Day 29: Dortmund and beyond

We woke quite early and Ehsan prepared a nice breakfast of Brotchen with an assortment of toppings – cheese, tomato, cucumber and honey. A more varied breakfast than usual. We went over a few things about travelling in the UK and I helped suggest how he can travel around and ideas of places to visit by bike.

Around midday, we decided to visit his University – around 15 minutes by walking, unfortunatly too hilly to take the rickshaw. The University was quite modern, and the architecture and layout of the sixteen principle department buildings was supposed to represent a ship – although I coudln’t see this. We enjoyed a lunch of white sausage and potato salad against a fairly stunning view on a balcony overlooking the surrounding valley towards the River.

We returned back and I packed up my stuff once again. He decided that he wanted to ride me on a short journey and try out the rickshaw – I thought I would make most of an opportunity like that. He rode the rickshaw whilst, I enjoyed the comfort of the back seat giving me a chance to play around with the camera to get some video.

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Eventually we reached our departing point. We took a few farewells photos and we had a ‘Persian hug’ as a lasting gesture. Although it was a short visit, he made my stay welcoming and hospitable even as a University student.

Having stayed longer, I left around 2PM – extraordinarily late, by world rickshaw taxi standards. I knew I could cover a fair distance, and being relatively flat in places made it easy riding. Having working maps on my tablet made navigation far easier and soon I had reached the center of Dortmund.

The city was more pleasant that I thought it would be, but at a glance appeared to be very little of interest to extend my stay for more than thirty minutes. I kept on going. The tram lines were both a blessing and curse as it acted as a bike lane, but you had to keep checking a tram wasn’t going to run you over.

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Stopping near a tram stop, someone wanted to pay me to take them home, however, even after some broken english/german they wanted to go in the over direction. I had to make up some lost time and wanted to keep going, so I had to decline that opportunity as I could get another two hours of rickshawing (is that a verb?) that evening.

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I continued but it was becoming noticeably darker caused by the overcast sky. I decided to pick up some shopping for a comfortable camping experience in the evening and morning. By the time I left it had become dark and the lights in the town center of Unna were illuminating.

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Trying to navigate in the dark even with a map on a bike is ten times difficult. Street signs are barely visible and after heading towards a town center I managed to go literally round in a circle.

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Frustrated, I kept going on and got on the right road guided by my front light. Travelling along the way to find somewhere to camp with a tent took a while – atleast thirty minutes I guess. It’s quite plesant cycling in the dark with just your lights as you only need to focus on the small light ahead. I came across an open field around 5km away from the center. It was frustrating it took so long, but I was glad to have finished for the night!