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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Day 23. Mülhausen- Neuhof

Posted by admin On Agosto - 3 - 2010

124 kilometers. 8 hours and 3 minutes.

JL: I found out, first thing in the morning, that my sunglasses were broken. Solution: to get new sunglasses at a gas station for 10.93 euros (quite sleazy, you may guess). Then, we saw that the back tire was worn out and had some cracks. Solution: to pull the whole wheel off and replace the tire. So, we decided to get the spare tire and, at that very moment, we noticed that our supplier got something wrong and sold us two 23-inch tires instead of 25-inch tires, which are the ones we use. Solution: to look for a place where to buy other tires. Apart from that, we noticed that the bicycle chains were too dry and too dirty; we had to fix it to avoid chain wear. Solution: to go to a gas station and lubricate them. Well, on our way to the gas station, it started to rain. Solution: to grin and bear it and to sing in the rain. The rain is no longer an issue for us; we walk in it as wild beasts do. At 3 in the afternoon, it started to rain…again. We didn’t even wear the slicker. OK, we travel forth in time. We arrived in our destination at night: Neuhof. We had a booking at the Gasthof hotel. Well, that two hotels had the same name, that’s the devil’s job. We had our reservation in a modern, traditional and charming hotel, with WI-FI internet access and breakfast buffet that takes your breath away. The other hotel had nothing of the sort: no-frills; it was filthy, and it had a kitchen where Freddy Kruger would be more than happy. Guess what: which of these two hotels did we first get into by mistake? On top of that, we’ll have to pay for the other hotel costs because we didn’t show up. Besides, since there was no internet connection, we could neither see tomorrow’s route nor upload it to the GPS, which means we will have to use a map in the old style.

Are we going to be in a bad mood? What for? Forget it! And to think that the stage started off, from the very beginning, with a slight head wind. We woke up at 7 a.m and, under the circumstances, we began cycling round 11 a.m. and got to our destination at 9:04 p.m. Not that bad if we take into account that the sun set at 21:08 p.m. We had to make a hard effort, so much so that there were only 8 kilometers to go and we had to stop to have dinner. Either we had dinner or we couldn’t make it. We ran out of strength for pedaling; we were empty. Salad, fish and potatoes in 20 minutes and, off we went so that it didn’t get dark.

But, it was worth it because we went round interesting spots.

First of all, the road went through two nature reserves: the Nationalpark Hainrich and the Biosphärenreservat Rhön. Since we cycled near the birthplace (Frankfurt am Main) of the German poet and scientist, J.W. Goethe, it doesn’t hurt to recall what he said about how to take in the beauty of the scenery:                                                          

You must, when contemplating nature,
Attend to this, in each and every feature:
There’s nought outside and nought within,
For she is inside out and outside in.
Thus will you grasp, with no delay,
The holy secret, clear as day.

Goethe—“Epirrhema” (1821)

In the second place, we crossed the old border that had separated West from East Germany until 1989. It is curious to see the border patrol surveillance towers, but nobody should forget to feel ashamed while they are visiting them or we wouldn’t have learned the lesson.

Last but not least, we saw the famous salt open-pit mines. Their appearance is amazing; you can spot, from a distance, a huge white mountain that sticks out in the green landscape.

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