departed our friends house in absolutely no hurry. Was a good rest day although did nothing, for the rest day. I suppose that is what a rest day is. Jeanne enjoyed talking with Britta. I realize she, who is the more social one of the two of us, has been unable to converse as I have because I at least have the ability to ask for a hotel room or know a little bit of the language. I will sometimes start a conversation with how are you and progress from there, but it usually ends shortly hereafter when my German language vocabulary is done.
We thought the day would be easy with just riding to the other side of Köln, but it did not work out that way. A delightful ride from the Mannings home in Lohma into and along the promenade of Köln, but by end of day we had gone further than the expected 40 k. We came to a delightful town of Stadt Zons just before Düsseldorf and thought a good place to stay but alas everything with no room or closed up tight. It was a cute little walled village of midevil times. Once we decided to stop we were tired without much energy. 4 pm seemed a reasonable time to quit and look for a room.
Ended up on ferry across river and progressed. Stopped at a 4 star hotel but no double room but he did call and there was one hotel with a room and it was 95€ euro for a double nearby. He only had address though but inquired if we had a navigation system which we do. (GPS). But the street address would not register. We rode on, Jeanne saying maybe we would have more luck in the congested areas rather than along the bike path. On a lark I went up a side street and a hotel/ restaurant sign, was there. I checked and available although it was going through some construction and the stairs were just plywood. The room was nice and the Italian dinner exquisite. The bikes were stored in the wine cellar.
Next day from the southern end of Düsseldorf we rode mostly without a clue of where we were, just head in the general,direction of river flow. Düsseldorf is 11 million people hence bigger than we expected and we meandered along the river enjoying the scenery and after the fact enjoying the navigation problems. Finally reached the city center and on a lark went by the huge tower near city center. On a lark went up it, locking our bikes in bike racks at base, storing bags at ticket counter and took the elevator to the 168 meter observation tower. Delightful. Looked down on the bike path we had ridden with bike foot specific bridges. A superb view of where we had been and where we were going.
Next a large lunch along the promenade and then we must progress.
About 3 pm, I began to tire although had only gone only 43 k. Again we thought no problem with a hotel. Wrong again. At first looked in town just off route and no hotels but found one within a kilometer, but they had no rooms. One clerk looked up on computer rooms available and said only oneswere in the city. I had to ask what city, as our map only covers approximately 2 k either side of river and names seem different than listed on direction of bike routes or on our GPS. He said just follow railroad tracks into town. Hmmm. 7 kilometer, but now we are tired. Is finding a hotel that difficult? I guess so. Seems common for us now to think no problem and then ride 20 k trying to find a place.
But made it to city hotel near the main train station In the middle of town of Kablenz. Not a bad ride but city. Asked the registration clerk about busy rooms and he said his idea of why it was difficult for us was the smaller town have only a few rooms and may be full but many do not want to rent to bicycles, as they are only one night stays. Hotels prefer business travelers who stay 3 and 4 nights.
But I was tired and Jeanne commented it appeared so. I admit it then realized this was day 21 of bike riding, and as on the great divide 21 days proved a turning point. Tired, frustrated, and feeling just not into it even though it is wonderful and exciting, I am tired of the language difficulty, tired of the navigation and errors, tired of being on all the time, and not knowing what to expect. And the frustrations get taken out on all sorts of idiotic things. I complain because it is not like home and complain because it is like home and it should be different. Arrrghghh. Just tired.
But made reservation for next night guessing at 65 kilometers on down the river. Tried to stay away from booking dot com as I know they charge 15% and would like hotel to get full amount. Booked on Internet but after I found much cheaper places on booking.com. I tried.
Then today’s ride just cruising along sometimes along the river and dikes and sometimes inland on
small roads and bike paths. Ended up 74 kilometers in the delightful historic town of Xanten with a 4000 year history. Anchorage is a 100 years old this year so a bit different. Hotel in midst of town and again a bit of luxury but part of adventure. Dinner in square again outside where blankets are made available, as it is cooling off in September. Delightful meal, and cost for
a 750 ml of great wine, appetizer, two wondrous full meals, desert, coffee, and great company for only 85€.
And Internet. When you have it you do not think much about it. But not having It in today’s world is difficult. And it is difficult to get just passing through as a visitor Hotels have very iffy wifi. And may not have. Paid 5€ last night and worked very sporadically. Reminded me of 5 years ago at bike school in Colorado Springs with the hotel wifi, which was ok but not great, but ok. The two Koreans asked me if anyone had wifi? I responded the hotel had wifi and it was ok, but they just shook their heads. I then remembered Korea standard is 100 MBytes/ second everywhere. Geez we think 10 MBytes is good. Everyone has their standards of what is acceptable. But thinking of how poor people survivewithout it.
And thus another rambling story is over. I could make it more concise I suppose but then the purpose of trip is bicycling and not writing. We leave Germany today and into our 5th country of this trip (excluding Canada and Greenland on flight here). One week to go before return home. Passed the three week mark and feeling better again. Something about three weeks to get going and get a rhythm. (We were here a week before starting bike ride). Good times!