The Rhine. 4th April

Hello again all! Matt here, enjoying the absolutely fantastic weather in Mainz. First of all, photos will be up soon, but i forgot and left the camera at the hostel, so apologies, but theyll be there soon.
Well, where to start? The greens and co of Purmerend set us on our way full and clean, and with a spring in our step, althought the slightly brutal headwind soon put paid to that. We stopped off in the Dam for one last “coffee”, and then set off on our way towards Arnhem and the Rhine. During the day the clouds smothered us and by the end of the day, it was definately wet, althought the countryside we passed through,we thought it was Holland proper, was very pretty and quaint, and we saw our first and only person wearing those ridiculous foot weights the dutch call clogs.

Also where Jack ran into a pair of wild boar...

Also where Jack ran into a pair of wild boar...

As we moved south, the scenery changed from the industrial and productive plains of further north, and we started to see more and more patches of beautiful woodland,where we made our camp in the last few nights we had in the Netherlands. We were also told to watch out, as there were hills towards Arnhem apparently, HA! as we have learnt before, distances and terrain descriptions can be taken from the locals, but with a pinch of salt, as they seem to exaggerate or simply actually believe what there telling us. This is common in England too! Holland also gave us the best purchases so far, a good stand each, which Jack was well chuffed at, although this was soon tempered by having the shit scared out of him by a pair of wild boar which were, i quote “massive”, was quite funny though!

Jack and his new Stand

Jack and his new Stand

However, as we approached Arnhem, we did encounter a (very)mild incline, and after our first and as yet only rainy morning, we rushed down into the Rhine valley, along the canal, and onto the glorious Rhine itself. Throughout this day, the clouds had been dissapating and looking like they may well give us some more sunshine, and oh how grateful we were and are for this grace of (insert name).

good bit of moving photography this!

good bit of moving photography this!

The Rhine valley is obviously, quite large, and very much industrial along some stretches, although the god/ess  of adventure cycling was on our side and we always managed to find a relatively decent campsite. The riding from Arnhem was quite boring and flat, with the occasional factory or village in the way, and after a few days we reached Wesel, where we met the first person who offered to put us up for the night, not only that, he also offered to accompany us the next days ride through the massive and long industrial area of Duisberg, Essen and Dusseldorf. However, unfortunately. we had to decline and simply take his advice on the best side of the river to travel on, as his demeanor seemed to me and jack, to be one of coming on to us slightly, so we promptly declined and moved on, to find a spot next to the river and away from his hairy wandering hands, however nice he seemd!

First hills of the continent! Still didnt go up them though

First hills of the continent! Still didnt go up them though

The next day we pushed on right through the major urbanised and industry orientated area of previous mention, and upon completetion of our most challenging day, route wise, so far (the Rhine man had abandoned us for a while), we again found a haven to rest in.

Looking Back at Dusseldorf

Looking Back at Dusseldorf

From here on we were into the steep valleys of the Rhine, where all the means of transport are squeezed into the couple of hundred metres on either side of the river. From Köln (german keyboard) the scenery improved dramatically, and we were soon hemmed in on all sides. Köln by the way has one of the ugliest Bacilicas? around, the camera broke when we tried to get a picture.the citied based along this stretch were though, very good looking towns, but all seemes to be steeped in industry. Only along the steep sided valleys did we get a feel for the picturesqeness of the region, with its castles every couple of kilometres, and little villages wherever the river allowed. Only the roads, trains and Rhine barges, of which the latter 2 were our night time lullabies, spoiled the cycle, but then I suppose it is a major transport and trade route after all.

It was on this stretch of river we saw the most other “adventure Cyclists”, a coupe from Switzerland, another young couple of whom the male had a guitar strapped onto his back, and a guy on a penny farthing,of all things. We mention these because they all siad hello, but there were other older people who didnt seem to have the grace to even give the “nod of respect” (see David Mitchell of Peep Show, 2008). There was also what has to be the most ridiculous place to build a castle, see picture below….

The most ill placed castle ever?

The most ill placed castle ever?

After a few days of this similar scenery, and having almost cycled down the wrong river (the Mosel) by mistake, we rounded a corner, and suddenly the countryside around us seemed to expand in all directions, with rolling hills and flat plains all around, and it seemed we had hit the central continent at last, and after cycling along some lovely woodlands in the baking heat, we retired on a (we thought) little used path, which again eventually turned into another lovely campsite for us.

Attempting some artistic flair....and failing, great view though

Attempting some artistic flair....and failing, great view though

And that concludes thus far really, as said before we are now in sunny Mainz, having enjoyed clear if a little hazy weather for the last week. With respect to our persons, I am feeling good, apart from a slight niggling Knee, and Jack seems to have mostly if not fully got over his knee problems. We are both in good spirits and looking forward the the Donau/Danube which is within a week or so now!

Thanks again for all your support, and as a note to our RSS (remote safety supervisor) Jacks been climbing trees again, and threatening to swim in the rhine without armbands on. Cheers all, Take Care, Matt

6 Comments »

  1. Tim said,

    Matt, its remote saftey co-ordinator, not superviser. I can try to co-ordinate saftey, but theres nothing i can do for jacks bloody mindedness.

    Tip 1, more people die in the Uk from trips and falls than they do from road traffic accidents. No figures where offered for trips and falls on the continent, but none the less, watch your footing on un even ground.

    Tip 2, Knees. Try using an easyer gear, more rotation, less pressure on the knees. So you’ll have to spin the legs faster, but less force on the knees per spin (if you follow). I’m not just making this up either, its from a propper book.

    Tip 3, under sexed, over enthuseastic, hairy germans are to be avioded, your insurance doesn’t cover that.

    Tip 4, don’t give up on ‘nods of respect’, keep at it.

    Best of luck!
    x

  2. Jeremy Best said,

    Hi Both,
    Is there a map we can follow your route on , or do we have to look up all these funny names ourselves? Be very careful from now on – you are entering serious wine growing territory ….

  3. James Zhang said,

    Hi Matt and Jack, Very well done !!!! I was just wondering where you were before I learnt that you were alongside the Rhine already ! So did Jack swim in the rhine with the swans ?
    All the best and wish you a good Easter !
    xxx

  4. Derek said,

    Hi, Jack and Matt,
    Delighted to read your lively, graphic, humorous descriptions of your wonderful journey. Surprised to hear no mention of punctures! Long may it remain so.
    I must add my name to your many well-wishers. I hope you are finding time to write some sort of journal, even if it’s only notes.
    Good luck with your onward journey. Derek.

    • eurasianadventure said,

      hi derek,yes luckily no punctures as yet, we bought good tyres, and a good job too because we have both ridden over lots of glass.
      i hope all is well in sunny england and you are getting weather something like we have been having
      take care

  5. aunty Maggie en Gerrit said,

    Hi Mathew en Jack,glad to know things are going well for you both,hope you are eating properly,Jack bet you have not found veggie burgers as good as mijn have you.Please be very carefull on your onward jouney.Best wishes from us all Love Maggie


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