Germany, not for the last time
Aug 23, 1996
Our passports were at the top of our handlebar bags and were excited that we were coming to our first border crossing. What a let down. Now since the EEC came, the majority of borders are open to all, and this one was vandalized. What a downer. No stamp. We kept on riding until we found a hostel in Kleve. In the Netherlands, all of the hostels were unisex, and we were greeted with, "the boys will sleep here and the girls will sleep there". Goodnight Lucy. The following morning, we set off to Dusseldorf. We arrived in town and found the nearest hostel, dumped our bags and headed in to get some food and beer. Luck would have it, the town was celebrating fifty years of Westphalia. There was beer and wursts everywhere. We made our way back and after a discussion about the costs of staying in a hostel, we slept after making the decision that from now on, we would camp. As we followed the Rhine down, we were looking for a campground but could not find one. Biting the bullet, we decided to ring the local hostel in Bad Godesburg. Whilst Lucy was on the phone, a young German came up on his bike and started talking to me, he then took the phone off of Lucy and announced that we were staying with him!!!!! Back at his place, we showered and he cooked us dinner and then took us to his local bar, which was below the local castle. Koenigs pilsener. After quite a few quenching beers, we went back to his place where we swapped stories. He had ridden his bike across the US. He loved the space and outdoor life. To us, having grown up in Australia where we have loads of space, riding three to five kilometres between villages was great for us. The next morning, the young German boy announced that he was going to work and we could let ourselves out. We got dressed and made our way downstairs and found the door double dead locked!!!!! What were we to do, we had to leave, so we opened a window up and threw our bags out. We couldn't shut the window, so we pushed it closed and started to load the bikes up, and then the sirens started. What were we to do, we half panicked, jumped on our bikes and rode of towards Koln. I do hope nothing happened to the house. We lunched by the side of the Rhine with the Koln cathedral in the background and after finishing, we headed of towards Koblenz via Bonn, the capital. When is a capital not a capital. When it is Bonn in Germany. We knew it was heading back to Berlin, but here was a capital city in the least sense. It had the embassies but not the feel. Bring on Berlin I say!!!!! This was hard going as we were riding into a headwind. We eventually made it to the campground and se up our tent. We then rode into town and bought food for the night for dinner and breakfast. After shopping, we were riding back to the campground when a car ran a late orange early red, and Lucy ran into the car and bent her rim. The driver drove off without stopping, forcing us to walk back to the local bike store to buy a knew one for her. We did this and then rode back to the campground to cook our dinner. Now the fantastic part of this campground is that overlooking it is a castle by the name of Ehrenbreitstein. You can catch a chairlift up and tour the castle. Loads of history and if you are from the US, and have served in Germany, your medal will show an eagle on top of the castle. There is also a youth hostel up there if it takes your fancy. After walking around the castle, we walked through the tunnels and it brought us back to the river and we went back to the campground. One problem that we did find staying here was that as we were on the junction of the Rhine and the Mosel river, barges were going up and down the river all night long. Eventually, we drifted off and when we awoke, it was another splendid day for riding, so we packed up and headed back onto the bicycle path.