Tag Archives: rhine

Day 24: An industrious day along the Rhine

It was another lazy start. It was becoming a habit; questionable if good or bad. I headed off into town to use the toilets, but cost 50 cents – a joke. I decided to have a coffee in a small cafe to write up the blog entry a bit further. Afterwards I got talking to a nice couple from Koln (Cologne) – pardon the umlaut. Although they associated me with the rickshaw – initiating the conversation or breaking the ice took a while.

DSC_0946

They asked me where I was going, “Dusseldorf”, I replied. Jokingly he said there was a bit of rivalry between these cities; he laughed to say that the folk from dusseldorf were shrewd businessman, and held their nose high, whilst those from Koln are “down to earth”. I could tell that there was a bit of friendly rivalry between these cities, and it even went down to preference of beer. I also learnt that particular day was a Bank Holiday. Its significanc was for the -re-unification for East and West Germany with the fall of the Berlin wall. Little was celebrated, except in Berlin and it only made my day harder, leaving me with a finite supply of food.

After charging my battery, I paid my dues, filled up on five litres of water and headed off – unbeknownst that was the wisest decision of the day having no water going to bed.

DSC_0961

DSC_0964

The start of the day began uphill. Sheltered by the trees, the climb was particularly enjoyable – for once having shelter from the wind. I got some friendly acknolwedgements from the early walkers. The landscape after the crest of the hill was open farmland.

DSC_0963

Already, I felt the presence of the strong easterly wind. I kept going and pushed throughout the day against the wind. I decided to go for the most direct route, trying to avoid the open embankments which would be troublesome in the wind.

DSC_0975

DSC_0972

The day was tough. It was difficult to keep concentration and the choice of food was dwindling away quickly. My left leg was feeling an ache progressing; nothing serious but it had taken some strain and later in the afternoon made each pedal stroke difficult especially in the wind.

I kept following the ‘Via Romana’ route towards the Rhine towards Rheinburg. The remaining afternoon was a blur of getting lost in the sprawl surrounding Duisburg. I wanted to avoid the area east of the rhine, as I knew heavy industry lie here. So industrious, that there is even signage for a route that elevates such monstrosities as landmarks to those inclined of interest.

Having followed the Rhine, I got lost and battery life on my tablet was around 8%. This tablet contained all my maps and having lost the adaptor, I’ve been rationing this power tediously, at moments of getting completly and utterly lost.

DSC_0976

Having gone in the wrong direction I headed back towards Duisburg. Eventually I got on track and went over a weathered rail bridge.

DSC_0993

DSC_0991

DSC_0994

DSC_0987

The skyline grew with greater contrast as the sun descended around 4PM. The silhoutte of high rising towers, pipes, containers give an omnious uncomfortable feel having been surrounded by nature for the large part of my trip.

By then I realised there was a possibility of reaching Dusseldorf, where I intended to stay that evening. It was around 15 Miles (25km) away and it was 5PM. Unsure whether I’d make it, I tried to get hold of my friend whom I’d be staying with this weekend. Unfortunatly, no luck. The decision was to continue and get to Kaiserswerth – a small charming town adjacent to the river – around 10km from Dussledorf and stragise my plan that evening. I knew there was good camping there for before. I was torn between a warm comfortable place but having the security of knowing that I’d have predictable camping – compounded with a rickshaw is significant peace of mind.

Following the signs for the Rhein Radweg, I was misleadingly led or ‘diverted’ onto on the many ‘bends’ in the river. Here there was open farmland and consquently exposed to the wind. I sat down on my back seat, fed up and just wanted to call it. Having looked at my tablet – 6% now, I could get to Kaisersworth around 5km away. I kept going and my left leg was not happy, but it kept going to my surprise.

DSC_1002

The signs for Kaiserswerth appeared. I was pleased and from there the little distance left whizzed by. I retired by then, satisfying myself with a fairly detestable concoction of sugar (fructose, maltodextrose) mixed with pea protein powder and salt – if I had a raw egg that would have gone. My stomach readily took it this time without gips. It’s disgusting, but it’s the only guaranteed way for a swifter recovery with no food available.

