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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 25. Aschaffenburg- Bruchsal

Posted by admin On Agosto - 5 - 2010

128 kilometers. 6 hours and 44 minutes.

JL: I’m going to open today’s blog post by giving my regards to all the wonderful bunch of people who work in Record Go. I know full well that they keep track of us, that they take interest and show concern, and that they avidly read our posts. We are also doing this for you, guys: “impossible is nothing.” Regarding customer queues building up at airport (which, as you know, are rather short in summer peak season), go get’m!

Well, hope nobody gets scared but the truth is that this is getting harder and harder. It isn’t just physical tiredness. Our constant effort and our steely determination to reach our goal are beginning to stress us out, mentally. Because of this, Iván and I decided, this morning, to do the following exercise: whenever a negative thought struck us, we had to brush it away by saying it aloud in a “positive” way. I’ll give you some real examples:

“Getting wet first thing in the morning, that’s great! Hey! we don’t need to get used to it afterwards” or “a head wind makes my face cooler and my ideas clearer”, take this one, “luckily, it’s raining again because the slicker was getting creased” or “thanks to the torment of biblical proportions that the bicycle saddle inflicts on my butt, my soul gets purified” or “I thank our lucky star that we took the wrong road; otherwise, we would have missed this mountain pass”… Does it work? Well, when thinking about how to make another person smile, you don’t think about the misfortunes that befall you.

After so many good soaks, we’re looking forward to coming back and seeing the sun,  but there are many stages to go. We spent today’s stage cycling the Naturpark Bergstrasse – Odenwald along the road that winds by the Neckar river. It’s a nice valley, not very deep, with thick woody walls of humid bright deep green. This made the road more pleasant; every step along the way we wanted to stop to take some shots, the gray sky marred the scenery, though.

The region was full of charming towns teeming with local visitors. Loads of places you’ll never find in a travel brochure. Places which would please those who don’t want to be just tourists but fit it and pass unnoticed. The heart of Germany is highly recommended.

Tomorrow is our last day in Germany. The day after tomorrow we will be in France, at last! We feel closer to home.

Day 22- Magdeburg- Mulhausen

Posted by admin On Agosto - 2 - 2010

157 kilometers. 8 hours and  12 minutes.

IVAN: Today we gritted our teeth, flexed our muscles and panted for air; we did all this in time to the tandem music when cycling upward. That special swaying rhythmic motion you perform in partner dancing; a gentle and pleasing-to-the-eye motion that makes people who see us cycling fall under its spell (or that’s what I think). The funny thing is that we had a bad time; however, I can say it was a pleasant bad time. It feels so good to suffer when making a good ascent, especially after cycling for 50 kilometers on a flat area; which helped you warm up your legs enough to be on a first-name basis with the upward slope of the mountain.

Today we cycled around the heart of Germany. In fact, although there are still some stages to go, we could see some traces of the so-called BLACK FOREST. What a place! The Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian woods are spectacular and that’s a fact. However, the broad roads in these countries make the woods be at least 10 meters away from you; woods surround you. This is not the case here. Woods are on top of you. You’re not surrounded by woods, you’re deep in the woods. You cannot even see the sun. It’s dark in there. If it rained, you wouldn’t get wet. Another feature that characterizes this area is its road surface that is in perfect condition. The sharp curves make this place a paradise on earth for motorcyclists. We saw bikers in tons; they were wearing multi-colored outfits. Honestly! You should see the motorbikes they ride and the overalls they wear. They look as though they came out of a bag of Lacasitos (colorful button-shaped candies like the M&M’s): here goes a red one, and here goes a green one…

The anecdote of the day: At lunchtime and in the heart of Germany, we were confidently expecting to find a place (in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of everywhere depending on your point of view) where the cook, the owner, the waiter/waitress and the person in charge spoke English. Well, that wasn’t possible. Where we had lunch, there was only one woman who performed the cook, owner, waitress and person in charge roles. And, she didn’t speak English! What’s more, the menu was in perfect German and no translation was available. And, since we were starving and, since J.L and I are not that familiar with the German language, we decided to order one of each of the dishes on the menu, and whatever will be, will be! German food: not suitable for vegetarians, but, for God’s sake, how delicious it is!

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