Jesolo eis happened to be at the 2000 km mark. There a lovely young lady called Kira kindly served me a trophy pistachio and fresh kiwi sundae to celebrate.
This morning I woke up at seven in Hotel Sonne in Neuberg feeling a little guilty at the tardiness. Gulped a quick breakfast and headed out of town. Soon the shimmering river came into view and it felt glorious to be rolling along the path with the water twinkling in the morning sun. Dark forest on my left and bright water on my right.
Later, at a large road intersection, I bumped into a woman cyclist. Unfortunately I didn’t get her name but she’s Swiss and has cycled 1000 kms on her trip so far. Her birthday is on the Swiss National day and she’ll be 60. She certainly looked a lot younger. You see, biking is good for everything. Exchanged all that critical information with glee but then had to move in our opposite directions. She is the first and only solo female cyclist I have come across since Rome. She had a very nice waterproof map book of all the tracks along the Rhein. Wonder where I can get that?
After a humming ride along the dykes, I found a spot for lunch in the middle of nowhere. Well I had no idea where, but it was somewhere in the middle. You can’t get totally lost in Europe, you need to go on and somebody will tell you where you are.
People here seem to love ordering what looks like polony salad. It’s shredded pink meat cloaked in a dressing.
Germersheim was nice, the info desk officer showed me about eight different maps for cycle tours in the area, but none had enough scope for my day. That plastic map book needs to be ordered online apparently.
I couldn’t find the arch that was printed on all the stuff in the info shop. Simon would be frowning at me. No map and no plan but one cannot plan an adventure.
Speyer is a very interesting place with a long and convoluted history. There is a technical museum full of all sorts of things and a giant imax cinema. There wasn’t a show on at that moment, otherwise I would have stayed and watched it. A large Lufthansa aircraft on stilts is open to tourists, one can see them go out on the wing.
The old city is beautiful, worth a another visit for sure. Nice and spacious with pretty architecture.
After leaving Speyer, the villages come and go. – Otterstadt – Waldsee – Limburgerhof…. I saw storks and greeted a dalmatian, amongst other things. A pink frog leapt out of the bush into my path, birds chirped, tractors made dust, and my thoughts bounced around.
Then the thought of a bed tonight began to pester me. So I headed for Ludwigshafen, where I hit the 2000 km mark and had the ice-cream. Those kind people sent me on, and I found a hotel at the river with some difficulty. The B&B Hotel receptionist said they were fully booked like all the others, and sent me packing. After a desperate flip around town looking for another hotel I checked Booking.com again and it showed that B&B had in fact an available room. So I returned and asked a second time. She emphatically denied the fact. So I went outside and booked it on the app on my phone, then went back to receptionist who was quite apologetic. I was so relieved I could have hugged her. My bike stayed in the backyard.
Ludwigshafen is the main site of BASF, the largest integrated chemical factory in the world. I’m not keen on chemical production considering the damage to ecology.
Last word from the receptionist “I don’t drink the tap water here, but you can if you want to”.
It is almost full moon, I left Marino a moonth ago today. Celebrate the 2000 km with a howl at the moon then trot over to the nearest Italian restaurant overlooking the river and order a little pasta dish.
96 kms today.