Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
86Trip End Ongoing
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Our first impressions of Germany were mostly to do with the weather. It really was incredibly cold when we first rode across the border. The first couple of days riding were in a very hilly area and we have learnt the following: cold + uphill = body warmth (good); cold + downhill = frozen fingers and noses (not so good).
After a day or two the hills disappeared and the sun returned, but it stayed cold as we locked onto the Main Radweg (cycleway following the Main river) which led us from Wunsiedel near the Czech border to Frankfurt. Following the Main river virtually from the source was fascinating, at the start it was little more than a gurgling stream, but it quickly grew to a very wide river which snakes its way across the centre of Germany
We noticed a few changes once we crossed the border into Germany, the biggest being the cost of things. Yes, our days of living it up on Eastern European prices were at an end, and disappointingly we had to ration out the coffee and cake stops. And our tent got a rather good workout too since we couldn't really afford to stay in hotels. We were very thankful we had invested in some much warmer sleeping bags. Despite the cold weather we were very warm and snug in our little tent. However getting up in the mornings was a different story. Often we were unable to open the tent, due to the zip being frozen and it was a major struggle to get Alex out of the sleeping bag....but once we started our riding for the day we warmed up pretty quickly.
Cycling pace gave us a great opportunity to see the the German machine in full swing. Nuclear power plants and massive chemical factories, producing who know what filled the gaps between the pretty towns and agriculture. The Main river was doing it's share too, tightly controlled by locks and dams enabling massive barges, close to 150 metres long to carry loads up and down stream. The barges had a very similar pace to us and we seemed to ride side by side for days at times. The trains also got our attention, especially when a load of 200 new Mercedes or Audis whizzed by
There's something to be said for being completely disorganised, as we often are. Since we didn't know anything about the areas we would be riding through it meant that each town we visited was a very pleasant surprise. Especially when we expected to be riding through mostly small towns and found ourselves in the rather substantial, and beautiful, cities of Bamburg and Würzburg. The downside to our slightly chaotic cruising was that when we discovered an interesting place we didn't have a lot of time to explore. We probably should have allowed ourselves a few extra days so that we could stop a bit longer when we found somewhere we liked. But we had set ourselves a deadline, we were meeting our friends Markus and Anne at their home in Weinheim so we had a very good reason to keep moving.
Markus and Anne are our mysterious international friends that we keep bumping into on different continents, although this meeting was a planned one. They kindly invited us to stay with them for a few nights and they introduced us to their town and showed us the local sights. When we arrived they had coffee and freshly baked apple cake ready for afternoon tea - they must have been reading about our cake obsession on our blog