tom the best way to navigate the hills around Kassel. We told of our problem with the wheel and they kindly dropped us with all our stuff down to the bike shop!
35 euros down and we were back on the road, fully loaded up with gouda and nuts as we made for the german border, wheel singing happily, if only for a time…

 

which way to Kleve?

 

We stop in the first major town of Kleve for lunch (by nature?) and make a mess of the main square with peanut shells, much to the discontent of a few locals. we will clean it up we promise..!

we pack up and head for Xanden, making our way across the flat landscape of western germany. we are putting on a good pace and suddenly an old lady decides to throw her power cable over her hedge just as we pass and it smacks julian in the face, nearly taking us both off our bikes – Achtung!

 

Rhine - boring.

 

we cross the Rhine! a landmark of sorts, buts its not a particularly picturesque river. at least where we were, plus the weather was grey so it was more of a personal satisfaction than a visual one.

Making our way through the Bavarian countryside and its getting into the early evening, the air is getting colder and its getting towards time to find our first wild campsite of the trip. We luck on a farm selling pumpkins for 1 euro, and Julian sweet talks the farmers wife into giving us onions and potatoes on top! dinner is going to be great!

 

pumpkin dinner!

 

We’re not far from Vesel and its a good landmark on the map to call it a day so we push on to it, not anticipating the navigational obstacles of getting out the other side of the city to find somewhere to camp. its getting dark very quickly so we have to find a site in the city. There is a busy train line with some deserted brownfield so we take the risk, go through the hole in the fence and set up camp. Urban free camping! a great buzz.

 

urban

 

we settle down and cook up our fresh new pumpkin for dinner, feeling very happy with ourselves, until we get busted by the rozzers.

POLIZEI! GERMAN POLICE!
shit.
they come over and inspect our setup, take our passports and we chat about pumpkins. they laugh at our situation and Julian asks what the Chickens are like in Germany (?) We offer them some pumpkin and they politley decline, then leave us to have a good nights sleep! We were very surprised! We like the Polizei =)

We wake in the morning and its a gorgeous day. what a great night, despite being a little bristly through the groundsheet, it was a triumph to have succeeeded in our urban camping exploits.

We navigate slowly out of Vesel and head for Haltern, stopping for supplies and lucking on a 1euro bottle of wine.

 

good plonk

 

We have a big lunch in Haltern, and push hard to Lunen. We need to keep our daily mileage high if we’re going to reach Krakow – we are aiming for 75km a day average, and today we manage a 90, which is great after yesterdays slow start with the broken wheel.

We stop to wash our pots and pans from the night before and find a great spot to camp in the woods just outside Unna – secluded and quiet and among the trees. I think I’ve lost my pegs – disaster number 2 after losing the knife on the first night – but I hadnt. phew.

 

not so urban

 

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