I have to remind people, this isn’t necessarily a big holiday. I can’t go straight into the nearest restaurant and order a meal – the food was 10 euros minimum and looked neither appetising or subsantial.

I set up the tent near the rhine, and ate the remaining pieces of food and the last trickle of water. It had been a hard day, atleast tomorrow was going to be easy. The wind was a nuisance, and often was cursed throughout the day with overwhelming frustration of travelling 6mph on average.

DSC_1006

DSC_1014

Day 21: Towards Arnhem along the Nederrijn

I awoke in a clearing in some splended forest – although I didn’t think it was technically legal to camp there or anywhere in Holland… Anyway, it was a slow start and I took my time to sort things out and for once thoroughly clean out the pans which had been encrusted with a weeks worth of food stuck to it. I also decided to do some make shift laundry – I decided to wash the cycling jersey with some soap and water, to clean it or rather give the notion of cleanliness.

DSC_0840_1

DSC_0841_1

This is a small national park – Utrechtse Heuvelrug. I set off admiring much of the forest with rays of light filtering through the few voids above. It was plesant and made cycling far easier not having the strong head winds of yesterday.

DSC_0849_1

DSC_0855_1

After leaving the forested area, along stretches of the north rhine river(Nederrijn) the wind had become noticeable – I decided to roll up the canopy once again to make things easier. It’s a route that I had been along before and parts were vaguely memorable. Ontop of the dykes – or embankments the wind was strong but I ploughed through for along time.

The rickshaw has one practical advantage – it’s very easy to dry one’s laundry:

DSC_0843_1

I stopped and had some dinner; brie, lettuce, cucumber on rice crackers – a cheap meal but was fairly delicious. Shortly after, I met a detective – well that was his profession on his business card. He did a lot of street photography and was really interested in what I was doing and he had an aurora of wisdom around him – probably because of his age. He talked abit about Holland in general and reflected on my thoughts and impressions of meeting the people who didn’t seem that open to what I was doing. It became quite philosophical and gave he wished me that I discovered a fresh start on my world wide journey.

Towards Arnhem it started to become hilly, but having the shelter from the trees was brilliant and made those hills seem inoticeable in comparison. I got the groove pushing into a high cadence for once and I think there was a small inkiling of astonishment from some of the locals.

DSC_0869_1

DSC_0867_1

I reached Arnhem, and made a quick visit to the Airbourne Museum in Oosterbeek. I had been before, but it was nice to pay some respects having watched Band of Brothers this year and reading the biographies of 101 Batallian – Easy Company or Screaming Eagles. Although they in particular didn’t reach Arnhem and it was the front for the RAF and Commonwealth in the failed operation Market Garden and there as many fatalities and casualties. Next year will be the 70th Anniversary.

DSC_0875_1

I headed towards the centre along the river and reached town. I set up camp and was interrupted by an Indian guy, who started a conversation with me. In fairness, it was interesting to have company, but I was hungry and wanted to tuck into some food.

Eventually I had a tour around Arnhem, but everything was closing. I walked around and mere coincidence I bumped into a Warmshowers host that I had asked to stay with – they recognised me – but who wouldn’t when I was walking around with a rickshaw. It was a great coincidence and great fortune and it made my day having somewhere comfortable to sleep that night. In the end I decided to spend another day here, as it was great to have some nice company and be able to chill out after a fairly exhaustive few days throughout Holland.

Having looked further at the route, and experience with Amsterdam, I’ve decided to change the route to not go through Berlin. It saves me a bit of time, but a large colourful city deserves much longer time to appreciate it which with a rickshaw is going to be difficult. It’s something I’m going to save for another time, so the route will head straight east from Dusseldorf to Leipzig, Dresden into Poland.

Route Change - Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Dresden, Wroclaw