Xanten to Wijik bij Duurstede

Today I finally made it to The Netherlands leaving Germany behind when I crossed on the ferry at Millingen aan de Rijn.

I did the 77.6miles at 10.1mph on another really hot day, consuming 1 litre of Apple juice in just about one gulp! The countryside is pretty flat and uninspiring with no industry either. Although at Kalkar I came across a huge power station type of building which on close inspection revealed itself as Wunderland Kalkar some sort of Euro Disney/Butlins fun park I think.

There was a lot of uprooted trees and branches so obviously they have been having summer storms. It was good to see that all those modern windmills could be put to a useful task – as mobile phone towers!

I went through Arnhem thinking of all that lost of life trying to capture the bridge here. The cemetery is on a beautiful hill but I didn’t explore, but pressed onto Wijik, a lovely city sporting only one hotel, a quite expensive one at that! I couldn’t face searching around for b&bs so booked into the De Oude Lantaarn for €73.50 a night and enjoyed cheap mussels & chips around the corner at De Veldpoort!

Two things I hate about The Netherlands are (a) Scooters and small motorbikes are allowed on there otherwise fantastic cycleways. (b) The drivers get really agitated very quickly if you find yourself on their road instead of the cycleway hiding on the other side!

Having said that, the only other cyclist to have spoken to me whilst travelling along was here 🙂

Here’s the Everytrail of the day:-
Xanten to Wijk bij Duurstede at EveryTrail

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Cologne (Köln) – Xanten

Today was a day of many dead ends including falling of my bike at Monheim!

I left Cologne over the railway bridge which is festooned with hundreds of locks all engraved by lovers and locked to the steel mesh – be fascinating to know more about this ‘tradition’ On the other side I was barred from riding along the river due to the previous nights party (which I had failed to hear at all!) so I had to pick a way through the rubbish (no plastic bottles though that 25cents makes a HUGE difference). Then another detour around Chempark to get back on the river at Wiesdorf.

20 miles into the day at Monheim my little tragedy happened 🙁

As you can see on the pic. I should have kept right. However, I kept left, once I saw the path heading into the river I knew I had made a bad choice so I did a quick right up what was to be a very steep incline. I started to go to slow to be unable to unclip my feet, so over I went – the wretched handlebar ends hitting the rib over my heart – acute pain and agony. Now this scene was been witnessed by a about 10 folks sat on benches,  the unbelievable part is not one of the 10 showed a flicker of emotion not a “tut mir leid” between them not even laughter – It was if they were statues (Oops didn’t check if it was an Antony Gormley set up).

I eventually picked myself up and recommenced my journey. A few miles later, after another major detour (wretched signs show the route for both sides of the river, so easy to get confused)I found myself in Dusseldorf, along their festive waterfront I was wondering if I should find a krankenhaus but opted for a mega Italian ice cream or two instead 🙂

Onwards I went towards Duisberg past the blast furnaces of my youth (theirs have been turned into a museum rather than a caravan park like the ones I worked on in Renishaw). At Duisberg as part of the “Still Life” festival (very ironic in few of the tragedy of  of 20 deaths as part of the recent Love Parade in Duisberg)., the A40 motorway had been closed to form the longest table in the world. Amazing scenes!! Oh how I wish UK city centres could be closed to all traffic on Sundays 🙂 🙂

After 94miles of cycling at 10.2mph  along miles of paviors I arrived in Xanten for a good meal and sleep at Hotel Michael Neumaier 96 Euro all included.

The trail and pics are on Everytrail:-
Cologne (Koln) to Xanten at EveryTrail

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Spay to Cologne (Köln)

Today was the first day I encountered rain. It was very heavy in the night but when I set off it had turned to drizzle. Fascinating to start off next to a foundry that made huge boat propellers bought back memories of my time at Renishaw ironworks fettling shop. Its interesting the amount of heavy industry you see everywhere alongside the Rhine.

I then cycled past many attractive villages before going through the German Koblenz,which was quite disappointing as the riverside area is going through a major development programme, so I quickly moved on over The Mosel.

I came across one of the few reminders of WW2 at Ludendorff with the remains of the famous railway bridge that allowed allied troops & tanks to cross for 10 days before its collapse.

Then to complete the days 76.6 miles at 10.1mph I arrived in Cologne. Here the waterfront has been redeveloped in much as the same way as the latest developments I saw on my Thames Walk on The South Bank.

Here’s the day Everytrail and photos:-

Spay to Cologne (Koln) at EveryTrail

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