Each turn of the pedals becomes a brush stroke in my miniscule picture-book of experience. Spinning out of the Sankt Goar gorge with all it’s high castles and history (a testament to the terrifying past) and into the modern future. After a good breakfast with good friends of course.
Magnificent riding along the river from Bad Honnef passed Bonn and on to Cologne. Thanks to those who have worked to make the cycle tracks here. Brilliant! The track includes a special ferry man who pulls you and your bike across a green stream on a raft…wearing a sailor cap and a broad smile.
There’s a tranquil bustle in this obviously well organised and prosperous area.
The widening Rhine river surges forward leaving small waves to lick the banks. The tinsley effervescent foam lasts a moment and is gone, much like life. I imagine the universe is much like a great flowing river of which we call time. The energy of that flow probably creates ‘foam’ which fizzes with life. Anyway, the idea is comforting.
After admiring the incredible, tall, blackish cathedral in Cologne, my “Googledy girl” on the maps app tells me to go west. Now, if you are stuck in the middle of an old city maze, how is one to know where west actually is? It’s midday, so the shadows don’t show…. she should tell me go straight ahead, or turn around… Where the heck is West? Humpff.
After a lot of bother, I used pigeon instinct to get out of there. Only to find that my fancy new sunglasses and my hat were not on board anymore. They’ve taken another route. Quite an ugly realisation, as those are prescription glasses had a price tag that took my breath away. As for the hat, it was khaki with a big flap around the back and a sun peak. Not beautiful but I liked it.
I cannot blame Cologne for theft as I never left my bike, not even for a moment. Someone must have stolen the stuff yesterday when I stopped at the supermarket for a green drink. There was a suspicious looking character who watched me there. Or it could have been where I stopped to buy a South African flag to ward off vehicles. Since then I presumed they were packed in my pannier. Those glasses had the effect of a powerful zoom and strange aerodynamics which actually sucked bugs into my eyes instead of repelling them. Is that a thing?
In my dilemma I forgot that Simon had told me to cross the river at Cologne. The bridge didn’t pop up as it should, so I went willy-nilly onwards looking for signs. A man cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled at me in German “DREH UM!!! DREH UM!!!”. It was frightening but I figured it must mean turn around. So I did.
Shortly after that I merged into what must be the biggest industrial park in the world. All that concrete and plastered tar, puffing chimney heat mixed with hard sunshine made the next hours of cycling tough. I intensely dislike concrete. Wound my way passed Ford factories, cooling towers and other enormous sheds for many kilometers. Eventually turned back and magically found my river again. Heartened to see other cyclists flitting by. Crossed over on the ferry. From there on all I could think about was finding a place to stay, which popped up at 17:30 in Monheim am Rhein. Plonked myself down on my lonely ass for an ice cold beer before retiring to the low-ceiling single room above the restaurant.
distance today 83.32